She's always been in phenomenal shape in her career as an actress and glamour model, but Gemma Atkinson has taken her fitness regime to the next level ahead of her appearance on Strictly Come Dancing.

The 32-year-old former Hollyoaks star, who is renowned for her muscular and toned physique, is said to have stepped up her training before she hits the dancefloor for the BBC1 series. Fitness fanatic Gemma – who is already a hot contender for the Glitterball Trophy – has been following a 12-week fitness regime to ensure she's a strong competitor.

Gemma impressively lost 5lbs in the first week of her training by ditching junk food and upping her workouts, boasting the fruits of her labour in a snap showcasing her rock hard abs in a photoshoot upon completing the programme.

A source told The Mirror: "Gemma gives 100% in everything whether training, acting or dancing.

"She puts in the hours when it comes to learning a new skill – so she could be a contender for the Glitterball Trophy."

Gemma initially embarked on the new fitness programme in May in a bid to tone up and achieve the fashionable 'peachy bum' that she had always dreamed of.

The star explained: "'I told my trainer, Steve, I wanted to activate my glutes more; every girl's fear is just having a back with a crack, so I said to him 'I want to have a nice peachy bum'."

Gemma's regime includes lifting weights and interspersing the reps with tailored cardio exercises – which has led to a more shapely derriere before even completing the Ultimate Performance training course. Judging from her Instagram account, she is focusing on a high protein, low carbohydrate diet with lots of eggs and meat/fish as her main protein sources and whole grains to curb cravings.

Proving how gruelling the course is, Gemma has been left shaking and struggling to walk to her car on occasion, but the actress is determined to reach her glutes goal.

Sundays 😊

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Gemma, who was born and bred in Bury, Greater Manchester, will be joining the likes of Saturdays singer Mollie King, This Morning's Ruth Langsford and EastEnders star Davood Ghadami on this year's Strictly.

She said of the opportunity: "I am really flattered they have asked me, I never thought the words would be coming out of my mouth. I am more likely to fit in on a show like Gladiators, but that's why I wanted to do it, it's a challenge."

The star first rose to prominence as Lisa Hunter on the Channel 4 soap opera Hollyoaks. She has also starred in the likes of The Bill, Casualty and played the role of Carly Hope in the ITV soap Emmerdale in 2015.

New @upfitnesslive blog now in my bio 👆

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