Whether you're moments away from walking down to the aisle or you're a year into married bliss, brides everywhere can reminisce about the planning that went into the big day. From picking out something blue to cake tasting, no detail goes unnoticed. But arguably the most work? The stress a lot of ladies put on their fitness routine leading up to saying "I do." Sure, it's great to look good for that walk toward the altar, but for a lot of women, fitness becomes an outlet for all of the craziness in the midst of planning.
We caught up with 10 brides who shared with us the lessons they learned — the good, the bad, and the empowering — while amping up their fitness routines before their weddings.
1. Lifting heavy weights won't make you bulky.
"I learned through pushing sleds that weighed almost the same amount as me, swinging heavy kettlebells, and dead lifting weights that I am much stronger than I ever imagined my little five-foot self could be! It's a misconception that when women lift, they get bigger. The truth is that we get stronger and look better. I'm not into weighing myself, but I am positive that on my wedding day I would not have seen the smallest number I have ever been on the scale. Lifting made me confident in my wedding dress, and it's something I keep up with even today." — Kristina M., 29
2. Be lenient with yourself.
"I am very committal. I rarely skipped prewedding workouts. If I signed up for a class, I was there, sometimes to the point of even overexerting myself. In hindsight, I wish I had more of a workout balance, and instead of committing myself to two-a-days, I wish I was easier on myself and nicer to my body." — Alyssa H., 29
3. Your fiancé loved you before you started working out like crazy.
"My workout buddies and I dropped lots of 'shedding for the wedding' jokes, but that's usually when we were cheating and eating something not so healthy. Through the entire process, I tried to remind myself that what's most important is to be myself and be healthy for my wedding. My fiancé, Brandon, already loves me enough to marry me." — Katie Sue G., 29
4. Being a "yes" (wo)man won't work.
"I quickly became very aware of what and who I say 'yes' to and not just my wedding dress. At the time, I put my personal health and workouts first. I went to bed early, drank lots of green juice and loads of water. At the end of the day, we are the ones in charge of our own health and happiness, and staying present throughout the planning process is important for your well-being." — Caroline G., 32
5. Celebrating was more fun when fitness was involved.
"Working out throughout my engagement reinforced how much I really do enjoy it and how much it's a part of my life. It wasn't that I needed to change my routine, but I've wanted to include fitness in things like my bachelorette party in Nashville, and I also took all my bridesmaids to my local Spin studio when they were in town for my shower. While people tend to say the bachelorette is all about partying, I've kind of learned that it's important to do what you want to do and keep the things that are going to keep you sane in your schedule." — Cassie S., 29
6. Working out is about more than just looking good.
"I never worked out regularly because I'm blessed with a somewhat fast (although slowing down) metabolism. But I learned that I can manage my stress much better when I'm regularly working out, which helped me deal with the stress and anxiety of planning a large and dual-ceremony wedding. Now, keeping up with the habits I developed while prepping for my wedding helps me with job stress. My head is clearer, things feel less overwhelming, and I feel like I can handle anything thrown at me after a good 45-minute Spin class. I also generally feel happier and sleep better, something that doesn't hurt when you're a lawyer." — Katherine K., 29
7. There's no need to do ridiculous amounts of cardio.
"I've always been into working out, but prepping for my wedding is when I finally learned which workouts were best for my body type. I've always thought the more cardio I do, the slimmer I'll be, but the opposite was true for me. By focusing on different muscle groups in a barre fitness class, I got the lean, toned look I really wanted for my wedding." — Anne T., 29
8. Water, water, water.
"Through working out at home with DVDs, I learned the power of dedication and where there's a will, there's a way. Water, also. All day water. Yeah I woke up every morning to get in a good sweat, but chugging down water wasn't just great for my skin, but helped me feel lighter day in and day out." — Lauren C., 28
9. There's no one-size-fits-all wedding diet.
"I have been gluten- and dairy-free for about five years, but about six months before our wedding, I also cut out all animal-based products. My hair became softer, my skin brighter, and breakouts were few and far between. Granted, no one diet will fit every person. But I learned that you really have to listen to your body and be willing to experiment. Everyone's body is different and, yes, you want to look your best on your wedding day, but not at the cost of not enjoying being engaged." — Kellie S., 28
10. The right form makes all the difference.
I did a lot of cardio, full-body work, and worked with a personal trainer in New York City. Considering that my dress was entirely backless, I wanted to focus on my back and abs. But when I realized that some moves I was doing on my own weren't yielding results, my personal trainer stepped in and showed me that I was doing them wrong. Even for running and cycling, small tweaks made a major difference, not just in how my body looked, but also in terms of preventing injuries. For that, I'm thankful. — Jennifer P., 33