Whether you’re jetting off to the Amalfi Coast to get married in a quaint Italian church in front of a select group of friends and family, a converted barn in the English countryside with a marquee glittered in fairy lights, candles and cherry blossom, or a local registry office with nothing but a bunch of calla lily and ranunculus in hand, every bride wants to look her best on her wedding day.
After all, when it comes to reminiscing at wedding photos years later, who doesn’t want to flick through snapshots of their first leap into the unknown of marriage, love and family, without the heartwarming memory of slipping into a perfectly fitted outfit on the morning of their wedding day, and looking into the mirror at a glowing bride?
However, preparing for your wedding day is no mean feat — and no, we’re not talking about the stress of finding a venue, picking bridesmaids’ dresses, making the decision of whether to go for the salmon or chicken, and agreeing on the first dance song.
Following the news that Pippa Middleton completed a three-month ‘strict bridal body boot camp’ at the Grace Belgravia health club (which reportedly featured a 360-degree programme including a personal trainer, skincare and leg toning treatments, yoga, pilates, spin and dance classes) ahead of her wedding to hedge fund financier James Matthews in May, we’ve been on the look out for a bridal fitness plan that offers high-quality results, without the Belgravia price tag.
After all, when you’re forking out thousands of pounds on a reception venue, accommodation and bridal accessories, the last thing you want to do is spend even more money on an exercise regime you’re not entirely sure will get you feeling fit, healthy and toned for your big day.
That’s why we recruited the help of Fit Class Ltd personal trainer Matt Fish to give us the low-down on how to tone up for a wedding, which exercises you need to prioritise, how to maintain a healthy eating regime on hen dos and the honeymoon, and de-stress after all that boring ‘wed-min’.
1. If you’re hoping to get toned for a wedding, realistically how long should in advance should you start working out?
Ideally, I would recommend 12 weeks. This is so a client can get their diet in check and focus on certain areas, with correct technique and form. If the bride is advanced in the gym, I would recommend 8-10 weeks, so long as they’re committed to their training regime.
2. What are the most common body parts brides ask you to help them with?
This depends on the wedding dress and how it fits. Upper arms are the most common area that brides ask for help with, including their shoulders, triceps and biceps.
3. What are your top tips to focussing on these key areas?
For upper body exercises, I would suggest doing two compound exercises (exercises that use more than one muscle group) such as a chest press and lat pull down. The chest press targets the chest area and tricep, while the lat pull machine focuses on the back and bicep.
For the shoulders, I would use a tri-set of shoulder presses, lateral raises and front raises to hit all areas around the shoulder joint.
For the bum, I recommend hip thrusters which are good for activating the glutes and hamstrings, and then squats and lunges to target all the areas of the quadriceps, hamstring and glutes.
4. In terms of preparing for a wedding, what training plan would you advise a woman to do?
I’d suggest a combination of HIIT workouts with resistance/weightlifting exercises.
The HIIT workouts help to burn calories and lower body fat whilst the resistance workouts add muscle to help tone specific areas.
5. If you have 30 mins to do some exercise each night, what’s your favourite workout you’d advise a client to do?
I would do resisted HIIT workouts with compound exercises. For example, I’d suggest a bride does a series of squat presses, chest presses, and weighted burpees and renegade rows.
You can perform each exercise for 40 seconds with 20 seconds rest in between each one. I’d do at least three sets of this routine.
6. If you’re strapped for time before a wedding and have a month to go but still want to work out and tone up, what workouts should you prioritise?
A month isn’t long so you would have to hit it hard. You should keep your workouts high intense with limited rest, making sure you are performing exercises with correct form and technique.
Also, you really need to concentrate on eating clean and limiting your alcohol intake.
7. How would you advise women to understand when they need to stop exercising before their big day, so they don’t have to get their dress taken in?
Once you’ve had your final dressing fitting (Side note: Pippa Middleton reportedly had to get her dress taken in five times before her wedding) and you feel amazing, it’s about maintaining your weight and muscle definition, keeping track of the diet and not over doing the training sessions.
I would recommend doing two to four training sessions per week in the three weeks leading up to a wedding.
8. How can a bride maintain a healthy exercise and eating regime but still have fun on their holiday?
You have to enjoy yourself, especially when you’re on your honeymoon. I would concentrate on eating healthy with the odd treat and staying active — not necessarily hitting the gym everyday but walking, swimming and cycling.
9. Wedding planning can be incredibly stressful — what are your top tips to helping women de-stress?
Boxing is a great stress reliever and excellent cardio training, as well as a great way to help tone up arms in the process. You can also use functional equipment to keep it varied, for example using battle ropes, TRX, kettlebells and slam balls.
10. With hen dos and parties before the big day, what are your top tips to making sure brides stay on track with their fitness plan?
I allow my clients to have one cheat day a week but not to turn this into two, three or even four days. This can be tricky on a hen do, depending on how long you have until your wedding, and it would depend on how strict you need to be.
When it comes to alcohol, there are some drinks that are better than others regarding calories. For example, vodka soda and lime is the lowest in calories. A glass of white wine would also be a healthy(-ier) option.
11. What advice would you give brides when it comes to nutrition and healthy eating?
Healthy eating will help you to produce quicker results, keeping your diet balanced as well as making sure you have your three main meals a day, with healthy snack in between each meal.
It’s imperative that brides realise that not eating won’t help them to lose weight. You need to reduce your refined sugars and make sure you eat ‘good’ carbohydrates on the days you work out. Most people understand the foods to eat, but either eat too much or not enough, so portion control is really important.
12. Is it worth a bride investing in a few personal training sessions to learn some expert knowledge on how to get fit before their big day?
It depends on an individual’s gym knowledge, how motivated they are and whether they will push themselves to reach their desired ‘wedding day body’.
Personal trainers will push and guide you, while providing the expertise you need to feel and look amazing on your big day. Even booking a couple of personal training sessions to set you up on your fitness plan, and then checking back in every month can help a bride stay on track.
From: ELLE UK