Wedding Workout Secrets

Top fitness pro Greg Doyle shares his best aisle-worthy shape-up strategies.

"I have so much fun working out with brides," says Greg Doyle, who trains clients in New York City, online — and in his book Fit for a Bride. "Brides-to-be have so much motivation, along with a set deadline, which can actually make the process easier." Here, he gives us some key highlights from his fitness and nutrition program.

Set a timeline. Give yourself 2 months to lose 10 pounds; 3-4 months to lose 20; and 6 months if your aim is to lose more than 30. These timelines allow you to lose weight in a healthy way.

You need both exercise and proper nutrition. When you eat less and don’t exercise, your metabolism drops after about three days of lower caloric intake. This means you stop losing weight, and now you’re just hungry. Adding exercise to the mix helps to prevent that disastrous metabolic slowdown.

Rethink your food choices. On the flip side, I’ve had brides tell me they’ve been working out every day and still not losing any weight. I’ll take a look at what they’re eating and it’s just garbage. You can’t outwork a poor diet. Success comes with the combination of eating the right slimming foods, along with full-body, calorie-crushing workouts.

bride workout
Photo Credit: Paul Jochico / Gown by Robert Bullock

Greg's Key Workout Rules

Resistance gets you leaner, not bulkier. Whether using body weight or actual weights, resistance work will help boost your metabolism, and keep you burning calories hours after you leave the gym.

Kettlebells are awesome. Working with kettlebells not only improves your postural muscles, it strengthens and tones you from head to toe. Make sure to get proper instruction beforehand, since correct kettlebell technique is key to safety and efficacy.

It's OK to do shorter workouts. If you dread the gym, keep your sessions short — you'll still reap benefits. Set your phone timer for 30-45 minutes, and once it's up, you are finished. This will keep you motivated to get in and out quickly.

Keep it simple. You don’t need a gym membership to get in amazing shape. Working out using an $8 jump rope can burn more calories than running on a $3,000 elliptical machine.

Work out from head to toe. While hitting target areas is important for a bride-to-be, your main workouts should focus on full-body moves such as squats and overhead presses, kettlebell swings and burpees. These moves engage so many muscles at the same time that you’ll burn many more calories, and actually help to boost your metabolism.

Greg's Key Nutrition Rules

Load up on veggies and lean protein. Vegetables are low-cal, but still take up room in your stomach so you get serious nutrition without all the calories. Lean protein like grilled chicken and Greek yogurt keep you satiated and preserve your lean muscle tissue, which in turn keeps your metabolism boosted!

Only drink non-caloric drinks. The female body is 60% water, all cellular activity (including fat loss) requires water, so make sure to stay hydrated. My rule: Drink half your body weight in fluid ounces of water each day. A 130-pound woman should drink 65 ounces (about 8 cups) of water a day.

Cut out processed junk. Packaged foods that sit on the supermarket shelves are loaded with sodium, sugar and preservatives. These foods have much of their nutrition stripped out during processing, so stick with fresh or frozen options.

You can eat carbs. So many people cut out carbs, but if you do that, you’ll lose energy fast and feel miserable even quicker. Instead, eat carbs in the morning and around workouts, when your body responds well to carbs and is less likely to store the calories as fat. Pick non-processed carbs, like steel-cut oats, whole wheat pita and quinoa.

Cheat a little! I allow a bit of indulgent eating for all my clients. Once a week, enjoy a meal or two of whatever you want. Keep the portions under control but, seriously, eat anything, especially foods you’ve been craving. This helps keep you motivated and eating right all week long. Knowing you still get to have your favorite foods will help you stick to a healthy eating plan.