A GYM owner is launching a fight against inactivity in the city.
Inspired by ITV’s Weight Loss Ward, filmed in Sunderland Royal Hospital, and Wearside being ranked sixth from the bottom of the UK’s 150 most inactive places to live, Les Ojugbana is hoping to get Mackems fit and healthy.
He’s on the hunt for 10 Wearsiders determined to tackle their weight for an Echo-backed competition – Sunderland’s Biggest Loser.
Finalists will be given a year of intense training and health advice at Les’s gym, Fitness 2000 in Roker, with the winner being awarded £1,000, a photo shoot of their new look with David Lawson Photography and another year’s free gym membership at the end of the 12 months.
“Shows like Weight Loss Ward haven’t shown Sunderland in the greatest light,” said the businessman. “But I want to be able to stop people having to resort to surgery to lose weight. You can do it with diet and exercise.
“With people who have a lot of weight to lose you can see a change in them after only a couple of weeks of training, you could realistically lose about 10 pounds in a week. Once you’ve started making those changes, people are a lot more vibrant and out going. Week on week their confidence just goes up and up. They walk around with their head held higher.”
The 10 finalists will be given two classes a week, two sessions of guided training in the gym a week, as well as three days to use the gym each week in their own time with suggestions for exercises.
As the weeks go on, they will also be given nutritional advice.
The second place contestant will be awarded £500 and the third place £200.
Les said: “I want people to write in with their reasons for wanting to lose weight. I want them to be motivated and dedicated. They can’t just do it for a few weeks and then drop out. This isn’t just an exercise regime, it’s a lifestyle change. Sometimes people just need help tweaking things in their diet and fitness which could lead to drastic changes.”
The Echo will follow the final 10’s progress over the course of the year.
l To take part in Sunderland’s Biggest Loser send a letter with your name, age, weight, height, contact details and explaining why you want to lose weight to Sunderland’s Biggest Loser, Katy Wheeler, Echo House, Pennywell Industrial Estate SR4 9ER.
Closing date: March 28.