Yes, There Is Something Called "L.A. Bride Body"
L.A.-based trainer Jill Penfold dishes on her program designed for those prepping for their big day.
Fifty burpees, 50 push-ups, 50 sit-ups back-to-back followed by sets of high knees and jump squats and mountain climbers — those were just some of the exercises Los Angeles-based trainer Jill Penfold made a group of women (myself, included) endure on a recent Saturday morning at The Grove's Athleta store. If that sounds tiring, imagine trying to get through the actual class (the post-workout soreness was real).
The British trainer's exercises are a small preview of what she does with her private clients, many of whom she says happen to be brides-to-be — so much so that that it led her to create LA Bride Body, a program that's described on her website as featuring "easy to follow workouts and guided nutrition specifically designed to sculpt and tone your body to look amazing" in either a strapless or backless gown. Of course, results from the program may differ for each person, but beyond the outcome, Penfold says she's most passionate about educating her clients (brides-to-be or not) on the importance of proper nutrition and the benefits of exercise.
Here, Penfold shares how she came up with the game plan for LA Bride Body and the exercises to incorporate if you're considering a backless gown for your upcoming nuptials (guilty).
What led you to come up with the LA Bride Body program?
It was just a natural development; it was all the women coming to me for personal training services. They were like you, "I'm a bride to be." It took me about three years to really develop the program and then globally women just couldn't get to me, so I was just like, "Let's just put it in a PDF for two programs." There are just too many gown types — trumpet, mermaid, ball gown — so I was like, "We're going to do a backless and sleeveless. Choose the one where your gown accentuates that body part, and let's focus on that." It takes about 12 weeks. It really just came from an organic growth of brides gravitating — I think it's my [British] accent, personally, but really, it's people emailing me saying, "I need your help, but I'm in New Zealand," so I was like, "OK, I'll create a little book."
Tell me about the process of developing this program.
I had a guinea pig — not literally, but I had my very first bride-to-be and I wrote down all of her workouts. When she got married, her body changed so much. We went back into the gym and worked out a year together, five days a week, and we'd test all the exercises — how did she feel afterwards, what were the results. It was literally just testing workouts — thousands of hours of curls, paired with kick backs, for example. I wanted my personal training experience to reflect in the work that I've put in to create a really good product. It's $29.99 — it's not expensive. But I wanted it to be available to women who haven't budgeted for themselves. You're going to wear this $7,000 gown once and I'll be damned if I don't make you look your best. It's my duty. Food is very important, too. It's really important for women to eat, take care of themselves, meditate, because the stress of planning a wedding is brutal. It will break you down.
What are some exercises you've incorporated into the program? For example, the one focused on a backless gown?
You always want to do a push and a pull, some sort of pull with some dumbbells, maybe a row, and then team that with a push-up so you're working the chest and we're tightening what I call the armpit, and then you want to sculpt the back. The push-and-pull will work the chest and back. Then there's the reverse fly. And if you're not doing Bride Body, go through some exercises where you're like, "OK I feel this in my chest," but you have to team it up with the opposing muscle group. That's why it's always great to have an expert. It takes the guesswork out of it. Push-ups, rows, pull-ups, flys or a rowing machine. The rowing machine is superb for the back. It's hard, but very effective.
You mentioned it takes about 12 weeks.
Ideally 12 weeks, but there are women out there who want to lose a substantial amount of weight, so they're my transformation girls. They come to me a year in advance. We're talking 200 pounds or up. It's completely do-able, but it's a complete lifestyle change. We focus on nutrition first. We work on no sugar, too many fats that are not clean fats, like avocados are one of the best snacks you can eat, but it's educating somebody that it's OK to eat that. There's a caloric intake that you need to obtain to allow your brain to function at its sharpest and highest level.
Do you have a studio in L.A.?
I don't have a studio; I work as a personal trainer and a couple of gyms. One day I'd love to have a LA Bride Body studio. But again, I want to see brides worldwide. If anybody can't get to me, they can email me and I can set them up with online training or they can start the Bride Body program.
Beyond the Bride Body program, how often do your clients continue to work out with you after their big day?
Always. Their body gets to a point of fitness where they're like, "It feels great," and it's normally after two weeks. A lot of women don't think they can look a certain way, but I wasn't an athlete — I'm British, we don't really have sports programs in schools. Then I came to the States and I was like, "Ooh, look at this fitness." It's just about re-educating a woman about being the best version of herself. Most women, after their wedding, they'll either do Bride Body again or they'll ask if they can come train with me.