First, let me just start out by saying that no one NEEDS to lose those extra pounds or get themselves in shape before the big day. A wedding is all about the two of you and your real selves, so you should be comfortable and happy. That being said, since you’ll likely pay a lot of money for a photographer, dress, hair, makeup and the works, many people like to use the big day as motivation to look their best. In today’s post, I want to share a few different ideas of workouts with you that go past just your typical gym membership. Thank you to all the great ladies below, who were willing to share their experiences with me. Hopefully this gives you the motivation to try something new!

Climbing

Danielle

Athlete: Danielle F.

Why did you decide to start this type of workout?

I started climbing because my older brother was really into it and it seemed like fun. For my birthday he bought me a pass to Boulders. After the first time I went, I was hooked! I used to go about once a week for the first two years, and just looked at it as fun, but then about a year ago they had a competition to climb every day for 19 days straight. I signed up, and did it, and I have never felt so great in my life! I then noticed huge changes in my body, and decided to make climbing a priority exercise.

What would you rank your exertion level during class/workout, 1 being lowest and 10 being highest?

During climbing, I would say my exertion level is usually somewhere around a 7. I can choose to take it easy if I’m tired that day, but there are some days I try the advanced climbs, and my exertion level is definitely up at a 10. The nice thing about climbing is that if you are on top rope, you can climb until you literally can’t hold on anymore and you fall off the wall. It feels great to push myself to my limits and see how much my arms, back, and fingers can take!

Is there a particular area or body part that this workout is good for?

Climbing is incredible for your back, arms, and core. And the biggest surprise to me was the finger strength that comes with getting into more advanced routes – I can actually do a bunch of pullups just using three fingers! I also get a great cardio workout every time I climb. I’ve always been a huge fan of more traditional workouts, but climbing has given me better back and shoulder muscles than I ever could have gotten with my other workouts. In fact, I recently won a pullup contest against a male friend!

How often do you go, where do you go, and what is the cost?

I go to Boulders in Madison, as well as several outdoor places around Wisconsin. I will occasionally drive down to Milwaukee (Adventure Rock) or Illinois (Upper Limits) to switch things up a bit. I try to get there at least three times a week. At Boulders, the monthly membership fee is $45, which is totally worth it for me. There are rentals involved, shoes and a harness, but if you are really getting into it, it’s completely worth it to get your own gear

Anything else you want people to know?

My favorite part about climbing is the community! People really go out of their way to interact with each other, and help you out. Days where I boulder and I go to the gym alone are some of my favorites, because it’s easy to make a ton of friends. It’s not only super exciting to finish a route you’ve been stuck on for a while, but equally as thrilling to watch someone else complete a project they’ve been working on! Climbing is so much fun, an incredible workout, and really boosts my confidence about my body!

Barre

Athlete: Jillian N.

Why did you decide to start this type of workout?

I wanted a different kind of work out than my normal cardio routine. I also wanted a way to incorporate a workout that would tone me all around, especially my arms and core which I can sometimes forget about during my cardio.

What would you rank your exertion level during class/workout, 1 being lowest and 10 being highest?

About a 7

Is there a particular area or body part that this workout is good for?

My legs always get a super intense workout during Barre class! There is also a focus on the core as well as your arms during the hour long class. I always feel like I get an awesome full body workout.

How often do you go, where do you go, and what is the cost?

I try and go 3 times a week and supplement with some additional cardio throughout the week. Depending on the package you choose the classes can vary in cost per class. If you are a new member to Barre3, you can try 3 classes for only $30. They have multiple classes throughout the day so you can go with any type of school or work schedule, which is very helpful if you have a busy schedule.

Anything else you want people to know?

Once you pay for the classes, you don’t have to pay for any additional equipment. Barre3 will provide you with the weights and any other equipment you will need during class. Just make sure you bring water!

CrossFit

Steph

Athlete: Steph L.

Why did you decide to start this type of workout?

I started my journey working with a personal trainer at a local gym, and then I was referred to a CrossFit gym by a trainer/friend. I visited a few times before taking the plunge.

What would you rank your exertion level during class/workout, 1 being lowest and 10 being highest?

The level of exertion can vary each class. Some days are meant to work on skill development while others are meant for intensity, but my goal is to push myself between a 8-10 daily. (I like being a pile of sweat at the end of my workout. Remember the quality of your workout is up to YOU!) My box (CrossFit gym) has class options for a variety of levels and goals, and you can work with a coach to figure out which movements are most safe and effective for your skill level/ability.

Is there a particular area or body part that this workout is good for?

EVERYTHING! Whether you are looking to put on muscle mass, lean out, or increase your cardiovascular endurance, you can find it here. You’ll hear most people say they want abs or a better butt, but targeting those specific areas aren’t going to make for a better physique. You’ll find that most athletes with six packs aren’t doing crunches, but compound movements like deadlifts and squats. CrossFit works on functional movements that will help you to be stronger and age gracefully, and a rockin’ bod will be an awesome side effect! (Assuming your nutrition is on point, of course! Remember that bodies are made in the kitchen and enhanced in the gym!)

How often do you go, where do you go, and what is the cost?

I started my fitness journey with three to four days a week and have increased to five to six days as I have become more serious about my progress. I workout at CrossFit Farmland in Waunakee, and the team of coaches and community there have played a huge role in my success. There are other boxes around the Wisconsin area that have a variety of programs and price points, so give them a call to drop in or do an intro session. Many have one-on-one personal training options as well, but group workouts tend to motivate and push people in a unique way!

Anything else you want people to know?

Everyone is going to have a different journey, so try new things and find something that you enjoy! I love my workout program, but I still have days I would rather nap than exercise. Just remember how you feel once that workout is complete, and you won’t ever regret that choice. Keep your eyes on the prize!

Pole Dancing

Tara

Athlete: Tara K.

Why did you decide to start this type of workout?

A friend (the owner/author of this blog!) found a Groupon for pole dancing classes and we decided to check it out. I was immediately hooked and have continued taking classes ever since! I loved that it was a unique workout and that it allows both men and women of all body types to express themselves in a very personal way through dance and exercise. It was the most fun I’d ever had working out and it also made me feel more confident and happy as a person.

What would you rank your exertion level during class/workout, 1 being lowest and 10 being highest?

It depends on what I’m doing, but I would say about a 7 on average, especially once getting into the more advanced classes and moves. However, this is definitely a kind of exercise where you can determine your level of exertion by what it is you’re working on at the time, so that doesn’t necessarily apply to beginners.

Is there a particular area or body part that this workout is good for?

It’s a fantastic core workout and great for your arms/shoulders as well. I’ve also found it helps me focus on stretching and flexibility.

How often do you go, where do you go, and what is the cost?

In Madison I went to Miss Pole on the West side, but now in Chicago I’ve taken classes at The Brass Ring. Classes range at each location depending on how many you want to take and what sort of setup the studio has- for example, in Madison I paid around $90 for a 6-week class, and in Chicago I’ve gotten a month unlimited pass for around $150. However, I eventually bought my own pole to have in my apartment, so I mostly work out at home now. I like the flexibility of dancing whenever the mood strikes and I can’t always get to scheduled classes. I will say there’s a huge benefit to studios though – making new friends, crash mats and spotters for trying a new move, and guidance from awesome instructors.

Anything else you want people to know?

It’s not as hard as it looks and it’s definitely as fun as it looks! The most common thing I hear (especially from women) is “I could never do that, I don’t have the upper body strength.” You build up the strength as you go – I didn’t just walk in to a studio and flip myself upside down on day 1 🙂 There are also all types of pole dancers, from sporty and athletic to sexy to graceful and delicate, so don’t be scared off by any stereotypes you may have or a perceived lack of strength.