The Shape Shifter

Want to feel fit and fabulous on your wedding day? It’s all about setting goals, says trainer and reality-TV personality Katie Boyd.


Photograph by Rania Matar

Personal trainer and certified sports nutritionist Katie Boyd may be known for whipping pageant entrants into shape, but she’s also a pro when it comes to readying brides for their big day. The key, she says, is to start training as soon as you get engaged: “Because if you don’t feel good at your wedding, then who cares what your flowers look like or what your bridesmaids are wearing? You’re not going to be happy if you don’t feel good.”

The star of the Style Network reality series Wicked Fit (and the owner of Katie Boyd’s Miss Fit Club, in Hudson, New Hampshire), Boyd understands the pressures brides-to-be are under more than most trainers—she’s currently prepping for her own April 2014 nuptials in Puerto Rico. “I have a lot of clients getting ready for their weddings, and I can totally relate to them,” she says.

How long before the big day should a bride begin her fitness regimen?

It all depends on the goal. If you have a really significant amount of weight to lose, like 30 or 40 pounds, you should start nine months before the wedding. Some people want to be in the best shape of their lives, and definitely need to hire a trainer at least six months prior. Get into the mindset that you’re going to be on a nutrition plan, as well.

Is there an ideal amount of time to set aside for workouts each week?

If a bride wants to be in super shape, I would say four to five days a week, and 45 minutes to an hour a day. I’m a believer in getting it over with in the morning. People get so busy, and at the end of the day, they just want to relax. But if you get up in the morning and blast it out, then the rest of the day is like butter because you already worked out and are feeling good.

What makes a good trainer?

You should do one workout for four weeks, and then start a new plan the next month. If a trainer keeps giving you the same workout on a piece of paper, they’re not good at what they do. They have to have a passion for it and not just be out to make money.

How important is eating right? 

Food is 80 percent of the equation. You can work out until the cows come home, but if you’re not putting the right type of food into your body, nothing is going to happen. I’ve been doing a juice cleanse, and I’m eating whole foods now. You also want to include natural fats like avocado, olive oil, and coconut oil in your diet. I actually hate the word “diet,” because the first three letters spell “die.” So I call it a nutrition plan, or a lifestyle change.

What type of training or exercise routine delivers the best results?

High-intensity interval training, or HIIT. Warm up on the treadmill with a brisk walk. Then put the incline all the way up to 15 and walk like you’re climbing a mountain for one to two minutes. After that, side-step on the treadmill slowly with the incline set between six and eight. Rest for one minute and then walk backward on the treadmill. This way, you’re hitting all the muscles in your leg. When you just walk forward, you’re working your quads. When you go side to side, you’re working your inner and outer thighs, and when you walk backward you’re working your glutes.

What about weights?

Girls will walk into a fitness class and the trainer will have them only squat or only lunge. But if you’re squatting, you should be doing a bicep curl or a press, and if you’re lunging, you should be doing a front-arm raise or a side-arm raise. Weights will tone you, and you are not going to get bulky from using them.

When will a bride start seeing results?

It depends on whether a person really wants to change. When women get engaged, the first thing they think about isn’t, Oh, I’m so happy, I’m in love. They think, I need to lose weight for my wedding. But you should be happy with yourself and do it the right way. It’s all about the time you’re willing to spend and the heart you have for it and what your real goals are. So you have to give yourself enough time. I would say that if you want to lose weight, you can anticipate losing about two and a half pounds per week, healthfully.

How close to the wedding should a bride shop for her gown?

Most people start shopping a year out, but nine months is probably fine. And do schedule regular fittings. If you’re going to lose a lot of weight, make sure you that you don’t choose a dress that’s so ornate that a tailor can’t adjust it. A good rule? Don’t start looking for your wedding gown until you’re about 10 to 15 pounds away from your goal weight.

Is it possible for a client to focus on only one body part?

Brides will say, “Oh, I’m wearing a strapless gown, so I’m just going to get my arms and chest really toned.” That doesn’t work. You want your whole body to be proportional. I tell them to think about their honeymoon, when they will probably be wearing a swimsuit. Don’t train body parts for your wedding gown. You have to train your entire body.

Do you often see brides and bridesmaids working out for the wedding together?

Sometimes the bridesmaids will buy the training for the bride as a wedding gift, or the bride will buy it for the bridesmaids as a gift. I have full bridal parties that come in once a week and do a workout together, and then I’ll do a nutrition seminar for them. It actually makes the whole process a bonding time.

Any tips for eating right before the big day?

Cook meals twice a week. On Sunday afternoon, go grocery shopping and prepare meals for three days: Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. Have your little Ziploc bags and all your Tupperware in a line in the fridge. Then, on Wednesday, cook again for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Factor in one cheat meal a week. It actually helps your metabolism, and it’s important to have some fun.

How important is mental fitness?

When you’re getting ready for the wedding, don’t just worry about your body—worry about your mind. I meditate twice a day and teach transcendental meditation in my studio. When you start meditating, you realize that the only thing that really matters is love. If you’re loved and you love people, then things are okay. That’s what being married is supposed to be about.

Katie Boyd’s Miss Fit Club, One Winn Ave., Hudson, NH, 781-467-9384,


Katie Boyd’s suggestions for spicing up your fitness routine.

Save the Date

Make time for working out with your fiancé. If you’re both getting into shape, why not do it together? It’s a way to connect when both of you are busy.

Seek Out Variety

Don’t plateau. Beware of a trainer who will give you a workout plan and then let you stick with the same plan month after month.

Snap a Photo

Take a picture of yourself in the same bikini every week, or every couple of weeks—then make a collage with an app like Pic Stitch to see the progression.

Remix Your Playlist

Sick of your usual workout songs? Try Pandora to find different music genres and get inspired.

Make a Vision Board 

Put things that motivate you on a board, and look at it regularly to keep yourself positive and focused on your goals.

Want more tips and tricks? Learn more from Boston’s wedding experts.

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