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Can't get into that gown? Try some of these workouts

Today's bridal gowns can show a lot of skin. Maybe that's why so many wedding workout plans are marching into the market. One of the first to turn heads was the exercise concept called "Buff Brides."

Initially introduced by Sue Fleming as "Buff Brides: The Complete Guide to Getting in Shape and Looking Great for Your Wedding Day" in 2002 (Random House, Villard/$15.95), "Buff Brides" has since expanded to a Discovery Health Channel series, now seen at 8 p.m. Wednesdays on digital cable Fit-TV, and a new health tool called "Buff Brides Fitness Challenge" for Weight Watchers online subscribers.

"I try and encourage people to give themselves 12 weeks to really see results," said Fleming during a phone interview from Manhattan. "Anything else and you won't be able to make those dramatic changes you want to make."

Fleming, who participated in eight New York City marathons, was recently selected as one of Exercise TV's celebrity trainers. She earned her master's degree in physical education from Canisius College in the summer of 1989. Since September 2000, Fleming has been the director of physical education at Riverdale Country School in New York.

"What's really fascinating is that these women have decided to make a lifestyle change and they use their wedding as an immediate goal," Fleming said. "Many of my former clients are now moms. They find it wasn't as difficult to exercise as they thought it would be."

Brides -- some planners and other procrastinators -- seek out Fleming anywhere from three to nine months before the weddings. Their concern?

"It's all the same," Fleming said. "They want to look great and they need motivation. They don't know how to start it all and they come to me."

Below are some tips from Fleming, taken from www.WeightWatchers.com:

*Exercise alone cannot guarantee your ideal weight. Regular physical activity and a balanced diet are the most important factors for successful long-term weight management.

*Schedule workouts on your calendar each week to help avoid the "I'll do it later" syndrome.

*Work out large muscle groups first. They use more energy during training, so start with those muscles before the rest of your body gets tired.

*Save the abdominal muscles for the end of your workout. Tiring your core in the beginning may cause you to compromise your form.

*Don't forget your goal. Tape a picture of your wedding dress to your bathroom mirror or refrigerator to help motivate you.

-- Jane Kwiatkowski

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