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The Yankee Express

Wedding season is back. 5 tips to get your body in shape for killer dance moves

By Dr. Sean T. Lordan
With COVID restrictions beginning to ease and Wedding Season finally back in full swing, I’d like to take a moment to talk about ways to shed the “COVID-19 pounds” and get back in shape. There are many factors to consider when transitioning back into a regular exercise routine. If you implement these next five tips, you will be well on your way to tearing up the dance floor this season.
1. Drink plenty of water - The benefits of water are myriad and will help your body (and mind) perform at tip-top shape. Beyond the benefits to your skin and other vital organs, hydration is key to proper muscular regeneration and health. It is essential to get at least eight 8oz. servings of water in per day. You may require more than that on a hot day, or during or after exercise. A good rule of thumb is to drink when you are thirsty. Thirst is a lagging sign of dehydration- meaning you are already slightly dehydrated when your body triggers the thirst mechanism. It is also important to keep track of your urine. When your urine is yellow you are dehydrated. If you want to get into shape, you must be conditioned to have great workouts! In order to have a great workout, you must be well hydrated.
2. Avoid Alcohol - Not only does alcohol add extra calories into your diet without any nutritional advantage, it also slows down other metabolic processes and is used as a primary source of energy. When alcohol is burned first, other carbohydrates and fats that you may be consuming at the same time are converted to fat to be used later. Alcohol can also lead to worse decision making when intoxicated. For example, you will choose nachos and chicken wings instead of the grilled chicken garden salad if given the opportunity during a night out drinking. Especially for the 6 weeks leading up to the event, it is important to keep alcohol consumption minimal if you are looking to make real improvements to your body composition.
3. Create a routine - I cannot stress the importance of creating a “healthy habits” routine enough. I consider Sleep, Meditation, Exercise and Nutrition the 4 pillars of healthy habits. If you can systematically implement regular habits around these pillars, you will be well on your way to tearing up the dance floor at your next big event. A typical weekday of mine begins at 6 a.m. Therefore, I try to get to sleep for 9:30 p.m. This allows me over 8 hours of sleep a night, the absolute minimum I (personally) require to have a productive day. I make a smoothie for breakfast (same thing everyday, boring I know), then I head to the clinic. I block time everyday at lunch to exercise at the gym next door for at least 30 minutes. After my daughter goes to sleep at 7:30 p.m., I use the Calm app to meditate and reflect on my day for 10 minutes. I perform these habits without fail everyday and they no longer require much willpower to do. Your routine doesn’t have to be like mine, in fact it shouldn’t be! Everyone is different. My point is that you should have your OWN routine incorporating each of these facets. You will be more likely to hit your goals if you put them on your calendar and stick to them in a regimented fashion each week. 
4. Work the legs - When people ask me the best way to lose fat and build muscle, I refer them to the gym. Whether it is interval training, strength training, cardio or a combination of all three, you are sure to lose some weight if you workout 5 days a week. Working the legs specifically is important, because the legs are an often forgotten about muscle group that contributes a large hormonal response to weight loss. Due to the sheer size of your glutes, hamstrings and quads, they require a lot of energy to rebuild and to exercise. A few of my favorite leg exercises are squats, deadlifts and leg press. You can also incorporate total body moves, but I would recommend getting the form down from a trainer prior to performing them. If your form is off, chances are you will be seeing a physical therapist pretty quickly with pain.
5. Run - What isn’t there to love about running. Running relieves stress, reduces your risk for heart disease, works the majority of your muscle groups, burns a ton of calories, and generally makes you feel euphoric when you are finished. Many folks get shin splints or have ankle or knee pain when running, but it is really the best way to burn fat and get into shape quickly. If you are having trouble running because of pain, reach out to your local physical therapist for help. Most of the time it is due to a muscle imbalance or poor footwear, and we can get you back on the road in no time.
There you have it, five tips to get you back on the dance floor this wedding season. Enjoy.