Fit Factor Six fighting fit after first week of training

A week into their gruelling Fit Factor challenge, our six are already feeling the burn - and the benefits. Alex Finnis sees how they are getting on

The Journal's Fit Factor contestants in action
The Journal's Fit Factor contestants in action

Our Fit Factor finalists were in fighting spirit after this week’s training, and no wonder, as boxing played a big part in the work.

There was a common feeling of positivity and energy among them after Monday’s hour and a quarter long slog, and any aches and pains were definitely worth it the next morning.

Most importantly, they all came out of it extremely confident that they would be able to hit their targets.

Carol Sijakovic, 51, who started the programme at 16st 5lb, said: “It was brilliant, well worth the pain afterwards – no pain no gain! We’re getting fitter but we’re also having to do more and I’m feeling brilliant.

“I loved all of it, you get such a high. It’s already making a difference in how I look and feel – I’ve had to go and buy a new dress as I’ve already dropped a dress size and my old ones were just falling off me.

“I’m totally focused on this – I’m in it to win it!”

Trainer David Fairlamb was stunned by how far all the finalists have come in just a week, and said they all handled the session, which included running, boxing, interval training and machine work, really well.

“Considering a week ago they could only do 20 minutes of exercise it’s amazing that they all did an hour and a quarter non­stop. They were working at an intensity a long way higher than what I expected after week one,” he said.

“They really struggled on the first day, they wouldn’t have believed that they would be able to do this a week ago. I think the running was the most difficult for them­ a lot of them haven’t run for years so to get them out doing that is a good thing.

“Their self­ confidence is a lot better already and they come in with their heads up and smiling – things are starting to turn already. I fully expect this year to be a really positive one.”

The finalists were in agreement about running being the difficult part, and for 30­-year-­old civil servant Gemma Robson, who started out at 15st 10lb, it was a particular challenge that she was keen to overcome.

“I get panicky and start to feel asthmatic when I run usually but it was a lot better this time – I felt in the zone,” she said.

David was particularly impressed with 32­-year-­old Carl Martin, who started the programme at 18st 11lb. He has made an important change in his posture that is already doing him a world of good – “he’s holding himself a lot better now and he’s opened his shoulders up which makes him look thinner,” he said.

Carl agreed: “The session was brilliant, I really enjoyed it. I recovered well this time unlike last week when it was really hard. The change in my posture is going well, I’m doing my squats with my back a lot straighter now.

“It’s all going well. The diet’s going well – I get a few cravings, but it’s all psychological. I feel more energetic too.”

Carl and Gemma are our first ever Fit Factor couple, and they are determined to lose weight for the sake of their two young children.

Lisa Embleton meanwhile, a 35­year­old from Kingston Park who started out at 20st 11lb, wants to lose weight so that she can have fertility treatment.

“The session was good but it was hard work. It’s getting easier though and I can definitely do more – it’s already making a difference. I wasn’t feeling too bad the next day, I was feeling pretty good actually,” she said.

“I haven’t run probably since I was at school so a lot of it is about realising that you can do more than you think. I’m enjoying feeling better and I’m feeling very positive about hitting my goal. I’m starting to notice small changes already.”

Journalists

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