With peak wedding season right around the corner, here’s some great advice for the “bride to be” searching for simple strategies for toning up, de-stressing and staying grounded leading up to the big day. It’s a formula that can produce amazing results—if you take it seriously—and it’s a lot easier than other plans I’ve been seeing on the web.

As a caveat, nothing can compensate for a terrible diet, and most ultra-low calorie diets are dangerous and will surely add to the stress while taking all the joy out of the process. You’ve got to eat, so if you follow these three simple guidelines you can avoid feeling starved and still enjoy your meals. First, avoid the white stuff—sugar—and the other white stuff—wheat, potatoes, corn, and other starches—at all cost. Second, try to keep your total calorie count somewhere between 10 and 15 calories per target body weight (in pounds). If you avoid all the white stuff, you’ll be surprised how much worthless food that actually is. Third, wake up to a glass of room temperature water, and drink about two liters of spring water throughout the day, every day.

Now for the physical strategies. As I discuss in detail in BioLogic Revelation, simply moving every muscle and joint in your body while remaining in a restful state can produce too many benefits to list in this article. These “Resting Movements” are so therapeutic that you should employ them as often as possible throughout the day, from sunrise to bedtime, and even more on days that you don’t work out.  Resting movements are joint lubricating, muscle stretching, balance building, tissue flushing, circulation enhancing, re-oxygenating, and mind clearing movements performed in a fluid series of intuitive flexing movements. All you need to do is stand up and slowly rotate every joint in your body, from your neck and jaw down to the joints in your toes and all the joints in between. Every cell in your body wants to receive some sort of stimuli every day. Just as researchers have shown that we can trigger health and fat burning power in our muscle cells through mind-body bridging techniques like visualization, when you mentally connect with all your muscles and joints you can trigger amazing metabolic responses. When performing these resting movements, make an intentional effort to breathe deeply and get your blood flowing through every joint and muscle in your body. Equally important, be sure to meditate during these movements, speaking health and life into every fiber of your being. Some of you will simply employ dynamic stretching movements, or simplified variations of yoga, Pilates, or Barre movements if you have experience with these disciplines. Some of my clients have humorously called resting movements their BioLogic Tai Chi, as that Chinese therapeutic art accomplishes similar goals and can even resemble resting movements. They certainly share many of the same goals. Try to perform these resting movements at least three times throughout the day, and you will without question learn to LOVE them.

As for actual workouts, I strongly encourage you to avoid endurance running and long duration cardio exercise altogether. Research has proven these popular exercises are not only destructive over the long-term and woefully inefficient where fat burning is concerned, but they also produce the stress hormone cortisol to extremely high degrees. If you’re trying to reduce stress avoid producing cortisol! Instead, you should strength train a single muscle group each day and end the workout as soon as you start to feel the muscle beginning to fail—even if it happens after just one set. Maybe most important of all, be sure to get more rest. You need it, and so do your muscles, especially if you’re trying to burn more fat and reduce stress through the process. Some of this flies in the face of what most personal trainers teach these days, but a wealth of new research has proven these gurus have been woefully wrong in their teachings. “Less is more,” and short duration strength training (lasting 10 minutes or less) can trigger a cascade of health benefits that go far beyond fat burning and stress reduction. The biggest day of your life deserves this sort of special treatment, and as you’ll quickly learn, it’s oh so easy to sustain even beyond the big day. Try it out and see for yourself!

~Wayne Caparas