Every bride and groom wants to look their best on their wedding day. But many engaged couples don’t have months to formulate a long-range diet and exercise plan (or, whoops, forgot). If you’re short on time—as in, your wedding is in a matter of weeks—but want to put your best bod forward, don’t panic: There are still some totally doable steps you can take. Read on for tips from some of Charlottesville’s top fitness experts for last-minute ways to slim down, tone up and look smokin’ hot by the time you’re standing at the altar.
Clean up your act.
Magen Caplinger, director of personal training at ACAC’s downtown location, says that “diet is 80 percent of the challenge.” She encourages brides and grooms to “consume lots of high-quality food like fruits, veggies and proteins and limit sugar intake.”
Dar Malecki, owner of MADabolic Charlottesville, agrees. “If someone has a few weeks and just wants to drop a few pounds…I would recommend a change in their nutrition immediately.” For a noticeable change within four weeks, Malecki advises folks “to ‘clean’ up their eating habits. To me, that would be to cut out all processed foods, sugars, dairy, alcohol and grains.”
Focused exercise is a part of every expert’s advice. As Malecki says, “Couple your clean eating with workouts, and the results will happen in those few short weeks.”
Deborah Barry, an instructor at Hot Yoga Charlottesville, advises brides and grooms to hit the yoga mat “for a good sweat between three and five days per week.” Coupled with a two-week whole foods detox, this plan helps “tone up and shed inflammation.”
McKinley Lee, a Pure Barre teacher, recommends the studio’s Classic barre class, which uses your body’s resistance to strengthen, tone and increase endurance and balance, as a “fun, efficient and effective way to feel confident both physically and mentally before your big day.” Lee reports visible changes within eight to 10 classes, and encourages clients “to take class at least three to four times per week to really maximize results.”
Barry recommends drinking lemon water “all day long,” and Caplinger suggests intaking at least half your body weight in ounces. Drinking lots of water not only helps you differentiate between hunger and thirst, but being properly hydrated also helps your skin look nice. Says OrangeTheory instructor Emily MacDonnell, “Hello, wedding-day glow!”
Vary your workout.
When it comes to both diet and exercise, quality is more important than quantity. In other words, you don’t need hours of activity, just focused work. Caplinger recommends combining cardio and strength exercises in a circuit-style workout with bouts of high intensity.
Lee praises Pure Barre’s technique, which uses small, isometric muscle contractions to target specific muscle groups—arms, thighs, seat and abs—as a great way to fast-track definition in those body parts most on display on your wedding day.
Experts also recommend keeping stress levels as low as possible, which includes remembering the importance of good nutrition when feeling overwhelmed. “Eat the right foods, but eat!” says MacDonnell. “It’s tempting to want to skip meals when the big day is getting closer… But not eating will actually slow your metabolism and cause cravings for high-fat and high-carb foods.”
So there you have it: With some clean eating, a few focused workouts per week and lots of water, your altar-ready fitness goals can still be achieved. But remember: How you look is by no means what you should be sweating during this incredible occasion. After all, as Barry reminds all brides and grooms, “the important thing is that you end up married at the end of the day.”