Fit Factor 2015: Welcome to the launch of our annual health and fitness competition

The Fit Factor aims to find six finalists and get them into the shape of their lives over the next 12 weeks

Welcome to Fit Factor 2015.

Today we are giving our readers the chance to be part of our annual fitness competition which this year will be bigger than ever before.

With the help of our exercise gurus, we aim to transform the lives of people in the North East who want to lose weight and get active.

For 12 weeks we will, with the help of fitness and nutrition experts, put our participants through their paces with an intensive health programme.

Leading this year’s battle of the bulge will again be Fit Factor trainer David Fairlamb.

It will not be easy, but the end results will undoubtedly make all the sweat and hard work worthwhile as our participants see their shape change over the weeks.

Trainer David Fairlamb in his gym at North Shields
Trainer David Fairlamb in his gym at North Shields

And this year, we want everyone to get involved in the process by checking out our videos online and using our website as a guide to getting into the shape of your lives.

David said: “As part of the Great North Fitness Revolution which the Journal and I launched back in 2011, I wanted to prove that you can turn your life around both physically and mentally in a matter of weeks.

In the first year the Active8, as they were then known, lost a staggering total of 32 stones between them in 12 weeks, a remarkable achievement.

“Four of the eight finalists were waiting for gastric band operations but after 12 weeks all four had lost at least four stones each and were removed from the hospital waiting lists.

“The following two years was just as impressive with amazing results.

“I am very proud of all the finalists over the first three years and we are now looking for six more lives to change.

Kerry Robertson
Kerry Robertson

“The 12 week process will not only change you physically, it will boost your self confidence and self esteem. This new found confidence will allow you to enjoy life again and give you a new outlook.

Kerry Robertson, a Fit Factor Contestant 2013, lost 3st 3lbs in the 12 weeks.

She said: “The Fit Factor experience has been life changing for me.

“After I saw the advert for the competition I didn’t hesitate in completing the entry form. I’d had a weight problem for most of my adult life and, after having my son in 2010, I tried every diet to shift the weight.

“All I wanted to do was wake up in the morning and feel good and be able to face the world without feeling self conscious.

“I was thrilled to be a part of the Fit Factor and enjoyed the experience very much.

“Nearly two years on, I regularly attend gym sessions and boot camps and have lost nearly five stones in total. My fitness and health are 100% better than ever before.”

Winners of the Journal Fit Factor, Gemma Robson and Carl Martin, at the Hilton Hotel in Gateshead
Winners of the Journal Fit Factor, Gemma Robson and Carl Martin, at the Hilton Hotel in Gateshead

Gemma Robson and partner Carl Martin were crowned Fit Factor 2014 winners after shedding 3st 1lb and 3st 10lbs respectively in just three months.

The Gateshead pair swapped takeaways for healthy eating as they got stuck into their Fit Factor programme.

After 12 weeks of gruelling workouts and a nutrition plan, Gemma, 30, and Carl, 33, saw their body fat drop and clothes sizes shrink significantly.

Carl, a surveyor, said: “I did the Great North Run and the Newcastle Stampede after winning.

“I have let things slip a little bit in the past month but will definitely get back into it again.

“Fit Factor was a good experience and we learned a lot. It was hard to begin with, but the pressure of being in the paper made you feel like you did not want to let anyone down.

Last year's Fit Factor contestants have a paddleboard lesson at Little Haven Beach
Last year's Fit Factor contestants have a paddleboard lesson at Little Haven Beach

“Gemma really enjoyed it too and we were delighted to work with David.”

People can enter either individually or, like Carl and Gemma, as a pair – for example a couple, siblings, a parent and child, two friends or maybe work colleagues. The competition is open to people aged 18 and over.

A shortlist of candidates will be invited to pre-selection interviews so we can pick the final six.

Those entering the competition will be fully supported by David and his team, who have a wealth of experience in training people of all shapes, sizes and ages.

Participants must be willing to commit 100% to a healthy eating programme and a number of training sessions per week in North Tyneside, including a beach bootcamp at Tynemouth Longsands Beach on a Saturday.

Ian Gibson, who lost a staggering five and a half stones in 12 weeks, remains the Fit Factor’s most successful contestant.

Fit Factor 2012 finalist Ian Gibson before and after his weight loss
Fit Factor 2012 finalist Ian Gibson before and after his weight loss

He said: “If you have children the fit factor experience could be the difference between seeing them grow into healthy adults or not.

“One application to the Fit Factor could change you and your family’s life and ensure you have many more years together – your family deserve to have you around for longer.

“I was 28st and couldn’t even walk 200 yards at the start without being out of breath, but after three months I was running 10 miles in preparation for the Great North Run.

“You are not too big or fat to do it, but it takes hard work, commitment and support of family and friends to have a life changing experience.”

The participant who makes the most progress will get free VIP entries to the Great North 10k, the Great North Swim, the Great North Bike Ride and the Great North Run.

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

  • To apply for Fit Factor 2015, which begins next month, fill in the application form below, or CLICK HERE to open in a new browser window
  • Deadline for entries is Thursday, February 26.

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When you need to be available

Participants must be able to attend David’s three weekly fitness sessions over the course of the 12 week training period.

They will run every Monday and Thursday from 7pm at David’s North Shields gym from next month, as well as a Saturday bootcamp session at Tynemouth beach from 9.45am.

David said: “This is hard work and people must be prepared to put in that hard work if they want to succeed.

“We will be taking people through a serious of fitness programmes but they must be prepared to commit themselves.”

The Fit Factor online

Those who do not make the final six finalists will still be able to get a taste of the Fit Factor experience online.

We will be posting videos of the exercise sessions throughout the course of the 12 weeks, while David will be giving online tutorials for those wanting to get fit from their own homes.

People can let us know their progress by tweeting @Eveningchron and using the hashtag #fitfactor

David will also be posting nutrition advice and his top tips for getting into shape.


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