Experts, Fall/Winter 2012
The Exercise Authority
The key to a successful weight-loss plan is simple, says fitness guru Jill Tomich: Start with something you like, and bring a friend.
It takes a village to get in shape. At least, that’s what certified lifestyle and weight-management coach Jill Tomich believes. She should know: Her successful group-exercise program, Ultimate Bootcamp, holds four-week outdoor fitness sessions in both eastern Massachusetts and Providence, Rhode Island, and it’s built on camaraderie. Classes are designed to keep people both active and accountable, mixing participants of all fitness levels with trainers from a variety of backgrounds — some have served in the military, while others have dabbled in ice skating or ballet. Tomich says her goal is to help clients create healthy habits while keeping expectations realistic. “We want everyone in the group to feel good and have fun.”
Are you the second call a bride makes, after her parents?
Almost! Obviously brides want to look great. The wedding picture is going to be hanging in the hallway for the next 40 years. When I got married two years ago, even I watched what I ate and worked out one extra day every week.
Do you have specialized bridal boot camps?
Everyone works out together, but we always have two or three brides in every group. You can spot them not only from the bling on their ring fingers, but because they’re the ones who are reluctant to put their hands on the muddy ground!
Do brides ever bring their attendants? Is this effective?
They tend to come with entourages. We get some who come with their fiancé, which makes for friendly competition. More often, though, they come with the maid of honor or bridesmaids.
What can someone expect to accomplish in four weeks? In 12?
In four weeks, you can probably lose a few pounds. In three months, you might lose 10 pounds and one or two dress sizes.
Are there other tangible benefits?
We hear a lot of ?behind-the-scenes stuff with brides; their anxiety level is quite high. At the end of the workout, they are calmer. Exercise really helps manage stress — it increases production of endorphins, which are natural mood elevators and also act as sedatives. Just 30 minutes of moderate physical activity can be a euphoric distraction from wedding worries.
Why is the boot-camp approach effective?
There’s an accountability factor. Everyone is there to get results, and when they all know one another’s faces and names, it’s a lot harder to slack off. The group dynamic keeps people motivated. We’ve had people drop their gym memberships and just do the boot camps. They love the camaraderie, and they don’t have to think about how many minutes to spend on the treadmill.
What should someone look for in a trainer?
Find one who works with your personality. I’ve heard people say that they wish they had Jillian Michaels from The Biggest Loser to yell at them. She’s a big screamer. What they truly wish they had is a trainer passionate enough to actually scream at them. A trainer should be invested, not texting while a client works out — I’ve actually seen that happen.
What’s the number one diet rule?
Stop drinking. Alcohol should be the first thing to go. It slows down the metabolism!
How do you feel about cleanses?
They don’t work for long-term weight loss. Cleanses mess up the metabolism, bringing the body to starvation mode. Once you start eating like a normal person, you’re likely to gain back double what you lost.
What’s an effective motivator when it comes to dieting?
I’m a big proponent of food journals. Research shows that keeping a food diary doubles weight loss. If you have to write it down, you might not eat that cookie.
Do dress styles dictate what body parts brides want to work on?
There are definitely brides who are all about looking good in their strapless dress. They’d be happy if we stood around and did arm exercises the whole time. If they’re wearing a mermaid style, they’re worried about their hips. And then there are the brides who want to focus on their core because they’re planning a beach honeymoon.
So what’s your strategy for dealing with singularly focused brides?
We tell them: “The more muscle tone you have, the more efficient your body is at burning calories, even when you’re asleep.” That motivates them to do the lunges and the squats.
Whip yourself into shape with Jill Tomich’s workout primer.
Stick to It
Accountability is important, especially when you have a deadline. Work out in a group, set gym dates, or find someone to run with. And do something you like: Forcing yourself does not work.
Running and using elliptical machines are great exercise options, but sprinting has been shown to burn more fat — 6.6 percent more!
Ditch the Java
Some people can’t function without caffeine, but it dehydrates you, which means you can’t work out as hard. So cut back and drink plenty of water.
Mix It Up
Work out three to four days per week, varying your activities. If you focus on the upper body one day, try partner relay races or obstacle courses the next. You want to keep the muscles guessing.