Boot-camp workouts help create the perfect form for that perfect dress

Maya Chavez worked out at her neighborhood recreation center for more than a year. Then summer hit.

"The heat and lure of after-work happy hours really wore down my desire to work out," she said.

With her Aug. 21 nuptials months away and a gorgeous 1920s-style Vera Wang dress awaiting her, the bride-to-be signed up for a bridal boot camp at Forever Fit.

"It sounded just like a fun and challenging workout," she said.

Boot camp-style programs get their name from the high-intensity training the military uses-think tire jumping and wall crawls. While camps for the newly betrothed vary, the promise of quick all-over toning and engaging camaraderie holds a particular allure.

Nancy Eisenman, who runs Forever Fit's bridal boot camp in Grandview, said the training isn't just for brides-her clients have ranged from bridesmaids to future mothers-in-law.

"I love working with the women," Eisenman said. "We play music and it's very upbeat. I love to see the transformation."

While many brides are looking for arm and back toning thanks to the dominance of wedding gowns that bare those features, Eisenman said most of her participants are looking for a change in lifestyle. She uses interval training that mixes cardio and strength exercises to achieve overall fitness and offers nutritional counseling, too.

Jason Yun of Yun Fitness Boot Camps agrees that "it's a quick way to get in shape. But it's usually just overall about losing inches. They want to get more toned. ...They want to look their absolute best and look good in that wedding dress."

Yun offers special bridal packages at his Hilliard and Downtown locations and plans to expand soon into Gahanna and New Albany. His bridal boot camps particularly focus on the honeymoon aspect of a bride's big day.

Each participant gets a "Look Better Naked" DVD and nutrition manual.

No matter what a bride is looking to achieve with a boot camp, Yun suggests signing up at least three months in advance of the wedding day.

There might even be a hidden bonus beyond a new, sculpted shape. For Chavez, hitting the gym helped her combat stress during the last few hectic months of wedding planning. She enjoyed the boot camp so much, she said, that she still attends.