Promotional Feature

The actress on how twelve weeks at UP Fitness helped her prepare for Strictly

It’s no secret that Strictly Come Dancing is tough. That’s one of the reasons actress Gemma Atkinson was keen to shape up ahead of her stint on the popular BBC show - both physically and mentally.

Here she shares her motives for booking on a twelve-week transformation programme at Ultimate Performance, and the surprising parallels between gym and ballroom… 

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UP has taught me that it’s all about training smart. It’s about quality, not quantity

I love a challenge - it’s what gets me out of bed in the morning

My twelve-week body transformation at Ultimate Performance was one of the biggest challenges I’ve ever undertaken. It was physically tough, it was mentally challenging and it pushed me to my limits - but the results were out of this world.

I’m fitter and stronger than ever…and now I’m ready to take on the challenge of Strictly!

Nothing good ever happens in your comfort zone

The whole small dresses, high heels and fake tan is way out of my comfort zone - I’m way more at home in trackies, trainers and a sweaty gym!

Plus, the last time I did any dancing was when I was twelve years old doing disco, so Strictly’s going to be tough.

But that’s one of the reasons I want to do it, to challenge myself: you need a whole new level of fitness.

My twelve weeks at Ultimate Performance has given me the discipline and the focus I need to take on Strictly

For twelve weeks I’ve focused on my diet and my training. I’ve been disciplined enough to do that so hopefully I can go a long way in the competition.

It’s given me a lot more confidence in myself, too: if they’d have put me in these short, sparkly dresses twelve weeks ago, I don’t think I’d have felt my best.

Through the training and nutrition at UP, I’ve got myself in the best shape I can be

Everyone says Strictly is more of a mental battle than a physical one: the endurance, the lack of sleep, the hours and hours of training every day.

I’m one of those people who is very competitive, but with myself. If I’m struggling to get the steps right, I’m not going to want to go home until I’ve mastered them, but UP has taught me that it’s all about training smart. It’s about quality, not quantity. If I’ve not nailed the steps after a full day of training, I need to walk away and come back the next day feeling refreshed. 

Up Gemma Atkinson 12Wk Transformation 1

I feel fitter and stronger than ever before

The pros are in insane shape, and their fitness levels are through the roof. And they pick up routines in fifteen minutes, whereas it’s taking me a full day.

But, because of UP, I know not to beat myself up about it. They dance every day, whereas for me everything is new. UP was quite daunting at first but, by the end of the twelve weeks, I came out feeling strong and confident. I’m sure it will be the same with dancing.

I think strengthening my core and glutes has definitely helped with the dancing

The training has been full on: the first session I did was eight hours long! We started off with a choreographed group routine, which is cracking but I was sweating buckets.

I do tend to work better under pressure, though, so it’s good we’ve been thrown in at the deep end. And I’m really enjoying it - I’m never normally a big fan of cardio but I genuinely love dancing.

I’m told dancing is very much about posture and holding a certain position for any length of time. Plus, being on your feet all day is challenging without core and glute strength - that’s why people often get back problems - but I’ve been ok (so far anyway!) and I think that’s down to my training with UP. 

If you’re inspired by Gemma’s journey and want to start your own body transformation, book a free UP consultation

Gemma Atkinson Ultimate Performance Hip Hinge