The 10-Week Wedding Body Challenge: Week ONE

Kim Hookem-Smith
Health & Fitness On Trial

If you’ve been reading my wedding blog you’ll know I’ve got a big day on the horizon. If you haven’t, you do now.

Like many (all?) brides, I have the idea that in the months before my wedding I can transform myself from a sedentary, slightly wobbly office worker to an athletic goddess with toned arms and a washboard tum.

Clearly I’m going to need help. So I’ve teamed up with personal trainer Scott Laidler to find out how to get going on a new fitness plan, and more importantly how to stick to it to see actual results.

Where do you start? Over to Scott….

Preparation is key

-Spend time thinking about your goals but make them realistic and achievable and work out how much effort you will need to put in to achieve them

-Plan ahead. You’re more likely to fall off the wagon if you come home late and grab a takeaway, or if your colleagues invite you to after work drinks when you half thought you might go to the pub. Make sure you have your workouts planned in advance and food planned and bought so you can stick to healthy eating.

-An upward spiral. Be realistic and the beginning and increase you workouts to you achieve steady progress. Gradually make them harder by increasing reps, intensity of exercises or the type of exercise to focus on different body areas. This will help you to gauge a steady progress, meaning that you won’t push yourself too hard/easy or miss your deadline.

Commitment is essential

No one said it would be easy. You gotta want it.

As with any goal in life, I believe committing it to paper breathes life into it, asserts your intention and makes it real. Be sure to write it in the affirmative (E.g. In ten weeks I will be in the shape of my life for my wedding, and feel confident, sexy and comfortable in my wedding dress). Once you have your goal on paper, pin it up somewhere you will see it often.

What shape are you in?
Evaluating your current fitness level is important when undertaking a new workout regime. In fact fitness is not the best term to use in this instance, as it implies the ability to perform at a certain intensity for a given amount of time etc. This is slightly inaccurate in terms of preparing for a wedding, or any other occasion where you’re looking at how you look rather than how you perform.

Though there are plenty of health benefits to this composition change, if we’re honest, fitness gains will be more of a ‘side-effect’ from the toning and sculpting you are going to be doing to feel great in your dress.

You’ll need to know whether your in good enough shape to hit the ground running or if you need to start slow.

Even if you don’t plan on working with a professional for your entire plan, it’s certainly worth getting expert help determining where your level is and how to start.

Generally though, if you’ve been working out a couple of times per week regularly you will be able to up the frequency and intensity and see this programme as the logical next step.

If exercise has been sporadic at best over recent weeks you will need to ease into exercise gently. I suggest working out twice a week with three days rest in between for the first two weeks. You can of course still do as much steady state cardio or ‘fat burning’ in this period as this shouldn’t affect your recovery very much.

Weight loss is the wrong goal

Many women make the mistake of setting weight loss goals in preparation for their wedding.

Under closer inspection these goals are often faulty because of their arbitrary nature. Life is all about feelings, not numbers.

The actual goal all brides-to-be are striving for is to feel great in their wedding dress and enjoy their big day without feeling self-concious.

This is probably going to mean composition change, postural correction and resistance training to enhance muscle tone – definitely not the fad dieting and over exercise as so many brides get sucked into. You don’t want to be skeletal, you want to be fit, toned and shapely. It’s about getting the balance!

Once you have the right goal (i.e. body composition change or dress size decrease), you are better equipped to select the correct tools for the job.

Don’t forget Diet

PT Scott Laidler is putting Kim through her paces ahead of her wedding
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PT Scott Laidler is putting Kim through her paces ahead of her wedding
Gotta want it! (Posed by model)
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Gotta want it! (Posed by model)
It's not about weight loss, it's all about composition change (REX)
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It's not about weight loss, it's all about composition change (REX)
Pick the right foods (REX)
View photos
Pick the right foods (REX)

Looking great in a wedding dress is about being lean and toned in all the right places. This means your nutrition has to be spot on, consume too much and you won’t see enough fat loss to reveal slender lines, eat too little and you’ll send your body into starvation and end up cannibalizing all that beautifully toned muscle to fuel your body.

The vast majority of women will want to reduce body fat (not to be confused with losing weight) in order to feel great in their wedding dress.

This will require a net deficit over the course of a week. I would generally recommend a 300-500 calorie deficit per day, though these numbers are always informed estimates and may change according to workout volume, current body fat and food timings.

Meals should consist of a relatively high protein and fat content, whilst carbohydrates should be recognised as the fuel that they are, meaning you should consume more calories from carbohydrates on a training day than a rest day.

Kim is sticking to the 10-week plan to get ready for her wedding, but this isn’t just a plan for brides. If you’re keen to change the way you look and feel more comfortable in your skin, we’ll be looking at the nutrition and fitness advice you need to make it happen.

So make sure to check back next week.

And for one-to-one online training with Scott for a bargain £150 for six weeks, visit  or find him on Twitter @Scott_Laidler.

[The Essential Bridal Fitness Plan: Dos and Don'ts]