We have reached the halfway point of our Fit Factor competition and our finalists are as determined as ever to reach their target weight.
For the last six weeks, the life-changing competition has seen the team engrossed in an intensive fitness and healthy eating programme.
On Monday, trainer David Fairlamb carried out the latest weigh-in and collectively the team has lost a total of 13st 5lbs – the weight of Fit Factor trainer David.
Each challenger has shed between half a stone and a stone in the last two weeks, with all of them having dropped a number of clothes sizes since the competition began in March.
David said: “With the obesity time-bomb which is sweeping the country we are once again proving that lives can be totally turned around in a matter of weeks.
“Anyone can sit and eat, that’s easy. There is a multi-billion pound diet industry and in reality it’s about consistency with exercise and food. Most people are just lazy and expect things to happen without any effort, they are the ones that look for excuses and fail.
“I’m so excited about this group, they are 100% focused and dedicated and that’s why they are getting results. These results would have been exceptional after 12 weeks, never mind six.”
At the first weigh-in, the scales measured the finalists’ metabolic age, which is calculated by the amount of body fat, lean weight and water levels. Every participant had a reading significantly higher than their chronological age.
The Journal editor Brian Aitken’s metabolic age was 68 when he first started Fit Factor. In just six weeks that has dropped to 50, which is three years below his actual age.
Brian, of Prudhoe, Northumberland, said: “I am doing the Fit Factor for my own self-interest and to help raise awareness about obesity and fitness levels in the North East.
“I feel very privileged to work alongside six people who are showing amazing dedication and commitment, exceeding expectations.”
Yet again our biggest “loser” on the scales this week was Craig Barbour, despite the 27-year-old having a difficult few days before the weigh-in as he went off track.
Craig, who lives at Newcastle Quayside, has shed another 13lbs in a fortnight, taking his total weight loss to nearly three stone.
The Port of Tyne assistant operations manager said: “I’m happy with my weigh-in this week. I had a slight wobble and I wasn’t sure that I would have lost as much weight this time.
“I’m back on track and it’s made me 100% stronger and I am once again re-focused.”
Fellow Fit Factor contestant Carl Martin, 32, a surveyor of Gateshead, looks significantly different since dropping a total of 34lbs.
At the latest weigh-in he was told that he had lost a further 7lbs.
He said: “I’m really pleased with the amount of weight that I’ve lost in total. I’m really enjoying the Fit Factor and I wish that it was a bit longer.”
Carl’s partner Gemma Robson, 30, a civil servant, has also lost a further 7lbs and the couple are keen not to let their motivation slip at any point.
The mother-of-two said: “Many people at work are noticing my weight loss and my family and friends have been really supportive. Carl and I are making plans for what we will do once the competition has finished to keep our weight loss going.”
Grandmother-of-nine Carol Sijakovic, of North Shields, started our Fit Factor competition weighing in at 16st 5lbs, but she now is almost 2st lighter.
For the last couple of training sessions the 51-year-old has battled with painful shin splints in her left leg, but she has continued to do her best during all the exercise sessions.
Carol said: “The only thing I’ve been kept off is the treadmill, but I’ve been going hell for leather with the other exercise equipment.
“When I started Fit Factor I really was at my lowest and I needed to lose weight. Taking part in Fit Factor has been great and I have gone from a clothes size 20 to a 16. My confidence is now sky high and the whole thing has been quite life-changing.”
Bride-to-be Lisa Embleton, of Kingston Park, Newcastle, has seen a huge change in her fitness levels since losing weight.
“It is amazing how much better I feel,” explained the 35-year-old.