Working with many clients over the years, I have found one of the most important pieces to getting them fantastic results is incorporating a deadline, setting a firm date for which you must have achieved your fitness goals. There is no better example of this than with a new bride to be. Now that the question has been “popped”, the ring is on, the date is set and dress is bought. Things are getting serious and it’s amazing what happens to women when it finally hits them – the most important day of their life is coming. They’re now ready and willing to do whatever it takes to feel strong, look great and fit into their dream wedding dress to inspire the “wow” factor in all those who witness the most important day of their life.
But a bride still needs an effective and most importantly, an efficient exercise blueprint in order to get the best results in the shortest amount of time. We need to sculpt muscle in all of the right places (with a particular emphasis on the upper body, shoulders and arms) and burn fat in all the right places (think hips, thighs, and muffin tops). The following training guidelines will help you do exactly that. Don’t be surprised to see losses of 2+ pounds of ugly, unwanted body fat per week and a reduction in at least 1 clothing size per month. But remember to keep the focus where it should be and that is improving overall health, body composition, and performance, NOT just weight loss!
The Strong and Fit Bride Mentality:
You MUST Train to Elevate Metabolism and Lose Fat (NOT Weight)
Exercise Tip #1 – Get Strong and You Will Get Lean:
– Fact: Strength training strengthens muscle and bone leading to increases in lean body mass that increases RMR (resting metabolic rate), the number of calories your body requires to function on a daily basis regardless of activity. In other words, strength training will crank up your metabolism so that you will be burning more stubborn fat every minute of every day/365. Now that’s efficiency!
– Fact: Most people who strength train will typically perform straight sets of the same exercise with super long rest periods in excess of 2-3 minutes. (Think the outdated protocols of doing “3 sets of 10”). Rather, cut your workout time in half or more AND accelerate fat burning by performing alternating sets of non-competing exercises with short rest periods between sets. For example, perform an upper body exercise, then a lower body exercise, and then a core exercise in a timed interval circuit fashion. This will allow for full recovery for each exercise since you are resting your upper body while performing lower body and core exercises and so on. Furthermore, shorter rest periods allow for both the completion of more total work during every workout and also create perfect hormonal storm for optimal fat loss.
– Fact: For best results, perform 3 total body strength workouts per week with at least 1 day of rest between workouts. See below for a Sample Total Body Circuit Strength Workout:
50-10 Interval Five Exercise Total Body Strength Circuit- You will alternate between 50 seconds of work and 10 s of rest for each exercise in the following five-exercise circuit. Perform this 5-minute circuit up to four times for a 20-minute total body workout. Be sure to switch between the 2 exercise options within each category for best results:
Exercise 1: Squats OR Deadlifts
Exercise 2: Push-ups OR Dips
Exercise 3: Lunges OR Single-Leg Hip Extensions
Exercise 4: Rows OR Pull-ups/Curls
Exercise 5: Front OR Side Pillars/Planks
Exercise Tip #2 – Intervals Burn 9x More Fat Than Slow, Ordinary Cardio:
– Fact: With interval training, the focus is on the intensity of quality driven-exercise (correct form, technique). Intervals consist of alternating between shorts bouts of all out high-intensity effort and active recovery periods for a much quicker and focused amount of time (typically 10-20 minutes of intervals will work best and be most efficient). This approach is scientifically proven to burn nine times more fat AND lead to faster improvements in fitness than the aerobic alternative (going slower for longer periods of time…think boring, slow cardio).
– Fact: The Japanese “Tabata” study compared the effects of four minutes of high-intensity interval training (20 seconds on, 10 seconds off) with 45-60 minutes of low to moderate intensity cardio. The interval training group burned just as much fat as the endurance group and also had greater improvement in both anaerobic (think sprinters) and aerobic (think distance runners) fitness… in only four minutes! So what’ll it be: 4 minutes or 45 minutes?
– For best results, perform 3 cardio interval training workouts per week on non-strength training days. Below is a sample Cardio Interval Training Workout:
20-10 Tabatas- You will alternate between 20 seconds of work and 10s of rest. You will perform this 30-second set up to 8x for 4 total minutes followed by a 1-minute rest and transition. Perform this 5-minute sequence up to 4x for 20 total minutes. You can perform this workout on your cardio machine of choice (spin bike, etc.) or by alternating between body weight cardio exercises like stationary sprinting, jumping jacks, squat thrusts, mountain climbers, etc. for the ultimate in-home workout!
Exercise Tip #3 – Use Blubber Burning Cardio to Speed Up Results:
– Fact: Steady state (or low to moderate intensity cardio – think: light jogging) aerobic training does have its uses in conjunction with a strength training and cardio interval training base. Aerobic training is of low to moderate intensity in nature and burns a larger proportion of fat per effort than sugar. On the other hand, strength training and high-intensity interval training rapidly eats up your body’s sugar stores thus forcing your body to use fat for fuel in the recovery from exercise.
– Fact: By performing some low to moderate intensity cardio following your strength and/or cardio interval training workouts you can accelerate the fat loss process. More specifically, 5 minutes following high-intensity exercise your body dumps stored triglycerides (fat) into your bloodstream, making it the perfect time to do some aerobic training to eat up that fat before it gets sent back up for storage in your tummy, arms, abs, etc.
– Let’s call this extra steady-state session “blubber burning cardio” and we’ll recommend a maximum of 20 minutes for this. Steady-state speed can be described as going as fast as you can without stopping…and you could probably hold a mild conversation during this level of exertion. This extra work can really accelerate the fat burning process, specifically for those trouble spot areas like the abs, hips, and thighs!
Exercise Tip #4 – Use Total Body Exercises to Sculpt An Amazing Upper Body:
– You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out most brides are concerned about their upper body, shoulder and arms when it comes to their wedding gowns, since so much of this area is typically exposed. But, doing a bunch of single-joint, isolation exercises like bicep curls or triceps extensions is not going to do the trick. Spot reduction is a myth – no number of triceps kickbacks will ever banish the “jiggle-arm syndrome” many women struggle to rid themselves of.
– Rather, you should focus on performing compound, multi-joint movements that work as many muscles in your body as possible (including your arms and shoulders) for best results. Not only do compound exercises allow you to use heavier loads which stimulate maximal lean muscle gain (think push ups over triceps extensions), but they also burn mucho calories and create the optimal hormonal blend for burning the fat covering those strong, toned muscles!
– To take it to the next level, use total body exercises exclusively in your workouts. Whole body movements that work your upper body, lower body, and core at the same time will allow you to get lean all over in addition to ensuring that you are working your upper body during every moment so that you are ARM-ed and ready for the big day. For example, instead of just doing shoulder presses, do a squat to shoulder press move. Be sure to check out “The Official Strong and Sexy Bride Workout” for some sample workouts using the aforementioned total body exercises- they will rock your world!
Exercise Tip #5 – Recovery is Paramount:
Though this may be the most obvious tip of all, it is of paramount important. Recovery from exercise is where all of the beneficial changes from high-intensity training occur. Don’t forget, a tough workout actually causes small micro-tears in your muscles that stimulate growth and repair. If all you do is work hard and break your body down this can lead to overtraining issues that may result in you hobbling down the aisle on the big day – not a sexy look!
Invest in yourself with a personal massage therapist – in the form of a foam roller, that is. It’s cheap and easy to use. Go to any local sporting goods store or go online. Simply spend at least 5 minutes post-workout performing 5-10 rolls on the most tender and sore areas of your body, with a specific emphasis on your hips and thighs and your upper/mid back area. Pay even closer attention to your outer thighs. At first, this may cause a little discomfort, but like any strong massage, don’t worry…it’s a good hurt!
This corrective self-massage both lengthens your muscles and improves tissue quality, preventing nagging aches and pains in your joints that can leave you on injured reserve in your strong and sexy bride quest. Furthermore, self-massage brings blood flow and nutrients to your muscles which accelerate recovery and reduce soreness from high-intensity exercise.
By the way, if you don’t have access to a foam roller, you can also use a tennis ball or even a rolling pin to achieve relatively the same effect.
There you have it…the top 5 keys to fitness workout success to help you look and feel the best on the biggest day of your life. And remember, it’s not about weight loss – it’s about being as healthy, strong and stunning as possible by losing inches in all the right places!