It's not just counting calories...

The most important day of your life may very well be your wedding day. When it comes to that big day, for many, looking your ‘Sunday best’ just doesn’t cut it; you want to look your very best. Whether you’ll be wearing a suit, tux, or swimsuit on your wedding day, looking your very best means how your body looks underneath your clothes! Getting that body ‘beach’ ready takes work, but not necessarily the work you’ve been led to believe is most important. It’s not as simple as that old equation of calories in and calories out. Counting calories and working out is a start, but arriving at your best beach body takes a real game plan – here it is...

Start by eating clean

Eat clean and eliminate processed foods. By far the most important variable in getting (and staying) lean is your nutrition. I once worked with a competitive bodybuilder who had a physique of a Greek statue and he did no cardio. None. How is it possible that he arrived at a body most would kill for without doing much if any ‘calorie burning’ cardio exercise? You’ve certainly heard the old 80/20 rule – that 80% of how your body looks comes down to nutrition and how you eat. In my experience, it’s more like 90%. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. By simply cleaning up your diet, you might save yourself from countless unnecessary hours at the gym. Regardless, the moral of the story is that getting fit starts and ends with nutrition. With that in mind, here are some quick nutrition tips to get ripped:

  • Carb ‘cycling’ works. While low carb diets may work in aiding fat loss, they also can aid in muscle loss. Your body needs good quality carbs as fuel, but you want to maintain that tricky balance of building muscle while losing fat. Easier said than done, but card cycling can help. An example of a three day carb cycling plan - 200 grams on Day 1, 150 grams on Day 2, 100 grams on Day 3.

  • Avoid the words ‘added sugar’ in everything you eat/drink. Become a voracious reader of labels. Stay away from most yogurts, cereals, energy bars, and sauces.

  • Up your water intake. Water is essential in the metabolic process. Drink an 8oz glass of water first thing in the morning and continue throughout the day.

  • Skip empty calories such a soda, alcohol (save it for the wedding party!), and candy. When you feel the urge to cheat, do so with things that have nutritional value (meat, cheese, etc).

High-Intensity Interval Training

Try high-intensity interval training or HIIT. For many, exercise comes down to two things: cardio and weights. But when it comes to results and getting your body ripped, the key isn’t necessarily building muscle or burning calories, but getting the best of both worlds. HIIT training will save you time and help with those results. The idea is a more efficient time saving workout and burning excess calories at rest (EPOC - Excess Post Exercise Calorie Consumption). Try intervals on the treadmill or joining a HIIT training class/studio.

Consider hiring a coach, trainer, or even a cook

Hire a coach and/or a cook! Life’s biggest moments are usually a collaborative effort. For the perfect wedding day you hire the best experts: a wedding planner, caterer, photographer, and florist. But you also need the right team in place in getting you to look and feel your best. The right coach will push you harder and hold you more accountable than you will yourself. If you struggle with food, a personal chef will help you dial in your nutrition so it’s pre-planned, keeping you on track.





Rest and recover

Be mindful and rest well. Getting married can be stressful and nothing will compromise your health and fitness like stress. Stress affects your ability to sleep, your mood, and your health. Stress also affects how your body looks. Sound nutrition and good workouts help, but without mindfulness, stress will find a way to derail you. Here are three tips to keep stress at bay and keep your body in its optimal state:

  1. Meditate – A mindfulness practice like mediation can improve your immunity and enhance your energy levels.

  2. Get plenty of sleep. Studies show that sleep is as important as diet and exercise for weight loss and staying in shape.

  3. Train like an athlete and make your off days count. Active rest is important in keeping you looking and feeling your best. Have a maintenance plan to help your body recover well. Ideas include massage, chiropractic care, heat & ice, acupuncture, etc.



Eric C. Stevens is a fitness writer, coach, and presenter based in Denver, Colorado. You can read more on Eric's blog here.