Body Beautiful

By Denise Richter | Boston Weddings |

As a bride-to-be, you have a to-do list a mile long. But while you’re booking your reception site, hiring a photographer and testing out bands, we’d like to remind you to remember the most important part of the whole ceremony: You!

“You’re taking a lot of time to plan your wedding,” says Dawn Tardif, founder of BodiScience Holistic Spa in Beverly. “You need to take the same approach to your body.”

We’ve teamed up with local fitness and beauty experts to help you prepare your most visible parts—arms, buns, legs and back—for their Big Day.


As a bride-to-be, you have a to-do list a mile long. But while you’re booking your reception site, hiring a photographer and testing out bands, we’d like to remind you to remember the most important part of the whole ceremony: You!

“You’re taking a lot of time to plan your wedding,” says Dawn Tardif, founder of BodiScience Holistic Spa in Beverly. “You need to take the same approach to your body.”

We’ve teamed up with local fitness and beauty experts to help you prepare your most visible parts—arms, buns, legs and back—for their Big Day. Try these exercises—most of which can be done at home—to target these four key areas, and then take in spa treatments to enhance your glow.

BEFORE YOU BEGIN
Ladies, if you don’t think weight lifting is your thing, listen to this tidbit from Maryanne Blake, assistant fitness manager at The Sports Club/LA in Boston: “Ten pounds of muscle will burn 300-500 calories a day, resulting in one pound of fat loss per week. Ten pounds of fat will only burn about 20-30 calories.” Your muscles keep working even after you’ve stopped.

For each of the following exercises, aim for 2-3 sets of 10-15 repetitions. “By the end of 10-15 reps, you should feel as though you cannot do any more,” says Blake. Muscle fatigue means you’re getting the job done.

Also, for first-timers, check with your physician before commencing any exercise routine.

ARMED AND READY
Elegant arms complement any dress. Tone yours with the following exercises.

• Overhead Presses: For shoulders, Brent Pendleton, director of fitness operations for BodyScapes with five locations in the Boston area, recommends overhead presses with dumbbells or a barbell. Start with your elbows at your sides, hands with the weights at shoulder height. Press the weight up and over your head until your arms are straight. Slowly lower back to starting position.

• Tricep Dips: Maria Shea, MS, regional director of Healthworks Fitness Centers for Women’s five locations in the Boston area, likes body weight exercises because “you don’t need any fancy equipment and you can do them anywhere.” For tricep dips, sit on the edge of the bench with your palms down next to your thighs. Supporting your weight in your hands, move your butt forward. Lower your body until your elbows are almost at a right angle and push up.

• Bicep Curls: Holding a dumbbell in each hand, keep your elbows drawn in toward your hips, palms facing up. Curl the weights up to your shoulders, making sure not to move elbows away from your sides. Blake likes to add a balancing component to activate your core and challenge other muscle groups. Stand on one foot or sit on a stability ball to intensify this basic movement.

IN HINDSIGHT
When you don your bikini for that first honeymoon stroll on the beach, you don’t want to be worrying about your backside. Check out these exercises to buff your buns.

• Lunges: For a shapely bottom, the experts recommend the classics. “Squats and lunges—they work,” says Blake. Starting with your feet together, step one foot forward, creating a 90-degree angle with the front knee. Lower your body until your back knee is also in a 90-degree angle. Push off your front leg to return to starting position and switch legs. For safety, do not allow the front knee to exceed the toe.

• Squats: For a basic squat, stand with your feet hip distance apart, toes pointing straight ahead and with your abs drawn in. Lower your butt toward the ground until your knees form a 90-degree angle. Rise back up, squeezing your butt at the top. For variety, try plié squats (feet set wide), one-legged squats, or squats on a BOSU.

• Glute: Bridge Lie on your back with your feet on the floor (or a stability ball) with your knees at a 90-degree angle. Squeeze the glutes and raise hips toward the sky, making sure not to arch the lower back. Blake suggests a 4-2-2 rhythm: come up for the count of four, hold at the top for two, and bring it down for two.

SHE’S GOT LEGS
On the honeymoon, you’ll want to show off your stems, so make sure they’re shapely with these exercises.

• Calf Raises: Standing on a flat surface or the edge of a step, “slow and controlled, raise your heels as high as your range of motion will allow,” says Shea. If you don’t feel the burn, add resistance with free weights or a medicine ball.

• Leg Circles: To tone your thighs, Blake suggests doing leg circles. Lying on your back, raise one leg straight in the air. “With your abs engaged, circle with one leg, keeping your hips stable,” says Blake. “Do five circles each direction and switch.”

BACK TO LIFE
The back can be a sensual part of any body, but many workouts tend to ignore it. Use the following exercises to bring out the best in your back.

• Lat pull-downs: To work your outer back, Pendleton says the good ol’ pull-up is highly effective. But to start out, lat pull-downs are an easier way to work the same area. At the lat pull-down machine, grip the bar overhand, slightly wider than shoulder width. Sit on the bench, lean back slightly and pull down toward your chest, squeezing your shoulder blades together. Keeping the weight under control, extend your arms back to starting position.

• Rows: Using the long side of a bench, place your left hand and left knee about 1 1/2 feet apart on the bench, keeping your back parallel to the floor. Your right leg should be extended slightly behind you with your foot on the ground. Keeping your body weight on the left side, extend your right arm down holding a dumbbell. Lift the weight up toward your armpit, pulling your shoulder back and in. Complete a set and switch sides.

• Back extension: Strengthening your lower back will improve your posture, says Pendleton. He recommends back extensions, which can be done on the floor, a hyperextension machine or a stability ball. If you have a stability ball, lay over it face down. Keeping your back straight, raise your shoulders until your body is in a straight line, then bend at the waist and lower back down.

Source URL: http://www.bostonmagazine.com/2006/11/body-beautiful/