Wedding Workout: 5 Classes to Boost Your Wedding Fitness Plan

Losing weight is hard. There’s no denying it, and anyone who tells you otherwise is either a liar or is genetically blessed with a fast metabolism. That said, there’s nothing like an engagement ring to motivate a girl to get a serious wedding workout plan started.

The good news is there are plenty of fun ways to slim down for the gown. Cutting out every food that tastes good and spending your life in a gym is no longer necessary. In fact, the general consensus is that punishing yourself for hours on the treadmill really doesn’t do much.

wedding workout

 
Changing up your wedding workout is the way to go, according to experts, and there is now a wealth of fitness classes out there to help you achieve your goals. Long gone are the days when your only option to work out was to join up to a gym just to go three times and then feel slightly guilty about never going again.

To give you an idea of what’s out there, I’ve sacrificed myself to spending the last few weeks going along to a wide variety of fitness classes ranging from low-impact yoga, to high-intensity CrossFit, and everything in between, and put it all here in one handy article.

Every class I took is suitable for beginners, and they’re all accessible throughout the country.

Read on for some serious #fitspo!

Class 1: Barrecore

wedding workout
 
I’d heard and read a lot about Barrecore prior to my first class, but I still wasn’t able to ascertain much more than that I was in for a toughie and that I’d need socks. I did know, however, that the system has quickly gained a devoted following across the country which includes celebs like Rita Ora, Poppy Delevingne, and Millie Mackintosh.

So what is Barrecore?

“It’s interval training mixed with balletic movements and isometric holds… Mixed with barre which is hugely popular in America,” says Pip Barsanti, lead instructor and manager of Barrecore’s Bristol studio.

Essentially, it’s an amped-up version of Pilates. And those isometric holds Pip was talking about burn. They burn even more when you pulse with teeny tiny movements whilst still in the hold, whilst also trying to squeeze a rubber ball between your calf and your bum. But that’s kind of the point.

“The smaller the movement,” Pip says, “the bigger the physical impact.” Barrecore uses these micro-movements and holds to create long, dancer-like lines, with noticeable improvements occurring within 8 weeks. So trust me, ladies, the burn is worth it, and it’ll be a big boost to your wedding fitness plan.

What areas does it target?

“Everything,” is Pip’s initial answer to this question. But it depends on which class you take. There are five types of classes: Asana (yoga-based, with barre thrown in), Sculpt (resistance training using bands), Signature (interval training, using weights), HIIT (high-intensity interval training) and Stretch (slower paced focusing on stretching).

There are also different levels, meaning you can go to a class that goes at a suitable pace for you and that targets the areas you’re looking to work on.

For the most part, you’ll notice a lot of work on the glutes and arms. That’s mostly because, as Pip says, “a lifted seat is what most women want”, while long and lean arms create that enviable dancer physique. (They also look pretty good paired with a strapless wedding dress.)

wedding workout
 

Why it’s great for brides-to-be

I may not be a bride-to- be anymore, but I am definitely going to end up being a Barrecore maniac. There’s something about the burn you get in a Barrecore class that’s just so satisfying. I also definitely felt every muscle group being targeted at one point or another.

But even though it’s intense, it’s also very doable. You’re invited to take things at your own pace and to take a breather when you need to. Plus, you’re surrounded by very supportive ladies who motivate one another throughout class. There’s an infectiously positive atmosphere in the room.

What’s more, every class is guaranteed to be small – the Bristol studio’s classes are capped at 12. “So even though you’re in a class environment, you can’t hide from me!” Pip jokes.

The small class size is a major advantage. It ensured that, as a newbie (who was doing everything quite hilariously wrong to begin with), I was really well looked after. It’s a class structure with a personal training vibe; perfect for brides-to-be who need more personalised attention in their wedding workouts.

Where you can take it and how much it’ll cost

Barrecore has 8 studios scattered around London, with other locations in Bristol, Harrogate, Leeds, and Alderley Edge.

Classes at the Bristol studio are £18 for a one-off drop-in, £85 for 5 classes, £160 for 10 classes, or £300 for 20. Unlimited memberships are available for £149/month and also come with access to Barrecore’s online video classes.

One-to-one sessions and nutritional guidance are also available. Prices at other studios vary. For more information, click here.

Class 2: Bikram Yoga

wedding workout
 
Invented in Calcutta by Bikram Choudhury and his guru, Bishnu Ghosh, Bikram yoga was exported to the United States in the 1970s, when Bikram moved to Hollywood and became guru to the stars (and President Regan, according to legend).

The prescribed sequence of 26 yoga postures and two breathing exercises, each done twice within a 90 minute class, is performed in a room heated to 105 degrees Fahrenheit (42 Celsius).

Bikram initially came up with the series as a rehabilitation routine when he was recovering from a weight-lifting injury. Years later, he realised its potential benefits to people with all kinds of ailments. Now, Bikram is one of the most recognisable names in fitness.

If the class sounds intense, that’s because it is. Even hardened practitioners – of which I am one – can have the occasional difficult class in which you feel like you’re baking from the inside out whilst dreaming of living in a freezer for the rest of your life.

But don’t let that put you off. The benefits of this practice are vast and significant.

What areas does it target?

Bikram yoga isn’t just special because it’s done in the heat (although that certainly makes it different). The series of postures is designed specifically to raise your heart rate at a steady pace. At the same time, the class systematically targets different muscle groups and internal organs.

Yep, you read that right. This class truly works your whole body from the inside out. Bikram yoga is one of the only workouts there is that helps you increase strength and flexibility at the same time as improving circulation and organ functions.

The most immediately noticeable effects include tighter, firmer glutes, more flexible hamstrings, and an improved metabolism and digestive system. This is obviously great support to any pre-wedding nutrition plan you may be on. Adding Bikram yoga to your wedding fitness plan can bring about a lot of positive changes.

wedding workout
 

Why it’s great for brides-to-be

Not only does the heat make you sweat (and therefore detox) like crazy, it also increases the suppleness and flexibility of your muscles, so you make big improvements in your practice pretty quickly.

New students typically report seeing improvements in their body composition and muscle definition within a month of dedicated practice (3-4 classes/week).

There are also significant psychological benefits to be had from this practice. Going to a Bikram class means you’re giving yourself 90 minutes of quality ‘you’ time. No phone, no emails, no talking, and no time to think about wedding-related stress.

Teachers encourage students to think of the class as a “90 minute moving meditation” helping you to focus your mind whilst strengthening your body, and improving your concentration and willpower at the same time.

Where you can take it and how much it’ll cost

There are Bikram yoga studios in almost every major UK city. However, many Bikram studios have dropped ‘Bikram’ from their studio name. Nevertheless, a quick online search of ‘Bikram yoga [insert your city here]’ should show you where you can practice locally.

Be warned: ‘hot’ yoga studios are not always Bikram studios. ‘Hot’ yoga can refer to any type of yoga done in a heated room. Look for classes called ‘Bikram’, ‘classic 90’, or ’26 & 2’.

I practice (and teach!) at Bikram Yoga Bristol, where an introductory month is £30 for unlimited classes. Many other Bikram studios also have similar intro offers. From then on, monthly direct debit memberships usually cost between £75-£90. Drop-in classes tend to cost £12-£15.

Class 3: Broga

wedding workout
 
Yep. Broga. Yoga for ‘bros’. An intense style of yoga that feels at times like a gym workout with a sadistic personal trainer disguised as a yoga class, and which is typically geared towards men. (The clue is in the name.)

So what is it doing on this list?

Well, besides trying to appeal to grooms reading this article (hello out there!), it’s also an incredibly effective workout. It combines all the zen you get from a yoga class with intense, challenging poses focused on building strength. Adding this class to your wedding workout routine is beneficial mentally as well as physically.

No two Broga classes are likely to be the same. Teaching styles vary, and each class focuses on a different target muscle group; I was fortunate enough to be a victim of ‘bicep and chest day’. What joy.

Joking aside, though, adding Broga into your pre-wedding fitness routine will help massively to improve your strength and muscle definition without lifting weights.

What areas does it target?

This is where Broga differs quite drastically to other forms of yoga. “Most yoga appeals to women because women are more naturally flexible, but not very strong… Broga is basically a type of yoga that focuses on strength… [so] it helps women to balance out their flexibility,” instructor, Will, explains.

This is important, ladies. Many women who have plenty of natural flexibility, but lack the strength to support it, find themselves with lower back injuries or hamstring strains by the age of 40, Will estimates.

To counter that, Broga classes focus heavily on upper body work, which is great for toning the arms and shoulders. Press-ups disguised as downward dogs transitioning to planks, for example, are a popular Broga move.

If you’re like me, you’ll probably face-plant a good few times when attempting these. But then again, “To get good at something, you have to suck at it at first,” Will reminds me with a smile after my fourth wipe-out.

wedding workout
 

Why it’s great for brides-to-be

To put it simply, Broga offers strength training that most fitness classes geared towards women don’t. As a result, a lot of the moves don’t tend to come naturally to women, which is perfect when you’re trying to change things up and gain muscle definition.

The fact that Broga is, at its core, a yoga class, also means that it’s low-impact. This is key to avoiding joint and muscle strain that can come as a result of high-impact exercise. You’re building strength with as little strain as possible, which is hard to do when running on the treadmill or lifting weights at the gym.

It also comes with all the other benefits of any other yoga class. Typically, that means a relaxed environment and a workout that is proven to alleviate stress, which can only do you good when added to your wedding fitness plan.

It may be called Broga, but maybe that ‘Br’ can stand for ‘bride’ in your case.

Where you can take it and how much it’ll cost

Broga is taught around the UK by Broga-certified instructors who are contracted to independent yoga studios or gyms. You can find a map of Broga-associated studios here. You can also download an 8 week course and diet plan here.

Pricing varies from studio to studio. I practiced at Bikram Yoga Bristol, where drop-in classes are £12.

Class 4: CrossFit

wedding workout
 
If you’ve heard of CrossFit, you probably think it sounded intimidating. CrossFitters are infamous in the fitness world for being ultra-hench bodybuilder types, so maybe it was that reputation that made me feel slightly sick as I walked into Bath’s CrossFit gym. It’s known far and wide as a hard-core workout, but as a wedding workout? I wasn’t so sure.

As I quickly learned, though, my reservations were unfounded.

Talking to Ollie, CrossFit Bath’s owner and my coach for the day, it became evident that I needn’t be nervous about my first venture into a ‘Box’, as CrossFit gyms are sometimes called.

“No matter whether you’re a professional athlete or a complete newbie to exercise, CrossFit is for anyone,” Ollie is quick to assure me.

CrossFit is defined as constantly varied, functional movements performed at variable intensities. “It’s about real world movements, teaching the body to move how it’s designed,” Ollie clarifies.

What areas does it target?

What doesn’t it target?  The WOD (Workout of the Day) is CrossFit’s signature class and is always well-rounded. There’s also a big emphasis on variety. The hour-long class starts with a warm-up, moving onto a skill or strength element, followed by a workout.

“[The workout section] can be 30 minutes one and day and 5 the next. We really do mix it up, keeping the body guessing and developing well rounded fitness and physique,” says Ollie.

“We have a ton of fun; our goal is to make your CrossFit workout the best hour of your day.”

Your membership entitles you to drop into the gym for an independent training session whenever you like so you can work on more specific things. You can also schedule one-to-one sessions with one of their coaches who can help create a wedding fitness plan just for you.

wedding workout
 

Why it’s great for brides-to-be

CrossFit gyms have a strong sense of community. That was immediately obvious to me when I walked into the Bath gym in the middle of a WOD class. The hugely diverse group of people there were of all fitness levels, but were still working as a strong team and motivating one another.

Ollie echoes this ethos strongly. “There are no egos,” he says. “No prejudice, just like-minded people supporting each other daily – it’s all about community.”

What also makes it perfect for those looking to get wedding bod-ready is how tailored and personalised the exercises are. CrossFit gyms all have teams of coaches who will keep a close eye on you, track your progress, and help you to achieve your pre-wedding fitness goals.

“Our programme is built on getting results,” Ollie stresses. “If something doesn’t work, we throw it out. We’re constantly researching new ways to get people in the shape of their lives.”

Where you can take it and how much it’ll cost

There are now 523 official CrossFit gyms around the UK and Ireland, all with their own pricing structures and introductory courses/offers. You can find a CrossFit gym near you here.

CrossFit Bath starts all newcomers off with an intro course comprising two hour-long sessions per week for 4 weeks, costing £90. There is one-to-one intro course option, costing £135. Memberships thereafter start at £69/month.

Class 5: Circuits

wedding workout circuits
 
Probably the most versatile of all the classes I took part in for this article, ‘Circuits’ can really mean a lot of different things. All Circuits classes are essentially high-intensity interval training (HIIT), as they combine multiple intense exercises that are done for only a minute or so at a time.

“In a typical Circuits [class] there are a range of stations that are designed to work various body parts,” my coach, Hannah, explains. “You’ll move around the stations getting a whole body workout.” That could mean you do anything from running laps, to squats, to kickboxing.

This is a perfect class to lookout for if you’re already a member of a gym, as many gyms now have them on their timetables. Circuits classes are also offered in a lot of community spaces around the country, usually for a small drop-in fee.

They’re a quick, cheap commitment to make and a great addition to your wedding fitness plan.

What areas does it target?

Because the exercises you do are different every time, you can be sure that you’ll give every muscle group a thorough workout. Although one class may focus more on legs and the next more on abs, you’re bound to feel sore pretty much everywhere the next day!

“Every class works your entire body [and] also combines cardio and strength training,” says Hannah. So even when you feel one muscle group being worked more, you can be assured that your whole body is involved.

Constantly changing up the exercises and only staying at any one station for a maximum of 45 seconds is also hugely beneficial. It’s the frequent moving around the various stations, Hannah points out, that keeps your body guessing and maximises the positive effects of training.

wedding workout circuits
 

Why it’s great for brides-to-be

The thing I love most about Circuits class is that it’s just so fun. Granted, I can only speak for the class I took, but I found that the time flew by.

Hannah also added in a warm-up at the start of class that included a silly (yet surprisingly tiring) game as an ice-breaker, giving us all a good laugh. And giving yourself an hour to exercise and have a bit of fun in the midst of crazy wedding planning stress is seriously valuable. Trust me, I’ve been there.

But on top of that, it is an undeniably effective workout. The combination of cardio and strength training is the “golden ticket” to getting the dream wedding body and is the key to any wedding workout regime, according to Hannah.

And even though the exercises can be tough, you’re always encouraged to take things at your own pace, and to do less intense versions if you need to.

Where you can take it and how much it’ll cost

Circuits classes are offered in most gyms around the country as part of their class schedule, particularly chains like Fitness First. These classes may also be called ‘HIIT’ on some timetables. An online search of Circuits classes in your area will show you where your nearest class is.

I took my Circuits class through Space Gym in Bath for a £5 drop-in fee (£8 for non-members). Space also has a women-only gym session every Saturday afternoon where ladies can also get personal training and nutritional guidance.

Fitspirational enough for you? I hope this post has got you feeling motivated and ready to get started on your wedding fitness journey! Remember to check out the websites of each class mentioned here for more tips, nutritional advice, and class schedules near you. 

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