Getting fit to walk down the aisle used to be all about a good diet and a workout plan. These days, that plan goes well beyond crunches and cardio.

Angela Sciara is getting married soon, and in addition to eating the Body for Life diet (www.bodyforlife.com), she’s whitening her teeth, getting her hair colored and getting a spray tan.

Sciara, of Kansas City, Mo., says being a bride gives you a chance to treat yourself to things you usually wouldn’t buy.

“It used to cost $500 to get your teeth whitened,” says Sciara, 32. “Now you can go to Osco and get a take-home kit, so why not? It makes you feel like a celebrity.”

Essentially, the bride is a star. It is her wedding day.

So making sure the look is right is important, says Courtney Lewis, a 22-year-old analyst at Cerner in Kansas City who got married Easter weekend.

“You want everything to be just how you imagined it, so to get what you want, you have to plan it out,” says Lewis, who got a pedicure, did some dieting and exercising and had two trial runs with a hairstylist.

“The first one was a trial, and it wasn’t exactly what I wanted. So we went back a second time, and it was perfect,” says Lewis, who took notes and pictures to ensure the look could be re-created on her wedding day.

But you don’t want to experiment with anything within a few weeks of the date, says Sciara.

“Give yourself plenty of time to get your look together and make mistakes,” she says. “As it gets closer to the date, you get stressed and too distracted; you don’t want to experiment with facials and break out or cut your hair and not like it.”

When it comes to working out, the more time you give yourself to get in shape, the better, says Yvonne Bates 31, personal trainer for Body Image by Yvonne and for Scott Fitness in Kansas City.

A good mix of cardio, strength training and a healthy diet is essential when working out, says Bates, who got married last August and is currently training two brides, including her sister, Borey.

“It’s important to set a goal and devise a plan to reach it, because without hard work and time it will make it harder to get the results you want,” Bates says. “You have to be patient, positive and focused, and everything will work out.”

Borey Bates plans to get some abs action and work up some shapely arms before her winter wedding in 2006.

“I’ve been kind of working out the last year, but I have gotten a little more serious and motivated since I got engaged in February,” says the 28-year-old from Kansas City, Kan. “It’s a special day, and you want to look your best,” Borey Bates says. “But I am hoping to look my best that day and also make it a lifestyle change and maintain that look thereafter.”

Having a personal trainer makes it easier to get in shape, she says.

“At first I thought if you just lose weight, you can reach your goal. But you have to know what to work out to get the look you want, and personal trainers can help you do it the right way.”

Her workout includes three weekly 30-minute sessions with her sister/personal trainer. On her four off days, Borey does at least a half-hour of cardio training.

It’s important not to overdo it, Yvonne Bates says.

“You have to be strong and get workouts on your set days, but you also have to treat yourself. You should set aside a day a week to do just that. When you go at it full-blown it stresses you, and that shouldn’t be a part of getting in shape for your big day.”

Sciara admits she hasn’t stuck to her diet and exercise plan as religiously as she has in the past because of other distractions from planning the wedding.

And that’s all right, because enjoying the engagement and the wedding are equally as important, Sciara says.

“All brides are beautiful. I just want to enjoy it. This is the biggest party you’ll ever attend, and it’s such a shame to get so wrapped up in details you can’t enjoy it.”

Daily wedding workout

Five sets of walking lunges from one room to another

Three sets of 50 crunches

Three sets of 12 pushups

Beauty boosters

A few ways brides make themselves over:

Teeth whitening

You can get do-it-yourself kits at the drugstore. Or you can head to the dentist for a more permanent (and more expensive) whitening.

Dermabrasion

A high-speed rotary wheel softens surface irregularities, including acne, scars and wrinkles. It takes a few minutes to an hour by a trained professional and can take more than one session.

At-home scrub kits are available at drugstores and makeup counters that achieve the same effect.

Hair removal

Some dermatologists use lasers, but you also can get hair waxed at salons for much cheaper.

Tattoo removal

Some lasers can eliminate the black and blue pigment of tattoos. The same type of lasers also can remove brown spots and age spots.

Tummy tuck

This procedure flattens the stomach by removing excess fat and skin. It also tightens the abdominal muscles. It takes two to five hours. Patients are back to work in about two to four weeks. Strenuous activity takes four to six weeks.

Sources: www.kcweddings.com, www.theknot.com
Workout stats

A survey done earlier this year by WeddingChannel.com found:

16 percent of brides plan to lose more than 20 pounds before their wedding day.

62 percent of brides want to improve the stomach/waist the most.

51 percent of grooms plan to lose weight before the big day, too.


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