For lots of brides-to-be, getting engaged is the ultimate inspiration to get fit and healthy – after all, all eyes will be on you on the big day and you want to feel your absolute best.
But preparing for your wedding can be a lot of work, and it’s easy for your wedding fitness regime to fall by the wayside, especially if you’re new to exercise and you’re not sure where to start.
While it would be incredible to hire a celebrity style personal trainer to whip us into shape, sadly our wedding budget simply won’t allow it. Instead, we spoke to the crème de la crème of the fitness industry for their advice on when to start working out before your wedding, the best exercises to do, and how frequently to hit the gym.
When to Start Exercising Before Your Wedding
“I would suggest to any bride to start thinking about incorporating regular exercise as soon as possible,” says Pip Black, founder of one of our favourite exercise studios, Frame.
“I would look to have a minimum lead up period of six months to get results without having to exercise too excessively. You want to reach your goals by the time of your final dress fitting, so you don’t need to factor in any dress alterations.”
How To Start Exercising
If you’re new to the gym, launching yourself onto the treadmill can seem daunting, and we’ve all seen Bridget topple off her spinning bike in Bridget Jones’ Diary – it’s enough to make us never want to step foot on the gym floor again!
The key for beginners introducing exercise into their daily life is to set achievable goals and make small changes to your daily routine to help ease into regular exercise.
Hitting small goals that you’ve set for yourself, such as running non-stop for five minutes or attending one gym class a week, is the ultimate motivation and will spur you on so much more than seeing the dial move downwards on the scale.
If you’re more of a visual person, taking progress photos can be a good motivator. Exercise is of course mainly about how you feel in yourself, not how you look, but if seeing muscle definition starting to appear will drive you on in your fitness journey, taking weekly photos of yourself could be good encouragement.
Another helpful tip if you’re new to exercise is to find yourself a workout buddy. You can encourage each other on those early mornings when it seems impossible to drag yourself out for a jog, and knowing you’d be letting a friend down if you bailed on your session will be motivation for you to get up and go – no matter how much you’d rather stay cosy in bed!
The Best Exercises for Beginners
The key to a consistent exercise regime is finding an activity that you actually enjoy, not something you see as a chore. Sign up to several different exercise classes from Zumba, to HIIT classes, spinning to Pilates, swimming to weight training.
Find out which one works for you, or ideally do a combination to keep things interesting.
When you’re a new gym-goer, try to avoid basing how successful your workout feels on how many calories the exercise machine says you’ve burned. Firstly, they’re rarely accurate. Secondly, your motivation should be the mental and physical health benefits you’re benefiting from, as opposed to the idea that you’re burning off that extra biscuit you snaffled while doing the table plan.
How to Stay Motivated to Exercise
“Mix up your exercise,” advises Pip. “Go to classes as the instructor will always be there to motivate you and push you to your max. Try new types of exercise regularly, as well as going to classes with different instructors. Consider exercise as a treat and you won’t even realise you’re doing it.”
“Mixing up your exercises is beneficial for your mind as well as your body,” Pip continues. “It keeps your body guessing and your mind interested, especially if you have a long time to work out before your wedding. Changing your routine can be as simple as running a different route to usual.”
To continue to see results once you’ve been doing your routine for four to six weeks, you need to change it up. Up your weights if you’ve been strength training, or increase the intensity of your runs, be it the distance you’re running or the speed you’re going at.
Pre-Wedding Fitness Plan
We spoke to Samantha Stone, Senior Instructor at Barry’s Bootcamp about the fitness programmes she’d recommend for brides, depending on how long it is until their wedding. Read on and choose the best one for you.
Wedding Work Out Plan: Six Months
“Six months to a year is a lovely amount of time to take perspective and think about long term goals,” Samantha says. “With one year, there’s no rush or any need to take drastic measures. Experiment with different types of classes and styles of exercise and find something you genuinely love. When you enjoy your exercise it becomes something to look forward to and commit to consistently.”
How to Get Fit in Three Months
To see results with a shorter time period, you need to get your heart rate up. “HIIT work outs, sprint running, spinning and circuits are what I’d advise,” says Samantha. “If you don’t have access to these where you live, find video work outs. Get moving, get sweating and eat as clean as possible.”
How to Get Fit in Less Than Three Months
“I’d suggest the same high energy work outs as above. You can achieve quite a lot in three months, but it’s of course relative to what you’re starting with,” says Samantha.
“My go to movements for fast results are dumbbell thrusters, sprint intervals, weighted carries, burpee ball slams and dead lifts,” says Lee James, Very Personal Trainer at Gymbox Covent Garden.
“These are the most efficient total body exercises for burning calories and working major muscle groups to see fast results.”
Nutrition is fundamental when you have little time. You can’t out-train a bad diet. Be smart about your nutrition, eat the right foods and stay nourished and hydrated. What bride doesn’t want to glow on her wedding day? Diets are counter intuitive; it’s much better to think about focusing on high quality food that will support and energise your work outs, help with recovery and make your hair and skin healthy.”