Gemma Atkinson has proved that strong can be very sexy. After growing up on Hollyoaks where she ended up grabbing unhealthy food and not having time to work out, she decided to embrace a fit lifestyle and make herself very familiar with the gym. Gemma even took a course in nutrition to make sure she was eating right. A decade later she’s still sticking to her goals to look feminine but toned. We caught up with her to find out more about what keeping fit means to her and how it’s led to her latest venture, a clothing range.
I’m very fortunate to be sent a lot of clothes in the post from people who ask me to wear their brand and put it on Instagram – which is really lovely and a good position to be in but I never liked doing that unless it was something I genuinely would wear myself. I’m very funny with what I do and don’t put online and a lot of time I was sending stuff back and saying ‘thank you very much but it’s not me’ or the fit’s not right, I wouldn’t feel comfortable in it…’ and it just dawned on me that rather than doing that, why not do something of my own?
It’s important first of all to feel comfortable in the gym. If I’m away on holiday I would happily train in a crop top and shorts but in the UK, in my gym, I would want to have leggings and a vest top or leggings and a t-shirt, be a bit more covered. So I wanted to do everything from vest tops to crop tops to T-shirts to hoodies, trackies, tighter leggings. Just so you feel comfortable and with regards to how you feel that depends on how you look. So if you feel comfortable you’re going to feel better in yourself. We’ve tried to design it in a range of colours, I’m a tomboy so I was very into the blues and black but we have a range of colours like pinks and purples in there too – we’ve tried to cover everyone where we can.
I like to do it in the morning but I need to leave for work at about 5.20am everyday. I do finish about 11am so I try and get it done straight from there if I can. Sometimes I come home and have to go straight back in the afternoon so for me I like to get it done before my day starts. Before I used to do my radio show I used to get up and train before I went to Emmerdale because it gives me more energy. I tend to like to do it in the morning but it’s what works for you.
I try to train five times a week and it doesn’t necessarily have to be in the gym. I do my weight training three times a week but I also have a Stairmaster at home so I can go on that or I do some HITT training at home or take the dogs on a long walk. As long as I do something even if it’s just 20mins a day I try and do the best I can.
I don’t you know – I love watching You Tube videos. I watch inspirational videos of people training or Beyonce interviews. Strong female interviews I love watching. You don’t realise how much you’re doing then, it’s good!
I think they are great if you are the type of person who doesn’t feel comfortable training on your own, it’s a great way to get into it. I personally work better when I’m in a one-to-one, when I do Thai boxing I love doing it one on one rather than a class. I used to do body pump classes about five years ago which I loved. My mum loves her gym classes and she sees her friends there, she loves it and I think they are good if you are starting out and are going with a friend or family member. And being booked into a class makes you more likely to go.
With training I love it all so there is never a thing where I think ‘urgh I’ve got to go to the gym or take the dogs out’. For me the difficulty is food. I try and eat loads and loads of vegetables and lean proteins and good carbohydrates because I know I should. If I had it my way I would have pizza, chippy cheese, white chocolate – I would have all that stuff if I could! But I’m fully aware that I can but won’t look or feel great at all. I do limit myself and do 80% what I need and 20% what I want. If that’s a pizza and a glass of wine on a Saturday then I will have it, I never want to deprive myself.
I do but I don’t like the term cheat day or weekend binge, I’m not a fan of that but I do believe, especially for women, there’s a time of the month where we just want chocolate in our onesies so I always honour my body in that way and think ‘right this is it, go with it and get back on it the day after’!
I eat a lot of fish. I like fish, vegetables and rice. I don’t eat red meat, I’ve not had red meat for about seven years but I like a chicken burger. I love avocado, I have it twice a day! I have it for breakfast with eggs or I mash it up with some balsamic vinegar and pepper and I like dipping crackers and stuff in it. If you put a bit of chilli and garlic with avocado it take about two minutes to prepare but is so nice. I have to be very strict though because I would love Doritos with it but I have to make myself have an oat cake or a rice cake instead – not Doritos!
What are your goals for the rest of the year?
I want to see how the fitness range progresses and I’ve got a book coming out on the 27th December which is a mix of autobiography and the 12 week plan I do. It’s a body, mind and soul transformation and becoming the best version of yourself. I’m looking forward to people reading that and letting me know the feedback on that. I’m still doing my radio show and I will be cheering Gorka on at the weekends in London up until Christmas.
I get so many people asking me about my training and eating plan so I did toy with the idea of just writing about that but I’m very aware that you can get that online anywhere. I wanted to put more to it and I think really I relate to something more if I know more about the person behind it so it’s about me, my life and how I grew up – good and bad times and then second half of it is how I got over stuff and you can too and training.
I think you have to. I read something which said Beyonce has 24 hrs in a day too and look at all the stuff she gets done and I thought, ‘yeah you’re right! It’s about making time’. I do overnight oats the night before so I can have an extra 15 minutes in bed in the morning because my porridge is already made in the fridge. If you make yourself time it serves you well in the long run and is completely worth it. I don’t like being caught short and having to grab something on the go.
Look out for the second and third parts of our interview with Gemma in the coming weeks. If this interested you, here’s why Karen Clifton loves doughnuts. And, this is why Mary Berry says she loves her wrinkles.
CREDIT: GA By Gemma Atkinson is available exclusively at www.gemmaatkinson.co.uk.