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Bridal fitness with Victoria Pendleton

Bridal fitness with Victoria Pendleton

Written by Katie Byrne

The Olympic champion shares her tips for getting in shape for your wedding day


Don't have time for exercise? Get on your bike - literally.

You can fit cycling into your daily routine - it's a mode of transport as well as a form of exercise. Going to the gym and running on a treadmill or cycling on a bike, for some people, just doesn't seem to make sense, whereas exercising in a functional way that has a second purpose does. It's nice to get out and about on your bike, and it's something that's very enjoyable. It's very social, too. I know it sounds a bit romantic but I kind of like that.

Cycling = an easy way to get fit

It's a sport that's growing in popularity at the moment, there are a lot of initiatives going on trying to increase participation in sport, and especially women's sport. In terms of bike ranges there was definitely a gap in the market for bikes that were entry-level, and that's what my new range with Halfords tackles. Obviously I’ve come from a background where cycling's been a huge part of my life, but I'm also female and not that impressed with gadget-y, fancy, techy bikes...

Take it steady to start with...

No, I think unlike running, where it is hard on your joint and quite high impact, cycling's a very gentle form of exercise, like swimming is. You can be at any level and take it very steady to start with. It gives you a very wide range of training intensities. 

Want to tone your arms? Easy.

Cycling focuses mainly on the lower body, which I think a lot of women like to focus on because it tends to be the first place weight can show. It's also good for toning your arms because the support you use in your upper body is quite good for toning your arms without really building muscle. It's a fat-burning mode of exercise but it's also quite gentle.

Sink or swim...

Swimming is a great form of exercise because it's very easy on your joints – there's no impact. A lot of people struggle in sports because it's high impact, which if you're not particularly sporty can cause problems. Swimming is a great sport, it's just whether you have a pool that's handy! No one wants to travel for miles to go for a swim, but if you have a pool nearby then obviously that's great. I'm terrible at swimming! I swim, I kind of make lots of splashing and then just sink. Unless you've got some technical skills, it's quite hard to get much out of it. So I agree, it's a good sport – but cycling's more accessible. You can't swim to the shops, can you?

All you need is a routine.

My #1 tip for women who haven't exercised regularly before? Get into a routine to do exercise. In terms of changing a habit, the best thing is to get involved with a group activity - if you commit yourself to doing something with a group or friends or join a class or going on a bike ride with some people, is a really good way to adhere to a new routine. Rope your friends in and make a plan. Commit yourself to saying 'tomorrow morning we're going to go here and do this' or 'this weekend, we're going to go here, cycle this far'. You make it so that it's easy to adhere to because it's part of your routine.

Also, for brides-to-be it's the kind of thing you can get your groom involved with.

I'm sure for every bride out there there's a groom out there who wants to look his best for their wedding day, do a little bit of training, look good for the photos... It's a great thing to do together. I love cycling with Scott [Gardner]. I love doing any exercise with him. It's fun.

When it comes to my own workouts...

I'm just trying to be consistent in what I'm doing. I went to a running event recetnly, which gave me something to aim for. I don't want to change shape too much – I'm just going to try and keep consistent between now and the wedding because I don't want to not fit my dress! So it's like 'yep, this is it, I'm just going to stay the same from here on in'.

My desert island beauty must-have...

...Would be sunscreen. And then lip balm. I can't live without lip balm!

Let's talk skincare.

I do find in the winter I have to use a lot more moisturiser, as it can be quite drying if you're going from indoor warmth to the freezing cold outdoors. I do find it quite hard, you get quite dry skin.

My top tip for brides-to-be...

Use your bridesmaids. They're there to help. Don't feel bad about asking them to help. I'm a bridesmaid before I'm a bride. Next weekend I'm a bridesmaid and I feel very happy doing anything my friend Jane asks. And likewise. I know she's going to be happy doing it for me. So don't feel guilty, it's what they're there for!

Victoria Pendleton's new range of bikes for women and girls aged 9 to 15 is available now at Halfords stores or online at

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