The business community is being put to the fitness test in a challenge that is getting the region in a spin.
Supported by former Newcastle United striker Alan Shearer, the Speedflex Corporate Back to Fitness Challenge aims to get the region’s workers into the gym.
North East company Speedflex Newcastle has kicked off a two week challenge to get the region’s business community away from their laptop, tablet or PC for one hour – reminding them that the most important deadline in business is setting a change in their health and fitness regime.
It started on Monday and runs until Friday, September 27, and is getting bosses and their staff competing to lose calories.
Already dozens of firms have signed up and are getting competitive to lose weight and increase their fitness levels in a bid to win the challenge.
Shearer, who has a business interest in Speedflex, uses the gym on Burdon Terrace, Jesmond, Newcastle, three times a week.
The Speedflex equipment is from America and is sweeping Britain- thanks to North East entrepreneur Graham Wylie owning the European distribution rights.
And ex-footballer Shearer liked the equipment, which works on resistance and leaves no pain in the joints or muscles, so much that he also decided to invest. Graham, who also owns Close House Hotel and Golf Club at Heddon-on-the-Wall, Northumberland, said: “This is a great way to exercise so we thought of a way to get the business community involved.
“With all my business contacts I thought of the challenge which would get people from behind their desks and into the gym and using the equipment.
“I have never been a gym person and was a bit of couch potato. But with Speedflex I have lost my stomach and it only takes 45 minutes a session.
“Already big names in business have signed up and it is getting quite competitive. The team which loses the most calories wins.
“I have been to Las Vegas and put on 9lbs. But I’ve got back and lost the lot. This challenge is getting the business community to work out with Speedflex and we want as many companies as possible to join in.”
Teams of a maximum of seven people from businesses around the region have been asked to give up just one hour in September, preferably with the big boss leading the team.
Everyone taking part will wear a heart monitor throughout, and the team burning the most calories will win the Speedflex Cup.
All members will win a free six week programme. Shearer, who is a director of Speedflex Europe, said: “This is a great way to get fit. With the Speedflex equipment you can burn off over 1,000 calories in a 45 minute session.
“There are people of all shapes and sizes who have all abilities and this is a challenge to get the business community from out of the office and get them into shape.
“We are asking for people to take an hour out of their day to join in.
“There are business deals done on the golf course and there can be business deals done in the gym.
“This is a great place to meet friends and develop a healthy lifestyle at the same time. I come here about three times a week and it keeps me in shape. The new challenge is asking businesses teams to join in and loose as many calories as possible.”
Cath Jenkins, 47, from Axwell Park, Blaydon, Gateshead, who owns Speedflex Newcastle, said: “We are all glued to our laptops and mobiles just about 24-7.
“We can’t even hold a conversation or relax on the settee without checking our latest email or text anymore, the development of technology is impacting so much that we decided to set a corporate fitness challenge to the region in a get healthy drive”.
The decision to get the business community active is a one the Journal agrees with. We joined forces with Nova International to launch our Great North Fitness Revolution which challenges everyone to make a pledge to get active and make the positive changes that will lead to a better life.
From training for the Great North Run, to something as simple as increasing the number of steps you walk each day – everyone can get involved. The Great North Fitness Revolution received the backing of a host of famous faces, including TV presenter Ben Shephard, Olympic boxer Tony Jeffries, athlete Steve Cram and former Sunderland chairman Niall Quinn.
The business community has the reputation of having long lunches and drinks meetings after work - which can pile on the pounds.
But this latest challenge is putting firm workers to the test.
Staff from Sintons Solicitors, along with their chairman Alan Dawson, have already taken on the challenge.
Mr Dawson, 55, of Hepscott, Morpeth, Northumberland, who has lost over three stone working out at Speedflex, said: “In a way it’s great that we can now pick up our emails or answer calls from anywhere.
“Who hasn’t found themselves walking to the highest point on holiday to get a mobile phone signal. However, the freedom of working anywhere has come at a price and I am as guilty as the next man or woman.
“Working in teams of seven is fun and you feel motivated by the people next to you. It’s healthy networking.
“If you work out in your lunch hour you come back feeling great and work much better. We are all getting very competitive with how many calories we are losing.”
For more information on the North East’s one hour Speedflex Corporate Back to Fitness Challenge call 0844 543 3630.