Search until you've found the right fit and then commit fully. Nope, that's not Mandy Ingber's advice for landing a groom, but rather her take on hitching yourself to the perfect pre-wedding workout routine. When you first start developing an exercise routine it's like dating, explains the fitness guru, "you have to try something different every day until you find your thing." And once you do, she says, "It's very similar to when you find the right person—it takes consistency. You have to listen to your body and cultivate that relationship the same way you do with your love."
The woman responsible for sculpting Jennifer Aniston's toned arms and Kate Beckinsale's enviable legs knows what she's talking about. She shares more tips for getting in your best shape before the big day.
Set small goals.
Deciding you need to drop major pounds could be a way of setting yourself up for disaster. If you try to take on too much—or, worse, attempt an unhealthy crash diet—"you're going to get overwhelmed and short-circuit," warns the author of Yogalosophy: 28 Days to the Ultimate Mind-Body Makeover. "Instead of saying, 'I'm going to lose 40 pounds,' say, 'I'm going to cut out processed grains and sugar for a week and see how I feel.'"
Find what you love.
There's a reason Ingber recommends playing the field. "You need to find something that you actually enjoy doing so that you'll do it," she says. "The key is to really hook into what motivates you and reminds you how good it feels to be in your body."
The L.A. pro aims for daily 30 to 75-minute workouts "because there's always going to be a reason not to exercise," she says. By planning to sweat every day, "I usually hit about five days."
Get a good mix.
Ingber advises finding both a cardio you love (think: running, biking, swimming or hiking) and some solid sculpting moves. "Cardio is great because it gets your metabolism going and gets you into a fat-burning zone after about 20 minutes," she says. "And when you add strength training, you're actually changing the ratio of stored fat into lean muscle mass, which makes your body a fat-burning machine."
Don't discount the effectiveness of a simple walk. Taking a stroll "gets your heart pumping," says Ingber. "It's a very underrated form of exercise." She suggests grabbing a friend (read: bridesmaid) for a fun hike or jaunt through your neighborhood.
Find your om.
Yoga is great for toning the upper body, i.e. the part of you that will be on full display in your gown. Says Ingber, "Sun salutations are like doing a billion push-ups in one practice."
Become a water guzzler.
Staying hydrated can keep food cravings at bay. Ingber advises gulping down half your body weight in ounces. So if you weigh 140 pounds, try to drink at least 70 ounces a day.
Carb up right.
Ingber recommends reaching for unprocessed carbs such as yams, quinoa, or brown rice rather than white bread. "If you avoid processed carbohydrates for three weeks," says Ingber, "you're going to notice a big difference in your body."