DO you think that with the right support you could transform your health? A team from The Press has been given one-to-one support by a York gym to do just that. They tell health reporter Kate Liptrot how they got on.

A SUMMER started a team from The Press was set a challenge with York gym David Lloyd to see if they could improve their health and fitness as summer started.

After a month of hard work, one-to-one support from personal trainer Tim Purdy, dietary advice, the team has lost over a stone collectively and they say the challenge has helped them feel better all-round.

They are going head-to-head with other businesses in the city due to take the challenge to see who can lose the most weight overall.

Matt Thompson, corporate manager at David Lloyd, said about the challenge: "Everyone agrees that a happy, healthy workforce is good for business.

"When your employees exercise regularly, their motivation, concentration and efficiency go up in leaps and bounds. And so does your company productivity. You also reduce staff sickness absence: something that costs UK employers over £12 billion a year.

"We wanted to show the effects the programme can have in the work place and it's helping a company progress and have more productivity."

Here the team tell how they got on and reveal the secrets to their success.

Sue Mayman, an executive for Yorkshire Living magazine, lost an impressive 6lbs.

Sue said: "I had a great experience with David Lloyd. For me it was really educational in terms of thinking 'you are what you eat' more so than how much exercise you do. Exercise is an important element but for it to be effective and to get the benefits you need to think about diet and exercise in partnership.

"Tim helped us with ideas for meals and I took on about planning and reducing my carbs. In the morning I changed to having berries and yoghurt or berries and porridge.

"My BMI and fat level are where they should be and I have lost 6lbs. I feel a lot better and I really thank them - they have been amazing. I have enjoyed it – it's been good to think about things again. I've also really enjoyed getting to know my colleagues at work as a team."

Nicola Haigh, a senior administration assistant at The Press, said: "It turns out that although I was eating the right food, it just wasn’t in the right proportion and at the right times. Tim kindly created a structured diet plan which has certainly worked.

"I started straight away with breakfast which was hard as it’s not something I tend to bother with, especially on a work day, but I managed to persevere. This has been followed by a light salad lunch and an evening meal in a smaller portion size.

"Regular visits to the gym consisted of a warm-up on the cross trainer followed by a good workout on the treadmill and bike, upper body workout and a cool down at the end. Although I was exhausted, I did feel better for it.

"Each Wednesday we gathered as a team for a weigh in and a group training session with Tim who worked us pretty hard, especially in the spinning session - which was my first and I've only just about recovered - but it was well worth the pain.

"The month has flown by, I can’t believe it’s finished. I’ve really enjoyed the time working out, spending some time for myself and losing weight, which was my main aim.

"I feel a lot better in myself and have more energy and I would like to thank everyone involved in giving us this opportunity and to thank Tim for the time and effort he has put in.

"I will certainly be continuing with the fitness and diet and have recently purchased a treadmill to go alongside my cross trainer."

Nadia Jefferson-Brown, deputy news editor at The Press, said the trial gave her the motivation she needed to improve her general fitness.

She said: "Several years ago I took up jogging and had built up to a twice-weekly, 25-minute circuit and then surprised myself, and others I'm sure, by completing the York 10k.

"I then made the mistake of being put off by the dark, cold winter evenings and stopped running for several months. But the long break made me feel unfit and I couldn't face the embarrassment of attempting a run and being breathless within minutes of leaving home in full view of neighbours and passing motorists.

"Having now been to David Lloyd's over several weeks and seen people of varying ages, sizes and levels of fitness, I realise no-one is remotely interested in what I'm doing, saving their focus and energy for their own personal goals.

"My routine, as planned with a personal trainer after discussing my aims of getting fitter and trimmer, focussed on the treadmill to tie in with my past 'enjoyment' of running.

"With the challenge to run slightly further within a certain time frame on each visit, as well as doing interval bursts where I increased my speed for a brief spell, I found my stamina improved and I was able to run for longer and at a gradually-increased pace.

"I'm pleased to say I'm no longer out of breath at the slightest exertion, feel I can face pounding the pavements once more without too much shame, have lost a few pounds and have been shown a different approach to the kind of foods I eat and snack on."

Megi Rychlikova, court reporter for The Press, lost an impressive 8lbs and is determined to carry on her gym work.

She said: "For me, gyms were places where gymnasts called Matt Whitlock and Beth Tweddle perform incredible high-flying routines round asymmetric and high bars and strongmen pump up their muscles with heavy metal weights. They certainly weren't places where I would want to spend any time.

"How that has changed. I now make time to go to the gym on my way home to use the treadmill or the stationary bicycle or do some muscle toning. So far I haven't noticed much visual evidence of change, but my legs tell me the morning after they have been working hard and I can feel the difference if I do sessions three days running. The difficulty has been fitting it round the rest of my life. I will definitely keep the gym work up, particularly in the winter when I won't be able to go cycling as much on the roads.

"The diet is a work in progress. I am a lifelong cake addict so I have been having withdrawal symptoms throughout the challenge. I do try when in coffee bars to look for the nut snacks and not the cream delights, but it's hard. I need to find a mind gym to strengthen my will power. "

Laura Knowlson, business editor for The Press, took part in the fitness challenge as part of her training programme for this year’s Yorkshire Marathon.

She said: "As I was already working on my cardiovascular fitness and endurance through running, my individual gym session were spent on strength and muscular endurance. The staff at David Lloyd talked me through set exercises to target improving both my leg and core strength. I really felt the benefits of this in my running training as knee and muscle aches which I had started to feel during longer runs lessened noticeably.

"Our trainer Tim also gave us enlightening nutritional advice, based on the theory of avoiding short term sugar highs, which was especially useful to me when planning my daily diet around a working at a desk. While keeping up energy levels to sustain my training, I learnt about balancing protein, carbohydrate and fat intake appropriately to avoid unused energy converting into fats while sat at my desk.

"And at the end of a busy week training and working a dip in the outdoor pool, hot tub and sauna was a nice way to unwind."