Getting ready for your wedding takes time and effort, and getting into shape is often one of the biggest concerns for brides. But rest assured, there is help for those who want it. Sarah O'Neill, resident personal trainer on Sky 1's sports quiz programme 'A League of their Own', also has her own bridal boot camp aimed at helping brides kickstart their pre-wedding training with a winning formula of exercise and healthy eating. We asked her for a few tips on how to get into shape before the big day...
What is your top tip for a bride-to-be who wants to get in
Don't leave it too late. Healthy weight loss takes time, about .5-2 pounds a week - crash dieting can leave you looking gaunt and feeling exhausted, plus it reduces your metabolic rate so your pile on those pounds right back on during your honeymoon. To properly lose weight you need to eat healthily and exercise.
A great strategy is setting yourself a sporting goal, such as the Runaway Bride event - it gives you something measurable to work towards (and running is a fabulous calorie burner).
Finally, vary your workouts and remember to include resistance training (such as hand weights, body weight exercises, barbells) in order to sculpt lean limbs, beautiful wedding arms and great abs for your honeymoon bikini.
What are the best tips for burning body fat?
Get moving! Cardiovascular training (like running, skipping, cycling, boxing and aerobics) will help you burn body fat. Engaging in regular resistance exercise at low weight (or body weight) and with lots of repetitions will create a lean appearance with no risk of bulk. Resistance training also increases the number of active muscle fibres which boosts your metabolic rate.
You also need to think about adapting your food choices and portion sizes. There is no need to cut out all your favourite foods during your engagement, just remember to balance them within a nutrient-rich diet - and remember hungry isn't healthy!
I'm exercising loads and trying to eat well but don't seem
to be losing weight? Why is this?
Chances are you're simply taking in more energy than you're burning. Exercise will increase your appetite and it's very tempting to indulge in treats and rewards on exercise days, but you need to ensure you're not 'over rewarding' your session.
Why is warming up important and what warm ups do you
Warming up prepares your body for exercise; elevating the heart rate and increasing blood flow to the muscles. A proper warm up will allow the heart and lungs to adapt to increasing demands, which in turn allows for a more successful session. Failing to warm up can increase your risk of injury - and no one wants to be hobbling down the aisle!
Warm ups should include mobility and pulse raising moves. Before running you should do mobility exercises, include ankle circles, heel flicks, knee lifts/hugs and trunk twists. It is important to gradually increase your pace from walking, to power walking, into a light jog and finally into your running tempo; this is much more effective than flying headlong into a run without preparing your body.
What key principles of nutrition should brides-to-be be
Avoid diets at all costs. Meal replacement bars/shakes or gimmicky nutrition meals for rapid weight loss tend to target your muscles and water supply. Loss of muscle does not make one look 'dainty,' it reduces your metabolic rate: hence you have to work harder to be thinner.
Think about eating more, not less. Try to eat 'naturally', avoiding processed foods and instead loading your plate with colourful vegetables or salad - this will provide you with a range of nutrients for glowing skin, vitality and will also fill you up. Vary your meals and get on top of meal planning, so you're not tempted to make poor choices or nip off for a takeaway! Have an armoury of snacks at your desk to ward off afternoon hunger pangs - vegetable sticks are perfect, as are rice or oat cakes, or measured portions of nuts/seeds. Remember, poor planning, especially for that 4pm slump, is best friend to the vending machine.
Finally, drink lots of water! This is again good for your skin, your metabolism and your energy levels.
Do I have to stop drinking to get the body I want?
Your engagement should be a time of celebration, and what better way to celebrate than with champagne? Don't become so fanatical about your wedding shape that you forget to enjoy your engagement.
That said, if you do have a weight loss goal in mind excessive alcohol could be a prime reason you're not achieving it. I know so many girls who wouldn't dream of eating two Mars Bars but would happily sink a bottle of wine - when really they have the same amount of calories. Opt for light spirits with low calorie mixers, tonic, soda and fresh lime, white wine spritzers or champagne as opposed to beers, lagers, mixed drinks, sugary or creamy cocktails or ciders.
For more details on Sarah O'Neill's bridal boot camp visit www.sarahoneill.co.uk - book before 31st
December to receive introductory offer price of £50 a day.
Sarah also runs week long luxury fitness holidays to Marbella,
prices start from £900 per person.
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