Fit_brideAmidst the excitement of the engagement comes the visualization of the wedding day. Most brides dream of how they want to look as they exchange their vows. For some this is Michele Obama’s triceps, Jennifer Aniston’s abs and Angelina Jolie’s legs. Whatever the mission is, most times it will take some dedication to get into the shape for this special day.

According to Fitness Magazine, 89% of brides want to lose weight before their wedding. Most wedding dresses accentuate arms, back and legs, so these are the targeted areas to tone. When the pre-wedding planning months include a balance of celebrations, work, family and fitness, life can get very hectic. It is always a help to have your fiance or members of the wedding party share in your goals to get in better shape.

It is good to begin with an overall look at your habits around motivation, nutrition, stress and working out. Giving thought to this can enhance the mind-body-spirit connection so you can enjoy the ride of the engagement months. Fortunately, there are a multitude of resources out there to choose from. It is good to reach out to your friends and family to see who may have similar goals at this time so you can cheer each other on to stay on task.

Sometimes a getaway is the perfect jumpstart you need to get on the right track. Canyon Ranch in Lenox, Mass., is a frequent host to bridal parties with it’s Girlfriends Getaway package, (men are welcome too!). Through it’s Health and Healing programs, they provide life management sessions on nutrition for weight loss, fitness plans you can take home and cooking classes to name a few. All year round they have indoor and outdoor athletic activities including hiking, kayaking, yoga and dance. You can also take advantage of their world class spa for some pampering.

If heading out of town isn’t in the plans, an effective, local option is the Beautiful Bride Program,at Koko Fitclub at the Goodwives Shopping Center in Darien. Koko offers the world’s first and only fully automated personal training studio. Its patented Smartraining System™ technology analyzes each bride and groom’s fitness level and range of motion and and designs a customized, dynamic program to help the individual reach her or his goals. They do all the thinking and planning for a personalized full body workout that is different every time. Members simply come in, plug in their Koko Key and get to work with the help of the attentive staff.

Each strength and cardio workout packs the benefits of a 60-90 minute workout into just 30 minutes for strength training and 15 minutes for cardio. Every exercise and workout is tracked and reported on a personal webpage and your progress is monitored and tested, so that you can actually quantify how you doing.  They have great hours (5 a.m. to midnight) so it is easy to fit in a workout no matter what your busy schedule is.  This is a great local resource to know about even after your wedding day.

Getting and staying motivated can happen in many ways. If you like to work out alone and are very self-directed, there are online sites that have articles and workout plans laid out at no cost to you. The Knot ( wedding.theknot.com), has a fitness makeover section highlighting it’s Shape Up: 6-Month Wedding Fitness Plan. It provides a detailed outline of what you should focus on month by month. The plan has an uncomplicated checklist of items you need such as running shoes, hand weights and a mat. It also provides encouraging tips about staying in touch with how you are feeling and keeping your stress level in check.

It is important to be good to yourself and focus on time management and healthy ways to reduce stress. Breathing awareness is a very important part of this. Andrew Weil, M.D. (drweil.com), is an expert in the art and science of breath. His breath counting is part of a Zen practice where you count four breaths in seven to hold in, and eight out. Exercise is especially good when you need to gather yourself and stay calm.

Whichever plan you choose, ease into it. Consider each step as a gift to you and your fiance. Keeping a journal and sticking to the workout commitments on your calendar are good ways to honor the process.  Reward yourself with a manicure, massage or a walk in the woods when you reach certain benchmarks to acknowledge your perseverance.  Don’t be surprised if you continue your plan after the honeymoon is over. Continuing with a healthy lifestyle is a great way to begin your life together.

Deirdre Corcoran Foote, an avid fitness enthusiast, is founder of the community page on Facebook: Juicing and Health Advice. Check out her site at facebook.com/juicing.health.advice.Darien.kokofitclub.com