Summer isn’t just bathing suit season–it’s also the height of wedding season. So it’s no surprise that many brides will be taking the next few months to get in the best shape of their lives for their big day. Looking for some help? Here’s a month-by-month guide with tips from top trainers to get you in shape by summer.
Drink more water. It helps curb hunger and boosts the metabolism, says Erin Dimond, newlywed and owner of Erin Davis Fitness. “Water is one of the most effective fat burners there is, and it’s free!”
Look at your eating habits. List all your favorite meals, snacks and restaurants, and then figure out a healthier substitute for each, suggests Sara Jespersen, owner and fitness director of Trumi Training. “If you start by restricting everything you love you will get discouraged and feel deprived. Make Google your best friend for finding healthier substitutes.”
Set realistic goals. Deciding to change your entire body a few months before the wedding is too much pressure to put on yourself–especially when you are already under the stress of planning. Instead, focus on goals you can actually attain, like toning up, shedding a few pounds, or having more energy for the wedding and honeymoon.
Start with some cardio. The intensity will depend on the amount of change you are hoping to achieve, says Mahri Relin, fitness expert and founder and creator of Body Conceptions. “I tell most clients that 3 sessions of body sculpting a week, plus 4-5 cardio sessions (30-40 minutes each) is a great formula for achieving change. Some cardio suggestions are spinning, running, and jumping on the trampoline.”
Get enough sleep. Wedding planning can be stressful, but it’s super important to continue getting enough sleep leading up to the wedding, says Kylie Burnside, a personal trainer in San Diego, CA. “Rest helps our bodies recharge, lean muscle grow, and also makes it easier to make healthy food choices throughout the day.”
Find some workout friends. Whether it’s a coworker or your MOH, the camaraderie felt when working out becomes a social event is the best way to stay focused and excited about it , says Laurie Towers, a fitness expert, former professional bodybuilder, and the founder and CEO of The Bridal Body Shop. “Having people waiting for you is also a great way to become accountable and present.”
Mix in strength intervals with your cardio. Cardio alone can only get you so far, says Carrie Harper, a certified personal trainer and health coach. Instead, add high intensity interval training to your cardio routine. You’ll get stronger and rev up that metabolism. She suggests trying out this routine:
– 5 min warm up speed walk
– 20 second sprints followed by 10 second walks (repeat 8 times)
– 20 second jumping jacks followed by 10 second walks (repeat 8 times)
– 20 second stair runs followed by 10 seconds walking down (repeat 8 times)
– 20 second high knee runs followed by 10 seconds walking (repeat 8 times)
– 5 minute walk and stretch
Lift those weights. Despite popular belief, women should be lifting weights, says Maurice D. Williams, of MSMove Well Fitness. “I recommend that brides do at least three days of weight training each week where they are incorporating as many muscle groups together as possible (i.e. a full body workout) to tone their arms, shoulders and legs all at the same time.”
Stretch. Now that you’re working out even harder towards your end goal, be sure to stretch. But Williams warns to make sure you only stretch muscles that appear to be tight and/or fatigued as you do not want to make your muscles weak by stretching those that do not need stretching.
Do some squats. This is an easy toning exercise to go along with the cardio. Not sure how? Every time you sit down in a day, stand back up 10 to 20 times and you will have just done x amount of squats, says Teddy Bass, who has trained Cameron Diaz and Jennifer Lopez.
Utilize the power of visualization. You’re in the think of wedding planning and working out is the last thing on your mind. Think about what you want to look and feel like when you become the bride, says Burnside. “You’ll be forced to make many quick decisions in the months leading up to your wedding, which will have an impact on your final results. Should I have that cupcake at work today? Should I go to spinning class this weekend? Use that final image in your mind to navigate the road full of temptations to get where you want to be.”
Switch things up. Many people find themselves getting bored with their workout routine after a few weeks, so be sure to pick activities you like you keep you motivated, says Towers. “There are many choices from circuit machine training, yoga, spin classes to Zumba. If you enjoy what you are doing you will most likely carve out a time and end up being consistent with it.”
Work on your posture. You want to stand straight and tall as you walk down the aisle, so this is a great time to refine the muscles that show most in your dress and work on your posture, says Relin. “Integrating arm work with development of your back muscles is key as well. Make sure you keep your shoulders down, tighten your core, and engage your arms through your middle back when you are doing arm exercises. Also try back-strengthening exercises on your stomach. And finally, work on whittling your waist with exercises that focus on deep core muscles, obliques, and lower abs. Fewer crunches and more twisting, pelvic lifts, leg lifts, and planks can be especially effective.”
Consider hiring a pro. For the home stretch, you might want to think about paying for a few sessions with a personal trainer, who can keep you motivated, as well as show you some exercises to target those trouble spots you’re having difficulty taming before the big day.
Stay consistent. There will be lots of celebrations around this time, so make sure you watch your nutrition and also make time to work out, says Jen Raymond owner of FitGirlsNW.com. “Make sure you truly enjoy the foods you are indulging in–don’t just eat to eat. And if you are running short on time, make it a 15 minute high intensity interval workout. Make every minute count!”
Eliminate salt. Beginning about two weeks before your wedding, eliminate extra sodium and processed foods from your diet, says Burnside. “Also incorporate foods that have natural detoxing properties, such as asparagus and lemon water, to help expel extra water weight from your body. This will also leave your skin glowing and make you feel fabulous while walking down the aisle.
Take it easy. Trust that you have done hard work that has paid off. “Use your exercise this last week to reduce your stress and have as much fun as possible. You will look better on your wedding if you’ve managed to get enough sleep and worry less about all the little details,” says Relin.
For more wedding advice, be sure to check out how to plan a Pinterest-worthy wedding for under $10,000, how to not get ripped off by your wedding vendors and 8 questions to ask before having kids at your wedding.