Get Wedding Body Ready with Personal Trainer Jacinta Younan
This week we are rolling out the first in a series of in depth Q&A's with industry professionals to get you the advice and guidance you need for your wedding planning.
Our first expert session is with Jacinta Younan. Jacinta is a certified Fitness Instructor and Personal Trainer based in Sydney who specialises in working with women to help them reach their fitness goals.
We chatted with her about diet and excercise in the lead up to your wedding.
Further explanations of how to do her exercises can be found here:
Jacinta, how long before a wedding would you suggest a bride or bridesmaid start exercising to achieve maximum results?
I would recommend to anyone that they have an ongoing and consistent exercise routine (and would discourage anyone from doing a crash course in exercise leading up to the wedding). That being said ifyou’re new to exercise there’s no need to stress - just start as soon as you can. Ideally 3-6 months out of your wedding you will be in a consistent routine. The things that are then going to make a big difference are your diet, and increases in the intensity of your exercise.
Also, is a detox or juice cleanse a necessary starting step to get ready for a wedding?
I don’t believe that this is a necessary starting step and for a lot of women this is going to encourage an all-or-nothing approach. As a starting point, I would suggest eating more fruit and vegetables and ensuring you’re eating enough protein and calories to help support the detoxification process of the body.
If you’re really keen to do a juice cleanse make sure you do your research and do one with a good protein profile, as protein is a necessary factor in the body’s detoxification processes.
(As a side note, some people who suffer from digestive inflammation may really benefit from the right type of liquid-diet for a period of time. I would suggest working with a nutritionist if you have digestive issues.)
How important is diet when looking to tone and/or lose weight for a wedding?
Diet plays a key role and is just as important as exercise, if not more! I think diet has become a very complex topic though and can leave most people feeling quite confused. I try to keep things simple. If you look at your dinner plate each night, it’s nice to see a variety of vegetables, some quality protein and an easily digestible complex carbohydrate. If you’re cooking everything in a quality fat as well you’re getting all 3 macros into your meal (protein, carbs, fat).
Minimising the amount of processed foods you eat would also be a good idea. Not because these are necessarily terrible for you, but if you are filling up on foods with minimal nutritional profiles then you won’t have room for all the foods that are going to give you the nutritional support that you need.
If you suffer with specific issues such as digestive inflammation as mentioned before, then you may need to start playing around with your diet to see what works for you. This is where working with a professional is going to be helpful.
What are common areas of the body women want to focus on when preparing for a wedding?
Women generally like to focus on trimming and toning their stomach, thighs, booty and arms for weddings. I notice with my wedding clients that there is a lot more emphasis placed on toning their upper body before their wedding day, as this tends to be the area of their body on display in their wedding dress.
Which foods are great to decrease belly bloat?
Bloating is a bit of a complex issue to tackle because it may not necessarily be coming from food alone – for example, often bloating can be caused by stress. Understanding the cause of your bloating is important as it will direct which course of action to take to help overcome the issue. Here are some foods which can be great to help reduce bloating around the belly:
• Hot water and lemon
• Yoghurt with a good probiotic profile
• Ginger or ginger tea contains a digestive enzyme which helps to breakdown protein in the stomach. Drink before/during/after a meal
• Bananas – due to their potassium content
If you have some obvious food intolerances then you will need to steer clear of those foods, but it is also worth noting that bloating can be caused by the consumption of foods that are difficult to digest for everyone. For example, lightly steamed greens can be very difficult for the body to break down, so if this is forming a larger portion of your diet you may need to reduce the quantity or change the preparation process.
I feel people commonly ditch sugar or dairy when dieting for a wedding. Is this effective?
I don’t encourage people to cut out food groups entirely unless they have a specific intolerance or they consume something in excess. Mainly because this type of mentality can lead to an unhealthy relationship with food, and in some cases fear/phobia around specific foods which in the long run will cause more harm than good.
If you consume a lot of sugar and you’re someone who needs to eat a bar of chocolate at 3pm everyday then this is something I would encourage you to ditch. Same goes with soft drinks or bottled juices. They are such an unnecessary substitute to water they are the first thing I would recommend someone cuts down on, especially if they are a daily habit.
In terms of dairy, unless you have an intolerance or allergy to lactose there is no need to cut it out of your diet.
I should say, if you’re consuming anything in excess (even foods that are deemed “healthy”) you may want to look at balancing your diet out a little more.
What are some great exercises to tone your arms?
Whenever I talk to women about toning their arms the first concern they raise is not wanting to get too bulky. In actual fact, it is really hard for a woman to ‘bulk up’ (we don’t produce enough testosterone to build big muscles) so if you want to work on toning your arms you are going to have to pick up some heavy weights.
I like to work with compound exercises such as push ups and lat pulldowns that actually target different muscles but as a “by-product” work to tone the biceps and triceps. Some smaller, more targeted movements which will also help sculpt and tone this area include:
- Bicep curls
- Lateral Raises
- Shoulder press
- Tricep pulldowns
Boxing is also a fun way to burn some calories and work on the arms, so this is an option you may want to consider.
More in depth exercise can be found here:
What are some great exercises to firm your booty for your wedding gown?
If you want to work on the peach the best thing you can do is get squatting and deadlifting. Nothing is going to tone and trim your legs and booty quite like it!
Doing this in conjunction with smaller exercises such as 4-point kickbacks is a great way to help give you some shape and firm things up.
Is it best to exercise in the evening or morning?
The answer to this isn’t so clear cut because research shows there are benefits to working out at different times of the day. If I had to choose though I would say morning, just because if you make a routine of it you are more likely going to stick to it! However, if you’re someone who doesn’t love exercise just do whatever feels best for you & your body.
Lastly, what are the benefits of working with a trainer before your wedding over trying to do it all yourself?
There are a lot of reasons why it would be a good to work with a personal trainer, especially in the lead up to your wedding day.
Firstly, a good trainer is going to provide you with the motivation and challenge that you need to achieve your goals, especially if you’re someone who finds it difficult to push yourself. Even most trainers I know have trainers because you’re just not always going to go the extra mile you need to go on your own, so it’s nice to have someone there with you every step of the way.
Also, a trainer with the right experience is going to tailor programs to you that will help you get the best results in the best amount of time, so unless you have hours of spare time on your hands to do your own research it’s best to leave that to the professionals.
Finally, and maybe most importantly, your trainer will teach you how to exercise properly so you avoid injury – the last thing you want in the lead up to your wedding day is a swollen ankle or bunged up knee!
Jacinta is a certified Fitness Instructor and Personal Trainer based in Sydney. She specialisesin working with women to help them reach their fitness goals, and has a special interest in Pre and Post-Natal training. She teaches reformer Pilates, including Pre-Natal Pilates. She has recently started offering body-image coaching, working with women with body-image issues to help them overcome this personal obstacle.
You can read more about Jacinta or contact her via her websites: