Bridal Bouquet: The ABCs of Abs

You’ve got the motivation (the Dress) and the deadline (the Big Day). Now all you need is your get-in-shape goal, and we are here to help.

You’ve got the motivation (the Dress) and the deadline (the Big Day). Basically, you’ve got a get-in-shape goal, and we—along with Jill Devine, personal trainer with the Beacon Hill Athletic Clubs in Boston—are here to help. Check out the following advice to melt your midriff and get fabulous abs in time for your wedding—and, of course, the honeymoon.

“You have to have your diet under control,” says Devine, to ensure you get the best results.

• Cut your current maintenance calories by 20 percent. To find your maintenance calories, multiply your current weight by 14 for a moderate metabolism, 13 for a slow one and 15 for fast.

(So, a 200-pound bride-to-be would be at 2,800 maintenance calories, and should shoot for 2,240 per day to start losing weight.)

• A good breakdown of those calories should be 50 percent carbs, 30 percent protein and 20 percent fat.

If you burn more calories than you’re bringing in, you’ll consistently lose, plain and simple. So:

• Step up the cardio in order to slim your midsection.

• “The more you mix it up, the better you’ll be,” says Devine. “Your body won’t become complacent with your routine and you won’t plateau.” Try a variety of classes, interval training and different modes on different machines.

• Do cardio exercise for at least 30 minutes, 3-4 days a week.

OK, let’s sculpt that six-pack. Devine recommends group exercise classes to keep you motivated. “Pilates is a great way to target your core area,” she says, “and power abs classes give you a good 15 minutes on that specific area.” If you find it difficult to get to the gym, try the following at-home exercises, every other day.

The Plank
Hold yourself in the top of a push-up for 30-60 seconds. Focus on drawing in your abdomen so it’s nice and flat.

Crunches on the stability ball
Start facing the ceiling with your back flat on the ball and feet on the floor. Lift your torso, concentrating on tightening those abs. As you gain strength, try starting your crunches with your butt on the ball. Lower your torso further for a wider range of motion before crunching up.

Knees on the ball
Start in a standard push-up position with a stability ball under your knees and your hands on the floor. Bend your knees and roll the ball into your chest. Straighten your legs back to the starting position and repeat. For a good oblique exercise, start in the same position and roll the ball in a clockwise circular motion. Do this five times and switch directions.