Fit Factor contestants nearing the finishing line of life-changing experience

Entrants in The Journal's Fit Factor challenge are preparing for life after the competition finishes

Fit Factor finalist Ashley Cuniff
Fit Factor finalist Ashley Cuniff

The Journal’s Fit Factor contestants were reeling this week when given the news they would not be taking to the scales until the competition’s climax.

Challenge leader David Fairlamb broke the news to our six hopefuls, including Gemma Robson, who is taking part with fiance Carl Martin.

“Obviously everyone is quite shocked. We would normally have them every two weeks but we are going to go four weeks, we are missing one,” she said.

“We have all got ourselves so wound up for every second Monday night. Everyone gets themselves all het up and waits for the results but we are going to have to wait even longer.”

Of the prolonged spell without being officially weighed, she added: “I think that is a little taster of what it is going to be like after the Fit Factor. It is going to be more realistic than the bubble we are living in at the moment.”

The Journal Fitness revolution with David Fairlamb

Gemma believes the news that contestants will have a four-week gap between weigh-ins “will go one way or another,” and worries some may see it as an opportunity to “cheat” by treating themselves and undoing their previous good work.

Yet the 30-year-old civil servant, from Felling, Gateshead, is determined not to slip up in her progress, which she continued at an outdoor session in glorious evening sunshine on Monday.

David put the competitors through a spot of interval training, a series of low-to-high-intensity exercise workouts interspersed with rest periods.

“It was really good because the weather was shining so that cancelled out all the hard work!” said Gemma.

Colleagues at the HMRC at Longbenton have been very supportive in her weight loss crusade, which Gemma and 32-year-old surveyor Carl agreed to embark on together with their wedding – for which a date has yet to be set – in mind.

“Every time I go in, everyone is asking about my recent weight loss, how much I have lost. People are noticing the way I am looking.

“They are noticing the exercising we are doing, saying how gruelling it looks. Everyone is really interested, it is good.”

Gemma’s hard work has even inspired her family.

Carl Martin and Gemma Robson working out
Carl Martin and Gemma Robson working out

“Both of my younger sisters have taken up running. Zoe has been coming to boot camp with us and will be doing the Great North Run with me,” she tells.

And Kelsi, 17, has signed up to the Couch to 5k running plan for beginners, having very little experience.

“She has seen that we have been enjoying it and that it is benefiting us from the health side of things. It has got her to get some get up and go.”

Gemma and Carl asked David for their diaries from week one of Fit Factor so the pair could consult them – and they are now pinned on the couple’s fridge.

She is looking forward to the group’s rugby session tonight with the Novos’ ladies team as well as a swimming session with Olympian Chris Cook. Gemma said the Fit Factor entrants are looking ahead to life after the competition with a mix of emotions, and revealed the six will be keeping in touch.

“How are we all going to manage? Is everybody going to keep it up? Everyone is a little bit daunted at the fact it is going to end. We are all a bit sad,” she said.

“We are all going to keep training as a group, we have all on got well.”


The winner of Fit Factor will be announced at an event next month.

Journal editor Brian Aitken will reveal which of the six entrants has come out on top at the event at the Hilton Hotel in Gateshead on Wednesday, June 4.

The evening will begin with Mr Aitken talking about why he joined the Fit Factor group this year, his 12-week experience and why he backed the project from the beginning.

He will then announce the winner followed by a live question-and-answer session with the Fit Factor finalists.

Fit Factor trainer and health guru David Fairlamb will then give a motivational speech.

His presentation will cover how the Fit Factor finalists have had such huge success with their health revolution and their incredible weight loss.

David will also reveal the secrets behind weight control and share his extensive 18 years of knowledge for the first time, to a live audience.

Anyone who would like to attend should email Kerry at info.dffitness@gmail stating your name, contact telephone details and number of seats required.

Tickets are limited and only those who have pre registered will be able to attend. There will be an admission charge of £10 per person on the door.

The arrival time for the event is at 6pm-6.15pm for a prompt start time of 6.30pm.

Refreshments will be available.


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