Keira and Anthony D'Amato started their wedding day breaking a sweat. The morning of their wedding, they and 100 of their family members and friends ran a 5k with Potomac River Running in Washington, D.C.
"My husband and I met at a running camp in high school," says D'Amato. "Running really was a bond that kept us connected. Running needed to be a part of our wedding day."
For the "Firecracker 5k," a fitting name because the run and the wedding happened on July 4, 2012, the bride wore a white tutu, a veil and sneakers, and the groom looked dapper in a sleeveless black tee with a tux design.
"Anthony and I love running," says D'Amato. "For us, it was a way to personalize our wedding and share our passion with our guests."
Even Keira's grandmother ran the 5k, calling it the first and last race for the 80-year-old.
With an 8 a.m. race time and a 5 p.m. ceremony and reception, there was still plenty of time for wedding pampering and prep. Plus, Keira says the workout gave her energy for the rest of her special day.
Brides and grooms like Keira and Anthony aren't alone in their decision to work out in anticipation of and on the big day.
Florence Hardy wanted to lose a few pounds for her wedding. She started a running group in Chicago, which in 2012 turned into "Brides Run," a series of wedding fitness events and 5k races that now takes place in cities all over the U.S.
"We provide brides, grooms and entire wedding parties with fitness tips and wedding ideas weeks before the big 5k that takes place in their city," says Hardy. "We find that it helps relieve stress, gets the entire wedding party together and provides a memorable experience that couples carry with them into their marriage."
Breaking a sweat is good for your health, but for many brides, exercising is all about fitting into the wedding dress. Still, exercise can be a great stress reliever and a team builder, too, helping the bride, the groom and their wedding party stayed connected and get fit at the same time.
"Stick to a diet and exercise routine that makes you feel your best and that is realistic for you," says Heather Colanero, instructor and class quality director at Work It Out, a gym in Hoboken, N.J. "Your goal should be to feel your best, not show a specific number on the scale. If you feel your best, you will look your best."
Work It Out offers brides an "I Do!" kit that includes a one-hour fitness consultation with an instructor/personal trainer; a 30-class package that is valid for six months; workout apparel; an individualized meal plan customized by an in-house nutritionist; and a trial with a makeup artist.
No matter what exercise or diet program you try, Colanero suggests being patient but focused. "Instead of waiting until a month before to get serious about your goals, plan ahead with plenty of time, six months to even a year," she says.
Whether you work out in sweatpants or tutus, have fun burning calories, reducing stress and getting fit. The results will help you shine on the big day.
*3 Wedding Workout Tips from Heather Colanero
--Do toning and cardio. Aim for two to three toning sessions a week, with each session lasting 30 to 50 minutes. Do cardio two to three days a week, as well, with workouts ranging from 30 to 50 minutes.
--Embrace variety. Engage every part of your body with lots of different exercises such as cycling, dance and weights.
--Take a break. "A day off may be more beneficial than powering through," says Colanero.