Sweating for the Wedding: Pre-Wedding Workouts to Try

Written by Janell Hickman
Photo: Keepsake Memories Photography

When it comes to planning for your wedding day, a key component is looking and feeling your best. However, it you weren’t super-committed to fitness in the first place, it can be both intimidating (not to mention overwhelming) to create an entirely new routine from scratch. The biggest debate? When to start sweating to truly see results.

“I always suggest that brides start working out at least six months before their wedding day,” explains celebrity trainer and creator of FitMatch, Ngo Okafor. “Being married myself, I know that the process of planning and preparing for a wedding can be extremely stressful. Brides sometimes get sick and break down along the way, due to the stress,” he explains. Beyond lessening the pressure of a short time frame, working out is a great stress reliever—and a win-win for you.

Personal fitness trainer and creator of L.A. Bride Body, Jill Penfold recommends completing your workouts when you feel most productive. “Some people like to workout first thing in the morning to boost their metabolism, some like to do it during their lunch break, some after work—It's really a personal choice. I would always recommend first thing in the morning,” she explains. “It kickstarts your calorie burning earlier on and you’ll keep burning fat long after your training session.”

Below, these two experts breakdown a few pre-wedding workouts you can put into practice ASAP to get your best bridal body yet.

Overall Tone

“For brides who don't want to get too muscular or too toned, I would suggest keeping the weights on the lighter side but keeping the repetitions higher, between 15-20 repetitions,” says Okafor. “I would also suggest circuit training, made up of strengthening exercises with cardio bursts mixed in.”
TRY: A push-up, followed by a dumbbell row, crunches and the 60 seconds of high-knees. Perform this set back-to-back, with rest periods of no longer than 90 seconds between exercises. “Circuit training also keeps the heart rate up and burns more calories than traditional weight training,” explains Okafor.

Arms

“Curls and kickbacks are my two go-to exercises for gorgeous arms,” says Penfold. “This should be paired with two other moves that work the same muscles group to get the tone everyone wants.”
TRY: 12-15 reps of each for four sets. Use light weights, no heavier than 5-lbs dumbbells.

Stomach and Core

“It is important to do ab exercises in order to build lean muscle in your core, but it is more important to burn the fat covering the muscles in the abs, so that you can show off that sexy stomach,” Ngo reminds us. “The best way to burn this belly fat is by combining ab exercises that build and tone ab muscles with quick cardio bursts.”
TRY: Cardio-abs combos, such as crunches, flutter kicks and plank dips, perform 20 reps of each exercise back-to-back. Then, do a 60-second “cardio burst” like high knees right afterwards. Ngo calls this a “calorie incinerator” because your heart rate is up while building lean muscle in the abs.

Glutes and Legs

“Curtsey lunge and Sumo squats will light your butt on fire,” says Penfold. “I have a full butt circuit that I have my brides-to-be complete almost once a week. The glutes are our biggest muscle and they needs to get strong and stay strong!”
TRY: Ngo suggests three rounds of leg extensions (15 reps on each leg), leg curls (15 reps on each leg), stationary lunges (15 reps on each leg) , donkey kicks (20 reps on each leg), and jumping jacks (30 seconds).

Back and Shoulders

“The best exercises to tone/strengthen the back and shoulders are overhead dumbbell presses, lateral raise into front raise, reverse flyes, and dumbbell bent over rows.”
TRY: Complete circuit this three times: overhead dumbbell presses (15 reps), lateral raises (15 reps), reverse flyes (15 reps), and dumbbell bent over row (15 reps).