Every bride wants to look like a million bucks for her big day, because those photos last forever. For me, exercising is important not only to feel confident on my wedding day, but also to combat stress. If I put in the work now for the body that I want, I won't have to worry about sucking it in while I traipse around in a bikini on my honeymoon! Here's how I got into better shape just one month before my dress fitting.
1. Make your fitness routine a priority—not just a hobby.
Before my internship at Fitness Magazine this summer, all I cared about was fitting into my clothes and relieving some anxiety from grad school. Next thing I knew, I was testing different workouts in fancy gyms (that's me pictured on the right, with a professional Zumba instructor!) and doing exercise DVDs at home. It felt great to get my blood flowing after sitting at a computer all day; it also put me on a regular sleep schedule and distracted me from missing my husband, Michael (he's deployed overseas). As soon as I noticed the positive changes in my body and attitude, it gave me the encouragement I needed to maintain my ramped-up routine.
2. Use exercise as a way to get together with the girls.
Instead of bonding over margaritas and chips at happy hour, suggest going on a run or bike ride with your girls before addressing all those envelopes. It’s a good way to keep each other accountable. Plus, you ladies won’t feel guilty about that extra glass of wine afterwards!
3. Integrate strength training.
Before, I was fine with running just a few times a week and popping in an exercise DVD, but I wasn’t seeing many changes in my physique. After following a few of the toning workouts in Fitness, I started noticing a difference in the way my clothes fit. Now I try to hit all major areas at least twice a week, focusing on either my arms, chest and back or butt and thighs. Stay with it for at least eight weeks—it can take a little bit to see results.
4. Develop a quick-start training plan.
I did a bootcamp-style training plan that helped me work on major muscle groups. To track your progress, use a whiteboard or chart to make a table with four rows and 10 columns. Each row should represent a muscle group (arms/chest/back and legs/butt/abs), cardio, or flexibility. Each time you exercise, write down the date in the corresponding box.
Need help getting started? Try the Nike Training App, which has great isolated exercises. In the gym, stick to tried-and-true moves like squats, curls and shoulder raises with medium weights (do them until your muscles wear out). For lengthening, I love the Essentrics DVDs with Sahra Esmonde-White or a good yoga class.
5. Use motivational mantras that remind you why you stay fit.
We all want to look good in our wedding dresses, but think of something more concrete to keep you focused. For me, it’s defined shoulders and a trim waist. I’m also a big fan of motivational mantras. Some of my favorites: “You’re stronger than you think,” “Everyday, take a step forward,” and “You never regret a workout.”
I’m not a huge fan of using photos of celebs or models as “thinspiration,” because let’s face it—they’re genetically blessed and most importantly, not you. Like Judy Garland said, be the best you, not the second-best somebody else.
A bout of the stomach flu kept me from filling up my exercise chart by the end of the month, but these things happen. I didn't lose any weight, but I had a ton of energy and most importantly, my wedding dress ended up being too big! Now I just have to work on maintaining it throughout the semester and during holidays, which won’t be easy.
Leave a comment and tell us how you're getting buff for the big day!
— Lisa Turner
Lisa Turner is a real bride who is navigating the planning process with her friends and family while her groom, Michael Turner, is serving in Afghanistan. Already married last year, the high school sweethearts will have an official reception in January of 2013 in San Diego when he returns to the U.S. The party will take place in a clubhouse near the beach, complete with Mexican and vintage-inspired touches to celebrate their marriage in a fun and very California way.