Feature Stories Best Ways to Get Buff Before a Wedding Experts offer tips for shaping up for the wedding, whether you're the bride, a bridesmaid, or a guest. By Colette Bouchez From the WebMD Archives It used to be that getting ready to walk down the aisle meant finding the perfect dress, the best hair stylist, and the right makeup. But today's brides -- and their bridesmaids -- have added another "must do" before the "I dos": Getting in the best shape of their lives!
And it can have an effect that lasts long past the honeymoon bikini. For many women, becoming a buff bride or bridesmaid kick-starts a fitness lifestyle they've been putting off for years, experts say. In fact, says Fleming, getting married is an ideal time for a woman to get motivated to lead a healthier lifestyle overall. Get With the Program But whether you're the bride, bridesmaid, or mother of the bride how much can you really change before the big event?
Experts say that depends on how much time you have, and how much you want to accomplish. But also, the more time you have, the less stressful it will be to accomplish those changes, simply because you don't have to work at such a high intensity level," says personal trainer Keith Wrightington, whose FitWright studio in Dedham, Mass.
As such, both Fleming and Wrightington say the ideal time to begin is about six months before the wedding. It can be a complete transformation," says Wrightington.
But what if your wedding is sooner? In her Buff Bride program, Fleming offers both six-month and three-month regimens. She says that starting even six weeks before the wedding can net results. But you can strengthen and tone some key muscles so that even if you don't lose a significant amount of weight , you will stand taller, you'll have more energy and feel better, and your gown will definitely fit and look better," she says.
While everyone who starts an exercise program can benefit from some guidance, experts say that when it comes to bridal fitness, it's imperative to get the extra help, whether via a personal trainer or a DVD program.
Equally important, Fleming says, is that you want to make sure you're selecting the right workouts for what you want to accomplish. And you want to minimize the risk of injury by not overtraining. Don't try to lose more than a pound a week. So, if it's a six-week count down, Fleming says, don't look for more than a 5-pound loss. Not only is it not healthy, but it can also affect the way you will look on the wedding day, including your skin and your hair ," she says.
Instead, she says, use those six weeks to improve your shape and muscle tone — not to try to change your dress size. Fitness expert Marie Forleo agrees: To this end, experts remind brides notto buy the dress they hope will look good, but to shop for one that looks good now.
So shop for the dress that looks good on you the way you look before you start your workout program, and then enhance that look with the workouts," says Fleming. Continued Fix What You Don't Like Once you have the dress, Fleming says, put it on, stand in front of a full-length mirror, and look at the parts that will be exposed.
You want to concentrate on the areas that will be seen first," says Fleming. So, for example, if thighs and arms are both jiggly, but the dress has a long, full skirt and a strapless top, go for the upper-body workout first.
For a strapless dress, "work the shoulder , biceps , and triceps," Says Forleo. For a backless creation, she says, concentrate on the core and back muscles. Fortunately, both Forleo and Fleming agree that working with free weights brings about a quick shape-up for the upper arms.
Getting the Look That Lasts Regardless of what areas you want to "fix," experts tell WebMD that the one area every bride and bridesmaid should pay attention to is her posture. It's the quickest way to enhance your overall look. Where do you start?
Forleo says it's with exercises to strengthen the quadriceps -- those upper thigh muscles that will help you to "stand tall in new shoes for an extended period of time," she says.
Wrightington advocates exercises to build back and shoulder muscles as well. But how exactly do you firm and tone these muscles?
Fleming says that for the quickest overall wedding workouts you need just two things — dumbbells and a stability ball. Continued "These two pieces of equipment can give you a really effective workout for your core, and tone all your basic muscle groups, including your shoulders and upper back," she says. For example, she says, by sitting on a stability ball and lifting dumbbells above your head, you're not just working out your arms and upper back, but engaging your core muscles — the area in your midsection.
You improve your posture, you pull in your abs, and you burn more calories as well," she says. Fleming also advocates the use of free weights over resistance machines because, she says, "you can't cheat. If you have a limited time to get in shape, building both sides of the body together gives you a more balanced appearance. Finally, Forleo says, don't forget to include cardio in your wedding workout. Regardless of what activity you choose, the experts tell WebMD that minutes a day, three to four days a week, is the maximum for pre-wedding workouts.
And all say you should spend the day or two before the wedding concentrating on relaxation, not fitness. Otherwise, realize that whatever you're going to accomplish, fitness-wise, it's already done.
Fleming says to take a day or two to relax and reflect on the upcoming event, and the healthy new life you're about to begin! Published June 6, Sue Fleming, certified personal trainer; director, BuffBrides.