Health Advice: Pre Wedding Boot Camp

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Tone your upper body before saying “I do” with these diet and exercise tips


Strapless wedding gowns look stunning on brides who wear them confi dently, but since everything above the bust is on display, confi dence might not come naturally. Blotchy skin, tuckshop arms, and a sundamaged décolletage are just some of the insecurities many brides feel at the thought of revealing their upper half to the world. But fear no more. Six months out from your wedding is time enough to tone up, trim down, and buff and polish your hug zone into top condition.

WORK THAT BODY
Any bride who chooses a strapless gown will want a stunning pair of arms, and who better to give arm-toning guidance than the lean-limbed star of The Biggest Loser, Michelle Bridges. “I work hard to get mine looking lean and strong but still feminine,” says Michelle. The celebrity fi tness guru says brides-to-be should start working out at least six months before the wedding, but with the right routine they’ll see results even sooner. 

Michelle’s new 12 Week Body Transformation exercise plans see customers start shaping up in as little as two weeks. The first step to beautiful arms is to lose excess arm weight. Unfortunately, there is no way to “spot reduce” just one part of your body. “If I knew how to do this I’d be the richest woman on the planet,” says Michelle. Instead, she suggests ramping up your everyday fitness routine. Even small changes will burn extra calories. “Try walking or biking more often, taking the stairs and not the lift, or sitting with good posture,” suggests Michelle. Brides-to-be will also need a good upper-body workout routine. “To get yourself a stunning pair of arms you need to focus on training your biceps, triceps and shoulders,” says Michelle. The best exercises for toning arms is using small weights with many repetitions, and you don’t have to join a gym to do this: the most you have to do is invest in a pair of small 3-5kg dumbbells. Simple sets of push-ups, arm curls, and dips a few times a week, along with three challenging cardio
sessions, are enough to have your arms looking lean and beautiful. And don’t worry about getting that overly big, muscled look — it’s hard for women to put on bulk.

MICHELLE’S GYM-FREE ARM-TONING CIRCUIT WORKOUT
This workout can be done in your local park, backyard, and even your living room. Try to repeat this circuit five times, twice a week, with at least a day’s rest between.

  • Warm up: Walk, jog, or jump rope in place for five minutes. 
  • Ten push-ups: Women can do push-ups on their knees or toes, though toes are preferable. Remember to get your chest down nice and low to the ground. Place a tennis ball under your chest to check whether you’re going low enough. 
  • Ten towel pulls: Take a towel and loop it around a fixed pole or tree, about shoulder height. Grasp one end of the towel in each hand and place your feet next to the base of the pole while leaning back, letting the towel take your body weight. Pull yourself towards the pole until your hands are by your side and, with control, lower yourself back to the starting position.
  • Ten shoulder presses: Position your dumbbells to each side of your shoulders,then push them above your  head. Make sure you tense your core to work muscles in your arms and abs.
  • Ten bicep curls: Grip your dumbbells facing upwards in each hand. Curl them towards your chest, keeping your elbows tucked in close by your sides.
  • Ten tricep dips: You can do these on a chair, step, or bench. Place your hands on the bench with palms down and your fingers facing forwards. Bend your knees so they’re at a right angle, then dip your body at the elbow. To make it harder, move your feet further away from the bench or balance on one leg.
  • Final sprint: Grab your skipping rope again and do 100 rapid skips. No rope? If you’re inside, do 100 high knees on the spot, or go outside and sprint 100 metres as fast as you can.

NUTRITION TIPS
Brides-to-be should start managing their nutrition as early as possible if they plan to shed some weight, says Cara Dennis, trainer at personal training service BridalBabes. Last-minute diets don’t guarantee results. The golden rule of weight loss is to eat less calories than you burn, which Cara says is a straightforward formula to follow. “It takes a deficit 3500 calories (in a week) to lose one kilo,” she says. As well as boosting weight loss, a balanced diet will keep your skin and body looking healthy. Cara recommends making life easier by planning your meals, especially on work days. Instead of picking up last-minute processed food, prepare lunch at home and stick to a meal plan.
Finally, Cara says brides-to-be should drink lots of water before and during the big day, without worrying about puffi ness or water weight. “You honestly don’t blow up that much. Water has too many benefits to ignore, like healthy-looking skin,” she points out.

FIVE TOP DIET TIPS FOR KEEPING OFF THE KILOS
• Drink lots of water
• Eat small portions, especially at night
• Limit your intake of processed/ refined foods
• Keep your snacks healthy
• Plan out all your meals for the week
Cara Dennis, personal trainer, BridalBabes


BEAUTY ADVICE
Going strapless means keeping the skin on your arms, neck, and décolletage looking healthy and supple. “These areas need to be treated with as much care as you would your face,” says Sydney makeup artist Rozlyne Vidal.
“To get yourself a stunning pair of arms you need to focus on training your biceps, triceps, and shoulders.”
Rozlyne’s first tip is to use sunscreen or a high-SPF moisturiser. “Sun damage destroys the collagen in your skin. The hands, the face, and the décolletage are the first to show sun damage and ageing,” she says.

Your skincare regime should begin at least six months before the wedding day. First, exfoliate to allow for the regeneration of new skin cells. Then moisturise twice a day after showering in the morning and evening.
On your wedding day, your neck, arms, and décolletage deserve a little makeup too. Rozlyne says bronzers and shimmer powders are a must to make the skin glow, but avoid glitter at all costs, she warns. “Camera flashes pick up any glitter and you’ll end up looking like a Christmas ornament,” she stresses. Rozlyne recommends not wearing heavy makeup on the arms, but to have a fixing powder on hand for any spray-tan mistakes.

“I’ve had to patch up many terrible spraytan jobs,” she says. The bridal makeup artist’s secret for correcting over-tanned skin is cover-up with waterproof concealer topped with powder. A few spray-tan test runs prior to the wedding will prevent any surprises on the day.

As for showing off those arms in wedding photos, Rozlyne’s tip for looking slender is to keep your arms away from your torso. “Never press your arm tight against your body. The bicep and tricep muscles flatten out and the arm automatically looks thicker,” she explains. “Be relaxed; don’t stand out like a scarecrow.” Rozlyne also suggests brides hold their hands out where the hip is, with the arm at a 45-degree angle. Rozlyne’s final tip is to pass on your newfound makeup knowledge to your bridal party: “Remember, the better everyone looks together, the better the photos will be,” she emphasises.

MICHELLE’S QUICK-AND-EASY LUNCH-BREAK ARM-TONING WORKOUT
Repeat these three exercises for fi ve minutes, no resting.

  • Ten shoulder presses: Grab a couple of reams of paper from the photocopier. They should be a couple of kilos each. With one in each hand, push them above your head 20 times.
  • Twenty push-ups: Remember to remove your heels!
  • Twenty tricep dips: On your office chair or bench, place your hands on the bench with palms down and your fingers facing forwards, and dip your body at the elbow.

Written by Farah Ahmed

 

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