Count Crunches, Not Just Calories!

Even if you’re a below-averagely-busy bride, you’ve got plenty of things to stress about. In between planning your ceremony and reception, shopping for the perfect dress, and researching your honeymoon, you’re still juggling your daily routine of work and/or school, getting ready for one of the biggest changes of your life, and trying to find time to cultivate the relationship your wedding will celebrate.

And if you’re an average American, your weight is an added stress — because you want to look your very best for your wedding day.

The New York Times’ Well Blog reported that “More than 70 percent of brides-to-be want to lose weight before their wedding day, according to a new study from Cornell University.” But who are we kidding — when have our diets ever worked before? Not only can crash dieting sink you into a series of bad moods leading up to your wedding, overdoing the diet in an effort to skinny-up for the big day can even be dangerous.

In 2005, Cynthia Conde, who wrote Bridal Bootcamp: Look Fabulous on Your Big Day told msn.com that “If you lose more than 10 pounds a month (and you are not obese), that is too much.”

Instead of just swearing off sugar, hit the gym, the court, the track or the pool. Your pre-wedding period is a great time to get into a steady fitness routine, because exercising will…

1.) Strengthen your body and refresh your mind
2.) Lower stress levels and help you sleep better each night
3.) Boost your self-confidence
4.) Take your mind off wedding planning — something you need every once in a while!

If you’re like me and want your every activity to point to your goal (aah — wedding!), check into the dozens of bride-in-mind fitness plans available in gyms — and stores — around the country. Here’s a small sampling of what you will find:

Buff Brides: This book and DVD set offers three workouts designed to whip you into designer-gown shape — “Cardio Express,” “Beautiful Back and Arms,” and “Slender Abs and Hips.”

Yoga for Weddings: With classes available in many large cities throughout the U.S. and U.K., and with instructors who will travel to the bride’s location, Yoga for Weddings is designed to minimize stress and help brides — and grooms — prepare for their big day both mentally and physically.

Top Hat Dance Studio’s “Wedding Package” (Philadelphia, PA): Get a good workout and plan a first dance that will earn rave reviews from your guests! Take private lessons to choreograph your first dance, or to simply teach you the basics. Either way, you’ll waltz away the pounds on the dance floor.

Wedding Workouts (Laguna Beach, CA): Laguna Beach Trainer (www.lagunabeachtrainer.com) has jumped on the wedding bandwagon, offering wedding-minded personal training programs through the city. They promise to help cliants sculpt their bodies to dress-perfect shape in time for the big day.

As for my my own wedding fitness plan, it includes weekly or twice-weekly yoga classes, walking and jogging the beach and over the bridge near my house, horseback riding, and spending a fair amount of time manuvering my way through the gym’s weight and exercise machines. I’ll probably fit at least a few hard bike rides in over the summer, but as the wedding gets closer, I know every pedal stroke will leave me terrified that I’ll fall and show up at my wedding in all white — dress, veil, and arm cast.

Good luck, and have a good time working up a dress-inspired sweat!

~ Laura

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