After another massive number of entries and emotional interview stage, the Fit Factor final six were revealed this week. After the huge success of the competition in its first two years, this year’s finalists have much to live up to.
I have slightly changed things this year, firstly by asking Brian Aitken, the editor of the Journal to join the six on their journey.
Brian has backed the Great North Fitness Revolution and given it the publicity it deserves. I look forward to his thoughts and how he progresses through the 12 weeks.
We also have two contestants in reserve who can replace any finalist who falls short of the 100% commitment and dedication I expect.
Friday, March 14 - Final Interviews
After sorting through all the entries a shortlist of 15 were given their chance to impress further at an interview.
The selection panel included myself, Helen Rae the Journal’s Health reporter and one of last year’s Fit Factor finalists Kerry Robertson.
Nearly all had a case to be picked, however, nine really stood out unfortunately one had to be eliminated on medical grounds. I am looking to help him outside the Fit Factor.
A couple of people did blow their interviews by failing to open up and accept their weight issues - a big opportunity lost.
The panel all agreed who the final eight would be including 2 reserves.
It was a long and emotional evening but I was confident we had picked the correct finalists.
Monday, March 18 - Motivational talk + first session
Tonight the six met for the first time, they all arrived looking very apprehensive but excited. I also invited the two reserves, the contestant who I didn’t include on medical grounds and the seventh member of the team, Brian Aitken the Editor of the Journal.
I spoke for over an hour about what it means to have been picked for the Fit Factor, what commitment I expect from them throughout the 12 weeks and the specific diet they are to follow.
They all looked a little shell shocked but I know if they wanted it badly enough they would do it. The results we achieved over the last two years haven’t just happened by accident.
Last years finalist Kerry Robertson they spoke about her Fit Factor experience and offered her support throughout the next 12 weeks.
The finalists were also given a shopping list, notes on food and diet sheets which are to be filled in every day.
When the talking was over, the 7 were straight in to their first session.
This was a lightish, low impact workout and were all kept moving for 45 minutes. A tough ask certainly for the heavier ones but this was more about working on posture and perfecting technique on certain exercises.
Apart from a couple of wobbles and slight dizziness they coped well - the true test will be Wednesday when they will be pushed way out of their comfort zones.
A positive start and the group gelled brilliantly.
Wednesday, March 20 - Training
There were a few sore bodies from Monday but generally all was good and the group were highly motivated and ready to go.
I spoke to them beforehand explaining how the body can do way more than they thought possible. I laboured the point of how powerful their minds were within exercise, in order to push themselves out of their comfort zone.
This proved priceless, as they motored through a very tough session including some tough interval based periods. What a first session they surpassed all my predictions and proved to me and themselves they mean business.
Wow - a superb effort and better still they all loved it. The lean and clean way of eating is already having a big impact on their energy levels.
Thursday, March 20 - The Journal pictures and Stats
It was D-day for the finalists as their pictures, weight, body fat and metabolic age were revealed in the Journal newspaper. After years of being self conscious it was a big day for them and something that is part of being involved in the Fit Factor.
One thing was for sure they would look dramatically different in 12 weeks time.
Friday, March 22 - Brian Aitken
Journal editor, Brian Aitken announced through the paper he would be joining the six for the duration of the Fit Factor. He wrote in the paper that it was his penance for letting the world know about the deep fried mars bar which originated in Scotland. If you look on Wikipedia you will see that the first recorded mention of the ‘delicacy’ was in the Aberdeen Evening Express in 1995, Brian was assistant editor.
One thing is certain, he will not be going near one in the next 12 weeks!
Saturday, March 23 - David Fairlamb Beach Bootcamp
It was a beautiful morning for their first Beach Bootcamp on Longsands at Tynemouth. Along with 60 others all seven managed the session very well.
Like all my Bootcamp sessions its down to the individual how far they want to push themselves. They all pushed themselves very hard especially on the soft sand and the ramp. It was great to she how they encouraged each other throughout.
I also introduced them to the other Beach Bootcampers who will help and push them along over the next three months.
A superb first week and already i can see how much better they look and their self confidence starting to improve. Roll on next week....
Week Two. Monday, March 25
One week and three sessions in to their 12 week programme I can already see a positive difference in all seven. Their weight is starting to drop nicely and they all walked in to the session in a much more confident way.
Tonight’s session included a 10 minute run/walk outside on the astro pitch, this is a superb soft joint friendly surface therefore perfect for weight bearing exercises. It was tough especially as Craig and Lisa haven’t run for a very long time, Gemma hates running yet her technique was excellent and showed she is way better than she thought. Carol, Ash, Carl and Brian, as I expected, pushed on as they have all been used to running in the past.
The session continued in the gym with some intense leg and core work - they have all completed everything I have thrown at them so far. This along with their lean and clean food regime will lead to big changes quickly!
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