The Final Stretch: How I Got Fit For My Wedding
My wedding was almost exactly a year after the day my husband proposed. I was a laid back, breezy bride for exactly two engagement ring-wearing days before I realized how little time a year can be when you’re in wedding planning mode. Between deciding our venue, vendors, and everything else, I’ll admit that while getting into shape for my wedding was a priority, it wasn’t that pressing for me because I didn’t need to book it at least nine months in advance. Here’s the other thing… I kind of HATE working out. It’s just not my thing. And while I wouldn’t say I had a tremendous amount of weight to lose, I did aspire to see a slimmer, toner version of myself, especially because the dress I fell in love with was a strapless number best complemented by toned arms and shoulders. So as time went on, my dream for a leaner, tighter bod sat lazily on the backburner. In eight months, I went to two whole spin classes. Needless to say, I was burning more calories with stress than I was working out (I wish!).
I think the thing that made working out so difficult for me is, it’s so tough to stay motivated. I’m the kind of person that needs some instruction, but I felt like I also needed an end goal; defined targets on a concentrated timeline was definitely my best shot at success. Basically, I wanted to see progress on a finite schedule similar to the way my caterer wanted to get paid. I shared this with a friend at my office, and she invited me to try out the E2M 8-Week Challenge with her.
When I signed up with E2M, I was only really doing so because I felt like I had little time left to achieve my dream bod, and doing it with a co-worker would help hold me accountable. What ultimately happened though, I never saw coming: I became that person that actually looked forward to working out.
The 8-Week Challenge
The fact that E2M’s program is a short sprint of only eight weeks not only appealed to my timeline needs as a bride-to-be, but it also helped me make the most of the program because I could see the finish line. So I was able to remind my anti-fitness self that it wasn’t forever. It just so happens that it wasn’t working out I hated; I just hadn’t found the right program until I joined E2M.
E2M Fitness is a virtual group weight loss-based program that runs in 8-week segments, and provides you with a workout and meal plan that changes weekly. It is designed for all fitness levels, even novices like me, and can be done at home or in the gym, on any schedule. The meal plan is supplement-free (which I appreciated, since that’s not really my thing), and consists of whole food options to choose from to create each of the meals. Every week of the program, there’s live cooking classes from two chefs to help with meal ideas for the week. I found this to be particularly helpful for finding flavorful inspiration (and I tend to be a picky eater), and my friend Stacey from work was able to get ideas suited to her vegan diet.
I followed all of the live recorded workouts through E2M’s private Facebook group, which quickly became my own little hub of community and support. Workouts are generally only 35-60 minutes long, which fits nicely into my chaotic schedule, and they’re easy to do in my NYC apartment, although sometimes I’d switch it up and stream it from my building’s gym. Some mornings I would hit up a Zumba workout to get my juices flowing, while on other evenings I found myself doing an array of exercises like HIIT cardio or step aerobics. Every evening, I made sure to tune in for live nightly talks from E2M’s founder, Jeff, who offered encouragement and motivation (trust me, the pep talk makes a huge difference). E2M suggests working out six days per week for best results, but five out of eight weeks, I actually managed to fit them in seven days per week because they were just so fun, and frankly, a wonderful stress reliever amidst all the craze leading up to the big day. During one of those weeks, I had to travel for work, and still managed to do a full seven days without any hiccup!
One of the things I love about this program is that it’s just the right amount of intensity without the insanity. I was still allowed to eat carbs, drink alcohol, and enjoy my life. It’s not strictly keto, and doesn’t really have any restrictions that made it feel like I was missing out. It just allowed me to be me, while captivating my interest (I was always eager to find out what was the plan for the next week). After the first two weeks, I noticed a boost to my mood and energy levels. By week four, my pants were feeling loose. In my seventh week, my friends were pointing out the definition in my upper arms and shoulders. After the program was done, my seamstress was pretty impressed with my transformation - she said she hears a lot of intent, but rarely sees this much improvement between fittings.
I had initially gone into this program because it was only eight weeks, but by the end, I was kind of bummed that it was only eight weeks. Fortunately, it wasn’t long before the next round of the program (which I was invited to join at no additional cost), and better yet, I had a new workout buddy: my new hubby!