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There are about a million things to stress about on your wedding day — from the catering arriving on time to the prospect of an impending rainstorm. But this occasion is primarily just about two things: you and your future spouse. Yes, that means all eyes will be on you — which can be a whole other source of stress, if you let it — so of course you want to feel like the best possible version of yourself. Getting to “better shape” has a different meaning for everyone, but if what you’re going for is a healthier, happier you, it’s important to note that some of the best bridal fitness tips aren’t focused on restriction and torturing yourself with exercise that’s not bringing you joy, they’re all about sustainably cultivating self-confidence, nourishing and strengthening your body at any size, and keeping your mind calm amid a ton of other potential wedding dramas.
Every bride has a different idea of how they want to look on their wedding day, and that doesn’t always involve exercise (nor does it need to), but for many women, kick-starting a workout plan can offer them a few benefits besides just how they’ll look in photos. Think improved energy, a sense of strength and capability, a glow from the inside out, and even reduced anxiety. “Even before I got engaged, about a year and a half prior, I wanted to create a more consistent workout routine for myself,” shares Laura Lajiness, a writer for TZR and recent bride. “My biggest goals overall were to appear more toned and build more strength in my core, arms, and glutes.” To do this, she started doing Pilates-inspired megaformer workouts and practicing hot vinyasa flow regularly and loved the boost of confidence it gave her, so much so that she stuck with the plan all the way up to her wedding. “Once I got engaged, I maintained this new regimen and focused most on consistency to keep my strength up and to look my best on the big day.”
Tone It Up trainer Tori Simeone, who heads up the popular fitness app’s Bridal Sculpt program, also notes that getting into a better bridal shape isn’t about being a certain size. “Brides want to feel light, glowy, toned, and strong,” she says. “What I find is that all of this really comes down to is reducing bloat before your big day and staying consistent with your workouts and meals. You do not need to starve yourself to reach your bridal goals!” This trifecta of creating and sticking to achievable fitness goals, feeding your body with wholesome and nourishing foods, and practicing some serious self-love throughout the process, is actually something a ton of TZR consultants agree on. But if you could use a few more specifics to help you get even more motivated, read ahead and find 10 tips that will leave you feeling inspired and even more excited for the big day.
Focus On What Feels Good
There’s a fine line between challenging yourself and knowing what kinds of workouts simply aren’t serving you mentally, and sticking to fitness methods you actually look forward to can make a huge difference — especially during what is often such a hectic time. “No matter how organized a bride is, wedding planning and last-minute surprises can be stressful, so having an enjoyable outlet in their routine that helps regulate stress and build mental toughness is huge,” says trainer and barre instructor Whitney Kessler. “Our bodies are incredibly intuitive and know what’s best for us. We are happier and healthier when we embrace what our body needs and wants over whatever is the latest trend.”
For example, for celebrity trainer and wellness coach Amy Rosoff Davis (whose impressive client roster includes Selena Gomez and Kristen Bell), a feel-good regimen — for her clients and herself — always includes some stress-relieving yoga. “It feels so good and has so many benefits,” she explains. “It can be calming or activating and it does wonders for flexibility and core engagement.”
Speaking of wedding anxiety, celebrity nutritionist Serena Poon adds that there are ways to keep calm in your pre-wedding wellness plans besides the way you’re working out, like balancing some of your sweat sessions with meditation and breathing techniques. “Having a toolbox full of techniques to relieve tension can help you feel confident, calm, and collected on your wedding day,” she says. “Some wonderful stress relieving techniques that I often share with brides are engaging in mindfulness, eating nourishing foods, meditation (I am loving transcendental meditation right now), practicing gentle yoga and breathwork, and really allowing yourself to focus on self-care.”
Another mindfulness practice Poon recommends implementing is practicing positive affirmations. “Beauty is really about the energy that you exude,” she explains. “If you feel beautiful and radiant, everyone else will sense that and believe it too. Self-love affirmations are a wonderful practice for feeling good about yourself. Saying phrases out loud such as ‘I am beautiful’, ‘I am happy’, and ‘I radiate joy’ can make you feel amazing from the inside out. Repeat these affirmations in the mirror when you wake up, before you go to bed, and on the day of your wedding.”
Part of staying sane throughout your new fitness routine is setting goals that are accessible and practical — so you don’t beat yourself up if you’re not able to achieve them. One example of this that Kessler offers is setting aside a specific time daily to devote to your workouts, versus always trying to squeeze them in here or there. “This is a great stress management technique, but it also allows you to carve out time just for yourself,” she says. “This doesn’t have to be elaborate either, even setting aside just 30 mins for a workout class, strength training, or a walk will make a big difference in your energy and how you feel.”
And Simeone co-signs on walks as an integral part of a pre-wedding fitness plan — if for no other reason than the fact that they can help you multitask. “Add in long walks if you don’t already,” she suggests. “I love working towards my 10,000 steps each day on top of my workout. Pop on your fave podcast or make your wedding calls while you do it to pass the time!”
If one of your fitness goals is achieving more visible definition, Simeone suggests challenging yourself with some increased intensity. “Adding in heavier weights a few times a week to your workouts will help with your overall muscle tone,” she says. Colin Laughlin, trainer and founder of QualityLife, also recommends the addition of strength training to your routine for “sexy gains” that will help you feel your best without adding bulk — if that’s not your desired result.
Mix It Up
To get the ideal combo of decreasing stress while improving energy levels, Amy Rosoff Davis incorporates a few different types of exercises in her clients’ fitness plan: Pilates, yoga, and cardio. “This mix of modalities gets your heart rate up, lengthens and tones your body, and calms your mind,” she says. “I am all about the mind body connection and I want my brides to feel beautiful, strong, calm, and connected. Normally once a client starts to see and feel results from healthy habits they want to keep it up cause it feels so good.”
Mixing up your workout styles also keeps you from getting bored. You’re less likely to get stuck in a rut if you’re switching things up occasionally, like Lajiness, who had to give up her usual classes in quarantine, and instead rotated between online options like The Sculpt Society, Core Power Yoga, Melissa Wood Health, Tracy Anderson, and SLT.
Keep It Consistent
Even if you’re not seeing results as quickly as you like, experts like Simeone stress the importance of consistency with any workout plan. “Don’t skip any days,” she says. “If usually you give yourself a day of rest or feel like you worked hard enough to take a day off, I challenge you to add in a quick workout on that day instead. Even if it is just abs. Make it 20 minutes if you can!”
And that includes times when it’s not as convenient, like when you have to travel. “I had a destination wedding and was traveling [the week of], but in the mornings and on the big day, I did TSS quickie workouts in my hotel room and felt so energized,” Lajiness says. “The biggest thing for me was creating a consistent regimen for myself and after two years of maintaining it, my body craves the movement. As long as I get movement in for 20 minutes or so most days, I feel my best and plan to keep it up.”
Curate A Playlist
Music is such an emotional game-changer, so of course it can be a major motivator when it comes to your workout. “It gets me going every time — even when I am tired and not in the mood,” Rosoff Davis says of her personalized playlists. “If I hear a pop song I am suddenly ready to boogie!”
Eat Whole Foods
Boosting your nutritional habits is never about depriving yourself, but rather loading up on whole foods and cutting out processed stuff that has the potential to make you feel more sluggish or even inflamed. For Rosoff Davis, it’s all about incorporated lots of fruits and veggies. “I love to make big yummy salads with delicious homemade dressing,” she says. “And spring and summer make me want to grill lots of veggies and proteins! Keep it simple with yummy olive oil and lemon and herbs!”
If you are prone to food sensitivity, Laughlin recommends keeping a journal, so you can start to keep track of how different ones make you feel. “Journaling can help you get in tune with your body and identify things that may be doing more harm than good,” he says. “This is especially helpful on the nutrition end. You may find you are consuming a lot of foods that are causing inflammation and bloating in the body. Eliminating those inflammatory foods or beverages can be life changing.”
Don’t Neglect Sleep
You probably already know that not getting enough sleep has a domino effect. You’re stressed, and so is your body. That’s why experts like Poon say that it’s crucial to prioritize sleep leading up to your wedding if you want to look and feel your best. “Sleep is another crucial habit for achieving beautiful skin,” she explains. “Try to get eight hours every night. Practicing some of your stress-relieving techniques before bed can help you get quality, rejuvenating sleep.”