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Wedding Fitness Tips from a Wellness Guru

Martha Stewart Weddings, Winter 2013

David Kirsch

Wellness Guru

Known for
Crafting a love-yourself approach to fitness while sculpting celebs like Anne Hathaway and Heidi Klum

Where to find him
Training clients at Madison Square Club, his gym in New York City, and online at

His Top Tip
"For time-strapped brides, a cleanse can be an amazing way to jump-start a nutrition regime. I like those that let you eat a big salad with a lean protein for lunch, along with two green juices a day."

Know Your Work Ethic

If you want to get in better shape and can only devote a few hours a week to an exercise program, then plan on beginning at least six months before your wedding; if you can commit to giving it your all -- and hitting the gym six days a week -- start closer to the big date. Naturally, success will be easier, and you'll be far healthier and less stressed along the way, if you allow yourself as much time as possible to reach your goals.

Mind Your ABCs

That stands for alcohol, bread, and (processed) carbs. I can tell when a client comes in after consuming unnecessary fats, alcohol, excessive salt, or processed carbs like pasta, white rice, bread, pizza, and the like. She looks a little puffy, swollen, and bloated, aka "carb face." For those serious about getting healthy, it 's best to eliminate alcohol completely at least 30 days before the wedding. If that's not doable, then just stick to the occasional glass of red wine at dinner. Also stay away from artificial sweeteners, which means diet sodas, too. And watch your fruit intake. People can overdo it with fruit because they know it's healthy, but its sugar content is not your friend when you're trying to lose weight. In general, avoid even healthy carbs, like brown rice, after 2 P.M., and instead opt for nonstarchy vegetables and lean protein.

Rely on Circuit Training

For the best overall workout, circuits -- moving quickly from one move to the next without resting -- is the most time-efficient way to get your heart rate up. You also burn more calories than just doing cardio alone, tone multiple muscle groups, and experience an increase in energy. I'm a big fan of circuits that use the rowing machine and include sumo lunges, where you step out to the side rather than the front. Here's an easy, three-minute circuit you can do virtually anywhere: Start by shadowboxing with dumbbells, then move to planks, and finish with jumping jacks. Repeat two to three times.

Stick to a Schedule

While there's no perfect time to exercise -- you can be a morning person or a night owl and achieve the same results -- it's important to pencil in an hour that fits into your normal, everyday routine. You're more likely to follow a fitness regimen if you know that every Monday morning you hit the gym at 7 and every Wednesday you go for a run before dinner. You can even break up your workout if that makes sense for you: Begin the day with a 10-minute express workout, and then devote more time later to cardio or circuit training.

Get the Right Gear

I like Brooks cross-trainer shoes for the support and stability they provide during my workouts and Under Armour clothing for its sweat-wicking properties. Also, I couldn't live without my Suunto watch, which I use as a heart-rate monitor, stopwatch, and GPS tracker when running.

Consider a Personal Trainer

There are a lot of great resources out there, like apps and YouTube clips, to keep you motivated and teach you exercises, so you might not think it's necessary to hire a certified trainer. But unless you're super-disciplined, all the books and videos in the world are not going to help you if you don't stick to your workout plan. An actual person helps keep your feet to the fire!

Sleep Well to Feel Well

Being sleep-deprived causes your body to produce more of the stress hormone cortisol, which can increase cravings. When you're well rested, your brain is sharp, you make smart food choices, and your body functions better overall. My whole philosophy on wellness and training is predicated on attaining a sound mind and a sound body, and you won't have either if you're exhausted.

Get Aisle-Ready Arms -- No Gym Required!

Diamond Push-Ups

Place belly on a stability ball and hands on floor. Walk hands forward until you're in a push-up position. Adjust palms so that forefingers and thumbs touch, forming a diamond shape. Bend elbows in toward sides as you lower to floor. Exhale, and return to start position. Repeat 15 times.

Spider-Man Push-Ups

Kneel on all fours, knees under hips, hands under chest. Extend right arm and left leg. Crawl (like Spider-Man would a wall) while extending opposite limbs. Lower into an off-center push-up each time you crawl forward. Repeat 20 times.


While holding dumbbells and with one elbow at ribs, punch other arm upward, as if aiming for someone's jaw. Pull back as you bend knees. Repeat 20 to 30 times on each side.

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