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  • Writer's pictureSophisticated Weddings


Exhilaration: “I’ve dreamed of this day since I was a little girl.” Anticipation: “I can’t wait to be center stage, all eyes on me.” Apprehension: “Oh My God! All eyes are going to be on me!“

You’re getting married! You’ve picked out your dress. Bare shoulders and arms, sweetheart neckline, drop waist; it is perfection. This is “The Dress.” But wait. The pressure is on. You want to be perfection in the dress. You may start to ask yourself: “What can I do to make my body look striking in this dress? How can I have toned arms and shoulders? Can I look and feel my absolute best in this dress on the most special day of my life?”

The answer is yes… but you have work to do. Here’s how:

Be realistic. Look at your wedding dress and honestly assess your areas of concern. This will help you set goals for your first fitting. The time to start training is the day after you pick out your dress. The more time you allow yourself, the more pragmatic you can be in your approach. Your plan begins with assessing your body, including your weight, body fat percentage, and circumference of your upper arms, thighs, waist, hips, and chest. You will need to re-assess every four weeks to keep yourself on track.

Circuit Training. While each bride has unique goals for her wedding day transformation, the wish for a toned and taut body is universal. A technique that is tried and true for bringing the sexy back is circuit training. Pick three or four exercises per body part and perform them consecutively with little or no rest in between. After the last exercise in each group, perform one minute of cardio. If you don’t have access to a gym, you can do jumping jacks, run in place, or jump rope for your cardio. Repeat the circuit 3 times. Try to do your full body workout three times per week. On your “Active Rest” days you should perform 45 – 60 minutes of cardiovascular intervals. An example of this is two minutes of moderate intensity, followed by one-minute of high intensity for the duration of your workout. Intensity can be varied with speed (walk, run), incline (flat, elevated), position (sitting, standing), etc.

Shoulders. Three exercises to start with are side raises, front raises, and bent over rear deltoid raises. These can be performed with light weight (3-8lbs) for 8-12 reps. Start with your feet at shoulder width, knees slightly bent, abs tight, and arms at your sides with a very slight bend in the elbow. Raise your arms to the side (as if they were wings) until they are perpendicular to your torso at shoulder height. Lower slowly and repeat. Next, perform the same motion forwards, so your arms raise to perpendicular at shoulder height in front of your body. Finally, bend forward so your torso is parallel to the floor. Let your arms hang straight down with your palms facing behind you. Raise your arms out to the side (not behind you) until they are perpendicular to your body at shoulder height.

Arms. Nothing sculpts your arms like pushups and dips. If you are a beginner, perform modified pushups by lying face down with your legs bent at the knees and your palms flat on the floor at your sides. Keeping your body straight, press your hands into the floor and raise your whole body at once. For the more advanced, perform military style pushups with your toes on the floor. Tricep dips can be performed at home by placing a chair or bench against a wall so that it won’t move. Sit at the edge and extend your legs straight out in front of you with your heels on the floor. With your hands gripping the chair’s edge at your sides, lower your body off of the chair until your butt is six inches from the floor. Press your hands into the chair until your butt is once again level with the chair. Make sure you keep your back in light contact with the chair on the way up and down. As a finisher, grab 3-5lb dumbbells (if you don’t have dumbbells, use soup cans and increase the reps). Bend over at the waist with knees slightly bent, bend your arms to 90 degrees with your upper arms attached to your sides, push the dumbbells behind you until your arm is straight and parallel to the floor. Lower and repeat 12-15 times.

Personal Training. Your wedding is all about presentation. You hired a professional band, photographer, florist, caterer, etc. Why not seek the help of a professional trainer to sculpt your body into the sexy, confident bride you deserve to be? The body of your dreams, along with the man of your dreams, is not a five-hour rental. It stays with you (and your wedding portraits) for life. A little assistance with technique and motivation will go a long way, and a personal trainer could help you get there.

Mike Shaw is a Personal Trainer and the owner/founder of New York Personal Training. NYPT specializes in training Brides for their big day.

Central Park Photography: Ryan Brenizer

Model: Synthia Link Hair & Make-Up: Lisa Marie for Mis Alas Dress Provided By: Kleinfeld Styling By: Jessica Vargas Bouquet By: Ariston Floral Boutique Hair Products Provided By: Pantene Make-Up Products: per-fekt

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