Words by Victoria Joy
For decades, Barbie had the monopoly on the perfect boob-waist-bum ratio – no contest. Then Michelle Keegan appeared, and she’s held first prize – and our envious attention – ever since. The baggy clothes and giant hoop earrings that she donned as Corrie’s Tina gave no suggestion of the banging body underneath, but every bikini pic posted on the actress’ Insta feed has us wondering how she keeps her figure in check. Wonder no more – we called in the experts to reveal her body secrets…
That body comes with a disclaimer
Michelle is the first one to say that she’s been blessed with winner genes. The actress has often described herself as being ‘naturally slim’, so she’s one of the lucky ones working to enhance what she’s got, not work to change it.
So, it must be down to a posh PT, right?
Nope, Michelle is one celeb who doesn’t enlist the help of a professional to keep her uber toned – she devises her own workouts set to killer playlists, which are good enough to get her out of bed in the morning. ‘I don’t have a personal trainer, I just tend to train myself, get the tunes blasting…I feel trapped with a personal trainer.’ Not sure how to go it alone? ‘The key is to have a plan,’ says Gede Foster, Master Trainer at Frame. ‘You don’t need a trainer to get results but act like one and organize what area of the body you’ll train on each day, working in rest days and then monitor your progress. Most improvements when it comes to fitness are tiny and gradual, so you don’t notice you’re getting stronger and learner, but monitoring if you can do one extra lunge each time or lift a little heavier will keep you motivated without the watchful eye of a PT.’
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She gets up and at ‘em early
Heaving yourself out of bed for work can feel tough enough, but if you want to channel Michelle’s sweat schedule, it’s all about morning workouts. Which not only gets it out of the way first thing (until you learn to love it, of course) but has a host of proven benefits too. ‘Morning exercise is both mentally and physically stimulating, firing up your cognitive responses in the brain and kickstarting your metabolism so your body is best set up to burn the calories you consume later in the day,’ says Foster. Doesn’t sound doable? ‘Set out your gym kit and pack for work the night before, then place your alarm at the other side of the room so you have to get out of bed to turn it off!’
How do I get those abs?
You’ll need to make friends with weights: ‘It's all about weight and resistance training for me.’ Michelle’s lucky not to have to blast the cardio in order to shift weight, so she focuses on toning muscle instead. Cue dancer-like arms, washboard stomach and lean back – all of which make her slim figure look strong. ‘Resistance training is key to creating muscle tone, and the more muscle you have, the more fat your body will burn while you rest, so it pays to incorporate weight training into your routine whether you’re looking to slim down or tone up,’ advises Foster. ‘I wouldn’t be surprised if Michelle chooses compound movements – where more than one joint and muscle group is working at once – to upgrade her results. Think deep squats, bicycle crunches and dumbbell lunges, choosing either a high number of reps using a moderate weight or a heavier weight with less reps.’
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If there’s one thing you need…
It’s a kettlebell. Michelle reveals she uses them to combine weight training and cardio, if she’s had a few weeks sans gym or been nailing the cocktails on holiday (because, you know, balance) and the skinny jeans are feeling a little tighter than usual. ‘Kettlebells are great for working both strength and cardio because common moves to lift and move them utilise multiple muscle groups which increases your heart rate and triggers cardio burn.’
Keep eating (no jokes)
Michelle often signs up to SoulmateFood delivery service, founded by Christian Coates. ‘She buys into our concept of the grazing principle – five meals a day that all contain a mix of protein and carbohydrate so there’s no sugar spikes or hunger pangs.’ And if you amp up your weights training, you’re likely to find yourself more hungry than usual. ‘Michelle has a slight frame but she has a big appetite and trains hard, so we plan her meals to fuel her workouts; if you work out in the morning, it’s best to make your morning meal and snack high in carbs and calories to refuel, then eat leaner towards the end of the day.’
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Treats are never off the table (praise the Lord)
No-one likes that person who screws their face up at the menu when you’re out for a burger… including Michelle. ‘I can't resist savoury food. I love my carbs!’ She follows the 80/20 rule, eating nutrition-packed, balanced meals most of the time, but throwing the rules out of the window every now and again – and it’s that mindset that Coates credits with keeping Michelle so lean. ‘It’s crucial not to see treats as rewards, otherwise you’re giving them too much power and you’ll reach for one every time you do a good session at the gym, which can end up hampering your results. Instead, if you’re craving something – Michelle’s hubby Mark once revealed she’d brought a Magnum ice cream to bed! – have it, enjoy it, and then draw a line under it.
So what’s she cooking?
Coates’ recipe book Fitness Gourmet is one of Michelle’s favourites, and offers three options for every recipe – one to follow if you’re dropping pounds, one to maintain, and a third if you’re looking to build muscle – so it’s easy to tweak one or two ingredients to match up with your goals? We might not know what Michelle and Mark are going to eat for dinner tonight, but we’ve got our eye on the steak and salsify chips with chicory slaw.
Dig in, Mich.