I Survived Bridal Bootcamp

Can you teach an old bride new tricks? I found out...

Poor Bill Clinton. First, there was that whole unfortunate blue dress deal. Then the Whitewater scandal. And now, his own daughter is calling him fat.

That’s right –- Chelsea Clinton has laid the smack down with Papa C, telling him he needs to drop some poundage before walking her down the aisle on her Big Day.

"She doesn't think I'm in shape," the former president, 63, said.  So far, he’s lost half of the 15 pounds she suggested as his target loss.

Frankly, I'm surprised the headline on this story wasn’t
"How Chelsea fit into a size 2 Monique Lhuillier" Practically every bride I know is obsessed with losing weight/toning up her arms/squeezing into a smaller size gown. Some did Weight Watchers or Atkins, others practically lived at the gym. I recall one actually counting Cheerios.

They're not alone: A 2008 Cornell study found that more than 70 percent of brides-to-be want to lose more than 20 pounds before their wedding day. More than one-third of those women admitted to using extreme measures such as diet pills, fasting or skipping meals to reach their goal. And this woman died in her 500-calorie-a-day efforts to lose weight before walking down the aisle.

Honestly, I can't think of a better way to prepare to dedicate your life to someone than to become an obsessive calorie-counting, Stairclimber-handcuffed, diet pill addict. Nothing says "I Do" like a visible collarbones and a grumbling stomach.

But, because it IS wedding season after all, I decided to try out a wedding bootcamp being offered at swanky The James Chicago. I’m already married and, like all women, have totally let myself go because, I mean, he already bought the cow, knowhatImsayin’? (Note: Sarcasm). Here are the details as they were pitched to me: 
 
The Bridal Packages target three key areas -- Boosting metabolism, burning fat, toning problem areas and enhancing posture -- to help every bride look and feel great on her special day.

At the James hotel’s THE GYM, my friend Amanda, recently married, and I, about to celebrate my six-year wedding anniversary, met our trainer from Jim Karas Personal Training. His name was Andrew Gallagher and, to our great dismay, he was extraordinarily good-looking, a challenge I hadn’t anticipated, as I thought we’d be pummeled and forced into exhaustion by a female trainer. All I could think was, "Sweet, Pecs McGee is going to make me do burpees and I'll look like some sort of dying seal flopping around on the beach, gasping for air." 

But we sucked it up and entered the studio with him, where he explained the cardio-free concept behind their Bridal Bootcamp: No treadmills, no ellipticals, just tons of squats, lunges, push-ups -– basically, intense exercises using body weight (and the occasional cable machine or medicine ball). As a cardio fanatic, I was skeptical he could tire me out through lunges alone, but about one and a half minutes into my second plank, as I watched sweat drip from my forehead and pool on the mat below, I realized this wouldn't be the slightly-wussy weight training I normally push myself to do twice a week.

We squatted, lunged, burped, jumped, dipped, and pushed up. One fun exercise involved balancing on one leg, squatting down to touch the floor, jumping high up into the air and repeating, non-stop, for 30 seconds, then repeating on the other leg. "Try to explode into the air," Andrew urged us. I explained my inherent lack of athletic ability, that despite my height, I was actually Woody Harrelson’s understudy in White Men Can’t Jump, but he wasn't hearing any of it. This all continued for 40 minutes, during which my heart raced and I sweat a good amount -– about the equivalent of 20 minutes on the elliptical while watching Millionaire Matchmaker reruns.

All in all, it was a challenging workout, and having a trainer present forced me to eek out countless reps that, if left to my own devices, I would have skipped. I still wanted to squeeze some cardio in afterwards, so I’m not yet a cardio-free convert, but I’ve added some of my bootcamp exercises into my everyday routine to mix things up.

Sadly, the last thing I said to Andrew was, "I'll call you tomorrow and tell you if my butt is sore," a comment which, in hindsight, I realized may have made it seem as if we had a far more intimate relationship than we actually did.

For more information, contact The James Chicago at 312-337-1000.

Did you try to get in shape for your wedding? Do you know any brides who went overboard with trying to lose weight? Chime in below.

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