Head Over Heels — Say “I do” to fitness

April 2012 View more


For most women, there is no bigger day than their wedding day. It is the one day where all eyes are on the bride, so the desire to look and feel fantastic is at the top of the priority list. One of the elements to feeling and looking great is being a healthy weight, a weight where you feel your best. So, if a wedding is in your future, it’s important to include a fitness strategy as part of the details. But beware: Once the “I dos” have been said, don’t leave your healthy changes at the altar.

Shirley Archer, fitness and wellness expert and author of “The Everything Wedding Workout Book” (Adams Media) knows only too well the value of staying fit through the stress of wedding planning and beyond. “A Wedding Boot Camp can be particularly helpful as brides are very motivated to look and feel their best for that all important day. It’s great to have the power of a date to provide motivation to stick with a training program.”

And motivation is exactly what Naperville residents Tera and John Naset, who were married August 11, 2011, were looking for.

“I don’t really like working out, and didn’t have much motivation, but I had a coupon for a wedding boot camp, and thought it would be the perfect way to force myself to get in shape for the wedding. I wasn’t looking to lose a lot of weight, I just wanted toned arms for my strapless dress,” says Tera. As for her husband John, he was simply looking for some accountability.

Archer believes the benefit of training for a wedding is that there’s a solid deadline; therefore, it’s much easier to set goals, track progress, adjust the program and make sure that you are successful. However, it’s important to create opportunities for motivation that allow you to continue your fitness routine after that special day.

Continuing a fitness program beyond the wedding day seems to be a common challenge—that’s exactly what happened for John and Tera.

“I was in the best shape of my life for the wedding,” says Tera. “Too bad I don’t have any motivation to do something of that caliber again! John had to travel for work, so he missed sessions and didn’t experience great results.”

The best thing that a bride and groom can do is make plans to do something together that will last far beyond the honeymoon. Over the years I have seen many couples lose their incentive to stay in shape, and within a year, they’ve succumbed to the challenges of balancing work, life, and exercise.

I’m a big believer that a couple that is active together stays together. Even a regular walk after dinner is great. If your spouse travels, weekends are better than nothing. Your health and weight are no less important once you’re married. So find a program that not only gets you looking and feeling great on your special day, but helps you stay there.

A couple of suggestions for staying active: Create a regular workout schedule despite your spouse’s participation. In other words, you need to stay true to yourself and your health. If you’re spouse is struggling with regular exercise, you will serve as a role model. Many people travel; if that’s the case, plan at least one exercise activity together over the weekend—be it a walk, hike, bike ride, etc.

Keep in mind that if you choose to be parents, eventually you’ll be setting an example for your kids. What better gift to give your children than the one you both gave to each other on your wedding day—to love, honor, and exercise! OK, I added that last part, but there’s no better motivation than knowing you’re in control of creating a long, healthy life together.