3 Non-Weight Loss Reasons Why Brides Should Exercise (plus an at-home workout video)

Written with love, by Jennifer Dene

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We received a comment on social media recently about the negative connotations of #sheddingforthewedding and you know what? I couldn’t agree more. The stereotype, or expectation, of being a certain “wedding weight” is unfair and ridiculous, and it has to stop.

Today I’ll tell you the reasons why I want to exercise everyday, and help you set your own pre-wedding fitness goals that have nothing to do with weight loss. Then I’ll give you a fun workout that you can do at home.

But first, let me remind you that you are already a beautiful bride, with a beautiful body. Together we can create a new culture of brides who love their bodies, love their engagement experience and are able to find and maintain a healthy lifestyle leading up to their wedding day (and for life happily ever after).

OK, let’s dive in!

Three Reasons Why I’m Motivated To Workout Everyday

It Clears My Head

I may no longer be a busy bride, but I am a busy newlywed.

This year alone I’ve had three international trips, moved across the country and started my own business. Plus there are the logistics of organizing everyday life – keeping up with friends, tidying the house, spending quality time with family, remembering birthdays… you know how it is.

I’ve come to realize that there isn’t much space for “me time” in the 9 – 5 (or 6am – 6pm as it often seems to be), so that’s what my workout becomes. This half hour is an opportunity to clear my head of its never ending to-do list, and simply focus on my body and my breath.

 It Helps My Skin

I had a lot of skin trouble growing up, but these days I hardly ever see a spot. Why? I credit my clear skin to these three things:

1.    Minimizing sugar consumption

2.    Finding Paula’s Choice

3.    Having a good sweat each day

Working out boosts circulation, which helps to keep your skin healthy and vibrant. As heart rate increases blood carries oxygen and nutrients to the skin cells — it’s like getting the benefits of a facial from the inside out.

It’s An Opportunity To Be Social

Most of my friends are also very active people, so weekend catch-ups might revolve around hiking, mountain biking, paddle boarding or attending yoga classes.

Especially now that my husband and I live in Los Angeles, it’s not uncommon for visiting friends to want to hike Runyon Canyon, or bike ride from Venice to Malibu.

Not only does this leave me feeling better (and wealthier) than a long night spent drinking cocktails, I find that conversation flows with ease when our hands and feet are busy doing something else.

Organizing an active social event with your bridesmaids would be a fun and relaxed way for everyone to get to know each other!

A Note On Rest Days

Did I really just say that I’m motivated to workout everyday? Yep! It’s rare that I would have a day when I literally didn’t do anything active, it just doesn’t make me feel good. But that doesn’t mean I’m doing high intensity training everyday either. My body gets plenty of rest because I diversify my workouts. Some days I simply take a walk or do a stretch class.

So, if you struggle with the desire to exercise regularly, perhaps start by re-framing what a “workout” should look like. For me, it’s simply anything that gets my body moving and blood flowing.

Your Challenge

This week I encourage you to establish three, non-weight loss reasons why it would benefit you to exercise regularly in the lead up to your wedding.

I’d love to hear your reasons in the comments below!

Your Workout

Now that you’re feeling motivated to work out, it’s time to get this show on the road!

This week I have a simple at-home circuit that doesn’t require any equipment. The moves are simple, but don’t let that fool you. By moving quickly from one exercise to the next you are getting a cardio boost alongside the benefits of strength training.

1.    Start with a 5 minute walk around the neighborhood to warm up

2.    Next, set your timer for 6 minutes and repeat as many repetitions of the circuit as you can

3.    Rest for 60 seconds and repeat a total of three or four rounds

The Moves

5 pushups

10 situps

15 tricep dips

20 squats

30 lunges

40 butt kicks

50 high knees

Video Tutorial

Disclaimer: Exercise is not without its risks and this this or any other exercise program may result in injury. As with any exercise program, if at any point during your workout you begin to feel faint, dizzy or have physical discomfort you should stop immediately and consult a medical professional. Always consult your physician or health care provider before beginning any nutrition or exercise program. If you choose to use this information without the prior consent of your physician, you are agreeing to accept full responsibility for your decisions.

Smart Phone Fit // Three Must-Have Apps to Take on Your Fitness Journey

Written with love, by Nikki Lian

Not too long ago I can remember food journaling in an actual journal, trying to figure out how many laps around the block was a mile and thumbing through fitness magazines, clipping and saving articles to put together workouts. Who needs a pen and paper anymore when we have smartphones!  Here are three of my favorite apps that I always take along with me to reach mine (and my clients') fitness goals:


My Fitness Pal

My fitness pal is a website/app that aids in tracking your caloric intake. Not only does it help you journal how many calories you eat in a day, but it breaks down the ratio of carbs vs. fat vs. protein you intake in a pie chart. You start by typing in a fitness goal (let's say I want to lose 15 pounds by October 15th) and some other information such as your current weight, height and age and it will tell you how many calories you should be eating per day in order to reach your goal. It has a huge database of different foods as well as restaurant foods and pre-packaged foods. You can also track your calories burned during exercise and it will factor in your intake for that day. It sounds like a lot, but My Fitness Pal makes it easy to input and keep track of all your info.

My Fitness Pal App

Run Keeper

I started using Run Keeper to track my marathon training last year. It's an app that tracks the distance you've ran, the calories you've burned, your time and your pace using the GPS system in your phone. It also displays an outline on a map of the route you just ran and saves it if you want.  And just like My Fitness Pal you can connect with your friends and running partners to track your progress or to help keep each other accountable. I also like to use this app for hikes as well, and it also connects to your Facebook (what doesn't these days) so you can announce to your friends how you just busted your butt on a 8-mile run.

RunKeeper App.png


Nike Training Club

Nike Training Club App

Nike Training Club or as the app calls itself "Your Personal Trainer--Anytime, Anywhere" is an app that puts together workouts for you using a couple of dumbbells or sometimes no equipment at all. The great thing about this app is that there are videos that are a few seconds long that show you how to do one or two repetitions of the exercise -- so you're not planted in front of a screen trying to keep up with anyone. You learn the exercises in the workout and get them done at your pace. Exercises are grouped together by body parts or mixed in for a full body workout and can be done at a beginner, intermediate or advanced level.  Workouts range from 15 to 45 minutes.

Fitness journeys can be fun, but we can always use that extra help. This best thing to do is to try these three apps for yourselves to decide whether they would aid in your regimen. They are all free of charge, ready to download, and easy to navigate. 

Exploring the World of Group Fitness

Written with love, by Nikki Lian

Group fitness is a great way to learn new things so you can add to your own routine. Sometimes walking in the gym can be intimidating if you don’t know what you’re doing, and personal training may not be in your budget.  So what can you do to learn how to work your body properly and see results?  Try a class!  I’ve actually jumped around and have done my own research into group fitness to keep my workouts fresh.


Boxing + Kickboxing

One class I’ve tried was a good friend of mine’s boxing class at Elite Pro Fitness in Manhattan Beach. Chuck is a great trainer, and he pushes me to my limits when he works me out.  This class was a mix of heavy bag work, mitt work and some leg and arm work.   This is a workout that will push you to the limit.  A boxing workout like this one is usually non-stop and can burn up to 800 calories per hour.  It also works your entire body.  Remember, an hour sounds long, but time flies when you’re having fun!!  Your local gym may have a cardio kickboxing class, or if you have a CKO Kickboxing close to you, try out a class there.  70 percent of your workout is on a heavy bag and the trainers are amazing.  You can also get the stress out by punching things!!



Another group fitness experience I had was when I joined my friend for a zumba class at the YMCA in Burbank.  I had taken Zumba once before with her and didn’t enjoy it that much or felt that I got much of a work out.  But my friend told me that I needed to go to Shauna’s class, and that her class was a lot more fun.  I agreed, because I do believe different people add different vibes to classes, and I was really glad I went.  Shauna has unbelievable energy, and a lot of compassion.  She explained to her students that it is all supposed to feel good and be fun, and if anyone has injuries, to moderate the moves.  I, for one, appreciate that because something is usually always hurting on my body.

Shauna’s zumba class was very face-paced, which is what I like.  I didn’t have time to feel like a fool with two left feet because I was so concentrated on what she was doing, I wasn’t worried about anyone watching me trip over myself.  I ended up getting a great work out, and decided to go back for a second and third time.  However, personally I felt I could supplement this class with lifting weights as well.  It was like my “Cardio.”  This was also a lesson learned that your trainer or instructor makes your class.  So it’s best when you’re trying a new workout to not judge it on one class. 



Black Dog Yoga is a studio in Sherman Oaks I heard about through a client.  They were having a great deal—unlimited yoga for a month for 30 dollars.  I had done yoga only once at Runyon Canyon, and again didn’t have the greatest experience, so I decided to give it a shot.  The first class I took was called Restorative Yoga with Melissa.  If you’re trying to get a good work out and sweat, this is not the right class.  Restorative Yoga was right up my alley, because it’s pretty much self-explanatory—you’re restoring your body. You sit in different positions using blocks and pillows to try to shape your body back to the way it should be.  It was very relaxing, and again you are able to adjust and modify positions to fit your comfort,

I also participated in a basic flow yoga class, led by Hanna.  This was a little more intense.  I was sweating buckets, but it really stretched me out and worked my core, two things I desperately need.  I was able to do everything (I just had to sit on a blanket instead of the hard floor to protect my tailbone).  Both instructors at Black Dog Yoga were extremely helpful and although the classes were full, they walked around to help you out.

So if you’re bored of your same routine or are trying to get in shape and have no idea what you’re doing, try to throw some group sessions in to mix it up.  If you’re in the Sherman Oaks, CA area I’d love to have you at my Fit Camp!  If not, ask your local gym for their group fitness schedule, or check out the deals on Groupon or Lifebooker.  They usually have a lot of different classes to choose from.  Find the one that fits you!!