By Alicia Capellan
For the past 6 years in the fitness industry, I have had over 20 brides come to me for guidance. When we think of brides wanting help a few months or week prior to their wedding date, we stereotypically place them in a category for weight loss for their dream dress to fit them the way they want it to. There is actually more to it than that. As years gone by I have created a strategy to help my brides to be more successful but even more importantly... CONFIDENT! Confidence is key to handling pre-wedding date stress. Before the wedding happens, it is a whirlwind of appointments, bookings, decisions, dealing with family, guests, wedding party, and the list goes on.
Here are a few summaries from my brides to be from the past and current, with their experiences with training during their count down to the wedding dates.
Amanda Izzi is a good friend that I met back in 2012, she wrote:
"After feeling lost at Gold’s Gym for months, I knew I wanted to try something different to get into shape in the months leading up to my wedding. Eric proposed to me in September of 2011 and we began to plan a July wedding. As the fall slipped away into winter, I still didn’t have a good direction on the fitness front. My soon to be brother-in-law was working out with a personal trainer and recommended I try something similar. (Ok, he literally called me from the gym and handed the phone off to Alicia so that I made the appointment). It was a huge change from what I had been doing at Gold’s, and I loved it!
Before switching to the gym, I had swum for fitness. I was a member of the EP Masters program and was still swimming competitively for the RI Masters organization. Then, the pool at East Providence High School began to break down more often. Regular practices were happening less and less frequently and the community of people I depended on to push me moved on to different locations. I joined Gold’s Gym in North Providence with Eric, but I never felt comfortable in that gym atmosphere. I usually ended up on a treadmill or elliptical machine because I either didn’t know what to do, or where to start and felt intimidated and lost in their weight room.
At the new gym, having two days a week dedicated to working out under Alicia’s guidance, helped immensely. Not only was I in better shape than I had been in years, it was a much more well rounded fitness. I felt more confident that I could use the different machines at the gym as well as the free weights. The routine and workouts also helped with the stress of wedding planning. In some ways, it was similar to what I had liked about Masters swimming. When I came in Alicia already had a clear plan towards my goals. I always knew that I could talk to Alicia about my progress and fitness goals, not only for my wedding, but also making it a permanent lifestyle. I enjoyed this new fitness routine so much that I stuck with it after Eric and I got back from our honeymoon. Three years later, I have made fitness a permanent part of my everyday routine and still workout with Alicia either individually in a small group or in a fitness class.
My advice to future brides is to make time to get into a workout routine. Give yourself several months to get use to this new routine. It will be challenging at first, but it is well worth the time and effort. For example, I was able to take on the wedding planning more easily and found myself less stressed out than other brides. In addition, physically, I found that I always felt better after I had worked out. I wouldn’t advise taking on a new job, house hunting, and wedding planning at the same time as I did though, it’s too much! None-the-less, the fitness routine Alicia created for me, helped me juggle these two major life-changing events, with relative ease."
Courtney Lacerda getting married October 2015 wrote:
"I decided that I needed to get a handle on my fitness and overall well being right after we got engaged (9/6/14). I knew that I had about a year to get back into the shape I wanted to be in and I knew I could do it with the right support system. I decided that I would start doing small groups with Alicia, because I knew I needed to have some specialized workouts that were tailored to me and that would help me to accomplish my goals in the year time frame I gave myself. I also knew it would be beneficial to have a small group both for the attention and the accountability it would foster. I knew that I'd receive specialized attention in the group to make sure I was doing exactly what I was supposed to be doing, the way I was supposed to be doing it. I also realized it would offer yet another layer of accountability to make sure I made it to the gym. It was important to me to have a game plan set up with ample time to reach my goals. I knew there would be bumps in the road and I wanted to have plenty of time to overcome those.
I figured wedding planning would be stressful enough and I didn't want my fitness to be another thing that added to my stress level rather than being a stress reliever. Therefore, giving myself a year to work on my nutrition and my fitness routine, seemed like the most sensible way to make lasting changes and accomplish my goals realistically without putting added pressure on myself. I chose Alicia, because I knew she had all the skills, both in fitness and in nutrition, that I needed in a trainer to guide me through this journey. I saw that she had helped many other brides transform themselves, so I was confident that she would be able to help me too.
I found that when I had my small groups the exercises that were chosen were all deliberately selected to ensure that I was being able to work on all the areas I needed to work on to reach my goals. In the beginning I needed to work on my endurance and lose inches. Alicia was able to help me with that between our small groups and the Drop 2 Jeans Sizes Challenge. I learned how to realistically change my eating habits and was able to learn how to structure my meals and snacks effectively and efficiently. I started preparing my meals and snacks ahead of time and made sure I was in the gym working out between 5 to 6 days a week. Now that I am getting closer to my wedding date, we have started to focus on reps more than weight. We have also started to focus on exercises that will target the areas I want to be more toned and will help me to look my best in my wedding dresses.
It has definitely been a struggle balancing wedding planning and maintaining my fitness and nutrition routines. Sometimes I have sacrificed my gym schedule for things I felt I needed to get done in order to feel less anxious about the overwhelming list of things that need to be accomplished. I have realized that the list will always be there and no matter how many things I check off the list there will always be plenty more that will be added. Once I realized that, it was much easier for me to hold my commitment to my goals. I also realized and had to keep reminding myself that being in better shape is on the wedding planning to do list. It is not something I could delegate to someone else nor was it something I could neglect and accomplish last minute. It is something that needs regular attention. Therefore, in order to accomplish that task/goal, it means I have to show up and workout. I also added yoga to my weekly routine, which has helped me to be a little more calm and relaxed. I also found it to be a good compliment to what we do in the gym regularly. Changing up and adding variety to my workouts has helped me physically and mentally.
My advice to other brides would be to recognize your goals and what it will take to reach them. It's important to be realistic and give yourself enough time to reach your goals. There are always bumps in the road, but if you give yourself enough time you will be able to manage them much better with less pressure on you. I would also advise not to take on too much at one time. I have been planning a wedding, trying to transform my fitness and nutrition routines, as well as remodeling a house. These are three major life events that require a lot of time, energy, and decision-making. As someone with a type A personality that focuses on the details of everything, this has been very stressful and quite the learning experience. It has been very hard to balance all three while maintaining my normal work life, social life, and mental well-being. Prioritizing helps greatly as well as having a great support system around you. Remember to have fun and why it is that you are doing all of this in the first place!"
One more story that I would like to share with you would be Ashley Almeida, she wrote:
"I think in January of 2015 I decided that I really needed to focus on my wedding coming up in December of 2015. I was having some serious stomach and acid reflux issues in November and December and my doctor had made it clear that if I didn't get it under control then I would need to go on a prescription. In general I have found that 212 is unlike any other gym that I have encountered. Every trainer, whether you take their class daily or hardly ever, knows you and coaches you and it makes you feel like you are always being motivated and training properly. The Drop Two Jean Sizes challenge has definitely been a critical part of my nutrition journey. It has truly shown me how powerful a healthy diet AND an active lifestyle go hand in hand- you cannot have one without the other. The jeans challenge educates you on nutrition but also creates a unique group of people that range from toning a little to losing large amounts of inches. The Facebook page where people are sharing recipes and motivating each other is also a huge factor- it kept me on track even when I felt that I was slipping.
I think that fitness and wedding planning have gone hand in hand for me. In the back of my mind, the wedding planning has pushed me more at the gym but somewhere along the path of getting healthy for the wedding my mindset changed that it wasn't just getting to December it was looking far beyond that date and creating a healthy lifestyle that I could maintain for the rest of my life. I have also found that with the stress of wedding planning, it has been great to put my stress into my workout- it makes for great motivation! My advice for future brides for getting healthy is to take it one day at a time. At first I didn't see the results, then suddenly there I was and people from all aspects of my life were noticing my hard work. I found my dress almost two years before my wedding date and that really motivated me. Going back almost a year and a half later and seeing the way that it fit from the time that I picked it out was amazing. It made every workout, every healthy meal, every bad food I said no to, worth it. It was the best I had felt in a very long time. Use stress as motivation in the gym- there is nothing better than feeling that aggression come out and push you towards a heavier weight or a few more reps. Find a gym where you are comfortable with your trainers- at 212, Sean and Alicia were/are continuing to remind me to push myself- they are as committed to getting me healthy as I am. Lastly, and I think most importantly, make the commitment to yourself. Whether its just changing your lifestyle a little or quite a bit, find that inner place where you make the time for you. When planning a wedding you are worried about so many little details and making sure that everything is perfect for everyone attending, so take a second to take care of yourself! It’s the best reward to look in the mirror and see your results after all the hard work. Enjoy every second of the journey because it flies by!!"
All different experiences, and amazing stories behind each individual. Each bride to be has noticed that they must take the time to put themselves first. Without the time to train and take care of their bodies, it is difficult to release stress from the world around them.
Another major part that helps dealing with wedding preparation-nutrition and sleep! Nutrition is a big part of your wedding day. Would you like healthy glowing skin?? Would you love to have energy to keep going throughout the hustle and bustle of the wedding day? Did you get enough sleep? If you are looking to lose inches? You must plan accordingly to stick to your meal planning and get the sleep you deserve.
Now anyone can go on a crash diet. We have heard of them all. Lemon water with cayenne pepper flush, juicing, 30-day Paleo diet, no carb diet, just shakes diet, etc. You name it! If you stick to any type of fad diet, it can work.; short term. But now you have to deal with the negative effects. You may end up moody, hungry, angry, tired, out of order, faint, dehydrated just to name a few. Sure, you may have lost a few pounds, but in the long run it may not be worth the experience of exhausting your body. Your body needs nutrients! The lovely ladies I have worked with have decided to put themselves first. Giving themselves six months to a year to get their minds focused on their goals.
It starts with the dress, what is their goal envisioned for the look? How would they want to feel the day of the wedding, mentally and physically? Painting a picture of the day they walk down that aisle is key. Making sure that they feel good, energized, secure, strong, sexy, and confident as they celebrate the big day! One large piece of advice that I would preach is to give yourself time, be patient with training, and be consistent. Getting into a healthy and fit lifestyle takes time; time to get into a new routine and change habits. Learn new habits for a positive lifestyle for you, your partner, family, and/or the future of your children.
A few more brides I have helped in the past: