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Shape up tips for brides and grooms

Get you and your groom into the best shape to show off your wedding and beach bodies when it comes to the big day

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Running couple

For the bride…

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Sculpt the perfect figure for your dream dress – as well as your honeymoon bikini

Eat up

Strong, sexy curves give you a gorgeous wedding-day silhouette, so ditch the crash diets. Super-fit model Nell McAndrew says a healthy appetite is the key. “I love my food. I don’t eat ‘lady’s portions’! It’s much better to eat more and train harder.” Instead of skipping meals, focus on what you eat: keep a food diary for two weeks (be honest!) and you’ll soon see where your weak points are.

Core blimey

All the crunches in the world won’t give you a lithe, flat stomach if your deep “core” abdominal muscles are weak. Start training your core with pelvic tilts: lie on your back with your knees bent and spine neutral. Breathe normally and slowly pull your back flat. Hold for five seconds, and repeat 15 times. Investing in Pilates classes will work wonders for your posture as well as your figure, ready for that graceful sweep down the aisle.

Small change

You’ll be amazed how much you can achieve through just little changes to your daily habits, ordering a skinny latte instead of “regular”, going for a 10-minute stroll at lunch time, or cycling to work. Pay attention to the lifestyle habits of your slimmest friend: the chances are she’s the one taking the stairs while everyone else piles in to the lift, and skipping the third chocolate digestive on your tea break.

No arm done

Strong, lean arms and shoulders can transform your body shape and unless your wedding dress has sleeves they’ll be a key feature on the big day. Just five minutes of box press-ups (ie with your knees rather than toes on the floor) every day will tone your arms as well as your back and core muscles. Aim for two sets of 15 with your hands wide apart, then try another two sets with hands just less than shoulder-width apart to work your triceps and get rid of those bingo wings. (You won’t manage 15 at first, but don’t worry – you’ll get there!)

Runaway bride

Running is the best calorie burner out there – it gives you a bargain 600 calorie burn per hour. But don’t just jump in: start by setting aside 20 minutes every day; run for one minute, walk for one, and gradually up your running. You’ll burn fat, lose inches fast, and best of all you’ll run off all that pre-wedding stress!

For more tips on weightloss and running, visit www.runnersworld.co.uk or see Big Weightloss Index

Elizabeth Hufton is a health and fitness writer at Runner’s World magazine. She’s run six marathons with a best time of 3:28, and had a few more strikes at being a bridesmaid before writing off her own chances of being a bride.

For the groom…

Your bride will look incredible on your wedding day – make sure you match!

Add spice

Lose weight by having a curry night once a week. A study in the Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology found that spicy foods make you eat slower and increase your metabolism so you burn more calories. Just remember to skip the naans and side dishes – calories still count.

See your body through her eyes

Ask your fiancée to identify your most displeasing physical characteristic. It’s instant motivation. If she’s hesitant, make a list for her – abs, love handles, upper arms etc… and have her rank them from best to worst. Make the most-hated body part your workout focus for four weeks then repeat the quiz for more motivation.

Get enough protein

Great news if you’re a meat man: your body uses 20–30% more energy to digest protein foods than carbohydrates. Make sure you have some protein rich food at each meal: try fish, chicken, turkey, eggs, milk, tofu or pulses. If you are working out hard aim to eat one gram of protein per your weight in pounds.

Do a daily gut check

Put your fingers on your belly and inhale deeply so that it expands. As you exhale, pull your abs and push your fingertips against them. Now pinch. You’re holding pure fat between your fingers. Do this, 30 minutes before your workout and you’ll find that you’ll rarely skip it.

Schedule an exercise meeting

Make exercise appointments for the next month in your work diary or outlook so nothing can interfere. Alternatively arrange workout sessions in with fellow employees or clients when possible in place of normal meetings. It’s a clever way to multi-task.

For pre-wedding workouts and diet tips (as well as essential sex and relationships advice) visit www.menshealth.co.uk.

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Ray Klerck is a personal trainer and the fitness editor of Men’s Health magazine.