MANHATTAN — I'm not a starve-myself-skinny kind of bride.
But with just eight weeks to go before my big day, I find myself falling into the trap that tells you that the wedding is all about how beautiful the bride looks, since everything — from getting ready to the final dance — is photographed for posterity.
While I'm not at all interested in starving myself into a size I will never be able to maintain, I just want to look like the best version of myself possible. Though I'm a full time group fitness instructor, teaching almost 20 classes a week, I spend my classes paying attention to my students, not for myself. So the challenge is to find time for my own workout in the midst of a super hectic schedule. I am sure plenty of people can relate.
Whether you're time-strapped like me, or just want to beef up your workout before the big day, eight weeks is plenty of time to get down to business.
My plan is to stick to my specialty — High Intensity Interval Training (both 30/60/90 classes and personal HIIT workouts) two to three times a week for at least 40 minute sessions.
The interval training is the fastest way to change your body and get into great shape, but finding the time to make it to a group fitness class like 30/60/90 isn’t always possible. When I can't squeeze it in, I do my own 15 minute interval workout at the gym.
I also recommend including a steady state cardio two to three times a week for at least 30 minutes and a mind-body workout such as yoga or Pilates at least once a week for relaxation.
Here's what you'll need:
Find a space at the gym with a bench that is around the height of your knee and some free weights. Bring your cell phone as a timer or find a clock nearby with a second hand. Have some water and a towel to mop up the sweat because this is a short but very tough workout.
1. Step-ups with the left leg for 60 seconds
Facing the high bench, place your left foot on the bench so that the heel is on the bench (toe can hang over), and push your left heel into the bench as you lift up and tap the bench with your right toe. Quickly lower right foot back to floor and repeat this as smoothly and quickly as you can. You will start to feel the burn in your left buttocks and hamstrings right away.
2. Push-ups for 30 seconds
Place both hands on the bench fairly wide and lower your body towards the bench trying to touch the middle of the chest to the bench. Make sure to keep your head up and hips in the same plane as your shoulders.
3. Step-ups with the right leg for 60 seconds
Now place your right foot on the bench and repeat the step-ups on the other leg.
4. Push-ups for 30 seconds
Repeat the push-ups on the bench.
5. Box squats with abductor lift for 45 seconds
Turn your body so that the bench is to your left, and place your left foot on the bench. Sit back into your heels in a squat and on the way up, push your left heel into the bench and take your right leg out to the side as high as you can keeping your right toe pointing forward. Repeat this move for 45 seconds.
6. Left arm bent-over row for 30 seconds
Pick up a fairly heavy weight in your left hand (anywhere from 8 to 25 pounds) and come to the other side of the bench. Place your right knee on the bench and keep your left foot on the floor. Tilt your upper body over from the hip and roll your shoulders back. Exhale as you bring the weight toward your hip, wrapping your shoulder blade around your spine.
Place the weight down.
7. Box squats with abductor lift for 45 seconds
Stay on the same side of the bench and place your right foot on the bench. Squat into your heels on the way down and lift the left leg out to the side on the way up.
8. Right arm bent-over row for 30 seconds
Pick the same weight up in your right hand and go back to the original side of the bench. Place your left knee on bench and keep your foot on the floor. Tilt over and bring right hand to hip.
9. Over-the-top-and-back for 60 seconds
Keep facing the same way with the bench to your left, and place your left foot on the bench Push your left heel into the bench as you push over to the other side switching foots on the way over but keeping your right foot on the bench when you get to the other side. Then push your right heel into the bench and push back to the other side. Keep repeating this for one minute.
10. Two arm overhead triceps press for 45 seconds
Pick up two medium weights (5 to 8lbs) or one heavy weight (at least 8lbs) and bring them over your head. Keeping your elbows close to your ears, bend your elbows so that the weight or weights go behind your head bringing the elbows to a 90 degree angle.
11. Squat jumps with weights for 45 seconds
Keep the weight or weights in your hands and face away from the bench. Sit back into your heels so that your buttocks brush the bench quickly. On the way up add a jump.
12. Triceps dips for 30 seconds
Have a seat on the bench, place your hands on the bench right next to your hips and roll your shoulders back and down as you lift your hips up and forward. Then bend your elbows in a 90 degree angle so your body lowers in front of the bench, and then straighten back up repeating for 30 seconds.
13. Alternating reverse lunges for 60 seconds
Stand to the side of the bench with legs about hip distance apart and take your right leg very far behind you so that the right heel remains lifted and the right knee brushes the floor. Make sure your left knee stays behind the toe. Touch the floor with your right hand on the way back. Alternate back and forth from right to left as quickly as possible.
14. Biceps curls for 45 seconds
Pick up heavy weights in both hands and curl your wrists in and roll your shoulders back. Bring elbows slightly in front of your torso and curl the weights up towards your shoulder without swinging them.
15. Squat thrusts with weights for 60 seconds
Using light or medium weights in both hands, sit into your heels in a wide squat and place the weights on the floor, then jump or step both of your feet back into a plank or a pushup, then jump or step your feet back to your hands and stand all the way up bringing the weights over your head.
16. Plank for 45 seconds
On the last squat thrust stay in the plank and hold it for 45 seconds making sure that you keep your wrists directly under your shoulders and your hips in same plane as your shoulders.
17. Straight leg crunches for 30 seconds
Lay on a mat on the floor or on the bench and bring your legs straight up to the ceiling with the feet together, and lower both legs down a few inches, place your hands behind your head and crunch up and down.
Stick to this and you'll look and feel great heading down the aisle!