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Gemma and Gorka’s Trainer ‘Evil Steve’ Talks About Their Training and Diet: Holiday Training Blog


Gemma Atkinson and Gorka Marquez have been training hard for the past six weeks to get in the best shape possible for their summer holiday.

Actress and radio presenter Gemma has been blogging her progress at Ultimate Performance Manchester alongside partner and Strictly Come Dancing co-star Gorka.

But as the pair finish their couples’ holiday training program and jet off into the sun, their personal trainer ‘Evil Steve’ Chambers explains the training plan and diet they have been following to get them in the best shape possible.

What were Gemma and Gorka’s goals and motivations starting this?

Gemma and Gorka both love to train and to look after themselves.

Yes, of course, they have work commitments that require them both to be in good shape, like work events and holidays, but from what I know about them both, this isn’t their main motivator!

They want to train and stay in shape because it makes them not only fitter and healthier, but also more confident and accomplished.

One of the main reasons I believe they have been so successful with their fitness journey is the accountability placed upon them by U.P. – continually monitoring their progress, checking their diets and ensuring they are following the plan that has been set.

Having someone in your corner to keep you on the straight and narrow cannot be underestimated, and it is paramount to the success they have achieved.

If Gemma or Gorka didn’t eat accordingly, it was highlighted and tackled straight away. With such a short timeframe, nothing could be left to chance and sometimes some hard realities needed to be discussed – things that were all necessary and needed to help keep compliance and motivation high.

I definitely think their equal love of training has also brought them closer together during their transformation program at U.P.! With that, it also encouraged them both to be more determined than ever to achieve something very special.

How did you create a training program that would challenge them both and help them achieve their original goal?

There’s a misconception that training programs need to be extremely complicated and complex in order to get results.

At U.P., we don’t overcomplicate things for the sake of it.

The training program is always simplistic in design, but difficult and challenging when executed.

We looked to incorporate movements and exercises that aligned with both Gemma and Gorka’s needs and goals.

Being body composition specialists, we made sure to include an equal amount of leg and upper body work so we could create a well-rounded and balanced look.

Of course, there is a slight variation here and there, but fundamentally they both performed the core lifts that we work on with many clients looking to transform their bodies.

Gemma wanted to prioritise the traditional areas that many women focus on – legs and glutes. Whereas Gorka was mainly upper body-focused.

Gemma and Gorka’s couple’s training program itself was based predominantly around whole body sessions.

This helps to ensure that we can train each body part with a higher frequency, meaning the rate of progress on each movement is quicker than just doing that movement once per week.

If you want a body part to have a drastic change increased frequency is a sure way to help ensure this happens!

What were the key components of this couples training program that helped them get leaner and stronger together?

The key component was intensity, both in effort and load lifted. Yes, there was a lot of thought put into their program design, but to get stronger and leaner it all boils down to effort on the gym floor (and an appropriate diet plan).

Someone can have the best diet plan or training plan in the world (if there is such a thing) but if they simply don’t train hard enough they won’t make the progress they want and they will never achieve their goal.

This is something we make sure Gemma and Gorka never have to worry about! Every session is intense!

They always get worked to their full potential!

We track the load in each session to make sure that we know what needs to be beaten next time around!

Effort in the gym is 100% the reason why Gemma and Gorka have made the progress they have! They leave nothing to chance and they give it all every session!

Having two people train together isn’t that rare here at U.P. It’s more common than people might think.

When couples train together, there can be often be conflicting goals and abilities, and the investment in the program can fluctuate massively, which can be problematic.

But with Gemma and Gorka it really worked – they made each other work harder and stay more focused!

Yes, the weights they lifted on each respective lift may have been different, but the intensity from both of them was always equal! They brought the best out of each other.

Having that person there who is going through it with you is a huge motivator and a great comfort!

When things get hard or when you aren’t feeling your best, having someone who is sharing that experience with you can sometimes save the day and bring you back around! We all need people to help us achieve our goals. You can’t do everything on your own!

Always surround yourself with people who will help you achieve your goals and people who need you to achieve theirs. Just like Gemma and Gorka!

Can you talk through the diet and nutrition plan that Gemma and Gorka followed?

Again, this is very similar to the training plan! It’s doing the main things right and staying consistent! Their nutrition plan was kept simple. So simple, infact, that most people would think I was lying if they saw it.

But that is what works and helped them stay compliant during this whole time.

As a personal trainer, you need to be able to offer a solution to the client that they can do, day in and day out, without it becoming an added stress and having a big impact on their daily life.

We all know what to eat. That hasn’t changed since people first started working out and dieting. It’s just knowing the right quantities.

Everything was worked out and the calorie- and macro values for each of them were calculated to create their diet plans.

Knowing how much protein, fat and carbs to eat in your diet is specific to each and every person, but ultimately the food groups are all the same!

Gemma and Gorka’s diets consisted largely of nutrient-dense foods – varieties of meat and fish, as many vegetables as they could eat, essential fatty acids, and carbohydrates from rice or sweet potato when required.

What were the main challenges Gemma and Gorka encountered during the program and how did they work through them?

Fortunately, as both Gemma and Gorka both love training, they never missed a session. Even on the days when our diaries wouldn’t allow a session, they still trained on their own.

Be it cardio or a training program we had given them, they never missed a day. Gemma and Gorka’s main challenges came from travelling for work, meeting or projects.

As they both have responsibilities they were both having to travel for work and meetings. With clever planning and making sure there was a gym nearby beforehand, we could make a plan and ensure they could still train!

What results did Gemma and Gorka achieve at the end of the six weeks?

Gemma and Gorka both made massive amounts of progress in a matter of weeks. It was pretty much the same as Gemma’s initial six weeks of her original transformation with us at U.P. in terms of stats. However, this time she is stronger and already looks better.

For Gorka, being a naturally very athletic guy, he could look at a dumbbell and make progress. The rate at which his body responds is insane! Even so, he still works hard! He is one of the hardest-training people I have ever met or trained!

Why do people call you Evil Steve?

This is a very good question! It started around 2016. After some very gruelling sessions had taken place which created a lot of pain (good pain) and muscle soreness, my client very kindly decided to dub me as Evil Steve. Something that has stuck with me ever since and something that Gemma now refers to me as.

Who is more competitive in the gym, Gemma or Gorka?

I dare say Gemma is more competitive with Gorka. Gorka is very self-motivated so he can just get on with it, but Gemma gets super competitive with Gorka!

This is particularly true when we set them a couples’ challenge at the end of the workouts! Gemma does not like to lose! I’m pretty sure she would push Gorka over to win!

For all the people on social media asking you to be their trainer or wanting to train at U.P. – what do you say to them?

I can say that it is flattering to hear that people would love to take up personal training with me. It’s always good to see that people see the value in what you do and would be willing to sacrifice a lot for the opportunity.

However, I cannot take all the credit. U.P. has given me the opportunity to become the trainer I am today.

U.P. has given me all the tools I need to become the best I can be. This includes things like continued education, the best equipment and the result-driven environment that U.P. is world famous for.

U.P. really do create the best personal trainers on the planet – it is instilled into them from day one! The support we have as trainers here at U.P. is second to none.




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