The Journal's Fit Factor winners revealed at special ceremony

It has been a tough couple of months for our Fit Factor contestants, and last night the winners of this year's competition were revealed. Health Reporter Helen Rae catches up with the team as our first ever Fit Factor couple scoop the top prize

Gemma Robson and Carl Martin
Gemma Robson and Carl Martin

It was double delight for our Fit Factor finalists this year as the competition’s first ever couple scooped the top prize.

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

In the past, the Gateshead pair would think nothing of delving into a number of takeaways each week. And it was their bad eating habits that saw their weight gradually increase over the years.

But after 12 weeks of gruelling workouts and a healthy eating plan, Gemma, 30, and Carl, 32, have seen their body fat drop and clothes sizes shrink significantly.


Around 100 people attended the Fit Factor’s final at a special event held at the Hilton Hotel in Gateshead yesterday, where the weight-loss statistics of each of the finalists were revealed.

This year the team collectively lost a staggering 23st 7lbs – the starting weight of this year’s youngest contestant Craig Barbour.

But the reason this year’s special couple were crowned champions wasn’t just down to the weight they lost. Success was also judged on their motivation and commitment throughout the competition.          

Mother-of-two Gemma said she was delighted to have won and was determined to carry on slimming down as she is keen to drop another few stone.          

The civil servant said: “I am shocked and overwhelmed that Carl and I have won Fit Factor as I never expected it to happen. It did not feel like a competition and it is nice to have won. It has been a very busy couple of months but it has been lovely for Carl and I to do something together. We both feel and look so different and we didn’t want to let Fit Factor trainer David down.”

A key part of the couple’s motivation for entering this year’s Fit Factor was to ensure that they are good role models for their two young children, Allexa, two, and Freddy, one.

Throughout the competition they have done everything that they can to ensure their waistlines have decreased, including trying exotic lean meats such as zebra and kangaroo.

Carl, a surveyor, added: “I feel emotional as I’m happy that Gemma and I have won . . . things like this just don’t happen to us. I’m so pleased that we were chosen for the Fit Factor competition and I’m delighted at how it has all worked out.”

Gemma and Carl’s prize is a weekend break at the luxury Stobo Castle Spa in the Scottish borders. They will also get a one-year gym membership at the Hilton Hotel in Gateshead, while the other Fit Factor finalists will get one-month membership.

The couple’s fellow Fit Factor contestants were last night full of praise for the winners. Ashley Cuniff, 30, of South Shields, said: “They both deserve to win as they are a lovely couple.”

Craig Barbour, Ashley Cuniff, Gemma Robson, Carl Martin, Carol Sijakovic and Lisa Embleton, at the Hilton Hotel in Gateshead
Craig Barbour, Ashley Cuniff, Gemma Robson, Carl Martin, Carol Sijakovic and Lisa Embleton, at the Hilton Hotel in Gateshead

Craig Barbour, 27, of Newcastle Quayside, added: “Gemma and Carl are 100% worthwhile winners as they are such good people and they will be friends for life. They really deserve everything and they have also done the Fit Factor while juggling the responsibilities of having two young children.”

Trainer and mentor David Fairlamb, who has presided over Fit Factor for the last three years, praised all the finalists for their commitment over the three months.

He said: “Fit Factor this year has been easy for me in many ways as the team gelled together so quickly and they have been so motivated. The group have just got on with it and worked hard.

“Gemma and Carl have been superb all the way through Fit Factor as they have smiled all the time and I’ve not had one moan from them.

“The fitness level of Carl now is phenomenal and I know that they are both committed to carrying on losing weight.”


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