Bridal boot camp a boost for big day

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The season for weddings, bridal showers and parties is fast approaching. Not only will brides-to-be want to look their best, but attendees too will want to shine in summer dresses and high-heels.

Annually, more than 2.5 million weddings in the U.S. create a $70 billion industry. That expense shows couples want to create a perfect day of aesthetically pleasing decorations and bodies.

As many people realize, weight loss does not occur overnight, nor can any pill or shot drop pounds permanently. Pills and shots can have the reverse effect on your body. They can mess with your hormones to make you gain weight faster. In addition, diets work temporarily. If the first three letters are "die" I personally would avoid it!

Bridal weight loss efforts should include diet and exercise changes. People should aim for losing no more than one to two pounds per week; therefore, I would recommend giving yourself a minimum of three months to meet your weight loss goal. However, I try use the word "weight loss" cautiously because we do not want to simply "lose weight." Instead, we want to increase lean body mass and decrease fat. Lean body mass includes bones, organs, blood, skin and muscle. Since everyone has a different body frame, I would recommend not focusing on a specific target weight. Rather, you should focus on a dress or pant size.

Women love the number 130 for their ideal weight. Nevertheless, 130 pounds may be too thin for some women. Focusing on the way your clothes fit will be more successful because body weight fluctuates daily.

Getting active with cardiovascular and weight loss training is essential. Treadmills, ellipticals and recumbent bikes are great, but I encourage brides and bridal parties to "kick-it up a notch". In my opinion, because our bodies are constantly moving forward with walking, climbing staircases and getting up and down from chairs, the body needs to be shocked into new action with side to side movements known as abduction and adduction.

Boot camp classes are effective in combining strength and cardio exercises that move the body in all directions including front, back, left and right. Full-body movements are essential for overall weight loss. Once again, there is no such thing as spot reduction. Strengthening the muscles results in muscular strength and/or endurance which allows the body to appear lean and toned. Cardiovascular work assists in reducing the subcutaneous and visceral fat mass that we want to eliminate. Therefore, boot camp "kills two birds with one stone."

Combining boot camp with other styles of fitness classes will keep your muscles confused instead of comfortable like they would be on a treadmill or elliptical machine. Plus, these classes motivate you with exercises that you may not do on your own.

One aspect of weight loss that you must monitor on your own is your diet.

Diet foods are beneficial for people who struggle in taking proper calories. However, people must be wary of unhealthy ingredients such as high fructose corn syrups, artificial sweeteners, preservatives or high sodium.

According to mypyramid.gov, a daily, balanced 2,000 calorie diet includes: two cups of fruit, 2.5 cups of vegetables, 6 ounces of grains, 5.5 ounces of meat/beans, 3 cups of milk products, 6 tablespoons of oils and 267 of discretionary calories. Keep in mind that you may need to consume more or less than 2,000 calories a day for your body type and activity level.

Working out with your friends, fellow brides and future husband or wife will help you stick with a weight loss plan and fitness routine. Not only do classes burn calories, they are social and offer fun, catchy music to move with. I will be one of the 20,000 brides getting married in Hawaii this 2011. To other fellow brides-to-be, best of luck in your new future and your journey to fit into that special dress!

Elizabeth Kovar has been working in the fitness industry since 2006 with international experience from India and Australia. She has a master's degree in recreation and tourism and is the associate director of healthy living at the YMCA. She can be reached at ekovar@wwymca.org.



Bridal Bootcamp

The Walla Walla YMCA offers Bridal Bootcamp classes Mondays and Wednesdays from 5:30-6 p.m. Men and women are welcome. Looking for other places to work out? Try Parks and Recreation, Ace of Clubs, Waltz Fitness and Many Waters Wellness Center.

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