David Fairlamb: Toughest week so far for Fit Factor team

David Fairlamb gives his latest update on how the Fit Factor team are progressing with their life-changing challenge

Journal Fit Factor members, who were put through their paces at Novos RFC in Benton
Journal Fit Factor members, who were put through their paces at Novos RFC in Benton.

Wednesday May 21

It was such a beautiful night I decided to meet the finalists at the beach for another outdoor workout. They started by joining one of my DF Fitness Beach Bootcamps which was taking place on Longsands for the first 30 minutes. That was tough enough, trainer Paul knows how to get the most out of clients. We then sidestepped the Bootcamp and moved on to some stairs for short sharp sprints and squats.

King Edward’s Bay was next, for the dreaded longer steps. There are three different sets, the longest and steepest involve 120 steps. The team pushed very hard to the point they had to hold on to the railings, on their descent, as their legs were so wobbly and weak. They managed to complete each set twice.

Lastly we moved on to the bank next to the Priory in Tynemouth. This is a long steep incline leading from the sailing club up to front street. I staggered the distance as it was too long and they were too tired to all complete the full length twice. They dug deep and sprinted as hard as possible and completed a session that 10 weeks ago they could only have dreamed about doing.


Thursday, May 22 – Rugby training with Novo’s RFC

There was no rest after last night’s exhausting workout, tonight they had a training session with Novo’s women’s rugby squad, led by coach Dave Addison. After a good warm up they hurled themselves into tackle bags, completed footwork with ladders and even wrestled against each other. Ash and Craig relished the session and constantly fought against each other as they have played rugby before.

Lisa, Carol and Gemma threw themselves in to the session and loved the variety of training. They all took pride in stopping me trying to run through the tackle bags, after what I have put them through the last 10 weeks, this was their opportunity and hey didn’t hold back! A big thank-you to Dave and the Novo’s women’s team who have run a fit factor session each year for us.

Saturday, May 24 – Beach Bootcamp & swimming with Chris Cook

Week 10 had already been tough but today involved two sessions. Due to their ever-increasing fitness levels and knowing that the 12-week process was nearing its end, the work and effort the finalists showed throughout Beach Bootcamp was awesome. The sessions are designed so you can work as easy or hard as you wish – they hammered every part of the workout and felt superb afterwards. When you are eating well and training hard this is exactly how you should feel – fantastic.

After lunch it was off for a swim masterclass from double Olympian Chris Cook. They were especially looking forward to this session. Chris inspires you just by his sheer enthusiasm and personality and today was no exception.

This was no easy option, working on technique, breathing, leg and arm speed they found it a really tough but exhilarating hour. Chris was in the pool with them pushing them out their comfort zones and giving them the best advice.

A huge thank-you to Chris who is a superb coach and instantly motivates everyone he teaches.

Week 10 was by far the toughest, including a gym session, outdoor hill/steps session, rugby training, Beach Bootcamp and swimming with an Olympian. Now that’s what I call a proper weeks training!

Bank Holiday Monday, May 26

I thought the finalists would be tired after last week but they looked fresh and were raring to go.

It was back to the gym knowing there were only nine days left until the finale. The 11 weeks has passed so quickly I can’t believe we are nearly done.

As usual there was no messing and they were soon in to a full on workout.

The speed and power of the finalists has to be seen to be believed. Some of the times, distances covered and speed makes the finalists’ workouts unrecognisable from when they began – even rivalling some of he gym’s personal best records. This just shows what sheer dedication can achieve in a matter of a few weeks.




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