Why weights matter
‘We tend to favour cardio for the burn and to sweat, but weight training has benefits you can’t find in aerobic work,’ says Jodie Tye, a personal trainer at London-based Frame, which offers bridal packages from £380 a month (moveyourframe.com/personal-training). Why? Because having more muscle mass increases your resting metabolic rate, meaning even if you’re not doing anything, you’re still burning calories. ‘There is a myth that weights will make you bulk up,’ she adds. ‘But women don’t have the testosterone profile for that to happen. Weights just build lean muscle.’
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Master THIS move: the squat
‘It’s a great compound movement that incorporates big muscle groups like your quads, but also works your core,’ says Jodie Tye. ‘It’s the best leg-shaper and bottom lifter there is.’ To squat: stand with feet hip-width apart, body upright, tummy in, shoulders relaxed. Squat, as if you’re going to sit on a chair that’s behind you. Keep your chest and head up. Raise your arms in front to counterbalance. Go as deep as you can, then squeeze your glutes to push yourself back up to standing. Aim for three sets of 10. Progress by holding a weight into your chest.
Flip your plank
‘This exercise is like a reverse plank and amazing for toning shoulders, back, bottom, core and backs of the arms – great if you have a strapless dress,’ says Pilates instructor Lizzie Davis (www.bodybylizziedavis.co.uk). ‘Start with 20 seconds or until you can no longer hold due to trembles. Add five seconds a day and do it twice a day.’
1. Sit with your legs together out in front of you, feet pointed. Place your palms by your hips, fingers forwards.
2. Inhale, press down into your palms and toes, and lift your hips towards the ceiling. You’re aiming to make a diagonal straight line from your toes to your head.
3. This is tough! It requires strength but also builds it – fast. The key is to keep your core strong and activated. Squeeze your glutes and thighs together. Keep the shoulders strong. Your neck should be in line with your spine, so you’ll be looking at the ceiling.
4. Hold this position as you would a plank. If you need to, relax down then come back up to hold again. If you want to sag, imagine there’s something sharp under your buttocks!
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The secret to so-works weight loss? Walking!
Working out three times a week is great – not so much if you’re office-bound the rest of the time. Upping your daily activity is an effective way to reap health and figure benefits (brisk walking burns around 260 calories in 30 minutes). There’s a reason activity trackers are the new friendship bracelet: they work. A survey by FitBit found users take 43% more steps than non-trackers. All those promises you made yourself about getting off the bus or Tube early and taking the stairs? Now they’re no brainers. We rate the FitBit Charge (£99.99; www.fitbit.com/uk), which tracks your steps, calories, distance, sleep and floors climbed.
Don’t drink your calories
‘If eliminating sugar entirely is a no go, then try not to drink empty calories until after the big day,’ says coach George Anderson. ‘Added sugar in soft drinks, syrupy lattes and fruit juices can be a source of insulin spiking, fat-storing calories. If you cut a soft drink and glass of juice a day, you’d save 60g of sugar.’ That’s nearly 1,700 calories a week before you get to alcohol…
Wine tastings and hen dos provide ample opportunity to say cheers. And the drinks you choose provide empty calories. Some suggestions if you don’t want to go teetotal: ditch sugary cocktails, beer and wine in favour of white spirits – gin, tequila, vodka with diet soda or diet tonic. Drink weekends and Wednesdays only – leaving you four days a week drink free!