Get moving with these wedding workout pointers from certified fitness instructor and personal trainer Nikki Glor of Nikki Fitness.
1. Set goals that are realistic and specific, and having a set time period as your goal will help you stick to a new fitness regime. What better goal than to fit into your dress on the wedding day? Write down your plan of action for every day, week, etc. Make sure it is something you can measure and not just the end goal, but the milestones along the way. Start with a plan that you think you can accomplish or exceed. (Walking for 30 minutes at a time. Then running for 20 minutes and see how many times you have to stop and walk each time. Eventually work up to running for 30 minutes and so on.)
2. Figure out what your barriers to exercise and eating well are, and make a plan to conquer and avoid those specific barriers. Take each barrier or excuse and write down ways you can solve the problem.
3. Put one sneaker in front of the other. Many of us waste too much time saying we need to work out but dread the process. Trick yourself by just getting dressed for it and not really thinking about the next step. If you take it one step at a time, before you know it you will finish the cool-down and feel amazing.
4. Multitask your workouts! Cut your one hour workout into 30-minutes of multitasking toning moves (doing upper and lower body at the same time while involving the core) with cardio intervals to boost your metabolism and fat burn.
5. Invest in a gym membership, DVD or trainer if you don’t have one already, and use it. If you don’t have the money right now, buy an inexpensive workout DVD like my Beach Bride Destination Wedding Workout at nikkifitness.com or amazon.com.
6. Make yourself an upbeat iPod play-list or CD and dance around as you straighten up at home; find a hip-hop or African dance class at the gym; learn to bellydance at an adult education class or at the Y; plan a girls’ night out dancing. You can find a great list on my website.
7. Make active dates to see friends and family and do something that doesn’t involve eating and drinking. Walk through the park, go biking in summer, ice skate or cross country ski in winter, walk the mall, take a yoga or cardio class, or run on a treadmill right next to my friend.
8. Think of food as a fuel, not as a gift, which means passing on food that is high in fat and sugar, and taking HALF the portion everyone else heaps onto their plate at a party and packing up half your food in a restaurant in a doggy bag.
9. Follow the food pyramid daily, by focusing on whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean protein and calcium, not sweets and fats. Also, take a daily multi-vitamin. If you have to be at a restaurant, identify the 3 healthiest things on the menu and pick between those.
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10. Weigh yourself every week to remember your goals and feel good about the choices you made yesterday.
- Work larger muscle groups first. Larger muscle groups utilize more energy to train, so exercise those muscle groups first before you get tired.
- Save the abdominals for the end or your workout. Tiring your core in the beginning of the workout may lead you to compromise your forms when training other muscle groups.
- Schedule a regular time throughout the week for physical activity. Putting a workout time in your daily calendar helps avoid “I’ll do it later” syndrome.
- Start a daily fitness log! A log should record your workouts, both cardiovascular and strength training. Not only will it motivate you but it also tracks your progress over time.
- Start your own home gym for under $75. Simple things will get you results! Start with a set of free weights, a fitness ball, a mat and a good pair of sneakers.
- Pack a lunch! It will save you hundreds of calories!
- Park and walk. Park as far as you can from the entrance of the mall or grocery store. All those minutes of walking will add up at the end of the day.
- Start slow. Most beginners make the mistake of doing too much too soon. If you haven’t exercised in a while, start with a walking program for your cardiovascular activity and use light weights when strength training.
- If you don’t have 45 minutes to workout, break it down into three fifteen-minute sessions.
- Don’t forget the water! At least 8 glasses a day!
- Change up your cardio workouts, especially if you live with seasons. In the spring and summer, swim and bike. During the fall and winter, try jogging, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and ice skating. Cross training is the most effective way to burn calories.
- “No pain, no gain” is a myth. If you are in pain while exercising, STOP! Make sure your form is correct and you’re not using too much weight.
- You can’t spot reduce! Doing 500 crunches a day will not get you those six-pack abs. Great abs are a product of genetics and losing the layer of fat that covers them. Cardiovascular exercise is the best way to burn those unwanted fat cells away.
- Exercise alone cannot guarantee your ideal weight. Regular physical activity and a balanced diet are the most important factors for successful long-term weight management.
- Don’t forget the goal! Tape a picture of your wedding dress on the refrigerator. This will help motivate you when you just don’t feel like working out.
- Close the door and use your office as a gym. Get in a quick workout with triceps dips (using your chair), incline push-ups (use your desk), lunges, water bottle biceps curls and a few sets of crunches.
- Sign up for a run/walk event. There are some great ones for charity.
- Regular walking, house work and gardening for an hour a week has been shown to reduce heart disease and burn calories.
- Genetics plays a huge role in how your body responds to exercise. People don’t react to exercise the same way. Throw out those celebrity magazines and those picture-perfect bods!
- Exercise alone cannot guarantee your ideal weight loss. However, studies have shown regular exercise is the key to long-term weight management.
- You cannot “bulk up” from strength training. Women do not produce enough testosterone for this to happen. Strength training helps decrease your body fat percentage and maintain muscle mass.
- Make sure you take 10,000 steps everyday. The average sedentary person only takes 3,000 steps each day. Invest in a pedometer.
- Any activity is better that none!
- Keep your remote next to the television. Force yourself to get up to change the channel.
- Exercising 3-4 times a week will help relieve premenstrual cramps. Regular exercise will help strengthen the muscles in your lower back and abdominals area where cramping occurs.
- Be careful with sports drinks. They often contain high levels of sugar and salt. Water is great and has 0 calories!
- Hate a particular exercise? Don’t do it! Because you’ll only do what you enjoy, and in the end sabotage your workout.
- The best stress release? EXERCISE! Not only does exercise keep your anxiety down, it also raises your self esteem.
- Want to stop smoking? Exercise can help! When you exercise, your body releases endorphins. They lift your mood and help keep depression away.
- Give yourself some rewards. You lost 5 pounds? Great! Go treat yourself to a new sweater. 10 pounds? Wow! Now is the time to pick up those earrings you’ve been eying!
- Strengthen your core. Sit-ups and crunches will increase core strength.
- Buy shoes that fit. Shop for shoes at night or late in the day, as your feet expand over the course of the day.
- Don’t exercise when you are sick. Your body needs to heal itself. Don’t use those resources for a workout.
- When riding a stationary bike, practice riding one-legged. This forces you to ride more efficiently by concentrating on pulling up at the bottom of the stroke.
- Pay for personal training sessions up front. This ensures that you will not cancel sessions (as there usually is a cancellation policy).
- Stretch between sets. Research indicates it improves strength.
- Work out opposing muscle groups, i.e. quadriceps and hamstrings. You’ll get a faster workout with less time to rest.
- When you run, breath so that your belly rises as you inhale. This makes sure that your lungs are inflating with oxygen.
- If you’re a runner, shoes last about 500 miles. Record your weekly averages to determine how long your shoes will last.
- Start exercising today. Don’t wait until Monday!
- Enroll in a wellness program at work. Take advantage of anything your job provides.
- Bike to work and use the cash you save on gas to buy a new outfit!
- Need motivation? Take “before” photos of yourself and place them somewhere you look at every day.
- Try video games such as Nintendo Wii for a different kind of workout.
- There’s no such thing as a “magic pill.” Weight loss comes from exercise and a proper diet. Period!
- Change up your running route. Doing the same thing leads to boredom, which leads to doing nothing. Run in a new
neighbourhood, run on the beach, jog with a friend.
- Get inspired by reading about others who have been successful. There are tons of web sites and blogs that follow these stories.
- Make over your running routine. Add sprints and interval training into your run for efficient calorie burning.
- Keep your abs contracted while doing crunches. Most people lower their bodies to the ground while crunching. That’s doing half a crunch. Only lower your body 3-4 inches away from your bent knees.
- Hit the dance floor! Dancing is a great calorie burner and helps build cardiovascular endurance.
- Find a few great fitness DVDs. On a rainy day, you’ll have no excuse not to get a fun workout in!
- Get a dog. Yes, walking the dog 3-4 times a day is a great form of exercise!
Look fab on your honeymoon in that brand-new bikini with these moves!
Doing 500 crunches a day is not the way to get a stronger midsection—you need to strengthen the surrounding areas. Many people make the mistake of thinking it’s okay to work out their abs every day. The abdominals are muscles, and like all muscle groups, they need time to heal and repair after being worked.
Beginners: 1-2 sets of 10-12 repetitions per exercise
Intermediate/advanced: 2-3 sets of 10-12 repetitions per exercise
Exercise 1: Trade-offs
Targets: Most of your midsection
Equipment: Fitness ball and exercise mat
- Lie on the mat and place a fitness ball between your feet. Extend your legs toward the ceiling, squeezing the ball with the insides of your feet. Place your arms over your head.
- Slowly crunch up, reaching for the ball with your hands.
- Grab the ball with your hands and slowly bring it down behind your head, keeping your shoulder blades off the ground. Just before the ball touches the ground, contract your abdominals and reach back up with the ball, placing it between your feet.
- Slowly lower your arms and body back down, again keeping your shoulder blades off the ground.
- Repeat to complete the set.
Exercise 2: Right Arm/Left Leg Crunch
Targets: Upper abdominals and shoulders
Equipment: Set of dumbbells and exercise mat
- Lie on the floor with your legs extended, feet slightly apart. Place a light dumbbell in each hand and raise your arms over your head.
- Slowly crunch up, and bring your right arm and left leg up to meet each other. Once the dumbbell meets your left shin, slowly return to the starting position.
- Repeat the move, crunching up so that your left arm meets your right shin.
Targets: Abdominals and upper body
Equipment: Fitness ball and exercise mat
- Get into a push-up position and place your toes on the ball, keeping it behind you.
- Keeping your abdominals tight, pull the ball in toward your chest with your feet, then roll it back out.
- Slowly bend your elbows and lower your body to perform a push-up, making sure to keep your abdominal contracted.
- Repeat the combo move starting with the ab pull.
Exercise 4: Ball Pike
Targets: Abdominals and spine extensors
Equipment: Fitness ball and exercise mat
- Kneel behind a fitness ball, then put your body over the ball and walk your hands forward into a plank position. Your arms should be in line with your shoulders, shins on the ball, legs straight and feet together.
- Tighten your body, especially the core muscle groups.
- Contract your abdominals, flex at your hips and draw the ball under your torso, pulling with your legs and feet. Keep your legs as straight as possible. Focus on bringing your hips toward your ribs so as not to place too much weight on your shoulders.
- Slowly return to the starting position.
Targets: Upper and lower abdominals and obliques
Equipment: Fitness ball and one dumbbell
- Sit on a fitness ball and place your feet flat on floor. Roll forward until the ball is at your lower/middle back.
- Hold a light dumbbell at the end with your arms straight out in front of you.
- Lean back slowly, being careful not to go too far. Contract your abdominals.
- Twist your torso as far as you can to one side and then to the other side to complete a rep.
These ab and thigh exercises will have you getaway ready in no time!
Exercise 1: Side Lunge with Row
Targets: Quadriceps and upper back
Equipment: Set of dumbbells
Weight: Beginner: 5 lbs; Intermediate/Advanced: 5–8 lbs.
Hold a dumbbell in each hand, arms straight and palms facing inward. Lunge to the right, keeping your right knee over your toes. Bring the dumbbells to each side of your right foot. Lift your right dumbbell upward, keeping your elbow close to your body. Your elbow should be pointing towards ceiling. Return to the starting position and repeat on the left side.
Equipment: Stability ball
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart facing away from a wall. Place a stability ball between your back and the wall, then walk your feet about one foot forward. Slowly squat down, rolling the ball with you, abs contracted by pulling your navel to your spine and back straight, until your thighs are parallel with the floor. Pause, then stand up.
Beginner: 1–2 sets, 12 reps; Intermediate/Advanced: 2–3 sets, 12 reps
Exercise 3: Hamstring Curls with Fitness Ball
Targets: Hamstrings and core (abdominals and lower back)
Equipment: Stability ball and exercise mat
Lie face up on the mat with the stability ball under your heels, legs extended, arms by your sides. Pull your navel to your spine and slowly lift your hips off the floor, forming a diagonal line from shoulders to feet. Keeping your body still, pull the ball closer to you with your heels, then roll it back to the starting position.
Beginning: 1–2 sets, 12 reps; Intermediate/Advanced: 2–3 sets, 12 reps
No, it’s not impossible. You can fall in love with exercise instead of having that dreaded feeling every time you lace up your sneakers. The trick to falling in love with fitness is finding something you love to do, and trying new things because you may discover a dormant passion for line dancing, snow shoeing, or even something as exotic as fencing. It’s time to uncover your inner athlete and fall in love all over again!
Balls, Bosu and Barrels – If you were the kid who was always climbing the monkey bars and ropes at the park, you’ll have tons of fun getting fit with these fitness tools. Exercise balls can be used for all kinds of abdominal exercises, a Bosu is a neat device for balance training and core stability exercises, and you can use a small barrel for practicing Pilates – all in the comfort of your own home. So next time your at the park with your kids, they’ll be chasing you on the monkey bars!
Square Dancing – This energetic style of dance may look strange to you – but it’s great exercise – and great fun! This folk dancing tradition has existed in Canada for hundreds of years and has maintained its popularity as a social activity often deemed “friendship set to music.” Now this form of dance is even more popular as people are doh-si-dohing their way to being fit! Don’t knock IT before you try it! You may forget you’re getting fit because you’re having so much fun!
Snowshoeing – Snowshoes are thousands of years old, and Native Canadians used to use snowshoes as a form of transport. Only in the last century has snowshoeing become a recreational sport. Now, Canadians across the country are strapping on their snowshoes and heading for the trails to spend some time outdoors, at one with nature, while boosting cardiovascular fitness and toning their backsides. Today’s modern snowshoes are typically lightweight, aluminum frames with fabric decks and strap bindings as opposed to the classic bent-wood frames crisscrossed with rawhide strips. In recent years, many celebrities have talked about the physical benefits of snowshoeing, especially when it comes to toning your glutes and quads.
Snowshoes are inexpensive compared to skis and snowboards, and snowshoeing is not a difficult sport, but don’t let that fool you into thinking you are not getting a good workout. Using poles, whether specially designed for snowshoeing or made for cross-country skiing, they will help you maintain balance and give your upper body a good workout too, especially when you’re doing some intense climbing.
Buddy Up! – It’s no secret that having a fitness buddy helps get you going. Let’s face it, when your doorbell rings at 6 a.m., you’re not going to hide under the covers and ignore your buddy. Or, when your work buddy grabs you for your daily lunchtime power walk, you’re less likely to sit at your desk and graze. A workout buddy provides a little extra incentive to get you going, and a little less response time to say no to exercise!
Feel Good in Fun Clothes! – Remember the old adage about how when you look good, you feel better? This goes for the gym too. If you buy yourself some fun fitness clothes that you feel good in, you are more likely to have more confidence in yourself and as a result, push yourself harder at the gym. Stores like Winners and The Bay offer great deals on workout clothes that are able to stand up to any fitness test. Remember, if you look the part, you’re more likely to feel the part!
Bring the Outdoors Inside – So what if the temperature is way below zero and the wind chill is making you shake like a leaf. Quit lamenting warm days gone by, and bring your beloved outdoor sports indoors. Shed all your layers, and find an indoor rollerblading rink, grab your tennis partner and hit your local tennis club, climb the rock wall at your local YMCA, hit a spinning class, or throw on your bathing suit and swim laps at your local pool. Create your own warmth, and you won’t be missing those days any
Position Yourself Properly – Sometimes watching others can give you just the boost you need to get going at the gym. Look around you and position yourself next to someone who inspires you and watch yourself take off! You’ll soon be running to keep up with them…
Take Your Toddler With You- Most mothers never know when they’ll be able to squeeze in a little exercise time while running their kids around all day. Nowadays, many gyms have daycares, but if you don’t want to leave your children, you can exercise with them! Of course, you can run around outside all together, play in the snow, and build snowmen. But, if it’s too cold, why not try a kid-friendly Pilates video? Most companies which sell Pilates videos have kid-friendly ones too. Your kids will have a blast getting fit with you while trying all those fun exercises!