Planning a wedding can be stressful and exhausting. Increasing your physical fitness will not only ensure you look and feel fabulous on your big day, but exercise has been shown to reduce the stress hormone cortisol, increase the “happy” hormone serotonin and boost both your immunity and your energy — so you can take on any new challenge with grace. You’re sure to discover something in our roundup of fitness venues across the province that will inspire you to stick to a workout routine.
Use yoga to sculpt the perfect bridal body
Yoga benefits your flexibility, strength and cardiovascular fitness, with the added bonus of turning your attention inward to reflect on body, mind and soul — ideal for cultivating calm when the frenetic pace of wedding planning sets your head spinning.
Iyengar yoga is a precise and disciplined form of yoga with instructors requiring at least three years of training before becoming certified, and the extensive use of props makes it accessible for everyone. Check out The Yoga Space in Vancouver (theyogaspace.ca), the Iyengar Yoga Centre of Victoria (iyengaryogacentre.ca) or the Kelowna Yoga House (kelownayogahouse.org).
YYoga (yyoga.ca) has eight studios across the Lower Mainland and Whistler, and offers over a dozen different styles of yoga including hatha, ashtanga and kundalini, plus Pilates and core classes. Many of YYoga’s spa-like studios also feature a range of wellness services like massage and naturopathic medicine, as well as complimentary infrared saunas.
Vancouver’s Chopra Yoga Centre (choprayoga.com) has its roots in meditation and is the only studio in the city with a dedicated meditation room. In addition to a wide range of yoga classes, wellness services and the Organic Lives café, they offer a number of signature classes like Yoga Barre and Cho Fit.
Work off the wedding cake samples with a trip to the gym
Fitness centres are excellent if you crave variety, with an array of services that can include personal training, group fitness classes, aquatics and sport programs.
The H2O Adventure and Fitness Centre in Kelowna (h2okelowna.com) is a 70,000-square-foot facility with a group exercise studio, weight room and cardio area, and an indoor water park with a 50-metre pool, wave pool, hot tubs, waterslides and Canada’s first FlowRider — a wave machine that visitors can use to surf or boogie board.
On the Lower Mainland, the Richmond Olympic Oval (richmondoval.ca) stands out for offering nearly every kind of physical activity imaginable under one enormous roof. There’s a climbing wall, ice arena, gymnasium, indoor track and indoor rowing tank. The vast building also offers a fitness centre with strength and cardio equipment, martial arts programs and group fitness classes including spin, yoga and Pilates.
Over on Vancouver Island, the Victoria Athletic Club (victoriaathleticclub.com), located in the Hotel Grand Pacific, has a new 25-metre lap pool, a squash court, fitness studio (with classes including yoga, Pilates and Zumba), weight room, mat-work studio, and a cardio area featuring SportsArt Green System stationary bikes and elliptical machines that reduce power consumption by harnessing the user’s energy.
De-stress during planning with a day of outdoor activities
B.C. is the place to be for getting fit in the great outdoors, and every community has some type of outdoor space for a workout, whether you choose to run along the seawall or hit the ski slopes.
If you want to socialize while you exercise, consider joining a group with regular events, like an outdoor club or a sport and social club. Urban Rec (urbanrec.ca), with locations in Vancouver and the Okanagan, offers a variety of sports leagues including year-round, co-ed outdoor soccer.
Transition from fall to winter by swapping snowshoes for hiking boots. Vancouver Island’s 250,000-hectare Strathcona Provincial Park, B.C.’s oldest provincial park, and adjacent Mount Washington Alpine Resort (mountwashington.ca) offer miles and miles of hiking and snowshoeing trails.
Fitness boot camps incorporate high-intensity strength and cardio drills and core exercises using lightweight equipment, park benches or playground equipment. Survivor Bootcamp (survivorfitness.com) has locations in Vancouver, Langley, New Westminster, Surrey and White Rock and offers four-week programs from two to five days per week throughout the year.
Stay close to wedding HQ with easy in-home workouts
You don’t have to leave your front door to get fit. It takes very little to turn your home into a fitness venue, leaving you with absolutely no excuse not to get moving!
Ugi (pronounced “you-gee”) is a short, intense workout of 30 exercises in 30 minutes, developed by celebrity personal trainer Sara Shears. The workout centres on the Ugi ball, a squishy, weighted ball that you balance upon and lift. The Ugi at-home system comes with a five-workout DVD and a Ugi ball in the weight of your choice.
The Pursuit of Happy Hips DVD has four different vinyasa yoga routines that range in length and difficulty. Led by local yogi, surfer and “blissologist” Eoin Finn (blissology.com), the continuous flow of these routines challenges your strength and cardio and leaves you feeling lithe and limber — throughout your whole body, not just your hips.
And finally, LaBlast (lablastfitness.com) is a five-DVD collection of easy-to-follow dance fitness workouts developed by TV’s Dancing With the Stars professional Louis van Amstel. The energizing set comes with three partner-free workouts of increasing difficulty and two workouts that incorporate weights for toning your upper body while you shimmy and shake your lower half.
With so many options available, you’re sure to find a routine that suits your interests, fitness level and schedule — and keep you feeling fit and healthy for life.