THEY come from all walks of life – a coach driver, training co-ordinator, dental nurse, business network director, mental health nurse and custodial officer – but have one thing in common.
They’ve all battled with their weight for years and reached a crunch point that’s made them want to change their lives.
With the help of trainer David Fairlamb and his team, our Fit Factor Six will undergo an intensive 12-week fitness and healthy-eating programme that will give them the skills and mindset to be trim for life.
Jon Kirby, station controller at Real and Smooth Radio, said: “We knew that selecting the final six would be tough, as it was last year, but this year we had so many worthy entries that even selecting 20 applicants to come in to Real Radio for interviews caused much debate.
“On the day itself we could have chosen them all, they all deserved to be in, but we needed to get it down to six. Following six hours of interviews and after much deliberation, we finally agreed on six wonderful and deserving people.
“Like last year, we’ve gone for a mix of ages, backgrounds, lifestyles and personalities so that these brave individuals can inspire as many people as possible in the North East to kick-start their own fitness revolution.
“When we all met for the first time at David’s gym with Gary and Lisa from Real Radio Breakfast we knew that we’d made the right decision and we have a great group of people – all strangers to each other but all with one common goal.”
The Fit Factor Six have been set a group challenge – to lose 20st 13lbs between them during 2013 – which should spur them on to continue losing weight after the intensive regime finishes.
“On Monday I set out what I expect from the group,” said trainer David.
“The winner of the holiday prize to the five-star Fortina Spa Resort in Malta won’t necessarily be the person who’s lost the most weight.
“It will be the person who’s most committed, who helps others the most, is disciplined with turning up on time and promotes what they’ve learnt at work and within the family to inspire others.
“They will be eating ‘lean and clean’, in other words what the body was designed to eat. Meat, fish, vegetables, fruit, eggs and water will be the basis of their diet.
“There won’t be any processed foods, so that means no rice, pasta or alcohol.
“Last year our winner Dan Henderson was best man on his brother’s stag do and he didn’t drink, so they’ve got no excuse!”
The group were given personalised gym clothes by our kit sponsors Vivus.co.uk and also got to meet Port of Tyne director Ian Gibson, who’s lost almost 12 stone since being selected for last year’s Fit Factor. They were also shown food diaries kept by last year’s contestants to show them what they’ll be in for.
“This challenge is going to be 85% to 90% mental for the first few weeks as they need to change their lifestyles completely,” said David. “It’s a major shock to the system, but once they get into a routine and re-calibrate their mindset they’ll be able to change their habits for life.”
Although it will be tough with four training sessions per week, including two gym session and a Saturday morning beach bootcamp, it will also be fun with activities like power yoga, paddle boarding, rugby, football, volleyball, badminton and zumba.
Our heaviest entrant at 22st 11lbs is mental health nurse John Thompson, 39, from Ashington, who also has the most visceral fat around his organs. A visceral fat rating over 13 is unhealthy while a reading of over 20 is very dangerous. John’s reading was 28.
At 15 stone, 24-year-old dental nurse Kate Pickard, from Chester-le-Street, is the lightest of the group yet her body fat is still a high 45.3%. A healthy body fat level should be under 32% for women and under 20% for men. All six of our Fit Factor contestants have body fat readings of over 45% with the highest belonging to 36-year-old training co-ordinator Kerry Robertson from Shiremoor.
Over half of her body weight (51.1%) is fat and she has the highest visceral fat rating of all the women at 14.
Our Fit Factor finalists