Getting wedding dress ready

In six months or less you will be walking down the aisle towards the man who will share your life. Everything is in place: the venue is secured, vendors are lined up, and the dress is ordered. While your wedding planner or coordinator is taking care of the wedding details, it’s time for you to take care of yourself.

Getting fit and toned for your big day and looking the best you can in that fit and flare, illusion or mermaid dress takes time. Your almost there but you may need a muscle tweak or two. Priscilla Santana, co-owner of Validus Fitness & Training, with her husband Noel, said to plan ahead, “at least six months out.”

“Fitness is not a quick fix; you can’t develop muscle tone in two or four weeks,” said Priscilla.

When a bride comes in to set up a fitness program, if she is looking to tone her arms for example, Noel said she has to work out the big muscles first.

“Before toning specific areas, you need to reduce body fat,” Noel said.

Noel is the force behind Validus Fitness & Training. He and his team of trainers–Ronald Green, Philip Leboeuf and Krystal Adams–work one-on-one with clients to decide the best plan for their goals.

“Our coaches have high quality certifications including Bachelor of Arts in Kinesiology, Sports Medicine, and certifications from the National Association of Sports Medicine and National Exercise Trainers Association,” said Priscilla. “We have a great staff that has a variety of knowledge and impressive resumes that enable us to match our clients with the best trainer for their individual need.”

Programs are created on an individual basis and depending on what area of the body a bride wants to target.

“We work the glutes, legs and thighs along with a lot of core exercises,” Priscilla said.

It takes a lot of energy, mentally and physically, to plan a wedding and brides want to work out, Priscilla stated. “If you take on the factor of the stress of the wedding, it’s detrimental to fitness. If you don’t release the stress, you’re not sleeping, your gaining weight—it (exercise) helps with the stress.”

Priscilla said when people think of exercise, they often think they are going to lose energy. But in fact, the opposite happens and they gain energy.

“More energy sustains you throughout the day,” she said. “It ties into feeling better about yourself. As a bride, you want to feel good. You will mentally de-stress and have someone hold you accountable. As a bride you have to plan this and that; with your workout the trainer does the planning for you.”

Becky Montgomery’s daughter, Molly, recently wed. She said one of the first things they put on her wedding “to do” list was to get fit.

“Amidst the excitement and stress of wedding preparations, we knew we both wanted to look and feel our best on the big day, and we knew those goals would take time and commitment,” Montgomery said.

They chose Validus Fitness & Training because the program was “personally tailored to our specific needs, both physically and nutritionally.”

“The four-day-a-week focused attention we received challenged us both in ways we never imagined and continues to prove invaluable,” she said. “We lost body fat and gained muscle mass, creating the lean and toned look we were striving for. Nutritionally, we learned to adjust our eating habits, enjoying preparing healthy meals together.”

Getting started

To build a tailored-specific workout program, potential clients must complete an assessment to determine their level of fitness. Measurements will be taken and you will also be measured for body fat. If you have had any type of illness or surgery bring in your medical records as well. Once an assessment is made, you will receive a workout plan and nutrition program suited to your needs. You can download an app that allows you to log in your meals and this gives Noel the opportunity to see what you are eating.

Brides can come in with their mother, the groom’s mother, fiancé, bridesmaids, dad, brother, or anyone in the bridal party who wants to train before the day. Training programs are usually two to three times a week and are private or semi-private.

“We don’t tell clients the number of pounds they will lose, but the number of inches,” said Priscilla.

Brides receive a variety of training including High Intensity Interval Training (workouts are done in 30 second intense intervals followed by 30 seconds of easy, low impact exercises) and TRX Suspension Training (workout with straps, more intense than running). The only weight machines are treadmills and a free motion machine. Most of the exercises use your own body resistance.

A bride can work out one, two or three times a week. If you’re not sure of your level of commitment, you can do a 21 or 28 day program “geared towards starting or motivating people,” Noel said.

“Our advice to brides-to-be is to get started immediately with a wellness program because fitness is not a quick fix,” said Montgomery. “Many tasks have to be done well in advance in order to pull off a lovely wedding. Along with choosing the dress, the venue, and the wedding coordinator add fitness training to your checklist.

Fitness assessment

Brides-to-be wanting to get fit receive a fitness assessment before starting a tailored workout regime. Priscilla said brides perform nine exercises that target specific areas in one hour, three to four times a week.

The program goes beyond the physical fitness aspect of the regime to include living healthy through nutrition and movement. Here are examples of some of the exercises for brides to get in shape for their big day. Although the exercises are targeted to specific areas of the body, they all incorporate the core.

All exercises are demonstrated by Noel and Priscilla Santana, co-owners of Validus Fitness & Training. They are the parents of three boys. Priscilla is also the Director of Vocal Studies, Academie Musique and Director of Jubilate Children’s Choir Academie Musique of Central Texas.

Catherine Hosman is editor of Tex Appeal Magazine. Contact her at or 254-774-5234.