Monthly Archives: June 2012

Fitness Friday: Abs & Arms

06 29 2012

Today we are veering a little bit away from our traditional bloom features to offer you some bridal advice in the way of fitness and health. We are thrilled to have a fitness expert on board for a series of postings over the next few months. {Rest your bloom loving hearts we will still carry on with Flower Friday as well.} Dawn Wessman is the star of Wedding Body Pilates {one of the top bridal work out DVD’s} and is a local fitness expert residing here in Salt Lake City. She is a master Pilates trainer, group exercise instructor, author, and sports model. And today she has some advice to offer us in way of toning up those abs & arms! Thanks Dawn!

At the dress shop, you’ve slipped on the gown of your dreams. You daintily reach overhead to place a ringlet– and the shoppers stop and stare. “Do you see, that?!” they whisper. “Her arm muscles are incredible!” “It’s so unfair- were did she get lean muscles like that when I had to wear long sleeves just to hide my orangutan arms?”

You smile, do a little hair adjustment one more time to flex your toned arms for the crowd, and realize the last six weeks of exercise were totally worth it.

Below are listed the most effective exercises that work both abs and arms at the same time. These exercises will make your dress stand out and hang correctly from your form. You’ll be proud to see your hand wave, and not your arm, in your wedding photos!

Top 5 Abs/Arms Exercises

Lose a dress size in one breath. You can literally shrink your waistline one-two dress sizes by performing and maintaining the Pilates breath; it is the flat stomach secret of all models, ballerinas and boxers. It is also the key to performing all abdominal exercises with maximum effectiveness. All exercises must to begin with engaging your abs: placing your hands on your ribs, inhale your navel into your low spine.  As you slowly exhale through pursed lips, pull the navel back further into your body. Press your ribs together as you exhale, like you’re trying to fasten a vest that is too small.  You will immediately feel your core muscles contracting back into the body and the cinching of your waistline. It is essential that you do this pilates breath when performing every core-based exercise. Practice this breath while driving wedding errands, standing among people or are wearing your wedding dress (or any skirt or dress for that matter!).

Push ups. Hands down, this is the most effective exercise to get lean, strong arms and a trim tummy at the same time. On all floors, take your hips forward to a 45 degree angle.  With the arms wide and hands turned in slightly, hinge your elbows and lower down to the ground on a three count.  Exhale on the way up for one count, performing the pilates breath. The key here is not to muscle the movement with your shoulders, but to lift from your core, as if a string were suspending you to the ceiling behind you belly button.  Repeat ten times, keeping your gaze forward.  Take a small break; then do more sets of ten until you have done your age in push ups. This traditional push up will chisel your back, give you gorgeous definition through the shoulders, heal your low back, strengthen your wrists and bring your stomach inward. Do them every day! When you’re feeling brave, lift one or both kneed of the ground.

Crocodiles. These are the yoga companion to push ups- with an added benefit: these push ups target your triceps and eliminate “grandma arm.” Using the same core principles as above, you do an “ab centered” push up but with your hands underneath your shoulders, your elbows pointing directly back. You know that you are doing these push ups correctly when 1)your elbows touch your rib cage as you lower and 2)the backs of your arms scream. Don’t hesitate to do these tricep push ups on your knees. And remember, you want this to be a push up, not a “butt up” in the air! You must drop your hips forward. Do three sets of ten; breathe out on your way up.

Low Plank. Plank is a position you hold with your body that quickly strengthens your core, arm and back and yet is very safe. Laying on your stomach, place your forearms on the ground. Lift your belly off of the ground, curl your toes under…and then lift your knees! It is very important that your back isn’t slouching, but that your abs are pushing up into your low back. Pretend like a piece of wire is tied behind your belly button, suspending you up to the ceiling; do the pilates breath, contantly pulling your abs in. It’s fine to start out with a plank hold on your knees, but try to work up to lifting at least one knee off of the ground. Do low plank for 20 seconds, three times with a rest in between. Build up to a hold for one minute.

Plank Hip Drops. This is a companion to low plank that really trims the sides of your waist (the obliques) and makes the upper body firm to boot. Go into low plank, and drop a hip to one side. Use your side abs to bring the hips back to neutral, then drop to the other side. Set a goal to do ten, and then work up to 20. Perform these with plank hold three times a week. Sit back over your knees and rest your body over your thighs in child’s pose to stretch and relieve your back muscles after each of the exercises.

We agonize over the perfect dress and the accessories- but most of the sweat needs to be put into old fashioned push ups and pilates breathing. If you do, I promise you that you will not only feel strong and beautiful, but you won’t have to hold your bouquet in front to hide your tummy! Instead you’ll grip the flowers with confidence, arm muscles rippling. But be careful not to launch the bouquet at the bridesmaids…with your newly developed bride stregnth you may clock someone! (But if you do, throw with your core!)

Editorial credit & text copyright: Dawn Wessman
Dawns Site/where to find DVD:
Image credit: Busath Photography
Email Dawn:

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{Sneak Peek} Love in Bloom: Salt Lake/Park City Bride & Groom Fall 2012

06 28 2012

Just as we have in the past we are thrilled to once again be bringing Utah brides a sneak peek at our favorite local bridal magazine! The fall 2012 issue of SL/PC Bride & Groom is about to hit newsstands … Continue reading

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Kristin & Raph: Moon Lake Nuptial

06 27 2012

Sometimes less is more & today our ‘little’ wedding feature is a great example of simplified nuptials. Kristin & Raph chose Moon Lake Resort as their location for “I do’s”. Located in the Ashley National Forest on the edge of … Continue reading

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Maren & Jake: Ready To Wed: Groomal Feature

06 26 2012

Maren & Jake: cool, calm, collected, & beautiful! These two are ready to get married & start their lives together! We especially loved the lighting on this gorgeous evening shoot overlooking the Salt Lake valley. The comfort & general ease … Continue reading

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Annie & Spencer: In Love On The Farm

06 25 2012

Annie & Spencer = farmland cuties! These two are happily engaged to be married and we are thrilled to be featuring their lovely engagement session courtesy of Lindsey Shaun Photography. They love their chickens and their country! Spencer serves in … Continue reading

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Flower Friday: Wedding Feature Blooms & Blossoms

06 22 2012

Morgan-Michelle is one gorgeous bride with a gorgeous gown and a stunning bouquet! One of our local venues in SLC the McCune mansion always draws in a very classic, elegant, and traditional bride so it makes sense that this beautiful … Continue reading

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Meagan & Dave: Glenwild Wedding Feature

06 21 2012

Meagan & Dave were drawn to the mountains of Park City Utah for their wedding celebration, a draw shared with many. We have some of the most beautiful mountains and lush nature in the entire world, why not take advantage … Continue reading

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Wedding Budget 101: Guest Post Events by LMG

06 20 2012

This industry pro hardly needs an introduction beyond the mention of her name, she is at the top of her game here locally in the wedding industry and could be compared to a perfected GPS system, for a planning bride … Continue reading

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Venue Spotlight: The Tasting Room

06 19 2012

The Tasting Room is Salt Lake City’s newest wedding/event venue & it is truly divine! Owned and operated by the culinary extraordinaire Mary Crafts of Culinary Crafts this venue is sure to deliver top notch product & service. Located @ … Continue reading

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Gateway Bridal Annual Sample Sale

06 19 2012
sample sale

Have an upcoming wedding? Working on a budget or a tight timeline? Well, you’ve come to the right place! Gateway Bridal is having our annual sample sale June 22nd and 23rd! Dozens of wedding styles will be going on sale … Continue reading

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