Getting in Shape

Get Answers to Your Fitness Questions Here

Hi ladies! I hope you had a nice weekend.

I'm excited to introduce you to Knot Fitness Coach Doug, who will be visiting this board every Friday to answer your fitness questions and motivate you to reach your goals. Doug is a National Association of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer and has been working with brides-to-be exclusively for years. He's so excited to help you look and feel your best on your big day and understands that there's no one-size-fits-all approach to fitness.

Please post your fitness questions in this thread, and he'll answer them every Friday. (He'll also answer the 2 questions that were posted last week.) If you don't have a specific question for Doug, but just want to learn more about a new fitness trend or share your goals with him you can post that here as well.

Re: Get Answers to Your Fitness Questions Here

  • Hi there Knotties! Nice to meet you. My name’s Doug Rice. I’m a certified fitness trainer in Dallas, Texas. Since 2005, I’ve worked with thousands of brides at my Bridalicious® Boot Camps in both Los Angeles and Dallas.  I am very excited to have the opportunity to team up with The Knot to help you reach your wedding day health and fitness goals! I’ll be regularly posting helpful tips, motivation, and much more!  I am passionate about working with brides. I absolutely love it, and hope to get a chance to play a role in your bridal fitness journey. I want to help make sure you walk down the aisle with total confidence and look your bridal best on your big day. 

    You can think of me as your very own virtual personal trainer. You can reach out for my help and support, just like my boot camp brides have done in person for years! I’m looking forward to reading your questions and will answer them every Friday.

  • Welcome to the board Doug!
  • Hi Doug!

    I'm not a bride-to-be, but I have plenty of weddings to attend this summer! With at least one outdoors, I am sure to wear a strapless dress at least once. I was wondering what kind of fitness tips you could share to tone my arms & get them ready to show off this season? Thanks!
    BabyFruit Ticker
  • Hi Doug! I am getting married next april and it will be outdoors, what is the best way to get toned, but not buff? as well as loose some tummy fat? Thank you!!!Laughing

    The Future Mrs. Rittgers.
  • Also, i have already started cutting back on food and run, if that helps!
    The Future Mrs. Rittgers.
  • Greetings Doug!!

    What are the best ways to tone stubborn areas such as hips and lower tummy?  I'll be wearing a fit-and-flare style dress on my  wedding day and have certain problematic areas that diet and exercise don't seem to address though it has helped the rest of my body.

    Thank you!!

  • Hi Doug,

    I have a the same question as Nest Dani but I also would like to know how to make your back look toned as well.  I will be wearing a strapless wedding gown.  Your help is greatly appreciated.
  • Hi Doug! How do you lose the fat from your lower stomach? No matter what I do it tends to never go down. Its becoming really frustrating because I am wearing a mermaid dress for my wedding. Any ideas or help would be amazing
  • Bride to be here. Wedding date is July 28, 2012 and I want to tone my legs, arms and flatten my belly, what exercises do you recommend the most and how often should I hit the gym. Currently I am going at least 3 times a week and I also do zumba at least twice a week. Any tips would be greatly appriciated! Future Mrs. Cole :
  • Hi Doug!!!

    I am getting married in 2 months and have been dieting and exercising for over a year (since I got engaged) and I lost about 10 pounds at first, but since July I have been at a stand still. I have hypothyroidism and have read lots of things about how to lose weight but nothing is working. I have tried limiting my calories to 1200 a day and exercising 4-5 times per week but that didn't work. Then I read that I needed more calories so I increased them to 1600 and still exercised. I really just want to lose 10 more pounds and tone my arms for my strapless dress. Any ideas on how to lose weight with hypothyroidism?

    Thank you!
  • Hi Doug!

    I'm getting married in an October beach wedding and planning on wearing a form-fitting mermaid dress. I was on track with my diet and exercise, and still am with my diet, but had a pulmonary embolism just a few weeks ago. I'm now on blood thinners and am regulated to very low impact exercises and no weight training. Do you have any tips for me to achieve muscle tone and definititon given these exercise constraints?

    Thanks so much!
  • Doug,

    I believe I'm one of the FEW who will ask you this. I actually want to gain weight for my wedding (in Aug. 2012). I am underweight by about 20 pounds according to BMI charts. How can I gain weight in a healthy way with diet and exercise? I have stick legs/arms and I'd like to "beef up" a little :)

  • I am a bride and I am having trouble losing those first few pounds. I have started exceriseing and adjusting my meals but still nothing has come off yet. I do feel better and my breathing  and heart rate has improved. I just haven't noticed a diffencen in my close or on the scale  yet. Any suggestions for refocusing my routine.
  • Hi Doug! I'm getting married on July 29 and I'm looking to drop about 20lbs. for my wedding. Am I working on a realistic time frame to reach this goal? I'm 5'4 and I currently weigh 144lbs.
  • Hello Doug! I will be getting married in June and I am wondering the best exercise/diet to do to get rid of arm and belly fat? Thank you!!
  • Hi! I had just started working out again and my trainer told my that I need to loose body fat. I am 5.2 tall and 110 pounds. And I thinkI look pretty fit, but I want to tone up a lttle. My current body bat is at 23% - he just measured it today. I did some research and found that a healty range of body fat for femals of my age (23) and my weight and hight, is between 21 and 33. Is this true?
  • Hi Doug,

    I watch my diet very closely and do boot camp, barre fitness, running, & yoga so I'm very active and sitting at 19% body fat. No matter what I do, I seem to have plateau'd when it comes to toning up that area just below the gluteal fold (my 'banana') and I'd love a perkier butt. Despite running and squats, lunges, donkey kicks till the cows come home, my bum just won't get any perkier. Any tips? Same goes for the saddle bags - they're better but short of going to extremes, what can I do to target these areas? Thanks in advance!
  • Hi Doug,

    What's the best way to find out how many calories you should be eating every day? I have gotten so much conflicting advice from people!

    Also, if you exercise does this change? I currently do Jillian Michaels' 30DS and am in week 6 of C25K.


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  • Hi Knottie brides! Wow, this is fantastic. So many great questions that I'm excited to help you with on Friday. Keep them coming, and if you're thinking about submitting one...well...go ahead -- that's what I'm here for. I want to help you as much as I can! TTYS.
  • I am getting married on June 2nd!  I have currently been doing a circuit type workout using both weights and plyometric type cardio in 30 second intervals.  Intense!  Do you think I should add-in some running from now up until the wedding?
  • It seems that most of you with questions have never posted here on the GIS board before.


    If you have questions that certainly don't need a professional apprasial, feel free to start a new post on the board.  There are lots of ladies here who have gone through it all,(and then some) that are more than willing to give you insight into what they've learned throughout their weight loss or fitness training process.
  • lls31lls31 member
    1000 Comments Combo Breaker
    edited March 2012
    Hi Doug!  About 15 years ago, my right arm popped out of its socket when I was playing softball.  I can't remember the exact details of the diagnosis I received, but I am basically missing a muscle in my shoulder that normally helps hold the ball of my arm bone in its socket.  Since then, I've been careful with any activities that involve my shoulder and I haven't had any major issues thus far.  One thing that does really bug me is that I can't do push ups.  My shoulder will hurt and pop and crack once I get past 5 or 10 regular push ups (although I can do more if I keep my knees on the ground).  

    I tend to stick to DVD workouts because they motivate me the best (Insanity is my current favorite).  Problem is, a lot of these workouts require push ups.  Instead of attempting the push ups and injuring myself, I usually replace them with a bench press type exercise (I lay flat on the floor and press two 10 lb dumbbells).  My question for you is... are there any other exercises that I can do in place of push ups that would target the same muscles?  I'd be open to an exercise that doesn't involve weights.

    21811_10151174643987291_1046283999_n_zpsddfa358c Anniversary BabyFruit Ticker
  • Question Doug:

    I have genetically big arms (thanks mom!).  Even when I was quite young, I had to wear shirts too large for me chest and stomach just to accommodate the big old things.  I'm losing weight now and still have hope that getting closer to an ideal weight will reduce them but no inches have been lost yet.

    What exercises would you recommend that can be done at home with minimal equipment?  I really wouldn't mind the big arms so much if they were more firm and less hanging on the bottom like wings.  I do currently do a pushup, bicep curl and dumbbell press rotation as part of my daily.

  • Hi Dani! You’ve come to the right place, because “strapless” is one of my specialities. When it comes to toning, tightening and shaping, please keep in mind that body fat cannot be “spot reduced.” Your body will shed fat through diet and exercise, but it will come from many different areas of your body, regardless of your regimen. Having said all of that, as the body fat goes away, you can certainly focus on specific muscle groups to make them more toned and sculpted.

    My all-time favorite upper body exercise is the push-up, but I am going to explain to you the way to get the most out of your push-ups, and really make a difference. I call these turbo push-ups. First of all, make sure you use proper form. You can be in the standard position (on your toes) or in the modified position (on your knees). Make sure you tighten your abs and keep your body in a straight line from your shoulders through your knees. Hands should be about shoulder width apart.

    You’ll need to have a stopwatch handy (or a secondhand on your watch). The stopwatch on an iPhone works great if you have one because you can place the phone right next to your hands and the readout is very large.

    You are going to do 20 seconds of as many push-ups as you can possibly do (while maintaining your proper form). Rest 10 seconds, and then repeat by immediately do another 20 seconds of high tempo “turbo” push-ups. Repeat for at least 4 rounds, and 8 if you can.

    How’s that sound, are you up for it?
  • Hey there The Future Mrs. Rittgers:) Outdoor weddings are so awesome, congrats! No worries, my goal is to never get my brides big and bulky, just tight, toned and “bridalicious.”

    Yes, the fact that you have already taken some action is fantastic, way to go! There are so many things I could suggest to you, and if you keep visiting the board, you’ll learn more and more because I could go on and on for pages and pages...but I’ll try to keep this brief, but helpful.

    When it comes to toning, tightening and shaping, please keep in mind that body fat cannot be “spot reduced.” Your body will shed fat through diet and exercise, but it will come from many different areas of your body, regardless of your regimen. Having said all of that, as the body fat goes away, you can certainly focus on specific muscle groups to make them more toned and sculpted, including flattening your tummy. And when you are only about a week or two from your wedding day, I have some great ways to prevent “bridal bloating” so that your tummy can be as flat as possible.

    But for now, since you have more than a year, I would say to make sure you focus on both diet and exercise, and depending upon your goals, one might need to be emphasized more than the other. Put it this way, if your goal is to mostly lose around 10-15 pounds, you won’t need to make any drastic changes to your eating until you are closer to the wedding. Now, you should always strive to eat healthy and keep your body strong and fit, but if you want to shed body fat, what you eat is extremely important.

    My favorite type of exercise regimen is what I have been using with my Bridalicious Boot Camp brides for years, and that involves strength/resistance training combined with high intensity interval training. In a nutshell, I suggest you do 2-3 exercises that emphasize different muscle groups, then stop, and go into a high intensity interval which involves elevating your heart rate through a high tempo exercise such as sprinting or burpees (do you know how to do burpees?).

    The overall goal during the interval is to elevate your heart rate, then take a recovery and elevate it again. The “fast-slow-fast-slow” regimen is highly effective for burning the most calories along with making you much more highly conditioned, fit and strong.

    Whew! That’s a lot of info, and I am just scratching the surface.

    Is that enough to get you started? Stay tuned to the board, and I have to plug the DVD that you can get from The Knot, Bridalicious® Boot Camp by The Knot (with yours truly as the trainer:) and remember my saying “no quitting ‘til the final fitting!


  • Howdy from Texas to sunny S. Fla, staibpastor!

    It sounds like you are simply in a situation where a little persistence and “can-do” attitude will do the trick. When it comes to losing body fat, many people find that they lose it last where they carry it most, and this could be the case for you from the sound of your message.

    It would help me to know what you have done so far to accomplish your goals up to this point because it sounds like you have done some very positive things.

    What are your fitness goals? How frequently are you working out and what type of workouts? What are your challenges when it comes to eating in a way that supports your goals?

  • Hi alicutee! Yes, check out my answer to Nest Dani, and then check this out for your toning your back! BTW, I love that you asked me about your back. It is what I view as a very important area for brides and, in fact, it is one of the three parts of what I call the “bridal trifecta” -- arms, back, and shoulders.

    I’m going to give you a similar routine to Nest Dani’s turbo pushups, but this will be for your back. I’d like you to do split squat rows at the high-tempo  “turbo” style.

    You’ll need a 5-8 lb dumbbell. Stand in a split squat position or a static lunge. This where you take a giant step forward, keeping your front knee over your ankle, and not letting it go forward over your toes. Your knee should track with the pointy part of your shoe. It’s similar to standing on a balance beam.

    You’ll need to have a stopwatch handy (or a secondhand on your watch). The stopwatch on an iPhone works great if you have one because you can place the phone right next to your hands and the readout is very large.

    First of all, make sure you use proper form and tighten your abs. Stay down in the split squat position the entire time, and row your arms back by pulling the weights up at an angle and squeezing the muscles in the rear part of your shoulders as if you are cracking a walnut that has been placed on your back between your shoulder blade. You need to do this for 20 seconds as fast as you can while maintaining the proper form. After the 20 seconds has elapsed, rest for 10 seconds and do it again, only this time, make sure to switch your forward/rear legs to the opposite positions. Repeat the 20 seconds of high tempo rowing and the 10 seconds of rest. Go through the 20 seconds of rowing and 10 seconds of rest at least 4 rounds and up to eight rounds if you can.

    Let me know how this goes, and I can give you some more awesome exercises to try!
  • Hi Kap600! I understand the frustration of those really stubborn areas for fat loss, and as I’ve always emphasized, spot reducing is not realistic. We all have those areas that drive us crazy, so I feel ya. It would really help me if I had more information on what you have been doing for exercise and what you have been eating. I can give you some terrific core exercises, but it is most likely something that needs a more thought out solution.


  • Well, hey there Future Mrs. Cole! July 28 will be here before you know it. Three times a week is excellent. Are you going 3x plus the Zumba? If so, way to go. One of the best ways to shake things up and to continue seeing exciting results is too try something new. This can mean several things. For example, if you are doing interval training, try new interval training exercises -- in other words get outside your comfort zone. If you can go outdoors, try sprinting for 30 seconds, then resting for 30-60 seconds and repeating that for 8-12 rounds. If you are somewhat advanced and athletic, you might also try box jumps. Box jumps are where you get step bench or what is known as a “plyo box” and jump up and on to it and land while immediately going down to a squat. Step off carefully, and repeat. Do about 10-15 box jumps. This will really elevate your heart rate. Rest for about 60 seconds and do it again. Repeat this for 8-10 rounds. Now, I must warn you that box jumps are advanced, and you should seek a trainer to show you how to do them properly or you can risk injury.

    No quitting ‘til the final fitting!  :-)

  • Hi kjack1201! Your question is one that is best answered by a credentialed nutrition expert, so I contacted my close colleague, Dr. Roger Adams, Ph.D., CISSN. Here’s what Dr. Adams said:

    While having hypothyroidism can make it difficult to lose weight, it isn't impossible and you are on the right track with increasing your calories. If you decrease calories too much and still maintain a high level and frequency of exercise, you may run the risk of further slowing your metabolic rate. I would not recommend going below 10 calories per pound of bodyweight if you maintain 4-5 times per week of exercise and that exercise is an hour or so in length each time. This amount should prevent any further slowing of your metabolic rate. However, to lose weight while battling hypothyroidism you must first understand that this lack of normal thyroid functioning can affect how your body processes carbohydrates. Carbohydrates will not be optimally used in someone suffering from hypothyroidism and eating too many carbohydrates or the wrong kind may lead to undesirable blood glucose (blood sugar) levels. Over time this can lead to excess fat accumulation. You must choose your carbohydrates carefully; avoid those with simple-sugars and white flours. Choose whole-grain carbohydrates as they enter the body slower and give you a better chance at using them correctly.

    Research has shown some positive effects of a low-fat, reduced carbohydrate, higher protein diet in cases of hypothyroidism. Cut back on pastas, breads, white rice, and other starches; while increasing your non-starchy vegetables, like spinach, broccoli, and peppers, just to name a few. Including lean sources of protein with each meal or snack, such as fish, low-fat or non-fat dairy, chicken and turkey breasts, legumes, and egg whites will ensure you meet your body's protein requirements and also may hasten your weight loss efforts.

    Be well,

    Roger E. Adams, Ph.D., CISSN
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