Getting in the best shape of your life is a very common goal for most brides. But there’s a lot more to it than just hitting the gym twice a day, because all bodies are different.
This is the second article in our new three part ‘Wedding Wellbeing’ feature for the Helen on Weddings (HOW) blog series (following on from our nutrition guide with Jess Sepel), and to get the best advice for all you brides-to-be we spoke to fitness guru, and former Helen Rodrigues real bride, Leah Simmons from Body by Leah Simmons.
Set a goal and start early
According to Leah, it’s important to allow enough time to reach whatever goal you’ve set yourself.
“Planning a wedding is a lengthy and involved process, and it’s easy to neglect certain things like your own health and wellbeing,” she says. “You definitely don’t want to leave your fitness regime to the last minute – especially if you have fairly specific body goals.”
Leah recommends at least 12 weeks (3 months) of consistent training and good nutrition to see real results. She also suggests enlisting the help of a qualified trainer/nutritionist to help assist you in reaching your goal as they can not only design a program around your requirements, but will also help you stay focused and on track.
Tailor your workout to you
All brides have different goals, and women come in all kinds of amazing shapes and sizes; which is why Leah believes that it’s up to the individual to determine what areas of their body they’re going to focus on and what fitness regime they’re going to follow.
“In my experience, I think that strength training (when guided correctly) yields the best results – you’ll build lean muscle tissue as well as get that all important cardio workout to strip fat. Throw in some mobility training (yoga/pilates) for good measure and you’ll be on your way!” says Leah, who is also a big yoga fan and a pilates instructor.
She advises that it’s best to focus on a combination of exercises that work for you. And whether you’re going for a general tune up or a total body transformation, just be sure to leave enough time to reach your goals safely.
“At the end of the day you should also choose something that you enjoy. You’ll have more luck sticking with something you love than slogging through something you loathe. Be flexible and be creative!” adds Leah.
Work with what you have
If you can’t easily get to a gym or dedicate a lot of time to workouts, don’t worry because according to Leah it’s all about working with what you have.
“Any amount of exercise is better than none,” she says. “The time-poor bride can still focus on nutrition which means you’re already off to a flying start, and there are loads of great ‘at-home’ workouts you can try on the net.”
If you’re really struggling for time, Leah recommends brides try this simple morning circuit that will take no more than ten minutes.
20 x bodyweight squats
20 x leg raises
20 x alternating forward lunges (10 each side)
30 x sec plank
3 x rounds
Things to be mindful of
In a bid to achieve a complete body transformation, some brides might be tempted to go too hard and fast. Leah recommends not attempting something you’ve never done before without professional guidance.
“I would suggest seeking the advice of a trainer as soon as you know when your big day is to discuss your goals and what is actually achievable in the time you have,” she says. “It’s also not uncommon for a bride to lose weight in the lead up to their wedding day just from the sheer stress of it all – so make sure you have several dress fittings as close to the day as possible.”
Wedding day tips
On the actual day there’s usually an early start, heaps of preparations, a few jitters, lots of things happening and a fair amount of standing; so it’s important to be fighting fit.
As hard as it may be with nerves, Leah believes the best thing you can do is remember to eat on your wedding day. Good carbs are ideal to see you through – think oats with some protein powder mixed in or a serve of brown rice, veggies and some protein (meat, fish, tofu), for a sustained energy release.
Her other tips include:
- Not drinking too much alcohol (easier said than done!)
- Making sure to drink plenty of water
- Doing some deep breathing and have a moment on your own for a little meditation to re-centre yourself
- Packing a spare pair of flats so you can really kick up your heels and enjoy yourself!
Leah’s big day
Leah was married in Mykonos, Greece in September 2016 and wore a gorgeous Inbal Dror gown and an Oscar de la Renta veil.
Although already fabulously fit, in the lead up to the wedding she admits she did step up her normal fitness regime by a few notches – the core reason being that she was going to be overseas for a month and didn’t want to train much whilst away.
“I really worked on getting my body to a place where I could pretty much do what I wanted for a month and it wouldn’t really change that much,” she says, although offers a word of caution for other brides who might be thinking of doing the same.
“I had been strength training for a couple of years prior to my wedding so my body was used to that type of volume. I did a combination of strength and circuit training mixed with pilates and some sprint training. It was pretty intense!”
Have fun with friends
Leah’s final fitness advice to brides is to remember to enjoy yourself and consider teaming up with others for extra motivation.
“Exercise is meant to be fun so make sure you don’t lose sight of that!” she says. “Maybe even get your bridesmaids together and start a little fitness club with them. Training with friends is always easier because you motivate each other to keep going.”
And don’t be surprised if you find yourself post-wedding still doing a version of your bridal workout (even if it is slightly reduced to accommodate your busy life)! Because from Leah’s experience brides are usually so thrilled with their results that they want to keep up their fitness regimes for life.
For more information on Leah Simmons, please visit her website bbls.com.au or follow her on or Instagram or Facebook. Any brides wanting to speak with Leah directly regarding their fitness goals for the big day can also email her directly on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Helen on Weddings: After 17 years in the bridal business fitting thousands of brides personally, Helen Rodrigues certainly knows a thing or two about weddings. Follow our Helen on Weddings (HOW) blog series as Helen and her team share their knowledge and stories to help make your big day as beautiful and memorable as possible.