I was interviewed by Brides Magazine on the most effective moves to help brides fit into their wedding dresses. If you're a fan of 'Say Yes To The Dress' you know that many of the popular styles are body hugging & curve craving (fit & flare, mermaid, slinky fabrics) all of which require a bit of shaping up so they feel and look their best and let their dress show off their best assets (no pun intended).
1. The plunging back, showing off the entire upper & mid back, shoulders and arms
2. The halter, showing off the shoulders and arms & slinky fabrics, which shows off everything & hides nothing.
3. The short dress showing off the legs
To develop definition and tone
in each area, follow these basic,
yet effective moves
1. BACK. Wearing a low back calls for defined back muscles, namely the lats (the muscles on the outside of your back) and rhomboids (the muscles running alongside your spine). You can hit them at the same time by doing push ups. Push ups are the most effective upper-body move you can do without equipment.
As an absolute beginner you can do them against a wall. If you're a little more advanced, do them on your knees. If you're a pro and strong, go for full-body push-ups. Make sure your shoulders are right above the hands and the elbows point out when you come down. Make sure you come as low to the floor as possible and let your shoulder blades squeeze together. Do them slowly - quality is more important than quantity. Do at least 50 a day - in sets of 10 with a short break between each set of 10.
2. STOMACH. While 80% of a flat stomach is the result of a clean diet (eliminate alcohol, sugar, starches and processed food and rely on fibrous veggies and lean proteins 5x a day), you can firm your abs by performing an ab move that engages your entire core - from the top part under your rib cage to the bottom part, which is typically the last part of your abs to change and flatten.
Planks are among the most effective ab moves (that's why they're also so uncomfortable to do) as they not only work your abs, but also the deep abdominal muscles that are key to flattening your stomach. Place both elbows on the floor and position your shoulders right above them. You're on your toes, making sure that your body is parallel to the floor - not too high and not too low with the hips. Pull your belly button in until you feel your abs shake and hold your plank for at least 30 seconds as a beginner. Advanced exercisers should start with a minute and build up to 2 and 3 minutes over time.
To firm your waist, drop your hip to one side and use your obliques (your side stomach muscles) to pull them back up. Repeat on the other side. Do these slowly and with control. Repeat 20-30 times.
3. LEGS. To develop strong, defined and toned legs you want to work on your quads (front of your thighs), the hamstrings (back of your thighs) and the outside and inside of your thighs (adductors and abductors). One of the most effective moves is the step up. Not only does it firm every muscle in your legs and calves, but it also lifts your butt, which helps makes your legs look even longer from behind.
Use a chair or park bench and step your light leg onto the bench. Step up all the way, straightening your right leg out and lifting you left leg. Drop your left leg back down and repeat. Your right leg stays on the bench at all times and you use it to lift yourself up. Repeat 20-30 times. Then switch legs. Perform 3 times total, at least 3x a week.
When it comes to cardio, you want to maximize your time. Make sure you go for high intensity and quick bursts of energy instead of long and drawn-out marathon sessions. Quick bursts burn mega calories, promote fat burning and get you leaner. Long drawn-out sessions promote muscle loss.