Looking to drop a dress size (or two)? We talked to a couple of our favorite health and fitness pros and got some of their best tips on how to get slim and strong for your wedding day. No more excuses!
What's healthy weight loss? About one to two pounds per week, for a total of four to eight pounds per month. "Not every bride must
be a size 2 on her wedding day," Cynthia Conde, celebrity trainer and creator of Bridal Bootcamp tells us. "You need to realistically evaluate what your ideal weight should be."
Set a Deadline
With a healthy level of weight loss, all it takes is some grade school math to figure out how much time you'll need to do it. Need to lose 30 pounds? Get the lead out at least six months before your wedding. For 15, you'll need three months, and so on. Still, Doug Rice, one of the nation's leading bridal fitness experts and creator of FitToBeWedLIVE.com, recommends you leave yourself a little air on either end. "We all can lose focus at times and might have a bad few days -- or weeks," he says. "Also, once you lose the weight, you want to have time to really tone up and sculpt your physique to look absolutely fabulous in that dress!" So set a firm deadline, just don't make it your wedding day.
Know What it Takes
Rice recommends a minimum of three to four 30-minute sessions of cardio per week and the same amount of strength training, though the amount should vary depending on your goals. For example, he says, "If you have more than 15 pounds to lose, you will need to really kick up your cardio to five or six times per week." What's a truly fitness-phobic bride to do? Rice says taking three or four brisk walks around your neighborhood per week and spending at least 20 minutes doing some basic exercises (like push-ups and crunches) can't hurt. "Just try to stay active, and cut down on at least the worst of your high-calorie eating habits," he says. "Remember, if you continue to do what you've always done, you'll continue to get the results you've always gotten." Want to make more progress? Then you'll need to push yourself a little harder.
Up the Ante
To stick with the program, Conde recommends increasing the intensity of your cardio and strength-training programs every week. "Brides should not be afraid of increasing the weight load. This is required to challenge your body and take it past a plateau," she says. "And no, increased strength training does not necessarily equal a masculine physique."
To stick with the program, increase the intensity of your cardio and strength-training programs every week.
Track Your Progress
Keep track by recording your goals in a journal -- having them in writing is a fantastic motivator. The key, Rice says, is to keep them small and specific. He gave us a few examples:
Week One: Work out at least twice and be sure to strength train; then also do cardio two times during the week for at least 20 minutes.
Week Two: Repeat your fitness regimen from week one, but add 10 minutes to your two cardio workouts. Also, cut out all soft drinks for the entire week.
As you reach each goal, record it -- you'll find it's not so tough to build on your successes.
Change Your Mindset
Conde says that instead of looking at your fitness goals as chores, you should try to see your time at the gym as an oasis of sanity. After all, she says, "With all the chaos around you planning a wedding, it is comforting to know that you have control over how your body will look in your wedding gown and on the honeymoon." Focus on what you're doing, turn off your cell phone, and forget about your list of to-dos.
Maintain a Positive Perspective
Will you ever have better fitness motivation than your wedding day? Maybe, but we're not sure when. "Take advantage of this rare window of opportunity to be super-motivated," Rice says, "there may never be another time like this in your life. It's not about discipline, it's desire
! Get real -- when is your desire going to be more intense than the months leading up to your wedding day?"
The key to your success: Putting it all together, with proper diet and exercise. "You can lose weight through diet alone, but it is exceedingly difficult to lose body fat by leaving your diet the same and trying to exercise it off," Rice says. Conde advises a balanced workout as well. "Most brides want to focus solely on their upper body because of their wedding gowns, but you want to work on your entire body for symmetry and balance. Remember ladies, the dress eventually comes off!"
-- Kate Wood
Resources: Cynthia Conde, celebrity trainer, creator of Bridal Bootcamp, and author of Bridal Bootcamp: Look Fabulous on Your Big Day (2004); Doug Rice, nation's leading bridal fitness expert and creator of FitToBeWedLIVE.com
See More: Getting in Shape