Raise your hand if one of your big wedding goals is to get ‘in shape’. I’m betting lots of digits are up in the air! There’s no denying a wedding is a serious motivator to get fit and healthy. So today, we’re diving into the topic with this fresh inspiration from Rebecca Yale paired with tips from five SoulCycle instructors, where loving your body and strengths takes center stage, because strong is the new sexy.

WHAT TIPS DO YOU HAVE FOR BRIDES-TO-BE FOR GETTING FIT AND HEALTHY FOR THEIR WEDDING?

Erin T: Come up with a regimen that you actually see yourself continuing post wedding. You will invest more in this new lifestyle and instead of it feeling like “crunch time” (no pun intended!) it will feel like a new and exciting chapter in your life…just like your marriage should feel! Plus, there are tons of celebratory events leading up to the wedding that can lead to unhealthy choices. These are some of the few times in your life where all of your loved ones are coming together from afar to celebrate you! You only live once, so make sure you don’t let fear and stress hold you back from fully enjoying these events, just make it a goal not to over indulge.

Becca: It’s all about what makes you feel good!! Focus on gradual lifestyle changes rather than abrupt dietary restrictions and strenuous workouts. Choose foods that won’t weigh you down and focus on an exercise that will make you feel successful. Your wedding should be all about you, so you want to set yourself up with confidence and strength rather than a stressful crash diet and overwhelming workouts.

WAS THERE A CERTAIN PART OF YOUR BODY YOU CHOSE TO ACCENTUATE FOR YOUR WEDDING? WHAT EXERCISE DID YOU DO TO FOCUS ON IT?

Madison: Definitely my upper body. I have a bigger chest and decided to wear strapless. I started watching a lot of YouTube videos for toned arms! Loved it. There is also a tough arms section in all SoulCycle classes – when you teach multiple classes a week, that really adds up!

Karyn: Most wedding dresses are sleeveless which means you’ll be showing off your arms. In preparation for putting those naked limbs on display I would do the following: Bicep Curls using 10-15 lb hand weights, Pushups (great overall body exercise, but big focus on chest, shoulders and back), Tricep Presses overhead with one 15-20 lb weight, Tricep Dips, Shoulder Presses overhead with 15-20 lb weight.

WHAT IS YOUR TOP AT-HOME WORKOUT TIP FOR PEOPLE THAT DON’T HAVE SOULCYCLE IN THEIR AREA?

Sunny: I’m always game for a good run. Throw on your favorite songs, put on your sneakers, go out for a quick run and break a sweat!! So good for you. And if you can’t go outdoors, a quick plank while you hum through one round of your favorite song will get your body feeling a little tighter!

Erin T: Be flexible and don’t have crazy expectations! If you are too busy to get to the gym, the day is not lost, fit in some kind of workout even if it is at home during the commercial breaks of your favorite show. It is usually not the missed workout, but how much we beat ourselves up about it, that significantly slows down our progress. Also if the weather is nice, try and get outside!

Karyn: Bodyweight exercises! Squats, lunges, planks, pushups, tricep dips. They’re incredibly effective and versatile (you can add variations, target different body parts based on hand/foot positioning). Mix cardio in (jumping jacks, jump squats, burpees, mountain climbers, etc.) to really up the calorie burn.

HOW DID YOU APPROACH FITNESS AND NUTRITION WHEN PREPPING FOR YOU WEDDING?

Madison: Since I work in the fitness industry working out wasn’t an issue but I knew my eating habits would have to change. I ate a lot more at home and shopping at the farmers market for the freshest ingredients. After a few months I realized I liked cooking so much that I stuck with it even after the wedding.

Karyn: Listening to my body. Eating clean (whole foods, nothing processed) makes me feel good physically and mentally. The same thing goes for working out. Exercise increases your overall health and your sense of well-being, making you feel more confident. Just get moving. Personally, I’ve never regretted working out. Just something to think about!

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE SNACK TO KEEP YOU ENERGIZED DURING THOSE STRESSFUL PRE-WEDDING MONTHS?

Sunny: A mixed baby greens salad with plain or candied walnuts (plain is healthier choice), grapefruit, beets already prepped (Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods sells them this way), goat cheese crumbles and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.

Madison: A DIY Green Juice, the perfect post-spin drink. Ingredients: Kale, Spinach, Celery, Ginger, Pear, Lemon.

Erin: Avocado toast with olive oil and chili pepper flakes.

Karyn: A protein smoothie. Ingredients: A couple ice cubes, a handful of spinach, blueberries (frozen or fresh), half a banana, a spoonful of almond butter, 1/2 cup to 1 cup of almond milk, 1 scoop of protein powder (I use BiPro whey protein).

Becca: DIY Tzatziki Yogurt. Ingredients: Chopped cucumber added to a plain Chobani yogurt with olive oil, salt and pepper.

WEDDING DRESS SHOPPING TIPS FROM Kleinfeld Bridal, Fashion Director, Terry Hall…

1. Strapless is a great way to show off your shoulders and clavicle, which is very subtly sexy. A deep V like the Dennis Basso that Karyn wore is a great way for a bride to show off her toned arms and chest because the eye is drawn downwards to the V and toned arms frame that V. 

2. For a bride who is proud of her legs, high-low illusion dresses have become very popular as can be seen in both Erin’s Zuhair Murad and Pnina Tornai dresses. The overall effect of the floor length illusion dress still elongates the body for an elegant look making the bride appear taller, yet still leaves room for the fun element of showing off those legs. 

3. Brides should look at their gowns as a piece of art regardless of price point—the focus of the dress can draw the eye to a certain point and accentuate what you love, while also drawing attention away from other areas. Madison’s striped mermaid Hayley Paige dress elongates the body starting at the sweetheart neckline and showing off some subtle cleavage without being too on display. 

4. You can always make a dress smaller, but it can be very difficult to have a dress made larger so buy the dress at your current size and then tailor it. Alterations are a vital part of how the dress will look and you don’t want to cut corners.

From Rebecca Yale PhotographyAs a wedding photographer I get to meet brides early in their wedding planning process. Over the next year of planning those brides will be constantly inundated with marketing and media telling them to lose weight for their wedding. Every bride wants to look her best on her wedding day and there’s nothing wrong with that, it’s a wonderful goal to get healthy and fit and feel great both inside and out before and after your wedding. As someone who’s never been very athletic, discovering SoulCycle was a game changer before my sister’s wedding. The idea is to focus on health and fitness not inches and dress sizes and pretty quickly you end up feeling great and that confidence shines from the inside out on your big day. We asked five Soul Cycle instructors to model wedding dresses that show off their favorite body part and asked Kleinfeld’s bridal expert, Terry Hall, for some tips on how every bride can show of their favorite feature!

From SoulCycleFor many brides, wedding planning comes hand in hand with strict diets and endless trips to the gym. There is an undeniable pressure to lose weight for the big day and many turn to unhealthy extremes. Though, in the wake of recent “strong is the new skinny” messaging, we are seeing a new wave of women focused more on being and feeling healthy and fit instead of obsessing over their dress size. SoulCycle is a fitness community aligned with these same values. Brides ride at SoulCycle to prep for their weddings and get encouragement and motivation from the community. Aside from getting fit, SoulCycle is a place where brides-to-be come to de-stress from all the planning! The 45-minutes during class allow riders to forget about everything else, set an intention, and focus on themselves. We also host fun events for weddings parties, bachelorette parties—you name it! It’s always such a fun experience.

From Cheeky DetailsWe kept this shoot simple and fresh while letting the SoulCycle message shine through: “Take your journey, change your body, find your SOUL.” We incorporated a floral palette that consisted primarily of yellows (Soul’s color) and whites. We constructed a hanging floral backdrop,hung from the ceiling for the ladies to strike a pose in front of and loved how the yellow flowing pops added a touch of whimsy to this otherwise modern space. The second set was our favorite and was completely inspired by the black and white photo collage backdrops that Soul uses to surround their logo in their studios. As luck would have it, the shoot venue had large panel doors that were gridded—we decided that it would be the perfect way to incorporate a subtle nod to something so inspiring. We adhered 72 stems of all different types of yellow flowers to each panel to create a floral wall backdrop for the group shots—simple, yet absolutely stunning.

Photography: Rebecca Yale Photography | Photography: Rebecca Yale Portraits | Floral Design: Cheeky Details | Wedding Dress: Kleinfeld Bridal | Shoes: Kate Spade | Shoes: Valentino | Shoes: Jimmy Choo | Shoes: Stuart Weitzmen | Hair and Makeup: Face Time Beauty Concierge | Venue: 404 NYC | Accessories: Hushed Commotion | Both Wedding Dresses (Karyn): Kleinfeld Bridal | China: Vera Wang | Models: SoulCycle | Photography - Assistance: Rachel Watkinson | Wedding Dress (Becca): Kleinfeld Bridal | Wedding Dress (Erin): Kleinfeld Bridal | Wedding Dress (Madison): Kleinfeld Bridal | Wedding Dress (Sunny): Kleinfeld Bridal | Wedding Dress Group Shot (Becca): Kleinfeld Bridal | Wedding Dress Group Shot (Erin): Kleinfeld Bridal | Wedding Dress Group Shot (Madison): Kleinfeld Bridal | Wedding Dress Group Shot (Sunny): Kleinfeld Bridal

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