Health and fitness advice for your wedding
Every bride-to-be wants and deserves to look a million dollars on their wedding day and there really is something about the W word that brings out the very best in everybody. And it’s not just for the girls – your man should look super hot too! But as with so many thing in life, it’s all about the planning! I always advise cracking on with the fitness regime at least 12 weeks before the big day, so you are hot to trot and at your peak for the final dress fitting. From that point on it’s all about maintaining your makeover… the earlier you kick start your plan of attack the better. So, on that note, I am thrilled to welcome leading fitness expert Mark Gray to the Wedding Fairy blog, for all the advice and top tips you need to look and feel body beautiful for the big day…
Look your best for the Wedding Season!
Whether you’re the bride to be, maid of honour, a guest likely to see people you’ve not seen for a while, or the mother of the bride, the Wedding Season is the time of year you most want to look your best. Not only are we likely to be wearing clothes we’re not used to, so we won’t be prepared for where the bulges are or exactly how much leg we’re flashing, but it’s likely to be warm, exposing more skin, and most of all – there’ll be photographic evidence of the day for the rest of your life (you can’t exactly ask people to take down photos from Facebook that you don’t like when everyone else from the wedding is in them)! Well fear not, there’s still time to shape up, and some tricks to learn about body confidence and dressing to impress, to ensure that you feel GREAT at the next wedding you go to! Regardless of how much time you’ve got, whether months, weeks, or even days, there’s always time for a few improvements which will make you feel more confident and look better!
This is the quickest fix, which you can begin improving even the day before the event. It’s never too early to start though, as improving your posture long term will benefit your health and looks for years to come. Poor posture can affect your breathing, give you a bad back, and even digestion problems due to compression of important organs.
Especially for brides, a wedding is a long and tiring day. Have you noticed how brides often end an otherwise beautiful day hunched over, ruining the whole ‘princess effect’? Poise and elegance are important when carrying off a statement dress, and helping to look slimmer and more confident.
If you have no time to improve your natural posture prior to the day, you can still try to be mindful all day of your silhouette. Hold your head up! Many people have likened this to imagining there’s a puppet string attached to the crown of your head, which holds you up. Just try it, and immediately you’ll feel your shoulders drop a little at the same time. Also remember to hold your tummy in, or tense the muscles, as you’ll find this also corrects your back’s position, making your frame longer and leaner looking. Tuck your bum under to realign your pelvis. Even if you can only practise this new posture for a day or two prior to the wedding, that’ll have started to instill new practices in you which will help you to remember on the day.
If you’ve a little more time before the wedding, make the effort to focus specifically on your posture whilst at work, and while working out. We spend so much time on both of these activities that it’s essential to be correctly aligned – the longer you spend in misaligned positions, the more your muscles will incorrectly remember and the longer it’ll then take you to break the habits.
Dependent on your normal eating habits, whether you have weight to lose and time to lose it in, or whether you just want to ensure you’re skin, hair, nails, and energy levels are at their best for the wedding, and the run up, then you need to watch what you eat.
The main tip is that there are no real food quick fixes! It’s important to get enough nutrition, so even if you’re tempted to do a quick fix diet, bear in mind that cutting out any required nutrition is likely to have negative impacts elsewhere! For instance, doing the doukan diet may help you lose 10 pounds in 2 weeks! But if your breath smells, and your skin starts to dull or break out, and your hair stops shining, then it may not be the best diet to be doing just before your wedding. Similarly, even great diets like those which cut out all sugars (including from carbohydrates), have a phase of readjustment where you’re likely to be more on edge, exhausted or just snappy – i.e. not a great thing to try in the 10 days prior to your wedding. With months to go, there’s no harm in trying to improve your diet, as you’ll have time to readjust, and also for your skin and hair to recover from the changes.
The top factors to bear in mind are:
- Drink plenty of water, and avoid any sugary drinks, they are wasted calories, including alcohol!
- Make sure to eat nutritious food for the benefits to your skin and hair as well as your weight! Steam your fish and veg, and have smaller platefuls! A portion of fish/meat should only be as big as your own fist.
- Try and opt for healthier snacks such as carrot sticks, baked crisps (rather than fried), a small handful of nuts, or even cutting out boredom snacks altogether for a fixed number of days or weeks!
- Avoid sugar and salt! Sugar makes your skin age, salt makes you retain water. Regardless of the other health benefits of cutting these out of your diet long term, especially prior to a big day, cut them out as much as possible!
It’s difficult to write generalised advice which is suitable for all women, covering all levels of fitness, and all levels of determination.
For those who want to put the effort in to lose weight and get fitter: Running, or cycling for 40 minutes will also help and doesn’t have to cost money. Alternatively, lots of gyms offer classes, and trying something like Zumba or aquafit until you find something that really works for you is a good idea. It can be a lot easier for some people to have a variety of exercise regimes in order to keep it interesting and fun, but also to ensure more muscles are improved. If you are really keen to get in shape and have got a few weeks or months to invest in the pursuit, why not sign up to a weight loss boot camp? Working with instructors who will encourage and guide you to achieve your maximum potential is a sure fire way of achieving your goals prior to your wedding.
For those who don’t have the time, or the desire to, put in the levels of exercise listed above, you can still work on your shape, especially areas which are important for the wedding day; making improvements of those niggling wobbles or bulges alone will help you look and feel better than normal on your big day. Of course, remember to eat well in order to avoid bloating in the run up to the big day (i.e. reducing your salt intake as above, and also avoiding unnecessary carb-overloading). Regular aerobic exercise will improve your metabolism, and you’ll also feel more energised, and build up a resistance to hard work which will help you to weather the requirements of the big day better. Without even having to implement a fitness programme, I suggest simple brisk walks if you’re not used to exercise, for 30 minutes 3 or 4 times a week.
Particular areas to focus on for targeted toning prior to the big day are: arms and tummies!
- For your arms, try to start doing a couple of press ups (also great for tightening your tummy). Also try bicep curls, or tricep dips. The best aerobic exercises to help your arms are swimming, tennis, and jogging.
- For your tummy, there are many exercises you can do to improve your bulge! From sit ups or crunches, to a variety of planks. Again, aerobic exercise will really help here for all over toning.
In the end, I would say planning is the only way to really achieve the results you want for the big day. Look at how long you’ve got. Look at where you can regularly fit in your exercises! I know that if I don’t pack my gym kit before work so that I can go on my way home, I won’t go. Once I’m home, I do a couple of chores, tell myself I’ll make dinner and go to the gym later. Which never happens. It’s the same with food! If I haven’t shopped specifically for healthy eating, I’ll end up snacking on chocolate or crisps at work as they’re the only things I can buy from the sandwich van, or cooking an unhealthy dinner from the old pasta that’s in the cupboard because I didn’t find time to buy the vegetables I actually wanted to cook!
About Mark and Stephen
Mark and Stephen Gray, identical twins, run a number of weight loss programmes in Milton Keynes, Bedford and Northampton areas. A combination of exercise, nutritional guidance, mixed sessions, planning and support along with testing, monitoring, supplements and products to support your plan means that their approach is the polar opposite to what you’d expect from your local gym. See more by visiting DVCC