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Laura Hunt

Fit and Beautiful for Your Wedding
Improving Your Fitness with Mischa Kubancik

Mischa Kubancik is the co-founder of Beyond Limits, a personal training company in San Francisco. In addition to helping brides prepare for their weddings, she is also a certified triathlon coach and has been helping clients reach their goals for over ten years.

Improving your fitness in preparation for your wedding is a great idea. You will feel better, have more energy, and of course, look better. It can be confusing to know what kind of exercise program will give you the results you are trying to achieve, but it all comes back to one basic question: what is your goal?

There are three components of exercise, and while all are equally important, your specific goals will determine how each component should be used. It helps to fully explain the role of each.

The old Greeks, inventors of the Olympic games, knew that a healthy mind needs a healthy body. This is particularly true during the stressful time before the wedding. Mischa Kubancik, a private trainer, will help you with the right exercises to shape your body and make you fit and beautiful for your wedding. Exercise by yourself or with your fiancé.

Short for cardiovascular exercise, this type of exercise is the primary tool for losing body fat. Body fat is stored fuel and cardio burns fuel. If losing weight is your primary goal, this should be the foundation of your exercise program. There are literally hundreds of cardio options to choose from, but what really matters is the amount of time you spend doing it. Expect to spend a minimum of 30 minutes (consecutively) a day, at least 5 days a week to effect a change. The more weight you want to lose, the more time you will have to spend.

Also called weight training, this exercise will build muscle and strength. That is all it will do. Strength training will not make any part of your body smaller (that is the job of cardio). If you would like to see the outline of muscles (definition), then you will need to do strength training. By building muscle and reducing body fat, you will start to see the shape of the muscles under the skin. Luckily, strength training does not require a large investment of time. An efficient program only takes about 20 minutes, 3 times a week.

Often referred to as stretching, this is the most overlooked of the three components, but it is equally important as the other two. The two biggest reasons brides should be concerned with stretching are to help relieve stress and to improve posture. It is possible to make a positive change with the addition of a few well selected stretching positions performed daily.

There are no shortcuts to changing your body. To make true changes requires a consistent and efficient exercise program. It is possible to make small changes in a short amount of time, but if you are looking for dramatic changes, get started early to give yourself every chance at success. Below is a countdown to your wedding and what you can hope to achieve if you get started and get serious about your exercise.

Countdown to your wedding

3 months
With three months until the wedding, the majority of your exercise time should be devoted to cardio. There is not enough time to achieve strength changes; you need at least 8 weeks to make physiological changes to muscle. You will need to make exercise the top priority in your life if you want to make this happen. This is as close to “cramming” as you will get. With a drastic increase to your cardio, it is possible to lose a substantial amount of weight. Be warned, however, if you stop exercising, you will gain it all back as soon as the wedding is over.

Choose weight-bearing exercises such as running, power-walking, stair-climbers, versa-climbers and elliptical machines.

 Cycle classes are also a good choice because it is very high intensity. Whatever type of exercise you choose, your effort should be high. You should be able to talk while you exercise, but only short phrases. If you can get in a lengthy chat, you aren’t working hard enough. Use this chart to help you organize your workouts.


To use this chart, find the level that closely matches your current, weekly exercise pattern. Then each week, progress to the next level. If you start to feel it is too much, go down one level until you feel ready to move up. If you are just starting your workouts, begin with level 1. (The times listed refer to cardio only and do not include warm-up or cool-down)
Level Mon Tues Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
1 30 mins   30 mins   30 mins   30 mins
2 30 mins   45 mins   30 mins   45 mins
3 30 mins   45 mins   45 mins 30 mins 30 mins
4 45 mins   45 mins   45 mins   45 mins
5 45 mins 30 mins 45 mins   45 mins   45 mins
6 45 mins 30 mins 45 mins 30 mins 45 mins   45 mins
7 45 mins 30 mins 45 mins 30 mins 45 mins 30 mins 45 mins
8 45 mins 30 mins 45 mins 45 mins 45 mins 30 mins 45 mins
9 45 mins 45 mins 45 mins 45 mins 45 mins 30 mins 45 mins
10 45 mins 45 mins 45 mins 45 mins 45 mins 45 mins 45 mins
11 60 mins 45 mins 60 mins 45 mins 60 mins 45 mins 45 mins
12 60 mins 60 mins 60 mins 45mins 60 mins 45 mins 60 mins
13 60 mins 60 mins 60 mins 45mins 60 mins 60 mins 60 mins
14 60 mins 60 mins 60 mins 60 mins 60 mins 60 mins 60 mins

6 months
You can make big changes in this amount of time and, more importantly, you have a much better chance of maintaining those changes past the wedding. Your program should include regular strength training (3 times a week) as well as stretching every day. (Ten minutes a day is fine.) The amount of cardio you do will depend on how dramatic a change you want; however, you should expect to spend 30-45 minutes a day, at least 4 days a week doing cardio. If that seems like a lot right now, you have the time to build up gradually to that amount, so don’t worry if it seems daunting.

9 months (or more)
A timeline of 9 or more months will really help you establish a new lifestyle, which is imperative for any long-term success. In addition, a bride can make very dramatic changes without unnecessary health risks and still manage to balance all of the other demands in her life. A well-rounded program that consists of cardio, strength, and flexibility can easily be designed.

No matter how much time you have before your wedding, your exercise plan should be efficient and geared specifically towards your goals. Next month, we’ll look more closely at strength training to help you get the most out of a short amount of time.

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