While the Premier League may already be on a break for international fixtures, there are plenty of leagues across the country that haven't slowed down at all over the summer months.
Nearly 100 MAN v FAT leagues have been running since the return of grassroots football this year, putting an inventive spin on the beautiful game. It's where the biggest losers are the biggest winners: the teams who shed the most pounds are the ones who get to bathe in glory.
It's not a programme that judges on technical ability; it's about trying to find a way of making losing weight more fun. Almost 6,000 guys participate every week in a COVID-safe manner – with individuals as well as teams able to sign up – and 90% of participants lose weight.
Those who sign up take part in training to improve their football ability, and get tips on how best to approach losing weight, but they're given the responsibility to do it themselves.
At FourFourTwo, we've been tracking stars across this leagues all summer – and here are some of the standouts in August:
Team of the Month: Maradona Kebab
Our final MAN v FAT team to get the nod are Maradona Kebab, who have enjoyed good fortunes in our MAN v FAT Eastbourne club. As a team, they lost over 100kg last season! What’s more, Damien Thomas has lost 34kg during his time with MAN v FAT, Dan Bennett 24kg and John Clark 20kg, whilst Alan Hanmer is 32kg down and Ashley Coley is 17kg down.
It’s clear to see that MAN v FAT is having a very positive impact on the south coast!
Coach of the Month: Ben Gleeson (Swansea)
Having started as a player in our MAN v FAT Cardiff league, Ben has picked up the mantle of Coach in Swansea and has already hit the ground running. Inspired by the efforts of his fellow Welsh coaches in Cardiff and Newport, Ben has put in the hard yards to get the new MAN v FAT Swansea club off to a positive start. Making friends with local media and ensuring that the word of MAN v FAT is spread far and wide, Ben’s hard work is sure to succeed!
Players of the Month
One of the hardest things we’ve had to do whilst writing these MAN v FAT round-ups is to trim down the list of contenders to one or two. So, as we round off this series of celebrating some incredible achievements up and down the country, here’s just a few more names that we think are worthy of some attention within the MAN v FAT leagues.
Chris Sharpe: “First and foremost I always love a game of football. Playing alongside teammates who all share the same health and fitness goals is constantly encouraging and it is great to see the success of team mates and opposition alike. The motivation to contribute to the team bonus goals and individual bonus goals for weight loss hat tricks and milestones has been more effective than any other incentive throughout my life, other than losing weight for my wedding!
“Each week when I weigh in it is not only for me but also to help my team. You know the main aim is getting fitter and healthier so it doesn't matter so much what happens on the pitch if you are moving towards your weight loss goals. Remember, consistency is the key. You will always have a "bad" day here and there or an event that you want to let your hair down at, but if you get back on it again the next day then you will still see progress.”
Ross Gudgeon: “MAN v FAT was a final attempt to get back into football after a few failed attempts, mostly due to my weight and lack of fitness so hearing of a program that offered me both was a no brainer. At the time of writing, I am currently down 23.3kg, which is 3.7 stone!
“I was unhappy on the path I was on. I could see and feel the weight going on with nothing I was trying to stop it. Now, however, I am so happy and I am grateful for this programme. Physically I am able to do more and be more active and I feel like I want to do more. Mentally I'm in such a better place from looking at how far I've come and confidence is at an all-time high.
“I have made some simple little changes, which make a huge difference in both physical activity and diet. Make use of your team-mates and coaches whenever you can, don't be afraid to ask anything. At the end of the day everyone is there to lose weight!”
Alex Mayes: “I’ve lost 29.8kg with MAN v FAT and, before I lost that weight, I always felt like something was holding me back mentally. I’ve always said that other people’s opinions don’t matter to me but deep down I was extremely self conscious about my weight.
“Now, I feel like literally like I’m on top of the world! I have so much more energy and my family all say I am a much happier person to be around now I’m not so tired and grumpy all the time. I have gone from wearing that hoodie that all of us bigger guys own (even in summer!) to finally feeling comfortable enough to dress weather appropriately and having so much energy.
“If there was ever a moment of my life I will look back on as being really important, it was signing up. I have met so many new friends that are there for not only my fitness and weight loss journey but also they have been there and supported me mentally through some tough times at home.”
Chris Smith: Chris lost a total of 24.49% of his body weight last season at the Rotherham league which is run by Rotherham United Community Sports Trust.
Chris said: “I have totally changed my eating habits, I have started to make every meal from starch which gives me the knowledge of what I am eating and putting into my meals. I prepared meals so if I was late home which prevented me from phoning a takeaway, I also upped my exercise level by walking every day too.
“The main thing that helps me is the MAN v FAT scoring system. I am quite a competitive person so each week I wanted to lose weight to help the team win on a Friday.”
Rotherham United Community Sports Trust added: “It’s great to see the change in Chris over the last 14 weeks and it’s amazing to see the results he achieved with the efforts he’s put in!”
Simon Haseldine – Lost 20.23% of his bodyweight in Salford’s last season and has lost again the first 2 weeks of the following season.
Matt Bell – Has lost 33KG since lockdown, is on 18.5% of his bodyweight lost at the time of writing and has been phenomenal in enacting a complete lifestyle change. Even whilst on holiday, he trained each day and lost a further 5.9kg since his previous weigh in. Matt and Si push each other really well!
Sami and Shadi El-Balbisi – Brothers who play together. Both have hit their 10% which means Sami has now hit maintenance scoring. Shadi has 7kg to go to get there too and we wouldn’t bet against him doing it this season.
Charlie Roberts: Charlie has enjoyed an incredible first season, smashing all of the MAN v FAT Yeovil records. He has shed around 30kg since joining MAN v FAT Football. You can read Charlie’s story here.
Think you could match any of that? You can sign up to play a weekly game of football in a MAN v FAT league if you have a BMI of 27.5 or over, and you’ll get expert advice on how to lose weight – with the rest left up to you. The leagues are about wanting to lose weight and enjoying football, not having pressure to stick to strict regimens. You’re not aiming for the Brisbane Olympics 2032, after all.
Joining up also gives you access to SilverCloud, an online mental health and wellbeing app, and The Other Room Gym, an online gym with a wide range of classes, as well as becoming part of a supportive community of thousands on the MAN v FAT Facebook page. You can sign up to play with MAN v FAT from just £27.50 a month at www.manvfatfootball.org – or find out more on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
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