Interview with Personal Trainer, Andrew Duffy

Getting fit for your wedding

This month I'm interviewing a friend of mine, personal trainer Andrew Duffy, about kicking off the New Year with a new plan for getting in shape for your wedding.  Andrew is an innovative personal trainer in San Francisco whose results speak for themselves.  His company is called Thrive SF

Shannon Leahy Events:
Many of my couples are interested in getting their body in great shape for their wedding day, how many months out from the wedding should they fully commit to getting in shape?

Andrew Duffy, PES:
Six months before the wedding is optimal time to start getting fit for your wedding, even for those of us who are regulars at the gym or yoga class.  My experience with wedding and bridal clients is that the closer you get to the wedding, the busier you are.  And the time you think you'll be working out in the last month or two will often be spent on wedding details and last minute tasks.  So, starting six months before the wedding gives you plenty time to get your fitness where you want it to be or beyond before you're too busy.

If you're already past the six month mark, don't worry!  Two months is still doable - just be sure to make your fitness a real priority, and be stern about scheduling and sticking to workout times.

A lot of brides are aiming for those beautiful biceps for their strapless dresses, are there any exercises in particular that can help sculpt beautiful arms and a great back?

Tone shoulders, back and biceps come from two elements in harmony: developed muscles, and healthy bodyfat.  Compared to the rest of the body, the arms and shoulders have the least amount of bodyfat on them.  So if you don't see tone and you've been doing strength training, then your diet should be your focus so that you lower your bodyfat percentage.  Conversely, if you have low bodyfat but don't have the tone, then you need to focus on strength exercises for your upper body.

Now, simply doing two sets of a tough fifteen repetitions with low weight for each muscle group will help somewhat if you haven't been doing much in the area os strength training.   But as the wedding approaches, time is of the essence, and you'll most likely need to efficient workouts, which means complex or integrated exercises.  For example, a side lunge with a bicep curl and press overhead will not only get the legs, arms and shoulders firing and toned, it will also amp up your metabolism and burn more calories because you're using more muscle groups at once.

SLE: What are the benefits of hiring a personal trainer versus working out on your own?

The key to reaching that wedding-ready physique is keeping yourself accountable, and the number one successful method for doing that is working with a trainer.

Here are some facts on brides fitness success with different methods: 30% of brides working without trainers reach the fitness goal they want to reach by their big day.  That's a small percentage.   In comparison, 99% of brides who work with a trainer individually or in a small group are happy with their fitness on their big day.  Bootcamps help brides succeed about 70% of the time, but they injure one in five participants and don't offer a personal, supportive approach.

You can get into that wedding shape you want and really make yourself accountable by investing in a personal trainer or small workout group, whichever option works for your budget.  We all know that if we pay for something, we will show up and put more energy into making it work.  And that applies in a HUGE way to fitness.

Another way of keeping yourself accountable is getting involved in training with your partner or a member of your wedding party.  I've seen it work wonders for pairs that I've trained.  That person will keep you accountable as well.  Not only are you paying for a trainer, but also you don't want to disappoint your partner or friend.

o you offer any special packages for brides or couples?

Most of my bridal and wedding clients come back after the honeymoon and say "Andrew, we NEED to meet - I ate like a pig and didn't work out AT ALL!".  So, in addition to a complimentary session to get started months before the wedding, I offer a complimentary "honeymoon follow-up" session AFTER the wedding to help get brides and couples back on track for when the return.  AND, partners who train together for a wedding get around a 40% discount per session compared to training individually.

What are some tips for staying fit through the honeymoon and beyond?

A great way to manage fitness on the honeymoon is to find fun ways to be active.  About 90% of honeymooners don't formally workout on their honeymoon.  So, if you're going to a warm spot with beautiful mountains or trails, go for hikes with your partner.  If you're on the water, schedule surf or water skiing lessons.  If you're going a place with late night dancing, make time to tear up the dance floor and get down.

The same idea applies to fitness beyond weddings - find fun ways to be active.  The more you enjoy it, the more likely you'll stick with it.  So if yoga makes you happy, or if basketball does, join a class or a league.  Just be sure to change it up every two months and to compliment it with strength training so that you stay happy, engaged, and injury free.