Every bride wants to look and feel their best on the big day. But where to begin? With a new fitness fad popping up every month, the world of working out can be an intimidating one to break into. That's why we sat down with Rodrick Covington, CEO and founder of Core Rhythm Fitness, who shared insightful pointers to help brides get started on a plan that will help them feel strong and beautiful both inside and out.
Accept where you are.
Stomach, arms, hips—when you look in the mirror and take stock of all of the areas on your "needs improvement" list, you may think you're building up the perfect workout motivation, but you'd be wrong. "You have to accept this is where you are and you have to embrace it and celebrate it," says Covington. Thought it might seem counterintuitive, he says this mindset safeguards against self-sabotage. "If you cannot accept that first, wherever you go, you won't accept it—nothing will be good enough."
This advice applies to both the time of day to get a workout in and your overall weight-loss timeline. In terms of daily workouts, Covington recommends A.M. sweat sessions to help create good habits and get it out of the way sooner. As for an overall weight-loss timeline, the earlier you start, the better. "If you have ten to twenty pounds to release, I would say [you need] three months minimum. Over 20 to release, six months." The sooner you begin to incorporate healthy habits, the sooner you'll see results and the more encouraged you'll be to keep going.
Rally the troops.
Getting in shape might seem like a lonely endeavor, but Covington believes in the power of numbers. "When you're starting, get yourself a team," he says. "Doing anything on your own is hard. But if you have a team, the teamwork makes the vision work." Whether it's your bride tribe, your future spouse, or a trainer, get as many people on board with your goals as possible. If you can find a workout buddy, that's great. But if not, even the knowledge that people are rooting for you can go a long way. Covington regularly texts clients all over the world to help keep them accountable—sometimes an encouraging emoji is all the inspiration we need in a moment of cookie-craving weakness.
Sweat and tone.
Crossfit. Rowing. Boxing. Running groups, HIIT apps—what's a girl to do? If the goal is to tone up and lose inches, Covington says the answer is clear: "For any kind of bride, Pilates, hands down, is going to lean them out." But that doesn't mean that Pilates is the only type of work you'll be doing. "To burn any kind of fat you need fire and your heart rate has to go up," he explains, "so cardio is your best friend. At least 45 minutes." Whether it's running on a treadmill, hitting the elliptical, or just doing mountain climbers in your living room, Covington says there's always a way to get your sweat on, regardless of fitness level.
"The thing about beginners," cautions Covington, "is that working out feels like a mountain. It feels like something that's ginormous. But the way to move a mountain is to make small changes." That means not creating a workout plan that's overly ambitious, or goals that include cutting out all your favorite foods cold turkey. "Make your goal to work out two to three times a week, tops," he advises. With each week that you stick to the plan, your confidence and fitness level will improve.
Don't skimp on nutrition.
Even with a consistent workout plan, all the Pilates in the world can't outwork a bad diet, says Covington. "Nutrition is 80 percent of designing your body. The two things to remember are that the body is either going to absorb what you're eating, or burn it. So which do you want to do?" A diet high in protein and veggies and low on processed food is the way to go, but don't mourn all the snacks you have to say goodbye to. "Instead of thinking about giving it up, you want to think about it as choosing differently." This small change in thinking can help make the process feel empowering instead of like a punishment.
Skip the scale.
After a few days of working out and eating right it can be tempting to step on the scale to monitor your progress. But it can also be unhealthy. "A lot of times women validate their worth by the number on the scale and that's a lie," says Rodrick. "Know that you are worthy enough to actually live a healthy life, that you're worthy enough to actually have the body you want, and that's already inside you" he urges. In short, if your clothes fit better and you're feeling better, what does it matter what the scale tells you? Process has nothing to do with a number. What's more, many times women can lose inches while still remaining the same weight. So save yourself the stress and step away from the scale.
Get out of your own way.
Finally, Covington urges that every bride understand the only thing holding them back from feeling their best is themselves. "A lot of times women put so much pressure on themselves. 'I've got to be like this and it's got to be a perfect day.' As a bride, you're going to be beautiful. Your husband loves you—he proposed to you! Everyone says 'oh, it's one day' but it's a very important day and it's going to be beautiful. The key thing is just to get out of your own way."