★FitStars: Shedding for the Wedding’s Jennifer Cohen
We couldn’t do Fit Bottomed Brides’ Week without mentioning one of our favorite new weight-loss reality TV shows: Shedding for the Wedding! The show follows nine overweight couples who compete to see who can lose the most weight and win the wedding of their dreams. And with challenges like dancing to keep your heart rate up and weekly prizes like the perfect wedding dress and wedding bands, we’re hooked!
After our review of Jennifer Cohen’s book, No Gym Required: Unleash Your Inner Rockstar , we were able to ask this Shedding for the Wedding trainer what goes on behind the scenes on the show and for tips on how to look and feel your bridal best!
Interview with Shedding for the Wedding’s Jennifer Cohen
- FBG: What has it been like being a trainer on Shedding for the Wedding?
- JC: I’ve had such a positive experience! The transformations the couples make are beyond inspiring, and to be a part of the process is an incredible feeling.
- FBG: Did you have a favorite couple to work with on the show?
- JC: Haha. If I did I wouldn’t say so…However, I will say, working with couples who are really committed to changing—who really try their best—is definitely something I respect. You never know what you can do until you try and really give it your all. It drives me nuts when people constantly tell themselves “I can’t.” If you have enough breath to tell me you can’t, then you have breath to work harder! Nine out of 10 times they end up surprising themselves.
- FBG: When trying to look your best for your wedding day, what’s the best strategy to follow?
- JC: The best strategy is to move more and eat less! So many couples make the mistake of having vague goals purely based on looks: lose 10 pounds, tone up abdominals, whatever it is. They focus on these areas and totally ignore overall fitness, when it’s that overall approach that is going to get them to their goals. By engaging several muscle groups at once, you can work on these areas while getting a great comprehensive workout, which will change your body for the better.
- FBG: Any tips for helping couples look extra good the month before, week before, day before and day of the big event?
- JC: A month before, step up the intensity and switch up the exercises! You need to constantly confuse your body. The best way to do this is try and do as much variety with your workouts as possible. That also means changing the durations. If you always work out 45 minutes, your body begins to expect it. Try doing 30 minutes of high-intensity workouts a couple times a week instead. All of my workout moves can be modified for a higher intensity. The week before and the day before, really watch your sodium and sugar intake. When you wake up on the big day, do your routine. It’ll help with the wedding-day stress. After that, let the makeup and hair work for you—it’s time to enjoy your day.
- FBG: You’re a master of getting a workout in without a gym. What are a few of the best moves you can do at home?
- JC: One of my favorite combinations is the 4-minute workout. It’s basically two moves. The first—run in place, bringing your knees as high as possible. Do this for 30 seconds. Rest for 10 seconds, and write down how many reps you were able to do. Next, get on the ground, and do mountain climbers. Get in a push-up position, with your back straight, bring one knee to your chest, then bring it back to the push-up position. Repeat with the other leg, and alternate as fast as you can for 30 seconds. Rest for 10 seconds. Repeat this cycle of running in place and doing mountain climbers four times. For best results, use a heart-rate monitor. You’ll want to have your heart rate between 75 percent and 85 percent to get the best results. To find your max target heart rate calculate 220 minus your age x .075 and/or .085.
- FBG: Are there any specific exercises or strength moves you always have brides do? If so, what are they and why?
- JC: Brides should focus on their arms, back, chest, core and cardio. Most dresses are sleeveless and cinched at the waist; this targets all the areas brides worry about. Push-ups and pull-ups are best for your upper body because they use all your body weight while also engaging your core. Also, doing planks, side planks and plank-twists are great moves. Jump rope for a couple minutes in between these moves, and you have yourself a great workout!
- FBG: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received and why?
- JC: Back when I was in college, there was an older gentleman, about 75, sitting beside me in one of my classes. We got to talking one time, and he opened up to me about how he had always wanted to go to college, but it just couldn’t be a priority for him until he retired. Now that he had the time, he didn’t care how old he was, he was going to do it. He then stood up and told a classroom full of 20-year-olds, “There’s no better time to start than right now.” It always stuck with me, and I think it’s inspiring. It’s never too late. What are you waiting for? Why not start being your best you right now?
- FBG: Can we expect another season of Shedding for the Wedding? Any other fun projects you’re working on?
- JC: I sure hope so! The show has been an incredible experience, and I hope we come back for another season. Right now I’m working on a DVD series, doing fitness retreats with Muscle Milk Light which is my favorite mid-afternoon snack and starting to write my second book to follow my first book, No Gym Required: Unleash Your Inner Rock Star.
- FBG: Any other tips for our Fit Bottomed Brides and Girls?
- JC: Consistency, consistency, consistency. It’s not a sprint—it’s a marathon!
A big thanks to Jennifer for the interview! We can’t wait to watch the finale of Shedding for the Wedding tonight on The CW! —Jenn