March 09, 2017 09:49 AM


Emma Coburn is not your typical bride-to-be.

While most brides want to lose weight before reciting their vows, the Olympic steeplechase runner and Red Bull athlete, 26, actually wants to gain weight before she marries her fiancé Joe Bosshard in October.

“My racing season will end in the middle of September, and I’ll be at my lowest weight, pretty lean, pretty cut. I’m hoping that I can just bounce back to a sustainable off-season weight,” Coburn, who typically loses up to 10 lbs. during her racing season, tells PEOPLE.

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“I feel a little more comfortable how I look that way, and I like feeling a little bit more curvy rather than super, super cut,” she continues. “In a race scenario, I like feeling really cut and really lean — that gives me confidence that I’m ready to race — but in a wedding dress, I don’t necessarily want to see my abs showing through my dress. I’d rather just be a little softer and curvier for that setting.”

During training season, Coburn naturally loses weight because of her workout schedule and intense races.

“For my sport, it’s really important to stay lean and strong,” she says. “It’s less about what the scale says and more about eating right and lifting weights and putting in a lot of miles. Just the nature of training as the season progresses and the intensity increases, I naturally just shed weight.”

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Coburn looks forward to a more relaxed approach to fitness after the season ends and hopes to gain 10 lbs. before her wedding day.

“It will hopefully be an easy transition,” she says. “I’ll really start eating whatever and exercising if I feel like it, but no serious training and very light weights if I go to the gym. During my off-season, I naturally gain a little bit of weight, but it definitely will be fun!”

Plus, there’s a lot of excitement ahead. “Most brides leading up to their wedding are stressing out about all the calories they’re consuming and doing crazy workouts, and that just adds to the stress of it,” she says. “Between the end of my season and the wedding, I have a bachelorette party and lots of celebrations along the way, so it will be fun to just really be able to relax and let my body recover from the long racing season, and just have a lot of fun with my friends and family and gain 10 lbs. through the process!”

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