Brides want to look and feel ‘fit & fabulous’ for their big day including toned arms, glowing skin, and a confident posture showcasing a strong & sexy back. As I’ve mentioned countless times in previous blogs, there is no ‘one size fits all’ formula to getting Bride Fit, but there are workouts that will result in fat release and toned muscles for most. Keep in mind that what you eat is one of the main keys to success in achieving your ‘wedding dress ready’ body. Adding in more vegetables in a variety of colors, removing white/wheat flour and sugar products, eating more healthy fats and high quality protein is a great place to start. For more nutritional guidance look at previous blogs I wrote on more specific recommendations and get started on my Exceptional Bride on-line program today!
One of my mentors in the nutrition and fitness world, Ben Greenfield, wrote an article recommending some of the workouts I’m about to share. I didn’t include his whole plan but if you apply all or even parts of the workout schedule I am laying out you will be off and running to looking good naked in addition to ‘getting wedding dress ready.’
When you go on a ‘diet’ to ‘get skinny’ and only focus on calories ignoring the quality of food you eat may result in losing weight on the scale but ignoring nutrition will rob your body of valuable nutrients it needs to thrive. When it comes to having a Bride Fit body the goal is to have adequately low body fat to be ‘toned & cut’ but adequately high body fat to optimize hormones and fertility. You want enough cardiovascular fitness to be vibrant but not too much cardiovascular fitness that you’re depleted and feel exhausted. When reducing body fat it’s important take a healthy approach with your diet and exercise so in addition to looking amazing you will feel amazing!
In the article I refer to above there are references to multiple studies that support the workout recommendations, which fitness/nutrition geeks like me love to look up and read! I’m going to save you the time and simply lay it out for you.
- Start off each day before eating with a 10-30 minute light activity such as yoga movements and/or walking.
- One day per week do five 4 Minute Intense Intervals, including a full 4 Minute recovery in-between. At the gym use one of the cardio machines like a treadmill, elliptical, bike or stair climber, or if you like to run/walk you can perform outside. After warming up, turn up the intensity by increasing the level and effort for 4 minutes. This should feel very hard since you want to be working around 80-92% of your maximum heart rate. If you can carry on a conversation during this interval it means you are not working hard enough! Following the ‘work interval’ you will spend about 4 minutes recovering by lowing the intensity and bringing your heart rate down to level where you are able to talk, around 60-65%. After the first minute or two during the recovery you should feel comfortable. You will repeat this cycle 5 times; allow about 50 minutes for this workout, which includes warm-up time.
- Once per week do this 7-minute workout designed by researchers to maintain strength and muscle in as little time as possible. Each exercise below is performed for 30 seconds with a 10 second rest in-between:
- Jumping jacks
- Wall sits
- Running in place with high knees
- Pushups with rotation
- Side planks
- Four Tabata sets per week. Just one single four-minute Tabata protocol, which is 20 seconds of all-out effort, followed by 10 seconds of rest with a single exercise. Choose from movements like burpees, mountain climbers, jumping jacks, or air squats. You could also use a rowing machine, indoor or outdoor running, cycling, and kettlebell swings (my favorite). The important thing is to perform the 20 seconds in a full all-out effort, give it all you got!
- Workout with weights one to three days per week. There are different protocols and programs in weight lifting programs. Include a balance of upper body push exercises (overhead press), upper body pull exercises (pull up), lower body push exercises (squat), and lower body pull exercises (deadlift), is important for muscle balance. I recommend getting involved with a small group workout training or if your budget allows for a personal trainer.
QUICK NOTE: Your 4 minute Tabata workouts can be done after a weighted workout. It’s like a “finisher.”
If you have extra time add in an additional “sprint workout” or replace one of the Tabata workouts with this one; 30 seconds of all out effort followed by 4 minutes of rest. If you’re on a bike, for example, turn up the gear and pretend you are racing up a hill for 30 seconds (push it girl), then lower the gear and ride as if you were on a flat road cruising for 4 minutes. Repeat four to six times.
ADDITIONAL TIPS TO ACCELERATE FAT LOSS AND A BRIDE FIT BODY THAT LOOKS GOOD NAKED:
- Avoid frequent snacking.
- Save carbohydrate (starchy vegetables) intake for the end of the day.
- Stay mildly active all day with standing, walking and jumping jack breaks.
- Get a cooling vest for some cold thermogenesis benefits (use code BRIDE).
- Eliminate all carbs made with sugar or white/wheat flours.
- Walk for 15 minutes following lunch, dinner or both.
I hope this information inspires you to get moving! You don’t need hours of boring steady state cardio to release fat and get ‘wedding dress ready,’ interval training is the ticket to burn fat and also keeps the workout fun and challenging. One more suggestion is to workout with a heart rate monitor, this way you can see the heart rate zone you are working in and how quickly you recover. Don’t overspend on a fancy one; a basic monitor is all you need! I prefer the type that provides a band around your chest to monitor your heart rate because it responds instantly to changes in the beat, where the watch alone options aren’t as quick and I find annoying!
Here’s how to figure out your heart rate zones:
- Max Heart Rate. 220 minus your age equals your maximum heart rate. Example: 220-30 (your age)=190 (your maximum HR).
- Resting Heart Rate. Take your pulse before you get out of bed in the morning. I count mine for 30 seconds and multiply by 2. Do this for several days in a row to get an average.
- Heart-Rate Reserve. Subtract your resting heart rate you’re your maximum heart rate. Example: 190 (max HR)-60 (resting HR)= 130 (HR reserve).
- Heart–Rate Zones. Determine your heart rate zones from 60%-92%. Take your HR Reserve number and multiply .60 and .92 then add back in your resting HR to determine your heart rate range. Example: 130 (HR reserve) x .60 (60%)= 78 + 60 (resting HR)= 138. 130 (HR reserve) x .92 (92%) = 119.6 + 60= 179.6 (round up to 80). This would make your heart rate zones from 138 to 180. This isn’t written in stone but it’s a good guide. You also can determine 75% and 85% for specific heart rate training.
Let me know in the comments how you do with these workouts and if you enjoy adding heart rate training to your routines. Contact me with any questions or for a personalized program tailored to your specific Bride Fit goals. Looking forward to hearing from you, have a healthy week!
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- 1Last chance to get 60% off Sheila’s Exceptional Bride Program
- 2Use the Calculators to compute your heart rate zones.
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