You’ve found your dream wedding dress. Now it’s time to make sure you look your absolute best in it on your special day. If you’re looking to tone up — whether you are aiming to lose, gain or maintain weight — consider customizing your workout routine to address targeted areas that may be highlighted in your style of gown.
Kit Rich, a personal trainer and Pilates instructor based in Los Angeles and founder of the Kichgo workout kit, suggests starting at least three months before your wedding date, though she notes that the more time you have to prepare, the better the results. “Set realistic and healthy goals based on the amount of time you have before your wedding day,” she said.
Luke Zocchi, another trainer based in Byron Bay, New South Wales, Australia, and author of “The A-list Diet & Fitness Plan” (Pan Macmillan Australia, 2018), cautions that while you can definitely tone troublesome areas, full body workouts are key to achieving results. “Hit the body parts that you want to tone up a couple of times a week with resistance training and also incorporate cardio sessions into your workout,” Zocchi said.
Here are a few fitness routines, specifically tailored to your style of wedding dress.
Targeted toning areas: core, biceps, triceps, shoulders, back
“This traditional silhouette draws attention to a cinched waist and flat stomach, so incorporate these core-strengthening exercises into your fitness routine to help define your middle,” said Laura Posada, a personal trainer based in Miami. “Also, focus on toning your arms, shoulders and back to balance out the volume of the dress’ full skirt.”
Low-intensity: Do a circuit that includes three sets of 10 repetitions each set of planks, chest push-ups, biceps push-ups and lateral shoulder raises with moderate weights.
High-intensity: Do a 12-minute HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) routine of simple burpees — with intervals of 30 seconds of exercise and 30 seconds of rest. “Swimming and climbing rope at the gym are also great high-intensity choices,” Posada said.
Targeted toning areas: shoulders, chest (pectorals), biceps, triceps, back
“This type of dress will show off your shoulders and arms, so the best approach would be to work on the entire upper body, focusing on the shoulders and back,” Rich said.
Low-intensity: For your shoulders, do one to two sets with 10 to 15 reps each set of side lateral raises with weights or resistance bands; for your chest, do wide-arm modified push-ups; for your back, do Superwoman, triceps kickbacks with weights or resistance bands, and forward and side biceps curls with weights or resistance bands.
High-intensity: For your shoulders, do one-minute burnouts of one to two sets of military presses; for your back, do chest presses with weights and assisted pullups; for your triceps, do diamond push-ups and biceps hammer curls with a kettlebell (fast up, slow down, then reverse).
Targeted toning areas: core, hips, biceps, triceps
“This silhouette accentuates a small waist and wide hips,” Posada said of dresses that are form-fitting and gradually flare out at the bottom. “These exercises will help shape your hips and reduce the size of your waist, as well as tone your arms and abdomen.”
Low-intensity: Do three sets of 10 reps each of squats, lunges and planks.
High-intensity: Incorporate a 12-minute HIIT routine, with intervals of 30 seconds of exercise and 30 seconds of rest, that includes burpees, lateral lunges, jump squats and strides with jump. Jumping rope is also a good alternative.
Mermaid / Fit-and-Flare
Targeted toning areas: core, waist, buttocks
Focus on your waist, abdomen and buttocks to rock this dress. Standing ab exercises such as barre workouts help improve your shape for this dress silhouette and mix up your workout. “This Pilates-based workout will also work your triceps and shoulders while you’re toning your core,” Rich said.
Low-intensity: For your core, do one to two sets with 10 to 15 reps each set of Pilates hundred, roll-ups, toe taps and bicycle crunches; for your glutes and hamstrings, do a glutes bridge, Pilates swimming and bird-dog; for your shoulders, do triceps kickbacks and dumbbell forward raises.
High-intensity: For your core, do one to two sets of one-minute planks with oblique knee tap, side V-ups, reverse crunches and flutter kicks; for the glutes and hamstrings, try stability ball hamstring curls and pulses, back lunges with optional lunge jump, single glutes bridge, and plank rows with weights; for your triceps, diamond push-ups and military presses with weights or barbell for shoulders.
Sheath / Column
Targeted toning areas: core, hips, legs, buttocks
To look your best in this long, body-skimming silhouette, focus on exercises that tone your core, hips and legs.
Low-intensity: Do three sets with 12 reps each of planks, mountain climbers and crunches.
High-intensity: Take your workout up a notch with a circuit that includes 20 reps of bicycle crunches to work the entire core, as well as tone your thighs.
Targeted toning areas: biceps, triceps, chest (pectorals), shoulders, back
“It’s all about toning the shoulders and arms for this dress silhouette,” Rich said. A bonus to this workout is that it also works the pectoral muscles, which helps create a nice bust line.
Low-intensity: Target your chest area with one to two sets with 10 to 15 reps each set of wide-arm push-ups, modified on knees; for your back, do Pilates swimming; for your shoulders, do triceps kickbacks with resistance bands or weights, side lateral raises with weights or resistance bands, and biceps curls with weights or resistance bands.
High-intensity: Target your chest area with one to two sets of one-minute plyometric wide-arm push-ups with jump clap; for your back, do plank rows with weights; for your shoulders, do triceps dips and military presses. For your biceps, try alternating hammer curls with weights or resistance bands.
Targeted toning areas: back, buttocks
“In this sexy silhouette, your back is the star,” Posada said. “Resistance bands and dead lift exercises will not only tone your back, but also firm your buttocks — an important area that is often overlooked when toning up for this type of dress.”
Low-intensity: Do three sets of 10 reps each set of lateral arm stretches, with resistance bands, back crunches on an exercise ball, planks while lifting weights one arm at a time, and dead lifts with a straight back.
High-intensity: Do a 12-minute HIIT routine, with intervals of 30 seconds of exercise and 30 seconds of rest, that includes stepping burpees, squat jacks and push-ups. “Swimming is also a great high-intensity workout, but should be done in moderation, so that your back does not get too wide,” Posada said.
High-Slit and Mini Dress
Targeted toning areas: thigh (quadriceps), hamstrings, glutes
This is your opportunity to show off svelte legs. “Your legs are your biggest calorie burner, as they are the largest muscle group,” Zocchi said, “so a good leg workout will not only help you build muscle and define your bum, hamstrings and thighs, but will also help with overall energy expenditure.”
Low-intensity: Do four sets of 10 to 15 reps each set of squats, hamstring curls, stiff-leg dead lifts, leg presses, and lunges.
High-intensity: Challenge yourself by using barbells, dumbbells, or machines at the gym. Resistance bands are also a good option, and can be incorporated into your workouts. Do an entire leg workout using resistance bands with exercise moves such as fire hydrants, lateral band walks, squats-to-lateral leg raises, hip bridges and donkey kicks.
Targeted toning areas: chest (pectorals) and core
To look phenomenal in this dress, you should work your torso, abdomen and chest. “Planks are a great way to look your best in any deep V-neck gown,” Posada said.
Low-intensity: Do three sets of 10 reps each of chest push-ups, planks, simple ab crunches, lateral flexions and twists.
High-intensity: Do a 12-minute HIIT routine of simple burpees, reverse crunches, and pelvic raises with legs extended, with intervals of 30 seconds of exercise and 30 seconds of rest.
Working out and eating a well-balanced diet go hand-in-hand when it comes to getting fit for your wedding day and life beyond — whether you want to lose weight or gain weight or you like your self just the way you are.
“Since working out lasts 30 minutes to an hour a day and eating right is an all-day commitment, a good rule to follow is to focus on what you can eat, not what you can’t,” Rich said.
Here are some nutritional tips from Rich, Zocchi and Posada.
* Think of healthy eating as simply replacing your food choices with better options for your body, rather than cutting out foods you love.
* Stay hydrated with still water; carbonated water can cause bloating.
* Avoid processed foods. Eat nutrient-dense, whole foods that are good sources of minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants.
* Avoid inflammatory foods like trans fats, refined carbohydrates and artificial sweeteners.
* Eat anti-inflammatory foods, such as nuts (like almonds, walnuts, and pistachios), fruits (like blueberries, blackberries, dark cherries, kiwi and avocado), fatty fish (like salmon and tuna), and easy-to-digest grains (like quinoa and millet).
* Eat cooked and lightly steamed veggies, which are gentler on the digestive system than raw vegetables.
* Add anti-inflammatory spices to your dishes, such as turmeric, cinnamon, ginger and fennel seeds.
* Avoid foods and beverages that can cause bloating, such as alcoholic drinks, beans, legumes and dairy products.
* Avoid refined and raw sugars, including whole cane and brown sugar.
* Don’t get caught up in fad diets that aren’t sustainable. Find healthy foods that you enjoy eating.
* Eat five small meals a day to raise your metabolism.
* Eat your last meal three hours before you go to bed.