Battling through blisters to become our Biggest Loser

Alena Brice

Alena Brice

STEVE CANAVAN: A real cliffhanger in the Lakes

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They’ve got blisters on their fingers, aches and pains in muscles they didn’t know existed and have sweated their way through a series of exhausting challenges.

Seven News readers battling it out to be named Portsmouth’s Biggest Loser have reached the half-way mark of the competition.

Graham Street

Graham Street

And although it’s been far tougher than any of them ever imagined, they’ve all racked-up some astonishing weight losses in the first month.

While only one of our super-slimmers will come away with the prizes, all are on their way to losing weight and getting fit.

From doing little or no exercise, they’ve been thrown in at the deep end with daily workout sessions and a gruelling fitness challenge every Sunday.

They’ve taken part in two six-mile runs, racked-up the miles on an exercise bike and rowed the same distance it would take to get across the Solent to the Isle of Wight. Fatty, calorie-laden meals have been replaced by a hardcore eating plan, tailored to help them lose weight.

The challenge – organised by local gym 24/7 Fitness – has now moved into the second phase and senior personal trainer Gary Lockwood has no intention of easing-up on the pressure.

‘They’ve lost some great amounts of weight,’ he says. ‘I think we’re on track. We’ve got past the difficult halfway stage.

‘They’re getting fitter so the workouts aren’t as tough and they’re getting used to the diet.’

Here’s how they’re getting on at the end of week four.

Alena Brice has a very big incentive to lose weight.

She’s getting married in August and since she started the challenge, her wedding dress has arrived.

The 27-year-old mum-of-one, from Wymering, has already dropped two dress sizes and now wants to make sure her size 18 gown will fit in time for her big day.

‘The trainers are fantastic and are putting so much effort in for us,’ she says.

‘I’m getting so much fitter. I’m just glad I’m losing weight.’

· Starting weight: 19st 1lbs

· Current weight: 17st 12lbs

· Total weight loss: 17lbs

‘The first couple of weeks have been hell,’ says Mo Snook honestly.

‘I can’t even explain it. I had aches in places I didn’t know existed. But it is coming together now. I can’t say I love the workouts but I can do it.’

The 38-year-old, from Hilsea, admits she’s had to readjust her expectations.

‘I had a bit of a lightbulb moment last week,’ she adds. ‘It’s not about what the trainers have got to do for us, they are trying to help us do it for ourselves.’

· Starting weight: 19st

· Current weight: 17st 9lbs

· Total weight loss: 19lbs

It can’t be easy being the only man. But Graham Street has coped well and proved himself to be a real team player.

The 47-year-old father-of-four, from Paulsgrove, has loved pushing himself to the limits in the exercise classes.

He’s even swapped pints of beer for fruit teas.

‘My attitude is that the trainers are happy to give up an hour of their time to coach us so we’ve got to be happy to give them an hour of our time,’ he adds.

· Starting weight: 25st

· Current weight: 21st 7lbs

· Total weight loss: 49lbs

Sue Lawson says she’s giving the challenge her all.

The 34-year-old, from Cosham, adds: ‘The diet is extremely tough, all you’ve got to do is keep going.

‘The challenges have been great, the training has been tough.

‘I’m extremely committed.’

· Starting weight: 18st 2lbs

· Current weight: 16st 12lbs

· Total weight loss: 18lbs

‘I won’t lie,’ says Kayleigh Smith. ‘It’s been hard.’

The 24-year-old, from Portchester, has a new baby to care for and is happy with the progress she’s made.

Kayleigh will take part in a sponsored skydive in April to raise money for her sick cousin Clayton – but she’ll only be allowed to jump if she gets down to 15 stone.

‘I already feel a lot better,’ she adds. ‘The training is getting easier as we’re getting fitter.’

· Starting weight: 18st 3lb

· Current weight: 16st 10lbs

· Total weight loss: 21lbs

‘It’s hard work but I’m putting my all in,’ says the group’s youngest member, Abi Mercer, from Waterlooville.

The 21-year-old is due to marry in September and is feeling much fitter.

She found the first week hard but says the training and diet have got easier.

‘I’m feeling really positive,’ she adds. ‘It’s a total change of lifestyle but I’m feeling good.’

· Starting weight: 18st 7lbs

· Current weight: 17st

· Total weight loss: 21lbs

Mum-of-four Louise Smith loves the spinning classes and has pledged to continue when the challenge is over.

The 33-year-old, from Bedhampton, says: ‘This takes over your life in a big way. I’ve got four children and I work. We’re all going through a serious change in our lives so we’re going to have ups and downs.

‘I needed this kick-start.’

· Starting weight 21st 3lbs

· Current weight 19.11lbs

· Total weight loss: 20lbs

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