On their weigh to fitness

LET the challenge begin! We’re under way in our quest to help 13 people improve their fitness.

Our Weigh Forward competitors got down to some serious exercise for the first time.

Competitors limber up for the with Steven Smith, right

Competitors limber up for the with Steven Smith, right

And it was no easy task as they did it all under a scorching sun.

They are all part of the challenge run by the Hartlepool Mail in conjunction with Tavistock Leisure and personal trainer Steven Smith.

And even though it was a Monday morning, eight out of the 13 managed to get out of other commitments to be put through their paces by Steven on the sea front at Newburn Bridge, Hartlepool.

The others were set to begin their battle back to health tonight.

Competitors have held their first session with personal trainer Steven Smith

Competitors have held their first session with personal trainer Steven Smith

There was a mixture of excitement and trepidation as they waited for the off.

Karen Richardson, 46, whose starting weight was 18st 3lbs admitted to being “petrified” while Philip Bentham, 33, at 16st 4lbs, said a sense of cameraderie started to develop between the contestants just minutes into the session.

Anthony Skinner, 46, weighing 23st 7lbs, couldn’t wait to get going. He said: “If this gets me fitter, I am not bothered about what I have to go through to get there.”

Personal trainer Steven told the Mail: “This session was just about easing them into it and showing them a taster of what is to come.”

He’d planned a short run, box jumps, squats, press-ups and runs up and down the steps to the beach.

Afterwards, Tony Mann, 44, who weighs 28st 6lbs, said: “I am burning in all sorts of places but it is worth it. There is no easy solution to getting the weight off. You just have to put the hard work in.”

The weight loss challenge will eventually see one person win a hotel stay and one-to-one personal training for two months.

And for one runner-up, a month’s supply of personal training is the fantastic offer.

In the meantime, though, the contestants are just delighted to be on the first step to fitness.

● Mail view: Page 8