With just over two weeks before the Fit Factor winner is announced, our Active8 have been looking ahead to the end of the competition and how they plan to go it alone. KAREN WILSON and KIM CARMICHAEL find out more
WITH no more weigh-ins until the Fit Factor finale, our Active8 have learning lots of core body exercises that they can do themselves at home.
This week they were given a masterclass by Joel Brannigan, head of strength and conditioning at Team Northumbria.
His outdoor session on Tuesday featured functional compound exercises using their own body weight to improve overall body strength with minimal equipment such as resistance bands and medicine balls.
After Joel’s session, the group weren’t off the hook as they also trained for a further 35 minutes with David Fairlamb in the gym.
“The key thing is the movements and the intensity, rather than the equipment,” says Joel. “You don’t need a lot of equipment – just a bit of knowledge and time.
“It was quite short and sharp but quite intense with rest sections so they were working to their maximum ability.
“I was incredibly surprised by the group. They were all fantastic and putting so much effort into it. It just shows you that it doesn’t take long doing consistent exercise to get fit.
“For some it’s completely changed their outlook and what they thought they were capable of doing.”
Dad-of-two Nick Cotterill, 40, from North Shields, says: “It was a really short, sharp and tough session with Joel. We were working at five different workstations with running in between. It was a hard session but I’m starting to enjoy this kind of challenge.
“I completed three five-mile runs over the past week and am looking at doing eight miles this Sunday to prove to myself I can do it.”
The project manager adds: “I really feel I need to make 100% effort over the final two weeks of Fit Factor. I’m starting to look at how I am going to continue once it finishes. The rugby club start pre-season training in late June so I’m going to start doing some of that.
“I’m going to continue my running in preparation for the Great North 10K and the Great North Run and continue to attend Beach Bootcamp on a regular basis.”
One of the fittest members – 37-year-old police officer Daniel Henderson from Windy Nook, Gateshead – also found the session useful. “It just showed another example of how you can spend 45 minutes doing a good all-round session without gym equipment,” he says.
He’s also been getting ahead at the beach boot camp sessions. “There were 50 or 60 people there and I was way out in front of them all,” he says. “I got to the front and didn’t want to let anyone pass. That’s my competitive streak coming out. I’m determined I’m still going to do as many beach bootcamps as I can.”
Daniel has already returned to Felling Harriers and vows to run with them twice a week after Fit Factor ends. He’s also been playing squash with work colleagues and wants to get back into football.
And he’s already reassessing his original 14-stone target. “Now I’m thinking once I’ve hit that maybe I could get another stone off,” he says. “You have to go off body shape rather than weight though.”
He also admits he’s getting emotional thinking about the end of Fit Factor. “Everyone’s got different strengths and different stories and different abilities, but everyone has been successful in their own particular journey,” he says. “I don’t think you could’ve got a better group.”
Both Dawnn Roe and Steve Mountain found Joel’s session tougher than they imagined. “I could hardly walk afterwards but I really enjoyed it,” says 40-year-old NHS admin worker Dawnn. “It was the running that was the hardest. Normally we’re running at a sedate pace but he had us sprinting.”