Every bride and groom wants to look perfect in those wedding pictures. So along with the thrill of getting engaged usually comes the next thought: I need to get in shape for the wedding. Of course what that means is different for everyone. From losing weight to toning those arms, most people have at least something that they’d like to improve upon before the Big Day arrives.
So how do you get there? Like most things involving your wedding, it takes some planning and dedication to the goal. Here are seven tips to help you achieve your fitness goals before your wedding.
Create a realistic plan: The first step is to put down your goals on paper. What would you like to change before your wedding? How much time can you realistically dedicate to exercise? Don’t just say I want to loose 15 pounds before my wedding next year. Be specific: I will loose three pounds a month, and here’s how I plan to do that. If you’re comfortable creating your own plan, great. But if not, seek out help from trainers and other exercise professionals to help get you on a fitness regimen that works for you.
2. Exercise with a group: Exercise is a lot more fun with someone else. This could mean signing up for classes at your health club, joining a running club or simply having a friend that you agree to meet at the gym three times a week. You’re a lot less likely to skip a workout when someone’s going to be waiting for you.
3. Hire a trainer. With the expense of an approaching wedding, this one can be more difficult to afford. But most gyms offer personal-training consultations for free. You can be upfront with trainers about your budget, and often they’ll work with you on creating an exercise program that you do on your own. Meet with them once a month to chart your progress. You can also try companies like Orangetheory Fitness and CrossFit that incorporate personal training into their methodology. Gyms like this offer a great sense of camaraderie that make it more enticing to get with the program.
4. Sign up for an event: If you’re a runner or cyclist, signing up for an upcoming race is a great way to stay motivated about training. Signing up for a local 5K or 10K race is also something that members of your wedding party can do together. Races like the Warrior Dash (a 5K that incorporates obstacles like mud pits and climbing ropes) or a color run are a lot of fun for adventurous athletes of any ability.
5. Do something you enjoy. If you don’t enjoy running on a treadmill in the gym, chances are you aren’t going to spend much time there when there are other demands on your time. If you’re not a gym person, try to find other activities you do enjoy: swimming, yoga, Pilates, Spinning classes, boot-camp fitness and latin or hip-hop inspired dance classes just to name a few. If the activity puts a smile on your face, you’re more likely to make time for it.
6. Think about your diet. Dieting can certainly be a part of any weight-loss program—and you have endless choices when it comes to options there. But you may want to consider just taking a common-sense approach to what you eat. Eliminate soda (even diet soda), eat out less often, eat breakfast every morning, cut out the late-night snacks, drink more water. Don’t try to eliminate every bad eating habit at once—that rarely works in the long run—but even small things make a difference over time.
7. Get enough sleep. There’s a growing body of evidence that a lack of sleep contributes to weight gain. It’s certainly more difficult to make healthy choices when you’re sleep deprived. Turn off the screens and hit the hay at a regular time each night, and you’ll quickly find you have more energy and motivation to exercise (and make other wedding plans).