Image Credit: Jute Magazine / Photographer Amanda Pratt

In the first part of The Bridal Beauty Festival's How To... series, TBBF chats to Ivan Raynovski, the top PT and founder of Transform Your Body online fitness camps. Ivan's no-nonsense training advice, top motivational hack's and de-stress quick fixes

are just the thing to kick-starting your pre-wedding workout regime.

How far in advance should a bride plan her big day fitness routine?

When it comes to pre-wedding fitness and how much time we actually need to achieve our target physique, the most important thing we need to ask ourselves is how far away are we from our target body weight? For healthy weight/fat loss through exercise and caloric deficit we would be aiming to lose around 1lb or 0.5kg per week. So if we are currently at 70kg and want to drop down to 65kg this would mean that we will roughly need 10 weeks to achieve that. I always recommend starting earlier rather than later as getting in shape "too early" is a good problem to have but being unable to wear your dress comfortably or even fit in it a week prior to the wedding can really throw you off and negatively impact the entire experience and we definitely don't want that!

Of course we will also have brides who are not looking to necessarily loose weight but want to focus on changing their body composition, which in simple terms means replacing fat with lean muscle tissue. Here the time frames are not so strict but I would always recommend to start earlier rather than later. Starting a training regime comprised of resistance training and some form of cardiovascular training 10-12 weeks prior to the wedding day will do the trick for the majority of brides.

What are the most common areas brides need help with?

In my experience, I generally find that there are two most common areas with which brides need help with the most and those are training structure and adequate nutrition. Brides are usually very busy women and especially a few months prior to the wedding things can get quite stressful to say the least. So if the bride is not following a structured training and nutritional plan with or without the help of a PT, things tend to be left for the last moment and then comes the crash dieting which is never and I mean never a good idea. That's why I always advise my clients who are planning a wedding to tell me as far in advance as possible so this way the changes to their nutrition specifically can be a lot more gradual and if we face any issues on the way (for example 8 weeks out, the dress doesn't fit the way it should), they are much easier to resolve.

What’s the most effective training plan for a woman?

In my opinion, the best and most effective training plan is resistance training combined with high intensity interval training (HIIT). Resistance training can be anything from push ups to heavy deadlifts. It all depends on what equipment the client has in their disposal. Do not waste your time going for long runs! If your goal is to achieve the best possible physique in the shortest possible period of time, unless you are a runner or have plenty of free time and energy, I recommend avoiding jogging all together. Focus on having 3-5 45 minute high intensity training sessions per week that cover every muscle in your body. Exercises to always include in your training plan: squats, lunges, press ups, planks, leg raises. In a gym or at home, these are a must in any training regime.

If a bride has never used a PT before, why should she hire one and how do you find someone brilliant and trustworthy?

Finding a good personal trainer is not always an easy quest. When looking for a PT my advice is to seek recommendations from friends who have achieved good results with their PT or if you need to look for one by yourself, always have a chat with them first and preferably a trial session to see what exactly are they going to put you through. A good PT should always be able to explain why he/she is using particular exercises in a given programme and should always pay maximum attention to proper technique being used by the client.

Getting a good PT will maximize the bride's chances of looking at her best for the wedding day. The structure, motivation and accountability which a PT brings to the table will pave the way for a achieving the bride's goals and will most likely reduce stress as the bride will know that she is on the right path with her training and nutrition rather than being confused and changing her training plan and following a different diet every other week. It's an investment which in my opinion brings great returns.

Are there any great at home workouts you’d recommend?

Yes there are! My online bootcamp is the perfect solution for someone who doesn't want to commit to a gym membership (or simply can't due to Covid) and wants to train from the comfort of their own home. No equipment required!

How important is diet and nutrition?

Diet and nutrition are of vital importance for achieving the best results prior to your wedding. I always recommend avoiding crash diets and focusing on eating a protein rich diet with moderate amounts of carbs and fat. That's right, you can actually eat carbs! The most important thing to always consider is caloric deficit. It means that if you are looking to lose weight you should always aim to consume less calories than your body needs to maintain itself. 500-700 calories deficit is a good range to aim for. And don't worry, you don't really need to count calories! Always think about the 80% rule. Once you are 80% full, stop eating and put the food away or leave the table. Follow the meal with a glass of water and voila, you ate less than you wanted to and still feel equally full 10 minutes later! It's essential to follow a nutritiomal plan which works for you. Do not starve yourself!

Wedding planning can be very stressful, what are your top tips to de-stress?

Training is actually one of the best ways to de-stress. After a good workout you feel accomplished and when the endorphins kick in, your mood improves almost immediately. I would also recommend doing some yoga which is not only relaxing but also makes you more flexible and flexibility is a major contributing factor to injury prevention.

How do you motivate your clients to stay on track with their programme?

I motivate my clients by keeping them accountable and always pushing them to give 110% in training. I keep close contact with my clients and always make sure we are on the same page when it comes to diet and training. If there is a problem, we find a solution ASAP.

Lastly, if you leave it until the last minute and only have a month to go, what’s your advice for toning areas such as arms and waist?

If you only have a month to go, I recommend hiring a PT immediately. If that is not possible, full body workouts 3-5 times per week would work best. Unfortunately targeting parts of our bodies which we want to tone, is not possible as fat gets burned randomly across the entire body. So instead of doing bicep curls and sit ups, focusing on compound exercises which burn the most calories like squats, press ups, dips and planks combined with a large caloric deficit(here we will be looking somewhere in the 600-800 range) will work well.

Ivan Raynovski is a master Personal Trainer and founder of Transform Your Body which specialises in effective weight loss, fat burning and muscle toning online fitness bootcamps.

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