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The Budding Bride Workout

Operation Transformation’s resident health and fitness expert Karl Henry shows WOL brides how to get in shape for their big day in just three months! This article was first published in B Magazine, Autumn 2011.

You have set the date, booked the church and sent out the invitations…and you want to look your best walking down the aisle. This workout will show you how. I am going to share with you all my secrets that I have used on my clients for their big day, making sure that you feel fantastic in that dress. From my experience I have found that budding brides want to have fantastic shoulders, lean arms, a shapely back and toned legs to really feel stunning on their big day, and this workout will deliver these, amongst others.  These workouts will take a maximum of one hour each; that’s just three hours a week! You don’t need any expensive equipment, just two dumbells or two half litre bottles of water, that’s it!

First things first, if you give 110% commitment and follow this programme you will do fantastically, however, if you only follow the programme hap-hazardly you won’t succeed! You have to promise yourself that you are going to commit to creating that new you.

As ever, age is no excuse. Brides to be from 20 to 60 can achieve equally fantastic results by following this programme. In conjunction with these workouts I want you to do three cardiovascular sessions per week, at an hour per session. Simply choose from the options below each time:

Karl’s Calorie Burning Hit List:

  • Brisk walking
  • Swimming
  • Skipping
  • Cycling

Before you begin the workouts, make sure you pass my exercise checklist.

Karl’s Pre-exercise Checklist:

  • You have no medical problems, back problems or hip soreness. If you feel you may have, consult your GP.
  • If you feel unwell at any stage, stop immediately. Look out for signs of stress like breathlessness or feeling dizzy.
  • Allow at least an hour-and-a-half after food before beginning your routine.
  • Work at your own pace. Don't push yourself too hard

With each session, always start with a warm up, followed by some stretching. Then do your workout and follow up with some stretching to bring your heart rate back to normal.

In order to raise the heart rate, do either of these simple warm ups:

  • A 10 minute brisk walk around your neighbourhood.
  • Five stair shuttles: Simply walk up and down your stairs at home five times, this helps to rapidly increase your heart rate.

To stretch out tight muscles, simply do these four stretches:

1.     Shoulder rolls: Simply roll your shoulders forward, making large circles. Do five forward and five back.

2.     One arm bend: Place your left hand on your left hip, feet shoulder width apart, stretch your right arm toward the top left corner of the room. Hold for 15 seconds and then release and repeat on the opposite side.

3.     Hamstring stretch: Cross your right ankle over your left. Now bend down and touch your feet with your fingertips while keep your legs straight. Only go as far as you feel is comfortable.

The Budding Bride workout:

1.     Yoga bends: Place your feet together, raise your hands above your head and join your palms, keeping your arms straight. Now stretch toward the sky with your fingers and bend your body to the right. Hold for 1 min and repeat on the opposite side.

2.     Reach for the sky: start with the weights at your shoulders and press toward the ceiling.

3.     Standing bench press: start with weights at your shoulders, press straight out to the front.

4.     Single arm row: Place your left knee on a chair/ bench, keeping your right leg straight. Place your left hand on the chair for support, and stretch the dumbbell down toward the ground with your right hand. Raise your elbow higher than your shoulder and back toward the ground. Repeat on opposite side.

5.     Raised Bicep curl: Straighten out your arms to eye level. Curl in the dumbbells toward your face, and straight back out.

6.     Triceps kick outs: Start with feet shoulder width apart, arms extended vertically out in front, bring the weights back toward your shoulders and kick back out in front

7.     Wide feet squats: Place your legs wide apart, dumbbells down by your side. Now bend your knees go down as far as is comfortable, keeping your back straight.

8.     Bum Kicks: Go down on all fours on the floor, knees hip width apart. Bring your right knee in toward your chest and kick out toward the wall. Repeat for 30 reps and change sides.

9.     Standing side leg raise: Standing beside a wall for support, bring both legs together, extend you leg sideways about 5 inches and return to starting position.

10. Sit ups: Lie down on the floor, cross your legs at your ankles, raise your knees up in the air, at a 90 degree angle. Rest your head in hands, curl up slowly and then back down to the floor.

Do three sets of 30 repetitions on each exercise. This workout should take no longer than one hour. Always make sure to breathe out on the exertion.

Karl’s top 10 list of healthy yummy foods:

1.     Wholegrain rice/pasta

2.     Porridge

3.     Chicken

4.     Rye Bread

5.     Dried beans and lentils

6.     Chicken

7.     White Fish

8.     Soya milk

9.     Natural Yoghurt

10. Steamed mixed Vegetables

Karl’s top 10 list of naughty foods to avoid:

1.     White bread!

2.     Full fat milk

3.     White refined pasta/rice

4.     Processed /junk food

5.     Beer

6.     Chocolate and crisps

7.     Tea and coffee

8.     Bagels

9.     Potatoes

10. Prepacked/ Precut salads and vegetables


For further information see or contact Karl at [email protected]


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