Sunday, March 4, 2012


I have worked with a lot of people and one of the most important components in getting my clients the best results around is piggybacking on some sort of deadline. There is no better example of this than with a new bride to be. It’s amazing what happens to women as soon as they set a wedding date- they are ready and willing to do whatever it takes to get in their dream dress and inspire awe in all those who attend the most important day of their life..

But a bride still needs an exercise blueprint in order to get the job done. We need to build muscle in all of the right places (with a particular emphasis on the shoulders and arms) and burn fat in all the right places (think hips, thighs, and belly fat). The following training guidelines have produced both body and life-changing results for many of my clients. Typical results are losses of 2-3 pounds of ugly, unwanted body fat per week and a reduction in at least 1 clothing size per month. Remember- the focus must be on improving overall health, body composition, and performance, NOT weight loss!

The Fit Bride Mentality:

TRAIN to Elevate Metabolism and Lose Fat (NOT Weight)

Exercise Tip#1- Get Strong to Get Lean:

- Strength training strengthens muscle and bone leading to increases in lean body mass that increases RMR (resting metabolic rate), the number of calories your body requires to function on a daily basis regardless of activity. In other words, strength training will ramp up your metabolism so that you will be burning more stubborn fat 24-7-365. Talk about a good return on investment!

- Most people who strength train perform straight sets of the same exercise with super long rest periods in excess of 2-3 minutes. Rather, cut your workout time in half or more AND accelerate fat burning by performing alternating sets of non-competing exercises with short rest periods between sets. For example, perform an upper body exercise, then a lower body exercise, and then a core exercise. This will allow for full recovery for each exercise since you are resting your upper body while performing lower body and core exercises and visa versa. Furthermore, short rest periods allow for both the completion of more total work at each training session and also create the optimal hormonal environment for fat loss.

- For best results, perform 3 total body strength workouts per week with at least 1 day of rest between workouts. See below for a Sample Total Body Circuit Strength Workout:

50-10 Interval Five Exercise Total Body Circuit- You will alternate between 50 seconds of work and 10 s of rest for each exercise in the following five-exercise circuit. Perform this 5-minute circuit up to four times for a 20-minute total body workout. Be sure to switch between the 2 exercise options within each category for best results:


Exercise Name


Squats OR Deadlifts


Push-ups OR Dips


Lunges OR Single-Leg Hip Extensions


Rows OR Pull-ups/Curls


Front OR Side Pillars/Planks

Exercise Tip#2- Intervals Burn 9x More Fat Than Ordinary Cardio:

- With interval training, the focus is on the intensity of exercise (quality). Intervals consist of alternating between shorts bouts of all out high-intensity effort and active recovery periods for a much quicker and focused amount of time (typically 10-20 minutes of intervals works best). This approach is scientifically proven to burn nine times more fat AND lead to faster improvements in fitness than the aerobic alternative (going slow for long).

- The Tabata study compared the effects of four minutes of high-intensity interval training (20 seconds on, 10 seconds off) with 45-60 minutes of low to moderate intensity cardio. The interval training group burned just as much fat as the endurance group and also had greater improvement in both anaerobic (think sprinters) and aerobic (think distance runners) fitness… in only four minutes!

- For best results, perform 3 cardio interval training workouts per week on non-strength training days. Below is a sample Cardio Interval Training Workout:

20-10 Tabatas- You will alternate between 20 seconds of work and 10s of rest. You will perform this 30-second set up to 8x for 4 total minutes followed by a 1-minute rest and transition. Perform this 5-minute sequence up to 4x for 20 total minutes. You can perform this workout on your cardio machine of choice (airdyne or spin bike, running, etc.) or by alternating between body weight cardio exercises like stationary running, jumping jacks, squat thrusts, mountain climbers, etc. for the ultimate in-home workout! Click here or go to the FastFit YouTube Channel and choose the Tabata playlist for a full list of workouts.

Exercise Tip#3- Use Stubborn Fat Cardio to Accelerate Results:

- Aerobic training does have its uses in conjunction with a strength training and cardio interval training base. Aerobic training is of low to moderate intensity in nature and burns a larger proportion of fat per effort than sugar. On the other hand, strength training and high-intensity interval training rapidly eats up your body’s sugar stores thus forcing your body to use fat for fuel in the recovery from exercise.

- By performing some low to moderate intensity cardio following your strength and/or cardio interval training workouts you can accelerate the fat loss process. More specifically, 5 minutes following high-intensity exercise your body dumps stored triglycerides (fat) into your bloodstream, making it the perfect time to do some aerobic training to eat up that fat before it gets re-stored.

- I like to call this stubborn fat cardio and I prescribe a maximum of 10-20 minutes of steady state cardio (where you go as fast as you can without stopping) 5 minutes following strength and cardio interval workouts. This really helps accelerate the fat burning process, specifically for those trouble spot areas like the abs, hips, and thighs!

Exercise Tip#4- Use Total Body Exercises to Build Stunning Arms:

- You don’t have to be a genius to know that most brides are really focused on working their arms and shoulders since these areas of the body are often highly exposed in wedding dresses. But, doing a bunch of single-joint, isolation exercises like curls and triceps extensions is not going to get the job done. Spot reduction is a myth- no number of triceps kickbacks will ever put a dent into the “turkey-arm phenomenon” many women deal with.

- Rather, you should focus on performing compound, multi-joint movements that work as many muscles in your body as possible (including your arms and shoulders) for best results. Not only do compound exercises allow you to use heavier loads which stimulate maximal lean muscle gain (think push-ups over triceps extensions), but they also burn the most calories and create the optimal hormonal environment for burning the fat covering those attractive, toned muscles!

- To take it to the next level, use total body exercises exclusively in your workouts. Whole body movements that work your upper body, lower body, and core at the same time will allow you to get lean all over in addition to ensuring that you are working your upper body during every moment so that you are ARM-ed and ready for the big day. For example, instead of doing presses, do squat to presses.

Exercise Tip#5- Recovery is Key:

- Though this may be the least sexy tip of all, I truly believe it is the most important. Recovery from exercise is where all of the beneficial changes from high-intensity training occur. Don’t forget, a tough workout actually causes small micro-tears in your muscles that stimulates growth and repair. If all you do is work hard and break your body down this can lead to overtraining issues that may results in you limping down the aisle on the big day- not good!

- Do yourself a favor and invest in your own personal massage therapist in the form of a foam roller. It’s cheap and easy to use. Simply spend at least 5 minutes post-working performing 5-10 rolls on the most tender and sore areas of your body, with a specific emphasis on your hips and thighs and your upper/mid back area.

- This corrective self-massage both lengthens your muscles and improves tissue quality, preventing nagging aches and pains in your joints that can leave you on injured reserve in your perfect bride quest. Furthermore, self-massage brings blood flow and nutrients to your muscles which accelerate recovery and reduce soreness from high-intensity exercise.

- If you don’t have access to a foam roller, you can also use a tennis or lacrosse ball or even a rolling pin to achieve the same effect.

Well, those are my top 5 workout tips to help you look your best on the biggest day of your life. When it comes to exercise, keep it simple and stay the course. And remember, it’s not about weight loss- it’s about being as visually stunning as possible via losing inches in all the right places :)

Jeff McDaniel
FastFit Training & Fitness

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