Gemma-Atkinson-fitness

How Gemma Atkinson got into shape for Strictly Come Dancing

The former Hollyoaks star has lost 13lbs ahead of the show

Chloe Best

Gemma Atkinson has undergone a gruelling 12 week fitness programme in preparation for Strictly Come Dancing. The former Hollyoaks star, who was the fourth contestant announced for the upcoming series, has been training four times a week ahead of the competition.

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Training at Ultimate Performance Fitness Manchester, Gemma worked with Mark Bohannon and Steve Chambers to get dancefloor ready – and the results are seriously impressive. Gemma has lost 13lbs in weight and 4.6 per cent body fat, taking her down to a lean 11.4% body fat.

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Gemma has lost 13lbs ahead of her Strictly Come Dancing performance

Gemma's programme focused on weights four days a week, with an hour's cardio on the bike each week. And she described taking on the challenge as "literally the best thing I've ever done", saying that she felt "amazing" afterwards.

The 32-year-old supported her fitness routine with a healthy, protein-rich diet. An example day's menu could see her eat three eggs cooked in coconut oil, served with flax seeds, chia seeds, half an avocado and coffee for breakfast, followed by a protein shake at 9am. Pre-workout Gemma would consume 150g chicken breast with home-made pesto and a coffee, then a whey protein shake with a banana afterwards. Dinner could be 150g chicken breast served with sweet potato and vegetables, followed by Total Greek Yoghurt with whey protein.

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The actress said she feels "amazing" after following a 12 week programme

The diet and fitness routine may prove a boost for Gemma's dance training before Strictly Come Dancing returns to screens in September. Speaking about her upcoming appearance on the show, Gemma said: "I am honoured to be asked and so thrilled to be joining Strictly Come Dancing 2017! I'm beyond excited and incredibly nervous but I am looking forward to learning a new skill in ballroom and Latin dancing and taking on this challenge."

Gemma found fame playing Lisa Hunter in Channel 4 sitcom Hollyoaks, between 2001 and 2005. Since then she has appeared as Tamzin Bayne in Casualty, and was most recently seen on Emmerdale playing Carly Hope, for which she was nominated for 'Best newcomer' at the National Television Awards in 2016.

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