Fit bride, fat bride

How to find the perfect fitness routine to help shed those stubborn pounds
May 19, 2011 | By: Ashley Newport

It’s no secret that a wedding is stressful. For some brides, the wedding has to reach that elusive peak of perfection, a daunting expectation that too often ends in disappointment. Fortunately, a perfect wedding need not have thousands of exquisitely bloomed roses and pitch-perfect speeches, but only a confident bride who’s more focused on enjoying her special day than her waistline. And while no bride should feel the need to squeeze into a tiny dress to look “perfect,” some brides benefit from the boost a strong, fit body can provide, size notwithstanding. 

“We get a lot of brides this time of year,” says Burlington, Ont.-based personal trainer and owner of Hi End Fitness, John DePass. “Some want to lose five to 15 pounds, but those that come in six to eight months before the wedding may want to lose 30 or more.”

Hi End Fitness offers boot camp training, which is demanding (you need to do some form of training every day), but also effective. “Boot camp is a combination of strength and aerobic exercise,” says DePass. “It’s affordable and fun, and it helps keep you motivated and enthusiastic.”

Boot camp fitness can begin with a trainer assessing a person’s basic strength and fitness needs, and getting her started with aerobics, strength and core training. In DePass’ class, it’s all about intervals, which means a bride-to-be will mix cardio with weight and strength training during a one hour session.

“It pushes you beyond your ability to produce oxygen, meaning you can’t do [some exercises] for more than a minute,” says DePass. “You stimulate muscle, burn calories, and release hormones that are good for fat burning.”

Another popular fat-burning exercise is spinning, which involves riding an exercise bike at various speeds and resistance levels under the supervision of an instructor.  “Spinning elevates the heart rate and does so vigorously. All cardio is good,” insists DePass.

DePass also lauds the relationship between pre-wedding gym bunnies and the trainers and instructors they rely on. “There’s the benefit to being with a professional, because not everybody has the motivation to exercise for themselves. Being accountable to someone else is motivating, and instructors can pass that energy on.”

Another popular workout is Crossfit, which DePass says is similar in scope to a full-body boot camp routine. “It’s a workout that incorporates the largest muscle groups in a group setting with a motivating instructor,” he says. Brides interested in Crossfit can expect demanding strength training exercises — like dead lifts and dumbbell squats — that help build muscle.

For anyone wanting to tone up and lose weight, DePass insists that nutrition is a must. “How many calories someone needs is relevant to their body mass, but we usually recommend breaking calorie consumption into five small meals a day. The meals should have protein, carbs, good fats, fiber and vitamins and minerals. For weight loss, the total calories consumed need to be 10 to 20 per cent less than what you need to maintain your current weight.”

As for sticking to the pre-wedding plan, DePass says to be committed, but also lenient with yourself at least one day a week. “You should give yourself one day a week to relax, or you won’t make it to the wedding. Don’t start something that’s impossible to maintain. It’s impossible to be perfect.”

John DePass is owner of Hi End Fitness in Burlington, Ont.