Duncan James details the cosmetic treatment he used to hone his physique ahead of cabaret show

Duncan James has shared how he honed his body ahead of his return to the stage – having struggled with injury, the pressures of body image and navigating the various UK lockdowns over the past 18 months.

The Blue singer, 43, currently headlines Proud Embankment’s showstopper Cabaret All Stars in London, taking to the stage in heels and a corset for the energetic show.

But various hurdles have tripped the famously-hunky Duncan up – most notably suffering from a rare spinal condition which led to him having emergency surgery five years ago.

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Back on form: Duncan James has shared how he honed his body ahead of his return to the stage – having struggled with injury, the pressures of body image and navigating the various UK lockdowns over the past 18 months

‘One of my discs fell out, landed on a sciatic nerve, and I had to have an emergency decompression,’ he told MailOnline this week. ‘While it’s a lot better now, the whole thing left one of my legs paralyzed and numb.

‘Five years later, it’s still completely numb thanks to the nerve damage. The nerve was completely ruined and I probably won’t have feeling in that leg again. This is why I’m a Cauda Equina Syndrome ambassador…’

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Cauda Equina Syndrome is when nerves at the very bottom of the spinal cord become compressed – with Duncan admitting concern that it will return.

Yet as a performer, the singer and dancer had to get fit again for his shows; and as well as continuing his training and sensible eating schedule, he opted for non-invasive cosmetic treatments called trueSculpt flex and trueSculpt ID.

Ups and downs: Various hurdles have tripped the famously-hunky Duncan up in recent months – most notably suffering from a rare spinal condition which led to him having emergency surgery five years ago

Ab-rehab! As a performer, the singer and dancer had to get fit again for his shows; and as well as continuing his training and sensible eating schedule, he opted for non-invasive cosmetic treatments called trueSculpt flex and trueSculpt ID

Before and after: Duncan has undergone the focused electrical muscle stimulation treatment to strengthen, firm and tone

Taken under the wing of celebrity aesthetic aesthetician, Sadaf Jaffari, Duncan has undergone the focused electrical muscle stimulation treatment to strengthen, firm and tone.

‘It’s hard to get rid of the belly fat in your 40s,’ Duncan – who famously flaunted his chiseled abs on the cover of Gay Times in 2013, leaving many hot under the collar – explains. ‘Bit it’s not just cosmetic. There is a medical reason for doing this treatment. It’s helped my terrible back and spine issues.

‘It essentially helps tone up all the muscles you don’t use. It’s the equivalent of doing 54,000 crunches in 45 minutes!’

Duncan turned to the treatment when his condition started to become aggravated with the physicality of his job on stage.

Star! The Blue singer, 43, currently headlines Proud Embankment’s showstopper Cabaret All Stars in London, taking to the stage in heels and a corset for the energetic show [pictured last week with Billy Porter]

Oh my! Duncan famously flaunted his chiseled abs on the cover of Gay Times in 2013, leaving many hot under the collar

‘I was running around in heels when I did the musical Priscilla Queen Of The Desert and my back was getting worse and worse. But this treatment tightens up the area around the abdomen and makes sure the ab area is really strong. Which is great for wearing heels!’ he explains. ‘You need that tight core when you’re a performer!’

The treatment uses multi-directional stimulation technology, with trueSculpt ID administered by heating fat cells using monopolar radiofrequency until they achieve stress-induced apoptosis – or, more simply, cell death.

‘It hurts,’ Duncan says, wryly. ‘But, you know – no pain no gain! And when you get to the end of the course of six, you do see a difference straight away. But then it carries on developing over three months. It just tightens you up amazingly.’

Trimming down: Like many, lockdown didn’t help with Duncan’s fitness regimen. The former Hollyoaks actor admits he was ‘eating and drinking badly’ during the height of the pandemic, and that belly fat is stubborn regardless of how much you work out

He said: ‘The treatment gave me an advantage – a head start. Of course I had to start hitting the gym and watching my nutrition again. But the treatment from Sadaf was an added bonus!’

Of course, like many, lockdown didn’t help with Duncan’s fitness regimen. The former Hollyoaks actor admits he was ‘eating and drinking badly’ during the height of the pandemic, and that belly fat is stubborn regardless of how much you work out.

‘The treatment gave me an advantage – a head start. Of course I had to start hitting the gym and watching my nutrition again. But the treatment from Sadaf was an added bonus!’

Duncan also touches upon the added pressure of being LGBTQ – with body image and aesthetics so obsessively rife amid gay men.

‘So you go out to somewhere like Mykonos or Ibiza, or just to any gay event, like a WE Party – and the tops come off and everyone looks amazing and pumped,’ Duncan muses. ‘All these gym boys can instantly give you a feeling of “I need to step up my s**t” and make you feel too skinny or inadequate.

Cosmetic star: Duncan was taken under the wing of celebrity aesthetician, Sadaf Jaffari

On the table: ‘It’s hard to get rid of the belly fat in your 40s,’ Duncan explains. ‘Bit it’s not just cosmetic. There is a medical reason for doing this treatment. It’s helped my terrible back and spine issues’

‘And so cosmetic treatments on guys is definitely becoming more and more common. It certainly used to be a female-led industry but now guys, especially the gay community, are making it bigger and bigger because people want to enhance their bodies. There’s nothing wrong with that!’

Duncan continues his cabaret through October – something he was asked to do by long-time pal Denise Van Outen.

‘I’d done Rocky Horror, so she asked if I wanted to get back into heels again,’ Duncan says. ‘Since I stepped into that world I just absolutely love it.

‘And what I really love is that people who know me from Blue have a perception, for some reason, that I can’t sing! People see my live show and they’re all “oh wow I didn’t know you can sing that well!” So it’s nice to have a standalone moment, on my own, singing my songs alone with dancers.

‘I do see myself as an individual performer. It’s what I love and have been doing since I was a little boy!’