Like the perfect dress, fitness goals can mean different things for different women. But most brides share one hope: to present her best self — both mentally and physically — as she joins another in marriage. A number of gyms offer bride-centric packages to support that goal. Below, fitness experts discuss a few options.
Back to the barre
Barre classes are a hybrid workout designed to lengthen and strengthen muscle groups. At Barre3, owner Kendall Carriere found the perfect workout.
"I started out as a yoga instructor in 2009 and later became certified as a fitness and personal trainer," Carriere says. "I was also an avid runner. The rigorous training schedule I kept, combined with a full teaching schedule, left my body with a constant ailment. ... I wasn't really listening to my body."
Barre3 transformed her relationship to her body, and three years ago, Carriere opened her first studio Uptown. The Barre3 program is a great way for seasoned fitness gurus or someone who has never set foot in a gym to tone up for the big day, she says. The program includes studio workouts as well as online recipes and workout videos that range from 10 minutes to an hour.
The Barre3 Bridal Package costs $400 for three months of unlimited classes and comes with a "honeymoon kit" stocked with a core ball, a Barre3 video and three guest passes. Carriere recommends starting the program several months before the wedding.
"To really get in good habits and feel great without depriving yourself, starting four or five months ahead can be more beneficial," Carriere says.
Body and mind
For some people, feeling confident involves mind over matter. Bella Blue, dancer, choreographer and headmistress of New Orleans School of Burlesque, says women who come through her door leave feeling empowered.
"Confidence is what really makes a woman look great on her wedding day," says Blue, who trained in classical ballet and modern dance at the New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts. "It is so important to feel good in your body — and that radiates."
Workouts at the New Orleans School of Burlesque include classes with names like "Ass and Abs" and "Booty Fabulous," and Blue offers bachelorette parties with private burlesque instruction. These sessions cost $200 for six people and $30 per person for groups of seven people or more. Clients are encouraged to dress up with boas, garters and the like for the hourlong session — and wear heels no matter what.
"This is for you," Blue says. "Something for you to do and to have this experience together with your bachelorettes and friends."
Show up to a pop up
Yoga offers a way to destress from wedding planning while getting in shape. If you're too overwhelmed to make it to the studio, Karina Marie Pivik has a solution: Karina Marie Yoga Pop Up (www.karinamarieyoga.com), which brings pop-up yoga classes directly to the customer.
"I bring yoga to homes, film sets or storefronts," she says. "This method allows for the feel of boutique yoga, but lowers the price tag associated with expensive facilities. Clients enjoy yoga solo or with friends and family to create a personal vibe of love and nurturing."
A former ballet dancer, Pivik turned to yoga to stay flexible. She also learned balance, stamina and endurance. "As I became more serious, I started to notice the different elements of how yoga incorporated into my lifestyle," Pivik says. "[I became] a more free-flowing, carefree individual with the discipline to stay focused."
A single private session is $80, and the cost is $75 per class when three classes are purchased or $60 per class when five are purchased. Up to three people can participate in a session.
"It is a great, healthy alternative (way) to bond with your bridal party," Pivik says.
For now, and for the future
Many women use their weddings as a catalyst for change, but their hard work often is undone post-honeymoon. The New Orleans Athletic Club's (NOAC) bridal packages are designed to prevent that type of backpedaling.
NOAC offers two bridal packages. The $500 "Shape Up" bridal package includes a four-month membership and five personal training sessions.
"Personal training helps tailor the program individually for maximum success," sales manager Trish Langlois says.
The $150 bridal package includes a three-month membership with one personal training session and one private Pilates session. Brides can continue their membership for the rest of the year without additional fees.
"The financial commitment really helps encourage people to show up," Langlois says.
With more than 50,000 square feet of gym equipment, 46 group exercise classes weekly, a full-service spa, pool, Dynamax training center and locker rooms equipped with sauna and steam rooms, NOAC is a modern fitness mecca encased in an Old World building with wood paneling, marble and chandeliers.
Langlois says some people mistakenly believe her place is pricey. "The reality is that we actually offer very competitive pricing," she says.
Joshua Pate, a personal trainer at NOAC, works with many brides. A recent client wanted to tone her upper body because she planned to wear a strapless wedding gown. Pate created a program aimed at muscular endurance — lower weights and higher repetitions to produce long, lean muscles.
"We rely on each other to commit," Pate says."It is a team effort. It is my livelihood and my client's investment in themselves, so we work together."