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‘Fat girls need love too!” crooned Barbara as she sashayed into my kitchen, waving the ring on her left finger.

“Oh, hush — you’re not fat,” I chided her before offering my congratulations on her engagement.

“Well, there’s more of me than there was ten years ago,” she replied. “And I’m not even going to start looking for dresses until I trim this belly a bit.”

Personal trainer Jessica Thomas’s Fit 2 Wed (619-459-5344) is, according to employee Rosanne Geraty, “a 12-week, women’s-only bridal boot camp. It combines a series of high-energy outdoor workouts focusing on cardiovascular and strength-training with nutritional counseling. You take three classes a week, for a total of 36 classes. That gives you enough time to get looking great for your wedding day and allows Jessica enough time to teach the girls about living a healthier lifestyle. She really focuses as much on nutrition as she does on exercise. And it’s not just for brides — we get bridesmaids and even girls who come back after their weddings.”

Early in the session, participants attend a boot-camp weekend, starting with a two-hour nutritional seminar on Saturday. “Jessica talks about recipes, about eating out, and about overall food plans. She’ll give advice...say, about looking for foods with more fiber and protein or about avoiding the bread and butter on the restaurant table.” Then, on Sunday, “she takes them on a grocery-store trip to Vons and Trader Joe’s. She walks around the stores explaining the traps that people sometimes fall into — places where they think they’re eating healthy but they really aren’t. A lot of the girls are eating pre-made soups that are packed with sodium.” Or maybe they’re buying a pasta sauce loaded with sugar. “She doesn’t give meal plans. She just teaches you how to choose more healthy foods.” Girls are asked to keep exercise-and-eating journals in which they write down everything they eat on every day. (“Jessica always says that the girls who get the best results are those who do their journals the best.”) At the end of each class, Thomas gives motivational advice and nutritional tips — “maybe adding another vegetable or [recommending] more glasses of water.”

The classes run for an hour and 15 minutes, six days a week. “It’s a full-body workout. We do cardiovascular training and muscle training with resistance bands. We’ll do plyometrics — different ways of doing squats or lunges — and traditional calisthenics. All the girls do the same exercises, but we have a team atmosphere — the girls help and encourage each other, so no one feels left out. That’s important to us. For example, if we run a timed mile, whichever girl gets done first will turn around and run to the last person and encourage her….

“A lot of the exercises are tailored to looking great on your wedding day — say, getting muscle tone on your arms and back — but a lot of what you do has to do with your own goals. At the beginning of each session, Jessica sits down with each girl to discuss her goals. Some are very specific, like wanting to lose ten inches and ten pounds. Some are more general fitness goals, like running a faster mile.” Thomas also does a body assessment for each girl, checking body fat, weight, and physical fitness. “She then meets with them at six and twelve weeks to make sure they’re on track with their goals.”

Fit 2 Wed’s next boot camp starts April 13 and runs through July 4. “A lot of girls are getting married next spring,” said Geraty, “so this is a huge time. If they can start in April or July, they can be ready for next year.” Cost is $795 for the 36 classes and other services.

Other places around town:

Chris Keith’s Boot Camp 619 (619-840-9099) is co-ed and offers sessions at the camp’s gym or at various outdoor locations. Price is $999 for 12 weeks (up to 132 one-hour sessions), $799 for 8 weeks (up to 88 sessions), or $499 for 4 weeks (up to 44 sessions).

Addie’s Personal Training Studio (858-483-2711) in Pacific Beach offers a pre-wedding fitness package for brides and grooms. Every session is conducted with a personal trainer. Sessions lasting 55 minutes cost $1008 for 12 or $1924 for 26; 25-minute sessions run $720 for 12 or $1326 for 26.

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