Eight-Week Bridal Workout Plan
Choosing your gown is probably the first thing that comes to mind when planning your wedding. The second? The way you’ll look in that gown. “There is enough stress involved in wedding planning that no bride wants to have to think about some deeply involved fitness program right before the wedding,” says Heather O’Neill, owner of South Pointe Fitness Club in Hagerstown. That’s why she has some great recommendations for how to make the most of those eight weeks leading up to the big day — and perhaps start a lifestyle that will keep you looking and feeling great well beyond the “I dos.”
Week 1: Join a health club. You’re more likely to commit to a regimen in an environment where exercise is the only option. If weight loss is your target, set a realistic goal of one pound per week. Do 30 minutes of cardio three times a week to get your heart rate into an aerobic zone. Clean your refrigerator of all temptations. Prepare healthy snacks like fruit, veggies and nuts. No snacking after dinner. Start to keep track of what you’re eating with a Diet Diary.
Diet & Exercise Goals: Keep a Diet Diary. Eat three healthy meals a day with a light snack in between. Do 90 minutes of cardio this week.
Week 2: Take 20 to 30 minutes per meal to eat your three healthy meals per day. Work with a trainer at the gym to add weight training to your workout at least three days per week. “This will be the key to firming up,” Heather says. Alternate muscle groups to avoid major soreness.
Diet & Exercise Goals: No eating-on-the-go. Continue the cardio, but add some weight training.
Week 3: Try indoor cycling, kickboxing or a step aerobics class to keep your heart rate in a range of 65–85 percent of your maximum heart rate for at least 30 minutes three times per week. And meet with a personal trainer or another qualified professional to make sure you’re hitting all your major muscle groups during your workouts.
Diet & Exercise Goals: Drink lots of water. Increase cardio to a total of 150 minutes per week.
Week 4: Allow yourself one day to indulge in a culinary treat like dessert or pizza. “If you restrict yourself [totally] you will binge,” Heather says. Continue to maintain your strength-training cardio programs. If you’re not yet doing at least three sets of 10 reps for each muscle group, now is the time.
Diet & Exercise Goals: Pick a day and cheat slightly. Increase strength training to three sets of 10 reps.
Week 5: Keep meals to less than 500 calories each, and limit snack calories to no more than 200 per snack. Keep up the strength training and increase cardio to 175 minutes per week. Choose two non-consecutive days for rest each week, Heather suggests.
Diet & Exercise Goals: Control portion sizes to cut about 500 calories per day. Increase cardio workout to 35 minutes per day, five days a week.
Week 6: Cut back on refined carbohydrates and packaged foods. For example, choose brown rice over white rice. Decrease your overall carbohydrate intake, eating more veggies if you get hungry. Take a yoga or Pilates class, which “should decrease stress and can count as a workout if done vigorously,” Heather says.
Diet & Exercise Goals: Be carb-conscious! Get your groove on with yoga or Pilates.
Week 7: Get at least 20 grams of fiber into your diet per day by eating plenty of whole grains, vegetables and fruit. Fiber can cause bloating, so drink lots of water. Evaluate your progress in terms of your fitness goals. If you feel youre on track, maintain your approach. Add one or two more cardio sessions if you feel it’s necessary. “The scale is not the best indicator of changes in the body,” Heather says. “Go by how your clothes fit. Only weigh yourself once per week.”
Diet & Exercisve Goals: Eat more fiber. Maintain your successful workout, or increase cardio slightly.
Week 8: Maintain, maintain, maintain. “Try fitting in about three days of exercise this week, especially the yoga the day before the wedding to make you feel like a beautiful, healthy bride,” Heather recomoends.
Diet & Exercise Goals: Keep up the good work!
Photo by Jason Turner
Originally published in HM Bride 2007