As soon as the novelty of getting the ring wears off, an instant panic to most, if not all brides-to-be (including myself) are, “Holy Sh*t, I have ______ many days until it’s W-Day.” From that moment on, every workout, every piece of food, every ounce of sweat, counts towards achieving that bride-body-look you’ve always dreamed of. That means (for most) it’s time to slim down, tighten up, and deny that large donut in order to start shaping up. Seeing that I’ve just entered in “get my a$$ in more-shape mode,” for my own spring 2016 wedding, I decided to try out different types of workouts to help with my own Shredding for The Wedding and share with the rest of my fellow Brides-to-be….
Not necessarily listed to be my first choice, Pure Barre just happened to be one of the first newer workouts that I tried. Located all around the city, Pure Barre is an hour long class is filled with tiny pulsing movements while listening to energetic and intense music. Yes, Pure Barre attendees are a cult, but for good reason. With the help of different types of resistant bands and more importantly your own body weight, it’s very easy to tighten up your shoulders and arms for the coveted” bride back” that we all want. Although the deal for brides isn’t that cheap ($450 for package), at least try out the New Member trial for 30 days ($99/unlimited classes).
Over the last decade, it seems as though the hype of this Pilates mumbo jumbo has hit fitness freaks by storm. For anyone who has walked into a Pilates studio, I guarantee your first thoughts are “WTF are all of these machines for?” However, Pilates looks way more complicated than it actually is. Using the many strange and 50 Shades of Grey looking apparatuses, Pilates helps you lean out, develop a super strong back/core for that sweetheart dress, and assists in lowering those pre-wedding stress clouds. Being new to the game, Reform Chicago was perfect for a beginner like me- good music, low lighting, and easy directions. Weird at using machines at first, yes, but after a few reps, my muscles sure felt the stretch. Although I didn’t immediately feel a change, all of the other class goers (with ripped backs and triceps) were inspiration enough to keep coming back! (Classes are $25/single, but Reform is available for use on ClassPass)
Of course you can get some ripped arms and a tight booty if you squat enough using a kettle ball, however, most brides don’t realize that building muscle helps lean you out. Made up of three phases, Kettleworx focuses on a three-deimensional training program for more effective total body workouts. By combining CORE+CARDIO+RESISTANCE, you’re whole body (especially your back and arms) is working and getting toned, not to mention help work off that extra “back fat” we all think we have. The plus to Kettleworx is that you don’t have to register at a gym or go anywhere to use it, the workouts can be done at home, on the road, or even outside. Instead of paying $100 a month for a gym or a studio, a simple Kettleworx package (one kettleball, seven dvds, a meal plan, and a calendar) costs $99. That’ll definitely save you (and your sculpted arms) money towards your honeymoon.
The Bar Method
I know, I know, you’re probably thinking why mention another barre class? WELL, I’ll tell you why. Although its classes have similar moves as Pure Barre, The Bar Method‘s practice is way more focused on correct form and using the actual barre. Take for instance, the teachers: each teacher are trained for over three months, which seems a little crazy, but it is the key to success in class. Not only do the teachers memorize each attendee’s name, but they continuously help deepen your form in class (for a better and bigger burn). Although there are light hand weights and a tiny ball, like every other barre class, the difference is that The Bar Method aims to make you use your own body weight, while utilizing the ballet barre (for 70% of the workout). This not only makes your form stronger, but it also helps tone up those little muscles you didn’t know you had. Best of all their New Member deal is only $75 (for 30 days).
Zen Garage Yoga
I’m by no means a Yogi. I can’t concentrate without letting every other care in the world enter my mind, I hate sweating, and most of all, I feel like I don’t get a good workout. Sure, we’ve all read about and heard about the benefits, but how many classes does it take to start “seeing” the results? For some it’s the first day, for others, it takes a few classes. Regardless, the facts are facts. Yoga increases your flexibility, strengthens your muscles, can help with weight loss, getting more energy, and best of all, get in tune with your body. Yoga is a great way to “check out” from the world for an hour or so and just relax (or try to). Before attending a community class with a friend, I was pessimistic going in. However, my mind started to change about yoga because of the one class I had at Zen Yoga Garage. ZYG was different in the sense that it helped me actually tuned out my thinking and enjoy my practice. Even after a few minutes, I felt like the music and the stretches just released a lot of energy and helped me focus. Ranging from $59-$99 a month, ZYG is a great place to unwind and relax during our crazy planning attacks.
Is your dress mermaid style and form fitting? Or are you looking to tone up those thighs for the honeymoon? Then Flywheel is definitely the spot for you. Although there are many other cycle classes around town, I am heavily biased towards FLY and its practice. The pros: Not only are you able to see your stats during/after class, but you can also jam out to loud music, and have a serious calorie burner sweat session (ranging from 500-over 1,000) calories. The cons: It’s not the cheapest ($27/single class) but depending on the amount of classes you take, it’s possible to seriously tone up in the lower body-meaning your thighs and butt may grow. However, it is possible for FLY to be extremely beneficial brides-to-be for the random “leg days,” as long as you don’t take more than two classes a week. Though I’m not wanting (and needing!) more muscular thighs, I’m still addicted to going to a FLY class, more specifically, a class taught by my girl Candy! It’s always a positive and pumped-up time, plus a great way to burn a ton of calories.
Last, but certainly not least is Gold Coast’s Exhale. I realize that I’ve already mentioned two barre spots above, however, after experiencing my first class yesterday morning, I had to include this in the lineup. Even though the entire floor of Exhale looks a modernized yogi-zen haven (which includes a steam room), don’t be fooled by its free products and extra amenities – the workout are incredibly intense. Not only is the music, the vibe, and the total atmosphere of Exhale super different, but the practice as a whole was way more rewarding than any other class I’ve gone to around the city. From the first exercise of the class to the ending stretches, my limbs were shaking and sweating like crazy. And we all know what shaking and sweaty limbs mean ladies, they mean BIG CHANGES. What else makes Exhale so much different than the rest? It offers a whole array of classes on the reg. From “Core Fusion Barre Express” to “Core Fusion Extreme” plus different types of yoga classes, Exhale is a great studio to incorporate all types of slimming and sculpting classes. Although the same price points as the others ($25/class or an extreme $680 for 6 weeks of bridal boot camp), Exhale has quickly and surprisingly gained the title as my favorite. Besides leaving the class sweaty and alert, I woke up sore (for once!) and felt a difference – which is ultimately what we all want to feel and see before we go to that dress fitting.