At this time of the year, I hear a lot about celebrities getting themselves in shape for the awards season and appearances on the red carpet. I’m no A-lister but I do want to look my best. Unfortunately, I’m still carrying a few extra pounds from Santa. How can I get back to my best in just a few weeks?

First off, it always comes down to one basic thing: calories in and calories out. The reason we hear about so many celebrities going on cleanses, detoxes and baby food diets is often because it’s much harder to consume a lot of calories when you’re consuming such unusual foods.

If you reduce your calorie intake, you will lose weight. If you reduce your calorie intake and burn more calories through exercise, you will lose even more. Programs which combine cardio – which is great for fat burning while you train – and for strength training – which burns fat after you’ve finished working out – are the best for weight loss.

Most of the celebrities and their trainers use different variations of the cardio-plus-strength approach.

The problem is that people become too focused on cardio exercise. Yes, it burns calories, but it’s resistance-training that will tone and strengthen the muscles, to create the fit silhouettes that many people desire.

Cardio circuits are a good way to combine cardio and strength in a 30-minute workout, which clients still manage to squeeze in, even on a busy day.

Ideally, you should try to do a circuit three or four times a week. Combine six to eight exercises, alternating different muscle groups and working each muscle group within a session. Repeat each exercise 10-12 times or spend one to one-and-a-half minutes continuously. Only give yourself a 10-30 second break between each one, and only if you need it. You can take 60 seconds between each circuit. The number of circuits and weights and repetitions you use will depend on your fitness level.

There are hundreds of different exercises you can combine to create a great circuit. However, to get the maximum benefit, find a personal trainer to develop multiple circuits designed for you and your fitness goals that you can ultimately do on your own. You won’t get bored; your body won’t get used to the exercises; and you’ll make sure you’re covering all your muscle groups. As always, make sure your trainer checks your technique to avoid injury.