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The honeymoon's far from over for wedding boot camps
By Elisabeth Mistretta | Daily Herald Staff

Bridal boot camp participants work on their abs at the RexPlex Fitness Center in Mount Prospect.


Scott Sanders | 2005

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Published: 5/5/2008 12:19 AM

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First comes love, then comes marriage. In between, there's boot camp.

Wedding Boot Camp is an intensive program that whips brides- and grooms-to-be in shape for the big day.

Since Chicago-based Unicus Fitness first started offering the program in Schaumburg, Lombard and Chicago a few years ago -- and similar programs run by other groups popped up at fitness centers throughout the suburbs, including Mount Prospect and Downers Grove -- the boot camp's popularity has only grown.

"In the past six months, there's been such a boom," said Gina Marisco, manger of Wedding Boot Camp. "I think that's because when you look for services in wedding publications, no one offers any advice for brides on how to lose weight effectively and safely."

And that's exactly the point: to help brides, grooms and their wedding parties reduce body fat in a safe way that doesn't include drastic fasting or injury-prone workouts.

The men and women who join can expect lots of (and lots more) push ups, strength training with weights and bands, running and team drills. The class also offers nutritional guidance.

The goal, says Marisco, is for campers to focus less on what the scale says and more on whether their bodies feel lean and strong and fit properly into smaller sizes.

"I talked to a seamstress who says when she does fittings, it's just sad how some brides wither away as they're trying drastic ways to fit into their dresses," Marisco says.

The Schaumburg program has grown so popular since its start that many boot campers return to the class -- even after their weddings. And many students who opt not to re-enroll try to keep their new figures after the honeymoon is over by buying Wedding Boot Camp DVDs.

"People just see the results and keep coming back," says Marisco.

p class="factboxheadblack">To learn more or (312) 819-4466.

Schaumburg Park District

Classes are from 8 to 8:50 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays June 2-26, July 7-31 and Aug. 4-28 at the Schaumburg Park District Meineke Center, 220 E. Weathersfield Way, Schaumburg. The cost is $127 for residents and $147 for others. For details, call (312) 819-4466.

Lombard Park District

Classes are from 6:30 to 7:20 a.m. through May 24 at the Lombard Commons Building, 433 E. St. Charles Road. The cost is $125 for residents plus a one-time initiation fee of $30 that covers a T-shirt, water bottle, dog tags and payment processing. For details, call (630) 960-9983.