Buff Brides Fitness Challenge
Posted 07 April 2008 - 10:53 AM
Buff Brides Fitness Challenge
Ready to shape up for your wedding and beyond? Our 12-week Buff Brides Challenge is a great way to focus on fitness before your big day.
Here Sue Fleming, author of Buff Brides: The Complete Guide to Getting in Shape and Looking Great for Your Wedding explains how to make the most of the challenge.
Whether you have 12 weeks or six or more months before your wedding (or any special occasion), you can make a difference in the way you look and feel by taking part in the WeightWatchers.com Buff Brides Fitness Challenge. Of course, while the immediate goal is to be a fit and beautiful bride, the true challenge is maintaining a healthier way of life long beyond your wedding day. This fitness routine can help you jumpstart a lifestyle change that will serve you well long into your married life.
About the Buff Brides Workouts
The strength training program consists of three workout days each week. If you can't do the workouts as they have been assigned to the calendar, work them in on other days, but try and give your muscles at least one day to recover between exercise sessions.
This is a total body workout, but I do emphasize certain muscle groups that just about every bride-to-be is concerned about, like arms and back. After all, you can wear a slimming shaper under the bodice of your dress to make your stomach look flatter, but a bride's arms and back will always be on display if the gown is sleeveless or strapless.
I have also outlined cardiovascular goals for each week. Remember, if one of your goals is dropping pounds, you must meet your cardio goal each week, since this type of exercise is a crucial element of weight loss. Cardio exercise can be worked into your schedule whenever it is most convenient for you, as long as each session meets that week's minium time requirement.
For a Successful Workout:
Always warm up by doing some light aerobic activity and then stretch (focusing on major muscle groups) for five minutes.
Beginners should do only one or two sets of 12 repetitions of each exercise during the first two weeks; incorporate an additional set or two as you feel comfortable.
Focus on good form to avoid strain and injury.
Take your time and don't forget to breathe.
Your Weekly Cardio Goal
Your cardiovascular workouts can be done either during your off days, or they can be added to the end of your strength training routines. If you don't do the strength workouts first, do some light aerobic activity, like jumping rope or jogging in place, for a few minutes and then stretch your major muscle groups. Do stretches after the cardio workout, too.
Home Gym Equipment
Many of the workout moves make use of inexpensive fitness equipment you can keep at homeâ€”there's no need to go to a gym for this challenge. Here's what you'll want to have on hand:
Fitness ball: Make sure you purchase the appropriate size for your height.
Free weights: Invest in two or three pairs. If you're a beginner, start with 3-pound, 5-pound and 8-pound weights. If you're more advanced, 5-pound, 8-pound and 10-pound weights should be fine to start.
Workout mat or carpeted floor.
Sturdy coffee table
Mirror: Use it to check your form.
Comfortable sneakers and workout clothes.
Water bottle: Stay hydrated by drinking 12 ounces of water after your workout.
You're beginning a very important journey for both your health and happiness as a newlywed. If you have questions about the Buff Brides Fitness Challenge, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'll be responding to selected questions throughout the course of the challenge, so check the Q&A page to see if yours is chosen. Get started with Weeks 1 and 2 of the challenge.
Learn more about Sue Fleming's other Buff Fitness offerings.
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Posted 07 April 2008 - 10:58 AM
Buff Brides Fitness Challenge:
Weeks 1 and 2
Article By: Sue Fleming
Ready to get fit for your wedding? Get started with these workouts for the Buff Brides Fitness Challenge. The first two weeks of the challenge will help you get used to a workout routine.
For each move, do 1 or 2 sets of 12 repetitions. If you can easily do 12 reps with minimal effort, add another set to the routine or up the weight by a pound.
Weeks 1 and 2: Monday, Wednesday, Friday
Chest Press With Band
Sit in a chair with your legs apart to provide support and help you balance. Bring an elastic fitness band behind the seatback and position your arms at chest level, holding the ends of the band firmly with your hands. Slowly and carefully, push your arms forward, exhaling and keeping your wrists at chest level. Inhale as you return your arms to the starting position.
Bent Over Rows
Stand with legs shoulder-width apart and back straight. Slightly bend at the knees and waist so that you are leaning forward approximately 45 degrees with arms extended toward the floor. Exhale while pulling your arms back and hands up toward your stomach, keeping elbows close to your body; inhale as you return your arms to the starting position. Add dumbbells when you are comfortable with the motion.
Lie face-down on a mat. Exhale while raising your arms straight out and up and lifting your shoulders and ankles off the ground. You will feel your lower back and hip muscles flexing. Inhale as you lower your arms and feet back to the starting position.
Basic Dumbbell Curls
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold a dumbbell in each hand at waist level, with your palms facing forward. Exhale and curl the weight upward, keeping your elbows close to your side. Inhale as you return your arms to the starting position.
Rear Triceps Extension
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, and bend at the knees and waist so you're leaning forward at a 45-degree angle. Make a fist and bend your arm to bring your hand up to chest level. Keep your elbow and upper arm stationary while bringing your hand down and extending it behind you, exhaling as you go. Inhale while pivoting your arm back to the starting position.
Front Arm Raises
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Make fists with your hands and raise your arms straight out in front of you until they reach shoulder height, exhaling as you go. Inhale as you lower your arms back to the starting position.
Stand with both feet together. Inhale and step forward into lunge position, keeping the knee of your front leg centered over top of the ankle. Drop your rear knee straight down to the ground. Return to the starting position by straightening your back leg and pushing up from the heel of your front foot, exhaling as you go. Repeat with other leg.
Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Inhale and slowly bend at the knees and hips until your rear end is at chair level, keeping your head up and back straight, while raising your arms to shoulder level. Return to the starting position, exhaling as you go.
Dumbbell Leg Extensions
Sit in a chair and place a dumbbell between your feet. Lean back and hold the edge of the seat for support. Exhale and straighten your legs at the knees to lift the weight. Inhale as you lower your legs to the starting position.
Side Abs Stretch
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart or slightly wider. Lift your arms overhead and clasp your hands together. Gently lean to the side until you feel a slight pull in the oblique (side abdominals) muscles. Hold the stretch for 10 to 15 seconds each side, breathing normally.
Lie back on a mat with your knees bent and cross your arms across your chest. Crunch forward by pushing your lower back into the mat and squeezing your abdominal muscles, exhaling as you go; your chin should push in toward your chest and your shoulders should lift several inches off the mat. Inhale as you return to the starting position.
Lie on your back on a mat and raise your knees toward your chest. Grasp your knees with your hands and gently pull them toward your chest. Hold the stretch for 10 to 15 seconds, breathing normally.
Stand with your hands clasped behind your back and gently lift them up and back as far as possible. Hold the stretch for 10 to 15 seconds, breathing normally.
Cross-Body Triceps Stretch
Stand with feet slightly apart and hold one arm straight out in front of you at shoulder level. Grasp the elbow with your opposite hand and gently pull your arm towards your chest. Hold the stretch for 10 to 15 seconds, breathing normally. Repeat on the other side.
Front Bicep Stretch
Extend one arm straight out at shoulder level, with palm facing up. Use your other hand to pull down on the fingers of the extended arm. Hold the stretch for 10 to 15 seconds, breathing normally.
Sit on a mat with the heels of your feet pressed together, letting your knees drop to the side as far as is comfortable. Rest your hands on your ankles and gently lean forward. Hold the stretch for 10 to 15 seconds, breathing normally.
Figure 4 Stretch
Lie on your back on a mat with the ankle of one leg across the knee of the other leg. Gently pull the back of the thigh toward your body, holding the stretch for 10 to 15 seconds. Breathe normally throughout the stretch.
Cardiovascular Goal: 60 to 80 min.
This week, aim for 60 to 80 minutes total of aerobic activity; each session should last at least 20 minutes and should safely elevate your heart rate. (Read more about target heart rate).
Fitness Tips for Weeks 1 and 2
If you haven't exercised in a while, stick to light weights, and walking for cardio.
Step it up.
Increase the intensity of the Chest Press with Band by wrapping the band twice around your wrist to make the tension harder.
Limit caloric sports drinks to after workouts, when your body needs electrolytes.
Get fit for a good cause.
Sign-up for a run/walk event with friends or coworkers to combine fitness with charitable giving.
"No pain, no gain" is a myth. If you feel pain while exercising, stop. Check your form and adjust weights as needed.
Stay hydrated! Don't forget to stay hydrated with at least 8 glasses of water a day, plus 12 ounces of water after a workout.
Wedding Tips for Weeks 1 and 2
Indulge Yourself at a Spa.
Don't wait for your wedding to pamper yourself with a beauty treatment. Reward your hard work now with a relaxing manicure. For the ultimate indulgence, add a soothing paraffin dip to soothe and protect your skin and cuticles, or splurge on a pedicure, too.
If you receive gifts before the wedding, send thank-you notes right away, or the sender might wonder if the gift arrived. Print out your guest list and write a description of the gift next to the person who sent it; indicate that a thank-you note was dispatched as well.
Keep Your Gown in Mind.
Tape a picture of your gown to the refrigerator or mirror to help motivate you when you don't feel like working out. Even though regular exercise needs to be a lifestyle change, thinking about the short-term goal of your wedding day—and look gorgeous in your gown—can help keep you committed to the workouts.
Make a List and Check it Twice.
Make a photographer's list of all the special people and moments you want captured so nothing is missed on the big day. Your photographer will know to capture big moments—your kiss during the ceremony, the cake cutting, your first dance—but he or she might not know to take a close-up of the favors you spent hours wrapping with ribbon, or that you want to document your cousin's crazy moves on the dance floor.
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