It’s safe to say that gone are the days of tank tops and shorts as we bunker down for cooler months. With soon-to-be icy air ushering in the not-so-friendly memory of the Snowpocalypse nightmare, the lakefront paths grow desolate, as joggers and bikers avoid the inclement weather. But what about you and your fitness plan for your spring/summer 2013 wedding? Let’s make sure the winter months don’t wreak havoc on your routine.

Photo courtesy of Jonathan Mackoff

It is possible to prevent the frigid season from throwing your exercise plans into a tailspin. With a little help from Ashley Bond of Body By Bond, you’ll be looking your big day best. The former Miss Illinois and Chicago Luvabull is known for shaping up Chicago figures as the personal trainer of the Miss Illinois USA organization and fitness blogger. Bond shares with us her tried and true tricks to keeping your schedule strong all winter.

Q: With cold weather just around the corner, what should a Chicago bride bear in mind regarding outdoor fitness?

A: “Outdoor fitness routines can be challenging with Chicago’s unpredictable cold weather. The last thing a bride needs is to roll an ankle (or worse) from slipping on a patch of ice she didn’t see while exercising outdoors. Assessing your outdoor environment before you begin your routine outside is key to avoiding injuries. If you’re like me and don’t want to risk the ice, move your workout indoors. Now, that doesn’t mean you can’t get some fun in the outdoors this winter.  If you’re adventurous, try skiing or even ice skating to burn some calories and have fun before the big day.”

Q: What exercises do you recommend for a bride’s fitness preparation plan?  Any exercises a bride should avoid?

A: “I don’t think there are any exercises that brides specifically need to avoid. The key is finding a program or trainer that you like and that you are more likely to stick with. If you sign up for something that you end up hating, you won’t go. The journey to the altar should be an enjoyable one in all aspects, including your fitness. Most women want to look long, lean and fit for their wedding and honeymoon. Variety is the spice of life, so be sure to incorporate exercises that will not only tone you but lean you out as well. Incorporating exercises such as spinning, kick-boxing, strength training, yoga, pilates, and gyrotonics is a good way to add new dimension into your routine.”

Photo courtesy of Ashley Bond, Body By Bond

Q: Have your brides ever been stunned by their progress?

A: “I had one client that was working so hard to accomplish her goals.  She focused, came to her sessions (even though she hated to exercise) and started seeing results.  Well, we all have a favorite part of our own body.  Hers was her butt.  When two weeks before the wedding came and she realized her butt was getting smaller, it was a little bit of a freak-out moment.  I can relate to this because I felt the very same way when I was getting ready to compete at Miss USA.  When you’re leaning out your body will get smaller all over, not just in the areas you want it to.  There is no such thing as “spot training.” So, I had to explain that her butt was in fact still there and was still the same size in proportion to her smaller size.  She looked beautiful in her dress and still talks about the way her arms looks in her pictures.  I was very proud of her.  Note to brides: Try to schedule a fitting three days before your wedding because that is when you will be closest to your size.  That way if there’s any last-minute changes, the dress will fit your body exactly as you wish.”

Be U Weddings Note: Ashley will even accompany her trainees dress shopping! She’ll know firsthand what features will be highlighted by your chosen gown and tone up those parts in the months prior to the wedding.

 Photo courtesy of Ashley Bond, Body by Bond

Q: ‘Tis the season of baked goods and comfort food: How can a bride avoid packing on winter weight?

A: “The cold weather no doubt makes me want to curl up on the couch with a bowl of chili and beer bread. When you have a big day, such as a wedding, this is just not an option. I do have a few tips to help you stay on track when it comes to eating.

  1. Keep healthy snacks all around you so that you do not reach for something bad when hunger hits. Keep fruit, veggies, hummus and almonds, just to name a few, around to snack on. Also, keep a protein bar in your purse or bag; if you you’re on the go, you won’t stop for something unhealthy. My favorite protein bars are Think Thin in the Chunky Peanut Butter flavor. I buy a box of them at a time and hide them in different bags.
  2. Know yourself and your habits when it comes to eating. If you know you can’t pass up appetizers at a party, arrive just before dinner. If you don’t have time to wash, cut and pack your veggies, buy them pre-made. Taking preemptive steps to help you stay on track will give you the best possible outcome for fitness success.
  3. Change some of your favorite recipes up by using new spices, seasoning or meat. If you usually use ground meat for a recipe, try switching to ground turkey. If you like spicy food try, adding tabasco or Cholula for flavor

      4. I have a pretty big sweet tooth. So when I have to nix dessert, I opt for low-fat vanilla bean yogurt. The probiotics are good for your digestive system, and it’s the closest thing that reminds me of ice cream.

      5. When it comes to the holidays, there are so many desserts and sweets available. Don’t just eat because they are around! Remind yourself about your goals every day and ask others around you to also encourage you. If you have a favorite dessert, refuse all others until you can have the one you love. When you do, you will love it that much more!

Q: We’ve gone over the routine and the food; all that’s left is staying warm! What do you recommend? 

A: “The cooler months require different gear.  You need moisture-wicking materials to keep the sweat away from your body so it doesn’t make you cold.  You also need to experiment with layers.  You will do your body more harm than good if you’re freezing the whole time you’re exercising outside.  Begin with all your layers on and slowly take each one off the warmer you become during your routine.  Make sure each of your layers can be wrapped around your waist, where they won’t bother you too much if you’re running.  Nike has a wide variety of layering options for the outdoor exerciser.”

Photo courtesy of

All your hard work should have you feeling great, but take a tip from the newly svelte (after dropping baby weight!) and on her way to wedded bliss, Kristin Cavallari, who sports The Girls Active Wear. The line sets itself apart with their Blu-Tec Control System, which helps to shape and contour the body in just the right way. The “Sara” leggings are great for winter; they can be worn alone or layered with additional bottoms.

Photo  courtesy of Soirée Weddings & Events

To kick your winter wedding fitness routine off on the right foot, join Flywheel Chicago for their Bride Ride event, promoting bridal health & fitness on Sunday, October 28th or at their Highland Park location on Nov.11th. Brides are invited to try free indoor cycling, as well as mingling with instructors while noshing on healthy snacks.

Whether you spin away, perfect posture on a barre, or continue running along the lakeside, we’re sure you’ll come out of winter hibernation looking picture-perfect for the big day. Do you plan on altering your everyday fitness when Mother Nature brings winter to town? We’d love for you to share your winter activities or health tips with your fellow brides-to-be below.


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