It’s a common pre-wedding source of conflict: the bride-to-be pushes a salad around her plate while her other half tucks into a burger and a pint of beer. Am I right, ladies? Er… turns out I might be wrong. Fitness and the quest for the body beautiful has become so widespread that it’s now just as likely that the groom will be shunning pizza for protein bombs. Thankfully – because we think you look fab, regardless – weight-watching and space food have been replaced by a focus on body-boosting nutrition and feel-good exercise. But if you worry that eating healthily and keeping fit are too expensive, fear not: we’ve found options for a range of budgets, from student to starlet.
You know the drill: you join the gym in January, signing a year’s contract with all the enthusiasm of #newyearnewme, and before you know it you’re cursing the monthly £50 you’d be as well setting fire to. Rejoice, for those days have passed! Pure Gym offers membership at its 14 Scottish clubs from £9.99 to £24.99 and has no contract, so you’re free to leave at the drop of a yoga mat. Training with your partner will even improve your relationship, according to Octavio Dias, personal trainer at Pure Gym: “Physical activity will not only make you fitter for your wedding day, but will create a deeper bond, as exercise releases chemicals in the brain that evoke feelings of happiness, reduce stress and increase libido.” Salsa classes will help with first-dance nerves, and we’ll leave it to your imagination as to why taking up yoga together will come in handy.
There are few things more irritating than reading about some celeb’s ‘weight-loss battle’ when you know full well they’ve had help from a personal chef. Us mere mortals can’t afford assistance from a nutritionist, but many of them have written books. Millie Mackintosh credits Madeleine Shaw with completely transforming her relationship with food, so the blogger’s first book Get the Glow was an instant best-seller. Low-fat options are out (since the fat is often replaced with sugar), and nutrient-dense food is in. Make no mistake, this isn’t a diet: weight loss is just one of the benefits of shaking up what you eat. You’ll also get better skin, better digestion, more energy and a boost in mood.
Visit any gym and you’ll probably see at least one pair of ‘gym buddies’ using the rowing machine as a chair while they discuss next weekend’s plans. They’ll still check in on Facebook to brag, of course, but their half-hearted workout has room for improvement. There’s no such dawdling with a personal trainer, who’ll have you silently cursing them during your session, but praising them when results come quickly. “Working with a coach or trainer will give you a personalised plan and programme to stick to,” advises fitness coach Stella Bartram. For results before the big day, you’re going to need at least 12 weeks (longer if possible). Stella advises a cautious approach to programmes that advertise ‘14-day body transformations’, saying the happiest and healthiest way to get fit is to eat a balanced diet and train three or four times a week. You can expect to pay from £25 to £30 per session, though some charge as much as £50 per hour.
It’s all very well buying healthy cookbooks, but if you tend to eat simple meals because neither of you is confident in the kitchen, you’ll have to overcome that hurdle first. Bin the chicken kievs and the potato waffles – beige dinners are not your friend! Let’s Cook Scotland offers a Healthy Creative Cooking course that will develop fundamental skills, with a focus on alternatives to pasta and potatoes, and tweaking high-calorie favourites into nutritious meals that taste just as delicious. The two-day course costs £220pp and includes a folder packed with the healthy recipes you’ve prepared, along with additional dishes to try at home.
Whether you’re looking to start your health kick, or you’d like one last push before the big day, a residential bootcamp is a surefire way to see results in a short space of time. For one, there’s not the usual temptation of that secret stash of chocolate you dip into when watching Coronation Street. Luxury spa group Champneys has just launched a new bootcamp programme at its four resorts. It’s not all a sergeant major shouting at you to do burpees – though we can’t promise this won’t happen – but exercise is combined with a succulent new menu (steak and red wine sauce followed by chilli cheesecake sounds a bit of all right) and a massage in the spa every day as a reward. Prices start from £350 for two nights and £695 for four nights.
Let’s face it: who really has time to deseed a pomegranate? For hassle-free healthy eating, it’s worth splashing out on meal delivery services. It’s not cheap, but a weekly delivery (three meals and two snacks per day) is the ultimate fast food. Balance Box is just one option in this flourishing industry, and it has two plans that are ideal for the pair of you to try together. The Lighter Plan is around 1200 calories per day (and costs £19.99 per day for a four-week subscription plan), while the Market Plan might be more suited to H2B as it contains 1800 calories (and costs £24.99 for a subscription plan). Tuck in!