Fitness: The ABCs of Abs

You’ve got the motivation (The Dress) and the deadline (the Big Day). Basically, you’ve got

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 Teddy Bythewood, certified personal trainer for the Aquatic & Fitness Center of Cherry Hill—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.

A. Amend Your Diet
“No matter what shape you’re in, you have to start with a great nutrition plan,” says Bythewood. “Without it, anything else is going to give you minimal results.”

• Eat lots of fruits, vegetables and low-fat proteins, with minimal bread, sugar and other starchy carbs—and drink lots of water.

• Eat smaller portions, but more meals throughout the day.

• Bythewood also recommends cutting your calorie intake leading up to the Big Day. Multiply your weight by 10 as a guideline for how many calories you should eat in a day (so, a 145-pound bride-to-be would shoot for 1,450 calories per day).

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

• Step up the cardio—for a fat-burning interval workout, walk for a minute, then run for a minute, and repeat for the length of your workout.

• Do cardio exercise for at least 25 minutes, five days a week.

• At the very least, start six months before your wedding.

C. Concentrate on Crunches
OK, let’s sculpt that six-pack. Bythewood recommends group weight training, Pilates and power yoga classes to keep you motivated and strengthen your core. If you find it difficult to get to the gym, try the following at-home exercises. Start with a goal of 30 reps per exercise, and work up to 50 or 100 reps. Try to do them five days each week.

• Crunches on the floor or a stability ball: Focus on drawing your belly button in and contracting your ab muscles.

• Reverse crunches: Lie on your back with your legs in the air, knees slightly bent. Squeeze your ab muscles and slowly raise your hips a few inches off the floor. Be sure to initiate the movement in your abdominals, rather than swinging your legs. Slowly lower your hips back to starting position and repeat.

• Air bicycles: Lie on your back with your hands behind your head. Bring your knees in to your chest. Lift your shoulders off the ground. Straighten your left leg, turning your upper body to bring the left elbow toward your right knee. Switch sides and repeat.