Pre-Wedding Fitness For Body + Mind
The big day is coming. How’s that fitness regimen going? If you’re feeling depleted, low on energy or stressed out by the demands of dieting and daily workouts—stop, breathe, and get ready for some relief. These five simple pro tips, and real-life advice from to-be-weds just like you, will change the way you think about pre-wedding fitness. For real.
1. Set realistic goals.
Forming habits takes time—which is especially tough when you’re running low on hours in the day. Before your wedding, resolve to set a short-term fitness plan in action that yields respectable results in a six-week time frame. Be sure to control as many variables as possible by choosing a program that’s not weather-dependent or in a location you otherwise would never visit. Also avoid long-term commitments to a new gym as this can deter you from starting small and easing into a new fitness plan. Whichever you choose, vow to sweat one hour per day, two to three days per week. It’s really that simple, and you’re worth it.
“Take it one step at a time. All of the decisions with planning a wedding can be very stressful and overwhelming, especially when you are trying to balance the planning with work and social activities. If I think of one task at a time instead of everything I have to do, it helps. I also try to set aside a day just to relax without any other plans.” –Ansley, bride-to-be
2. Find a mind and body workout that works for you.
High-impact workouts often become counter-productive as your body struggles to maintain proper form. Low-impact strength training allows your mind to focus on deeper muscle connections. Find a boutique group class to surround yourself with like-minded individuals and remove distractions often found at the gym. A Pilates reformer, for example, creates a personal space of controlled resistance to build core strength while gaining longer, leaner muscles for a refreshing total-body workout that keeps you balanced physically and mentally.
“Pilates has helped me unwind as wedding stress has built. It's important to take personal time each day to do something unrelated to work and the upcoming wedding. Pilates has also has been the perfect complement to my cardio routine to get me wedding dress ready!” –Beth, bride-to-be
3. Your body talks. You should listen to it.
It’s midnight. You haven’t eaten all day and your eyes are burning, but you’ve got three more emails to send. Two aspects of your fitness plan require priority: One, sleep should never be taken for granted, but instead held in the highest regard. Two, learn to use your food as fuel. Denying your body a meal is bad for the soul and your social life. You owe it to yourself to grasp a basic knowledge of fat, protein and carbs, and how they complement and enhance your workout and well-being.
“I am not trying to go on any crazy diet, so I don’t burn out. I have tried to make healthier choices in general when eating out. That might mean swapping a cheeseburger for a black bean burger and just trying to be conscious of my decisions.” –Ansley, bride-to-be
4. Don't force fitness on your spouse-to-be.
Your fitness goals are clear. Your partner’s may not be… and that’s OK. If you two met running a marathon, then by all means, keep each other motivated and moving! If you met in a bar and quickly realized that his or her idea of fitness was gamertags, remember why you love this person, put your feelings in a cute little bag, sweat it out during your workout, and meet the love of your life for breakfast afterwards. This six-week plan is about your well-being. It’s about tuning out distractions, making better choices and becoming a better version of yourself inside and out. Stick to the plan no matter what your partner prefers to do.
“Since I'm a ‘mature bride,’ I am trying to be more mindful and live in the present moment. That's largely the result of experiences from the past couple of years and the realization that most things we worry about in life are pointless. Each day brings new challenges and rewards. I believe a calm, peaceful mindset will help me not only to be a better spouse but also a better person overall.” –Dana, bride-to-be
5. The scale is your enemy.
Stepping on a scale will make or break your morning, so let’s avoid the latter and just say we did! Keeping a photo journal of your progress keeps you focused on what’s important—the way you feel. Snap a pic once per week, preferably in the same place and position. With your fitness plan in action, you’ll begin to notice real changes in your body’s composition alongside subtle improvements in your demeanor and posture. While that first picture may not be your finest moment, the last side-by-side comparison will give you the confidence (and photo proof) of all your efforts.
Jessica Hughes is a native Houstonian and the founder of Citizen Pilates.