Bridal boot camp with Stephanie Thomas Fitness helps women look and feel good ahead of their wedding

Planning a wedding is no honeymoon. You buy a dress, pick your bridesmaids and order flowers ... invite guests, choose the caterer and select the band ... hire a photographer, meet the officiant and write your vows. And when the time comes — surprise! — you’re physically and emotionally spent.

For the bride, at least, the run-up to the big day is hardly a cakewalk. Enter Stephanie Thomas, a bridal fitness coach who helps women tone up — and calm down — for their weddings. Thomas, of Annapolis, drafts customized workouts and dietary programs for clients willing to pump iron and power walk to look their best for their nuptials.


“It’s all about aesthetics, when they start,” says Thomas, 28. “They’re anxious to lose weight, fit into their dress and look good in their pictures. They want to focus on their upper bodies, because that’s what you see in the dress.”

Brides today want to look more strong than skinny, she says, hence the bicep curls in her workouts that can lead to “the bridal arms of your dreams.”


Some clients swear to maintain their newfound fitness in the future — a nod to their coach, who offers them the same exercises she did before her own wedding.

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“I found so many gimmicky programs out there, but nothing that catered to women getting married,” says Thomas. “Brides are often misled by marketing that they can do a crash diet or intense workouts, which aren’t good for them. I teach healthy ways to exercise, and to eat, and to really make it a lifestyle.”

She began shaping her program early on. A Bel Air native, Thomas was 17 when she won the Miss Maryland Teen USA crown in 2012. After competing in the national pageant in the Bahamas, she says, “it was so stressful that I knew I never wanted to do it again. That’s when I fell in love with yoga.”

She’s now certified in multiple health training fields. Since the inception of Stephanie Thomas Fitness in 2019, she has mentored 100 clients, including bridesmaids and mothers of the bride, from as far away as Australia and Great Britain. Classes are virtual, using a customized app. Cost is $697 a month for either an exercise or nutrition program, and $1,000 for both.

Each week, Thomas checks in with her charges, offering feedback and support. Each receives a water bottle with the mantra, “Sweating for the wedding.” A drill sergeant, the coach is not.

“I don’t yell, I lightly push them,” she says. “We have rough patches but we talk through them. So far, no one has quit; they say they don’t want to let me down.”

In the six months before her wedding, an Ohio woman shed 35 pounds. Clients have dropped multiple dress sizes. Others have muscled up and felt less stressed. Some even text Thomas on their big day, and most send her photos of their wedding.

To date, however, none of the pictures has shown a well-toned bride hefting her bouquet over everyone’s heads.