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With strapless off the shoulder dresses in vogue, looking your best on your wedding day is as important as ever. Bingo wings (flabby underarms) and stage curtains (flabby upper back) have nowhere to hide and will be captured forever by the photographer. How best then to prepare for the big day? Spot reduction (exercising a specific body part to tone that particular area) is difficult. You can exercise your arms until you are blue (or red) in the face but your toned arms will most likely still be covered by your fat suit. The body burns fat as a whole, not in parts, so an overall exercise regime coupled with sensible eating is the most effective way to success.
Compound or big bang exercises that work many large muscle groups are the way forward; they will burn lots of calories and also tone your big muscle groups (legs, bum, chest, back). This will in turn increase your metabolic rate and make you burn more calories even at rest. Plenty of the “big five” exercises are the all over fat blasters that you need, so squats, push ups, lunges, bent over rows and clean-to-press will work well. Once you have started to tone these large muscles and change shape then specific exercises like tricep dips, bicep curls and shoulder presses will be much more effective.
Studies have also shown that high intensity interval training results in better fat loss (and abdominal fat loss) than traditional long slow cardio, even when the training bursts last only half the time. So biking, running, rowing or even walking will be more effective if you do a really fast minute with a small period of recovery. Lower the recovery and/or increase the work interval as you progress.
The third ingredient to go into a fab shapely bride is good nutrition. Small frequent meals will ensure that you do not overfill the fuel tank and store fat, while giving you metabolic bursts. Avoiding processed foods and being careful most of the time will create the calorie overdraft that will remove your fat suit to reveal the toned you underneath. As you are doing resistance training and CV, treat days once or twice a week will also be possible, keeping you sane.
How long? 6 to 8 weeks of reasonably focused effort should see a dress size come off. Longer or harder training will get even better results. Train for 3 or 4 days a week, for around 30-40 minutes, perhaps doing a circuit of the exercises combined with some CV intervals at the start and finish. Remember that you need to do as many of the exercises as you can. If it is easy to complete then it won’t work!!
ps there is a basic homework programme containing some of the compound exercises mentioned above on our knowledge page.