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Gemma Atkinson’s Training Blog: How Personal Training Prepared Me for Strictly

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

My 12-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 a new challenge – I will be appearing on the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing show!

The reason I’m looking forward to doing it so much is because it’s so out of my comfort zone.

With training or any new challenge, you’ve got to overcome it. Nothing good ever happens in your comfort zone, you’ve got to get yourself out of it.

That’s what I’m hoping to do on Strictly.


The whole small dresses, high heels and fake tans, and that kind of thing, it’s certainly way out of my comfort zone! I’m way more at home in trackies, trainers, and a sweaty gym!

The last time I did any dancing was when I was 12 years old doing disco dancing – so it’s certainly going to be tough.

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

My 12 weeks at Ultimate Performance has definitely given me the discipline and the focus I need to take on Strictly.

For 12 weeks I’ve focused on my diet and my training, and I’ve been disciplined enough to do that, then the next 12 weeks will hopefully take me a long way in Strictly.

It’s given me a lot more confidence in myself, knowing that I’m going to feel good in the dresses; if they’d have put me in these short, sparkly dresses 12 weeks ago, I don’t think I’d have felt my best.


Now after doing my transformation, I’m going to feel good in them and feel comfortable in them.

That’s because I’ve got myself in the best shape I can be. That’s obviously because of the training and nutrition at UP.

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, so if I’m struggling to get the steps right, I’m not going to want to go home until I’ve got them right.

But at the same time, I need to know when to stop. I know that with training it’s always quality, not quantity.

If one day I’m there for four or five hours and I’ve not nailed the steps, then I’m going to have to walk away and come back the next day, refreshed.

I want to enjoy it, so it’s going to be about training smart.

Catch up with Gemma’s Week 1 blog and how she lost 5lbs in just seven days weight training at UP. 

I feel fitter and stronger than ever before coming into it. But even compared to the pro dancers, I’m nowhere near them.

Those guys are in insane shape, and their fitness levels are through the roof – but they do this kind of thing day in, day out. They are picking up routines in 15 minutes, whereas it’s taking me a full day.

I’m not beating myself up too much about it. Everything is new. It’s like the first day that I walked into UP, and it was quite daunting at first. But by the end of the 12 weeks, I came out feeling strong and confident.

I’m sure it will be the same with dancing.

The training has been full on. I thought I was fit until we had our first day of group rehearsals and I was sweating buckets.

A lot of the pro dancers – the females and the males – their physiques are all incredible. They all look amazing. It looks like they’re in the gym 24/7 but it’s because all they do is dance.

The core strength on these guys is incredible.

The first session I did was eight hours long. It was choreographed group routines. I can’t say what the first routine is, or the music, or anything, but it’s a cracking routine, and we’ve been learning that for the first week.

I think it’s good that we’ve been thrown in at the deep end this week. I do tend to work better under pressure. It’s good to throw us in and let us see what we have to be prepared for.

It’s a different kind of fitness than pushing yourself on deadlifts or the prowler. I’m never a big fan of cardio, but this kind of cardio (dancing) it’s actually quite fun.

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

I’m told dancing is very much about posture and holding a certain position for any length of time or being on your feet all day is challenging without core and glute strength. That’s when lower back problems etc… start to creep in. So far I’ve been okay!

Even though it was a lot more cardio-based, dancing about to great music put me in a really great mood!

I was tired and sweaty but I’m genuinely loving the dancing!

If you’re inspired by Gemma’s journey and want to start your own body transformation, talk to us about our Personal Training Plans or BOOK A CONSULT NOW!

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