Over the last couple of years you’ve put a lot of time into your career and your relationship. You let your physique slowly slip out of hand and indulged one too many times. You didn’t take care of your body as much as you wish you had, and it shows.
You’ve gained a few inches around the waist and your upper body has lost it’s definition. Now you’re afraid that your dress won’t fit like it should. You wish your upper back and shoulders were more defined, so you wouldn’t mind showing them off.
You don't have much time left, and you’re not sure how you can change all this in just a few months.
You dread the idea of spending the next 3 months on a treadmill to achieve the fat loss you’re looking for.
You’re still not sure if lifting weights is right for you. You don’t want to get hurt and you don’t want to look bulky.
You’re lost and you need help.
You need help figuring out how to set realistic goals and stick to them. You want to know how to sculpt your body for the big day, and achieve a toned yet feminine look. You want a simple nutrition plan that will give you the results you want without starving yourself.
All this so you can look and feel great on your wedding day.
Today I’m going to take you through the steps you need to follow if you want to succeed.
1. Set Goals That Make Sense
Now that you know how you’re going to look, build your story around it: How will you feel that day? How will other people react? What moments will stand out? What emotions will you elicit in your partner? Know exactly why this is important to you and what will happen when you achieve your dream physique.
Next, it’s time to get practical: what does your vision mean in terms of weight loss? How many dress sizes do you need to drop? Whatever your goal is, you need to put a digit on it. When doing this, take into account how much time you have until the big day. You won't make the same progress in 2 months as you would in 5.
To ensure you track your progress, know where you’re actually starting from. Current weight, body measurements, dress size.. Taking pictures or yourself (front, profile and back) is also a great way to SEE the changes happening as you improve.
2. Establish Your Support System
By doing this, you form a team that will help you along your journey. When you need someone to talk to or you want to share an achievement, these people will be there to listen.
3. Find a workout program that aligns with your goals
If one of your goals is to sculpt your upper body, cardio isn't going to cut it. You will NEED to lift weights 2 to 3 times per week. If you have no experience in the gym, hire a trainer who can guide you and make sure you perform the exercises with the correct technique to avoid injuries and ensure long term success.
For those of you who know your way around the weight room, focus on the 6 exercises below:
-Horizontal Pushing (Inclined Push Up, Dumbbell Bench Press, Barbell Bench Press, Cable Press, Inclined Bench Press, etc..)
-Horizontal Pulling (Dumbbell Row, Barbell Row, Chest Supported Row, Face Pulls, etc..)
-Vertical Pushing (Overhead Dumbbell Press, Overhead Barbell Press, Landmine Press, Landmine Push Press, Seated Press, Bodyweight Dips etc..)
-Vertical Pulling (Lat Pulldown, Chin Ups, Pull Ups, Upright Rows, etc..)
Add to this some core and glute work, to keep a shapely backside and a firm stomach.
-Core (Plank, Body Saw, Deadbug, Hollow Body Hold, Back Extensions, Side Plank, etc..)
-Glutes (Glute Bridge, Weighted Glute Bridge, Hip Thrust, Single Leg Hip Thrust, etc…)
Stick to 3 sets of 10 to 12 repetitions on each exercise, picking at least one variation of each group listed above to form your daily program.
Dumbbell Bench Press 3x12
Face Pulls 3x12
Overhead Dumbbell Press 3x12
Lat Pulldown 3x12
Single Leg Hip Thrust 3x12/leg
Inclined Push Up 3x10
3 Point Row 3x10
Landmine Press 3x10
Lat Pulldown 3x10
Glute Bridge w/band 3x10
Hollow Body Hold 3x60sec
Side Plank 2x20sec
Stick with the same routine for 3-4 weeks before you start using different movement. You need to give your body the time to adapt to what you’re doing. If you switch it up every week, you won’t see the results you want. Also be sure to add some weight every week to keep improving and build the shapes you’re looking for! But always remember: proper form comes first.
If you're wanting to lose some weight, I’d suggest you add one or two days of high intensity cardio to your weekly routine. This could be hill sprints, HIIT, tabatas, a kickboxing class or any activity that will have high intensity bouts separated by rest periods.
Sample weekly schedule for upper body toning and weight loss:
Monday: Workout A
Tuesday: Cardio or HIIT
Wednesday: Workout B
Friday: Workout A
Saturday: Cardio or HIIT
4. Don’t forget your nutrition (by Lynne Faires, Nutritional Consultant)
There are couple key reasons why implementing both nutrition and exercise are so important.
One of them being that during wedding planning, people tend to get stressed out. This leads to having you grab everything and anything to eat or you forget to eat altogether. In either scenario, that sends your metabolism into "fat storing" mode, which is less than ideal when you are trying to get into that suit or dress. When you pair poor eating habits with an exercise plan, you are not going to recover well or get the necessary nutrients and will start to feel depleted.
Secondly, having an individual plan is key. Crash dieting before the big day (or any day, for that matter) will not give you the long term changes that you need. You may drop 10 pounds in a month, but crash dieting or using the fad diet that your friend recommended will surely result in gaining that weight back as soon as the wedding is done and over. Working with a nutritionist to build a plan that is made EXACTLY for you, will not only help you drop those extra few pounds, but it will help you build lasting results and better habits to carry over into the later weeks.
If weight loss is your goal, you may need to look at the foods you are eating. If you are a refined, processed food junkie - the changes are simple. Eat more whole foods and a balance of lean proteins (fish, chicken, turkey, eggs), healthy fats (coconut, avocado, olive oil, raw nuts and seeds), and unrefined carbohydrates (brown rice, yams, sweet potato, quinoa). Most importantly, add a handful of mixed greens to each meal. The greens are nutrient dense and filling without the calorie punch!
If you are trying to increase muscle mass, which really means to "get toned" by us ladies, you most likely need to increase you calorie intake. Being in a caloric deficit will not allow you to build muscle thus you won't achieve your goal. The reason for this is that when you exercise, your body will not have adequate fuel and it will pull its energy from your muscle stores.