You’ve got the ring, the venue and even the dress. But if there’s one thing you might feel is missing, it’s your buff bridal bod. If you're shedding for the wedding, here’s how to get the dream body for that dream dress.
CUT BACK ON CARDIO.
We'll admit it: There’s nothing that makes us feel quite as accomplished as a long run or a killer spin class. Although cardio will help you slide into that form-fitting silhouette, it won’t give you the sculpted, smooth curves you’re after. “A 60-minute run, simply speaking, places your body in a muscle-eating state instead of a fat-burning one,” says Ana Fontes, founder and owner of SimplyLiv Studio in Glen Allen, which offers a 6- to 10-month Fit to Wed personal training program for brides. Fontes suggests opting for a short (think 10 to 20 minutes) session of cardio intervals at such a high intensity that there’s no way you could sustain each interval for more than 15 seconds at a time. Pair that with strength training sessions three to four times a week to fit in compound exercises — moves like squats and dead lifts that work multiple body parts in a functional way — to get the most bang for your buck.
ATTACH YOUR ARMS.
It’s the one part of your body every style of dress will likely highlight, and batwings — that flabby underarm skin that waves when you wave — can be a nightmare to tame. So what’s the fix? “Push-ups are versatile to whatever fitness level you’re at, and they can be done anywhere,” says Gracie Mason, owner of Pure Barre Richmond–Short Pump, which offers a three-month Bride-to-Be package. Whether on your knees or toes, start with eight push-ups with your hands placed slightly wider than your shoulders to target the chest and shoulders. To tone the triceps, Mason suggests placing hands directly under the shoulders and keeping those elbows glued to your sides as you perform the push-up. Do two to three sets of eight reps, four to five times per week. As you get stronger, work up to 12 push-ups per set, she says.
TRIM YOUR TUMMY.
While your abs may not be on display as much as your arms (unless sexy cutouts are your style), they play a critical role in achieving that sleek physique without totally relying on Spanx. “A strong core creates good posture,” says Mason, which is critical when you’ll be taking
pictures all day. Whip yours into tip-top shape with planks, suggests Seo Kelleher, owner of C02Fit in Richmond, which brings brides into one-on-one training in their Buff Bride Bootcamp. “Most people think core is just abs, but it’s more than that — it’s the trunk of your body from your shoulders down to your butt,” Kelleher says. “Planks are great because they strengthen and tighten that entire core.” Be sure to also incorporate exercises like V-ups and flutter kicks, notes Kelleher, as they force your core to engage while simultaneously sculpting your back.
WATCH WHAT YOU EAT.
Between tasting entrées, cake flavors and more wine than you’d care to admit, it’s easy to pack on pounds during the planning process. Instead of trying to outrun your food choices, be smart about them. “You can’t out-train a bad diet,” Fontes says. But that doesn’t mean you should stick to celery sticks and forgo carbs. If you do, Fontes says your brain actually kicks into overdrive to find sneaky ways to fit in the food you’ve banned (think increased appetite and frequent cravings). “By restricting major food groups, you’ll be left with low energy and will feel irritable and foggy-headed,” she says. “Add that to your normal stresses and it’s a recipe for Bridezilla.” Instead, follow her three golden rules: eat intuitively (pay attention to when you’re genuinely hungry); include protein in every meal and snack; and substitute water for that sweet tea or soda addiction.