Monday 28 May 2012

RUNAWAY BRIDE: QBride and the big-day fitness blitz

And lo, with just a little shy of four months to go until the wedding and my second fitting at the lovely Johanna Hehir pencilled in for next week, my thoughts have turned to things that wobble.

My thighs, upper arms and tummy to be precise. Even my upper back seems to want to get in on this new found, and extremely unwanted lackadaisical attitude to firmness, youthful bounce and a glowing, toned appearance. The timing, with wedmin lethargy kicking in and the call of the open road to pound the pavements less appealing than ever, is bad. What's worse, although an in-depth knowledge of pre-wedding diets and the benefits of exercise - particularly when it comes to beating the dreaded love-handles induced by stress' BFF cortisol - are part of the job description as a bride, nothing seems to be spurring me into action. Not even the thought of the 'forever' pictures that will stand testament to my current ostrich-like approach to training seem to be deterring me from sleeping past the alarm clock that should be getting me up for my thrice-weekly run.

*NB small note of self-defence, usually I am quite the outbound-bound kind of girl, scaling peaks, running half-marathons and dancing/prancing (delete as appropriate). But with writing the forthcoming book has come increasingly long hours fettered to my desk and an increased resilience to tenets such as 'no pain, no gain'. Where my standard riposte would be more 'just do it', this is more commonly 'meh' at the moment.

So, I thought, if I make a pact with you lovely readers on this here blog, I can't ignore it, can I? You can goad, berate and act like the uber-trainers I wish I could afford. And I promise I will take it, no grumbles or excuses. The heat is on, my friends.

Are you a bride struggling to beat the jiggles? Here's my cheats guide to ditching those few little pounds that can make all the difference, and the fitness secrets you need for the arms of Michelle Obama, the legs of Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and the midriff of a Prada model rocking this season's cropped tops...

A CHANGE WOULD DO YOU GOOD One of the most effective ways to get your body working harder is to vary your exercise and drop in unexpected challenges such as going for a long bike ride, resistance training by clearing out your loft or even pole-dancing whereby you use your own weight to strengthen. This forces your body to adapt and shed pounds without thinking about it as you don't reach a plateau as you would if you just continued one staple exercise.

GO HIGH-OCTANE ENERGY FOR SLIM LIMBS Dance classes such as Niki Rein's "isometric ballet" on the King's Road or even Zumba (the happy-inducing dancercize class) require lots of beans as you squat, lift and stretch but are low impact for lissome limbs that are naturally slim and taut.
TRY NIKI'S "BACK DANCE" Lie in a bridge shape with your shoulders on the floor, lift your hips up and down for four minutes in a steady pulse movement. Up your game by squeezing a Pilate's ball between your knees.
Niki Rein at

FRESH AND WILD Fill your meals with protein, fresh vegetables, good fats (avocado, nuts, eggs, full-fat greek yogurt and oily fish such as salmon) and garlic, one of nature's best cleansers - but forewarn your groom!. Avoid processed sugar, wheat products and treat treats as precisely that - something to have occasionally and savour. Also, ditch the alcohol if you can - one of the worst culprits of 'empty' calories, but a Gin and slim-line tonic is the least wasteful if you must. I've also just discovered Omega 3 fish oil, and reduced the amount of dairy in my diet to aid clearer, more radiant skin.

BORN TO RUN As one of the most liberating and all-round forms of exercise, little beats a good run. But a word of caution, a long run can actually create more cortisol (which has a direct effect on the stubborn fat that clings to women's tummies) as the body releases free radicals. Build your distances up gradually to stop your body going into attack-mode and becoming 'stressed' by the run. I also can't run without a ruddy good running soundtrack - music has recently been proven by scientists to steady pace, motivate and metaphorically 'cheer' you on - cue lots of bad rock anthems, LMFAO and avoiding the temptation to join in with the hands-up-in-the-air-clapping euphoria as Take That's 'Never Forget' plays on the home straits. Yes, I am that cool.

ALWAYS ON MY MIND Keep a vision in mind of a 'better' you when exercising (so, you looking healthy, sleek and toned on your big day) for optimum results - as athlete Lucinda Puddicombe, the former team GB teamster, says "Academic studies show how beneficial visualisation can be when training, as it improves commitment, focus, muscle recruitment, energy efficiency and spatial awareness". So the trick is to think it to be it.

Let the games begin...

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