They each have their own stories to tell and reasons why they want to take off the pounds.
And soon they’ll be competing against each other for Portsmouth’s Biggest Loser title.
But for now the partcipants in the annual weight loss contest have been getting to know each other and giving some mutual support.
The four fighters for health and fitness gathered at the gym that will help them with their war on weight.
Portsmouth’s 24/7 Fitness, which also has a gym in Fareham, will put them through a punishing eight-week regime in a bid to transform their lives.
Beginning tomorrow, four of the News readers who applied for a place on the programme will exercise every weekday, take part in a fitness challenge on Sundays and follow a strict diet plan.
The determined contestants are Emma Porter, Sarah Robertson, Phil Knowler and Lara Buck.
Emma, 34, hopes it will mark a turning point in her life. ‘I have two young children and I want to be around for them for a long time so I need to get fit and healthy. I feel sluggish all the time and I get out of breath when I’m running around after them.
‘I don’t think this will be easy but I’m going to really go for it.’
The Gosport mum, who works on HMS Victory, says her biggest temptations are chocolate and biscuits. Emma, who weighs 17st 9lb, will be giving those up in a bid to win the title.
At the end of the eight weeks, the person who has lost the most weight will receive prizes including a year’s free membership to 24/7 Fitness.
Emma faces stiff competition. Sarah Boxall is 45 and says she has been on a ‘permanent diet for the past 25 years’. But now she’s determined. The wife and mum is from Hayling Island and weighs 14st 10lb.
Phil Knowler could never be accused of not embracing a fit, healthy lifestyle. He has completed the London Marathon twice.
But the 48-year-old from Hilsea struggles to slim down and currently weighs in at 18st 10lb. He says, ‘I need all the help I can get’, and hopes the Biggest Loser contest will give him motivation.
Teacher Lara Buck, from Copnor is 38 and weighs in at 15st 5lb. The mum-of-two’s tale must be familiar to many. She works full-time and never seems to have a moment for herself.
Lara is working less hours this year and says: ‘I am determined to become fitter and healthier.’