David Fairlamb: When this ends, make sure you've given it all

David Fairlamb gives an update on how The Journal's Fit Factor participants are progressing with their fitness regime

The Journal Fit Factor contestants being put through their paces
The Journal Fit Factor contestants being put through their paces

Tuesday May 13 –Paddle Boarding with Boardskillz

Tonight the team were treated to a stand up paddleboard session from the excellent Jo Thwaites of Boardskillz.co.uk

Unfortunately, all the finalists couldn’t make it but those who did, including myself, loved it.

Using oversized 11-12ft surfboards with specially adapted paddles the sport is really easy to learn.

All you need is water, confidence, a few basic pointers and you’re away! We couldn’t have picked a more beautiful evening with the sea at South Shields perfectly calm with no one else around. Jo gave us a brief lesson on the sand and made things look incredibly easy on the water.

Of course nothing was going to be that simple as Carl, Lisa and I soon found out! However, with some positive tips from Jo we all managed to stand up and paddle which gave us all a buzz and the hour sessions gave us all a top workout especially for the core.

Wednesday May 14

After some indifferent results on Monday I knew the group would be up for a big session tonight and they were!

I sent 2 at a time for sprints outside with the sled while the others stayed indoors attacking minute circuits including: sit ups, press ups, lunges, squats, the plank, step up’s and shoulder press. This last month needed to start tough then carry on all way to the finale.

There were some very tired bodies at the end especially Carl and Lisa who had been Paddle Boarding less than 24 hours earlier.

As usual I spoke to them as a group at the end and explained this once in a lifetime opportunity was finishing in 4 weeks and they must take every possible action to achieve the best result – they all need to finish knowing they could have given and done no more.

Saturday May 17

After the awful wet and windy weather last week conditions couldn’t have been better as the sun shone on a stunning morning on Tynemouth Longsands.

There was very little wind and the sand was perfectly flat, allowing the finalists to stride out and show, no only how much their fitness has improved but also their speed and strength.

Many of my regulars commented on how far the 7 had come in 9 weeks which was great to hear and instilled more confidence in the finalists as they edge towards the end of their 12 weeks.

Monday May 19

Another beautiful night allowed me to train the 7 outside in what I think was collectively the best effort and performance from the group so far.

The session involved a full hour of 5 sets of 20 second bursts with 10 seconds rest followed by 45 seconds jog. Every exercise involved either: pulling, carrying, pushing or throwing something at speed. I expected 100% effort and I got it.

It didn’t end there, we went back in the gym and ended with more bursts of exercise on a cardio machine to finish.

Brilliant effort outside on a stunning evening.

The chat at the finish turned to how they would cope when this process was over. They have learnt how to eat and train properly, its up to them as individuals to plan their new goals, of course I will be helping and guiding them forward over the coming few weeks.


David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer