If there’s one time in your life you want to look your absolute best it’s, naturally, your wedding—a day when there will be more photos taken of you than ever before. You’ll likely be looking back on these wedding photos for decades to come, so you might as well feel proud of the bod you’re flaunting.
Of course, a wedding workout is not as easy as lifting a few weights the day or two before your nuptials. As any fitness trainer will tell you, proper planning—often far in advance of your big day—is key to be in your desired shape on a specific date. “A lot workout time into your schedule and extra sleep so you can recover from working out is essential,” says Mark Jenkins, a celebrity trainer who has worked with the likes of Beyoncé, Mary J. Blige, Missy Elliott and Brandy.
If your pressed for time (and what bride or groom isn’t) intensity is what really matters. “Stay present as you train and really try to feel the exercise in the target muscle as opposed to just getting the workout over with,” Jenkins adds. “Rest only as long as it takes to recover and try to complete your workout 2 min shorter every time to train.” Bottom line: Challenge yourself but have fun and enjoy the process.
To help you get in tip-top shape for your big day, here are some tried-and-true wedding workout tips from America’s top trainers.
Incorporate strength training
Little else compares to strength training when it comes to getting a strong, toned body, according to Chris Ryan, C.S.C.S and founder of Chris Ryan Fitness. Some science 101 though: toning requires building muscle in order to burn fat. “The more muscle you can build the more fat you burn and the more toned you look,” he says. He recommends focusing your wedding workout on functional movements with a variety of resistances—kettlebells, dumbbells and resistance bands are some great tools, as well as your own body weight at challenging positions and angles.
Suspension trainers like TRX are awesome tools that put your body under various tension in a multitude of ways, but work your core and butt in nearly every movement one way or another, explains Ryan. “Easy functional movements like squat pulls, tricep extensions and bicep curls are great but also options like inverted pull-ups and single leg suspended squats are there if you're more advanced,” he says. “And remember, any movement can be made harder or easier with body positioning and keep the reps in the 10-15 range to make sure you are getting a great workout and that form on point.”