The Secret To Getting Toned, According To Melinda Bam’s “Tropika” Partner

It's not as difficult as you would think...


Zinhlezonke Zikalala |

Don’t let Kelly Gunnell’s looks deceive you… She may be tiny, but she is strong – and sexy AF. This water babe has always been down for fitness and working out. “It’s always been something I enjoy and has always been a part of my life,” she says.

The Journey From Pool To Gym…

At school,  did tons of different sports, but swimming was always The One. “When I was 15, I decided to focus solely on swimming.” Much as she loved it, swimming is also extremely demanding. “It’s doesn’t just require swimming up and down the pool – I had to train, be in the gym, do programmes specific to the demands of a breaststroker from the age of 16,” Kelly explains.

Watch: 5 Simple Hacks That’ll Make You A Better Swimmer

But two years ago, she was forced to hang up her competitive cossie after a double knee operation. “I just kick ass at the gym now,” she says.

What’s The Secret To Being Fit And Healthy?

It’s actually not as hard as you think. “Leading a healthy lifestyle is actually a way of life. It doesn’t mean you have to pre-pack your meals all the time – it’s just small positive choices you have to make on a daily basis.”

In between her crazy-busy schedule, Kelly tries to work out every day. “Either I go to gym, do a home workout or go for a walk or a jog,” she says. “On Saturdays, though, my sister and I go to gym and have a killer session together.” Recently, Kelly was also part of , where she was paired with Women’s Health’s very own March issue cover star, Melinda Bam.

Watch: These Are Melinda Bam’s Go-To Moves For Rocking Abs

“The whole TIOT8 experience has taught me so much, but probably the most valuable thing I learnt was that you can’t be scared to step out of your comfort zone. Regardless of how it ends, it’s an experience. It was amazing, and I think being paired up with Melinda made it all the more memorable. Prior to being teamed up, I felt nervous and uncomfortable. [It] was a complete fish-out-of-water moment – I’ve never done anything remotely close to this, so maybe I doubted my capabilities,” she added.

What’s A Cheat Day?

Let’s first get cheat days out the way: Kelly doesn’t do them, but she doesn’t deprive herself either. “If I feel like having something, I’ll have it – it’s all about moderation and finding balance for me.” Kelly hasn’t always been woke with what she feeds herself though… “I didn’t eat veggies (I was 16 though!) until I went to a dietician and got an eating plan, which I had to follow – and now I actually love my veggies.” Since then, she’s fuelling her body right and avoids fizzy drinks, has cut down on sugar, eats way more salads, and ensures she eats her three meals a day, light snacks.

Watch: These 3 Post-Workout Snacks Will Help You Refuel The Right Way

Four Things You Didn’t Know About Kelly

1. Her favorite workouts is high-intensity interval training (HIIT).

2. She’s inspired by people who lead busy lives but still make time for fitness, like Rolene Strauss and Melinda Bam.

3. Her favourite workout gear: adidas Ultra Boost running shoes.

4. When she needs a pick-me-up on a rough day, she hits YouTube and watches (Welcome to the Grind).

Watch ON: Fitness Fitness Advice Health Health Advice Real Women