As Director of Training Services at Performance Health & Fitness, I get a lot of one-on-one time with our members and love hearing everyone’s unique situations, and individual health and fitness goals. We train a lot of young couples and find tremendous joy in the excitement they bring to training – because they have such an exciting life event they’re looking forward to. What better time to get in the best shape of your life, than when you’re preparing for your dream wedding that you’ve been imagining since you were little! I get a wide range of wedding fitness related questions, but these are the top 5, along with what I tell all of our personal training clients. If wedding bells are in your future, congratulations! Enjoy your engagement, and enjoy your fitness journey – it will go by in the blink of an eye.

Question #1: I want to tone my arms to look my best in my strapless dress, what are the best exercises to achieve that?

Ladies, ladies! The best way to achieve toned arms is to incorporate consistent strength training. Don’t hit the cardio machines in hopes that you will shed the fat and your muscles will suddenly appear. In order to firm up and increase lean muscle tissue, we need to hit the weights. Great exercises for the upper body are push-ups (stick to the typical movement or check out this article on 13 simple ways to amp them up), single-arm rows, tricep press-downs, bicep curls and my favorite, lateral raises. Remember to workout at your fitness level which means that the last two repetitions of each set should be difficult for you to complete.

Question #2: I have 6 weeks before my wedding and I am freaking out, can I still achieve my goals?

Of course you can! If you are in a time crunch the best workouts are going to be HIIT exercises (high-intensity interval training) mixed with strength training. HIIT workouts are going to maximize the time that you have and help you burn more calories. By working out in spurts of 80-100% of your max output it will require more energy in a shorter time frame when working in a time crunch. Mixing this method with regular strength training will help you become a fat burning machine all day long while increasing your metabolism. At Performance Health & Fitness, our Bridal Boot Camp program is the perfect compliment to looking and feeling your best in time for your dream wedding. These sessions are taught by an ACSM Certified Personal Trainer, and participants receive before and after fitness assessments (including body measurements) plus report after each 6-week session. That, coupled with an amazing team atmosphere is the perfect way to keep you motivated and hold you accountable to your wedding fitness goals.

Question #3: I just got engaged and want to look my best for my wedding, how much time will I need to achieve my goals?

The more time that you have before your wedding the better. It takes more time to change your body composition than to put on the body fat and is a very gradual process. By giving yourself the most time it will decrease the stress and allow you to enjoy the process. If you are consistent with strength training and cardio there is no reason why you shouldn’t see the results you are looking for. It’s healthy to lose about 1-2 lbs a week so depending on how much you are looking to lose will determine the time needed. Hopefully this tidbit can help you build a schedule in order to reach your goals before the big day.

Question #4: I have tried all kinds of nutrition plans, what is the best way to eat and achieve my goals?

Hold yourself accountable by logging your food or seeing a dietician once a month to keep you on track. Everyone is different and responds to nutrition differently so in order to make the best decision for you it may be helpful to see a professional. Crash diets and nutrition plans that cut out essential nutrients can increase your chances of getting sick and can be a very unpleasant process to go through. Don’t cut things out that your body needs because unfortunately, that makes you hold on to the stubborn body fat rather than getting taking it off – which is the opposite of what you are trying to achieve. Generally, the best nutrition plans are based on whole foods, balanced meals and drinking water. Limiting your intake of sugar, alcohol, and salt will help you lose more in a time crunch. But remember, you can still indulge in foods that might not be necessarily healthy once in a while as the rule of thumb is 80/20.

Question #5: I am not able to get to a gym 3x’s a week, are there any workouts that you would recommend that I could do at home?

Easy things to do at home are going to be ab workouts and cardio because they generally don’t require equipment to complete. If you are limited in the gym I would recommend that you hit the weights in order to build that lean muscle tissue then you can leave the other workouts to complete at home when you have the time available. Especially with the weather is nicer outside it’s easy to go out for a walk or run for 30 mins to an hour rather than heading to the gym.

A huge thank you goes out to Performance member and instructor, Emily Crall, who has generously provided this stunning featured photo. Follow her on Instagram @emilycrall and Facebook @emilycrallphotography.