So, you’ve got the ring, you’ve got the guy and now comes the wedding. Everyone is going to be looking at you. But not just you – the most beautiful version of you. The perfect dress, the perfect hair and the perfect shoes all can make you the most beautiful bride on your wedding day. But unless you’re confident about your body and the way you look in your wedding dress, you won’t be 100 percent happy. Those wedding pictures are expensive! Look your best in them with these simple tips on how to get healthy and fit before your big day.

Set Your Goal
No matter if you want to lose 15 or 20 pounds, or just want to tone up your arms to wear a strapless Reem Acra gown, you’ll need to set a goal. Start by thinking about your goal weight, your ideal body fat percentage and the things about your body you’d like to change, (i.e. slimmer thighs, more defined arms, stronger abs). Take a look at these things before setting your goal. Hudson Ellis, personal trainer and owner of Simply Fit, stresses setting a goal early. “Just like any other profession or project, the sooner you take control and set a goal, the better,” he says. The more time you have, the more likely it is that you’ll reach your goal.

Be Realistic
Being realistic when thinking about getting in shape is key. It is unlikely you’ll lose 10 pounds in a week but one or two pounds a week is definitely do-able and a lot healthier. A lot of what brides want to know is how fast they can lose the weight, Ellis says. But he insists that “each body responds differently” and it all depends on “how committed you are.”  Have realistic expectations when you step foot into a gym or on the track. It won’t happen overnight but with enough dedication, it will happen in time.

Create a deadline
Once a firm goal is in place, it’s a good idea to set a deadline, too, and not just the day of your wedding. By the time the wedding rolls around, you’ll be buried in flower designs, caterers and bridesmaid dresses. You’ll barely have time to think, let alone work out. Also, a few weeks before the wedding, you’ll need to have your final dress fitting and you’ll need to be your goal size by then. So, a good suggestion is to aim your deadline before the wedding and once you’re at your goal, keep moving and eating sensibly to maintain your progress. Most importantly, don’t stop eating. Brides tend to stress and forget to eat. Don’t let that be the reason you don’t fit into your dress after you’ve worked so hard. Set your deadline in stone.

Get Organized
Once you’ve set all the technical stuff into place, it’s time to get down to business and actually start doing it. But, should you choose a personal trainer, join a gym or go at it on your own? Ellis says that having a personal trainer takes the “guess work” out of getting in shape. “Having a set goal and having someone there to coach and facilitate you gets you to that level [your goal] a lot faster,” he says. “Also, having an investment in your goal and paying for what you’re getting helps to motivate you.” If you’re planning on either joining a gym or working out on your own, Ellis insists on being dedicated and simple in your routine. “I suggest more of a rifle approach, rather than a shotgun approach,” he says. “The more simple it is, the better it is to get done on your own.” He recommends a moderate exercise program like walking for 30 minutes for a solid two weeks and then evaluating your progress, all while drinking lots of water and staying away from fried food and sugar. Keep it simple, Bridezilla.

Set a Schedule
So, where should you start? Thirty minutes of cardio a day? An hour of yoga? Forty-five minutes of Pilates? All of the above? The possibilities are endless in choosing a workout schedule that will fit your lifestyle, all while meeting your deadline and reaching your goal. There are several ways to work out these days, so, which should you chose? Ellis recommends getting on the Internet and reading success stories from other brides to see how they did it. Setting a schedule is “the hardest part,” Ellis says.

Tip: For brides that come into his studio saying, “I just want to look good in my wedding dress,” Ellis recommends the following:

  • Two days a week (minimum) weight resistance training
  • Three days a week of cardio, upwards of 45 minutes a day

“That’s five days. There’s a commitment,” Ellis says.

Keep on Track
Through all your strength training and fitness schedules, it’s important to track your progress. Keep track of what you’re doing each day, exercise-wise Ellis says. “Progression is what you want,” he says. “Monitoring and keeping a journal can chart yours.” He also recommends keeping a food diary, writing down what you eat everyday. “When you start writing down your food intake, you start to see the problems,” says Ellis. Not only do you see the bad things you’re eating, he says, you see what you’re lacking in your diet like vegetables and protein. Even getting a nutritional consultant to look at your food diary could be very beneficial, Ellis says. “If they can take a look at what you’ve been eating for 3-5 days, they can really help you,” he says. Actually reading how you’re progressing each day can be a real motivator to get you where you want to be: looking better than your bridesmaids!
Getting fit and healthy before your wedding can be a huge task at first but with determination and the right steps, you can make it down the aisle looking fabulous in that gown of your dreams … and even more fabulous in that bikini on your honeymoon!