The Pre Wedding Workout Plan
Countdown to wedding 10...9...8...whoa! Where'd the time go?
It's so amazing how fast the event goes. I am now a married man, and it's great. I watched with an almost out-of-body feeling as the preparations for this ceremony were meticulously prepared, and like any good groom should, I let the wave take me along with it and gave input when it was asked of me. My beautiful wife and her family, god bless 'em, did pretty much all the work. But it was not without a few stresses and challenges for me.
Working in the fitness industry as long as I have, I've trained many couples for their big day. However, I had never experienced it from this perspective. As anybody that's ever been married will tell you, the details of bringing two families together from across the country or across the globe, and planning for this celebration in your honor, can be completely overwhelming.
That being said, as you set out on this adventure together, you will have to address stress and it's effect on the human body.
Stress is a physical reaction to an emotional state of mind. It was designed by nature to help us ramp up to respond to physical threats. Now, when there is no release, this response process tends to overload our systems. Your heart rate, hormone levels, and hydration are all affected by stressful situations. Now here's the kicker for all of us trying to buff up for that special day: stress can mess with digestion and can actually cause your metabolism to slow down. Stress can also cause you to go the other way inducing a loss of appetite, which does lead to weight loss, but in an unhealthy and unsustainable way.
This is why it is important to keep a close watch on your stress levels, and to make sure you keep your exercise routine consistent. The pressures of invitations, relatives, event planning, and keeping close track of all the details add up, and often people's workouts are the first thing to go. I was really impressed with my wife's consistency in the light of all these things. She actually ramped up her workouts while managing all the details and still came out looking beautifully fit in her wedding dress.
My first tip is not to shoulder all the details yourselves. Delegate to family and friends as much as reasonably possible. My wife's family was invaluable in helping us. They were simply amazing, from location planning to facilitating the catering, to making the hotel arrangements. This allowed us to focus on ourselves, including the all important health and fitness.
Tip number two, give yourself enough time. The body changes very, very slowly. You must make a weekly workout plan and stick to it. My wife and I had eight months to prepare from the time I proposed to standing at the altar. That is plenty of time to make fantastic changes to your fitness level. If you stay consistent. That means every day, every week, and every month.
Three, do not watch the scale. Obsessing about weight loss is discouraging, unhealthy, and counterproductive. The absolute best way to track your progress is to have your personal trainer or a health professional take a body fat percentage, maximum heart rate, and circumference measurements at the beginning, the three month mark, and after six months.
Now, to the workout suggestions.
For those who want to slim down, I recommend three days of cardiovascular work at least forty five minutes and up to an hour and twenty minutes (the latter only if you're in a big hurry,) with a careful eye on your heartrate. In addition to the cardio you will need two to three days of resistance training, dance based sculpting, or yoga. It's important to have options in your training. You will tend to be more consistent with a workout you enjoy.
My preferred method for slim down cardio is the run/walk program. Start with a brisk walking pace until a light sweat is on your forehead, then break into a comfortable but high intensity run for thirty seconds to a minute, then back to walking until you perceive that you've recovered, then repeat the run, and so on until you've completed forty five minutes to an hour.
I also enjoy indoor cycling classes. The music is highly motivating and you get a great calorie burn. Finding a good instructor is imperative. He or she should be well-versed in proper form and injury prevention. S/he should also be willing to get off the bike and help you if you need it.
For slimming down using weights I recommend using eight to fifteen pound weights, lifting in sets of twelve to sixteen repetitions, and doing multi-joint exercises involving many body parts and planes of motion in a single movement. It's important to practice weight training safely and with guidance so I strongly recommend hiring a certified personal trainer for at least three to five sessions to learn proper form. If you cannot afford that, I would take a small group class with a good instructor who will coach you on proper form.
My wife opted, with impressive results, for The Bar Method, a dance based workout that combines isometrics, dance conditioning, physical therapy and interval training. She attended two to three times a week and supplemented with another two to three days of indoor cycling or interval training on the elliptical. I have to say, as the lucky groom I'm very happy with her choices!
Nutritionally, she did cut back a bit on her daily caloric intake by limiting refined sugar (she has quite a sweet tooth!) However, since she was observing a healthy eating strategy before my proposal, she didn't want or have to cut back very much and I as a trainer, advise against it when ramping up your workout schedule. The body needs nutrients. Body fat burns in a carbohydrate fire. Eat well and eat enough when exercising. Otherwise, you're asking to get injured or sick.
For myself, I was already pretty lean from teaching more cardio classes than usual-- the holidays can be a busy time for instructors. However, I wanted to bulk up a bit to fill out the tuxedo. Since my cardio training and light weight training is pretty much a part of my job, I had to set up some separate workout time to lift heavy. I opted for TRX Suspension Training so I could easily go from moderate difficulty to extreme difficulty fairly quickly with a simple change in angle. I also added some heavy Kettle Bell exercises to stimulate muscle growth. Again these formats require coaching. I strongly advise hiring a personal trainer certified in these pieces of equipment to get yourself started, or attend a class at one of the TRX studio locations. Some gyms offer special Kettle Bell classes to help you learn how to properly use these weights.
To bulk up I also added more lean meat to my diet. Since I try to only eat fish or poultry, and that very sparingly, adding some lean red meat helped me add proteins equal to the increased workload. I only buy free range, organic meat. Although if you've read my past hub The Art Of Eating Like A Warrior, you should know that I never eat at fast food restaurants. It is a choice that's worked very well for me. Now that I'm back to my normal schedule I'm back to fish and poultry as my main sources of protein.
To sum up, this is a very special day in your life. It's a celebration of your love for each other, these changes you make in your fitness regime should reflect a healthy new approach to your life going forward. Get fit together, have a great time at your wedding, and live long happy healthy lives.
Reference material for running
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- Authentic Cardio Boxing - Fitness Videos
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- Authentic Cardio Boxing
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- Boxing for a Better Core - CEC Course
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