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Wedding boot camp
— By Jim Cornelius —

He asked and she said yes. Now there's a million things to do: book the site; design a ceremony, find a photographer; choose the dress... And get into shape to fit into that dress.

Boxing BrideEverybody wants to look their best for their wedding day. Sisters trainers offer some dos and don'ts for your wedding boot camp.

• Set realistic expectations. If you couldn't fit into a size 6 in high school, don't expect to be able to do it now. Guys, if you bear more resemblance to Jack Black than to Lance Armstrong, you're probably not going to be able to get into Tour d'France shape before the honeymoon.

Set goals that you can expect to meet with a sustainable level of commitment. Remember, you are going to be very busy. You probably can't make it to the gym six days a week, but you can make it three days.

Your goal should be to look and feel as good as you can before the wedding and to sustain your good health and fitness into your marriage.

• Don't crash diet. There's a huge temptation to try to get extra pounds off as fast as possible, but extreme dieting is not the solution.

“That's the worst thing you can do,” said Jesse McFarland, a strength and conditioning trainer at Sisters Athletic Club. “It's never healthy to lose weight too fast.”

Sue Coxen of Cascade Fitness explains why: "What they're doing is shutting down their metabolism,” she said. “You have to eat to lose weight. (People) don't understand that.”
The key is eating right. Ask your trainer to help you design a diet plan that includes the right foods in the right amounts — and one that works with your busy pre-wedding schedule.

• Give yourself time. If you need to drop 10 to 20 pounds to look and feel your best on your wedding day, you're going to have to give yourself time.

“If their wedding is six months out, we can probably do a lot of what they want,” Coxen said.

“Even six months is kind of rapid,” said McFarland.

If you're just getting started with a fitness program or coming back after a long layoff, you'll need some time to get a base layer of fitness established so you can work up to more intense workouts safely.

If your wedding date is a year away, hit the gym now — and stick with it.

“The main thing is their commitment,” said Coxen. “The gym is only as good as your dedication.”

Work out efficiently. Time is at a premium as you organize all the details of the big event, so you need to make the most out of your gym time. That means hours on a treadmill or stairclimber just won't cut it.

McFarland likes to combine strength training and cardiovascular workouts.

“It's kind of like circuit training,” he said. “You just go from one exercise to another with very little rest time. The main thing is, you're burning a lot of calories; your heart rate is up. You're doing strength training, so you're building lean body mass.”

Coxen combines weights and cardio with an eating plan — and she advises her clients to stay away from the scale. Losing inches is more important than droppng pounds.

“They've got to trust their trainer,” she said. “Forget the scale; let's look at the tape.”

The bride is often more “trainable” than the groom. Women are willing to do circuit training, while McFarland says “it's really hard to get men to do that kind of stuff.”

Men often want to focus on the “glamour muscles,” doing bench presses and curls to build chest and biceps.

McFarland has bad news for guys who think that's going to make them look good naked:
“Overall body change? Not much at all. If they had a beer belly when they started it, they'll have a beer belly when they're done.”

Work with a trainer. A good trainer will help you get the most out of your precious workout time. He or she can help you work smart as well as hard, and a commitment to a trainer can keep you motivated when all you want to do is go home and flop down on the couch.

If you are new to the gym, a trainer can make sure you stay safe and injury free.

The benefits of getting in shape can last well beyond looking radiant on your wedding day. A newfound dedication to keeping fit and eating right will serve you well way past the honeymoon and through a long, healthy and happy marriage.

• Click here to visit our directory of Personal Trainers and Athletic Clubs.

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