Wedding planning perfect time to get fit

There is simply no better time to get into shape than before a wedding.

The stars are aligned. The happy couple are highly motivated. Mom and dad are on board. Your closest friends are inspired and supportive. Perfect!

So, mom goes on a grapefruit diet and you spend half of your week chained to a treadmill. Maybe not the best approach.

Take this opportunity to establish some real life-changing strategies and tighten up for your big day.

These helpful hints can get you started.

Rally your support team. One of the biggest reasons people are unable to lose weight is because they don’t have an extended support system in place to help them along the way. This may be the only time in your life when you are surrounded by a highly motivated cheerleading team, 24/7. Not only do people want to support you in your fitness goals but many of them share the same goals and timelines.

Map out your strategy. Sit down with your wedding team and discuss goals, timelines and outcomes. Sounds a little clinical but establishing a clear plan with measurable steps heightens accountability and produces better results. As they say, what gets measured gets done.

Hire a coach. With your team in place, you need a coach to motivate, course correct and hold you accountable. A good trainer will also clear the fog of misinformation so that you are making the best use of time and effort.

Consider parlaying a wedding gift into a training package for your party. Budget two to three sessions per week for the best results. Most trainers offer special rates for couples and groups.

Don’t spin your wheels. Most people in the gym are performing low level or steady state exercise to lose weight. Big mistake! In fact, according to the Journal of Obesity, steady state exercise may actually be counterproductive. Women who performed in 20-minute intervals, three times per week on stationary bikes (sprint for eight seconds/rest for 12 seconds/repeat) had a 9.5 per cent decrease in abdominal fat while those pedalling for 40 minutes at a low pace didn’t lose any weight – in fact they gained 10.6 pounds! Needless to say, researchers were a little baffled.

Again, a good coach will keep you operating on all cylinders, often working out 30 per cent to 50 per cent harder that you would do on your own. This translates into significant results.

Muscle magic. If your course of action only involves hours on the cross trainer, you may be burning muscle. Without resistance training, its common to lose muscle when losing weight. The answer is a combination of targeted weight training and adequate protein. Weight training will tighten, tone and rev your metabolism. Protein will feed your muscle and keep you full – especially during periods when you are restricting calorie intake.

Count your calories. There are several tools and apps available to help track your eating. Treat each meal as a source of energy instead of entertainment – at least until you hit the all inclusive. Try to reduce processed foods and sugar while increasing fresh vegetables and lean protein. Make sure you have enough energy for your workout. A light snack 60 to 90 minutes prior to exercise will help. Try to reduce alcohol consumption until the big day. Alcohol packs on the calories and tells your brain its OK to snack.

Start early. The more time you give yourself, the better. Time allows you to make the necessary adjustments to keep things moving forward. Sure, you can see great results in a few months. But are they the results you want? The shorter the timeline, the harder you will have to work. If possible, give yourself a good six months in order to really see a difference.

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