We've got the fixtures for next season's Premier League and EFL now – but across the country, some seasons have been going for over a month.
Almost 90 MAN v FAT leagues are running already, with a further 30 going live this summer – and there's plenty of stars on show.
It's a counter-intuitive idea: basically, the biggest losers are the biggest winners.
But MAN v FAT leagues are not about fighting off relegation or making it into Europe: it’s about men who want to lose weight getting together to play football, while getting expert advice on how to shift the pounds.
And with football loved – and even enjoyed, sometimes – by so many of us, it's no surprise that MAN v FAT is the UK’s leading men’s weight loss programme.
Over 5,000 men participate every week in a COVID-safe manner (that's higher than the average attendance for Premier League games last season, by the way – even after you exclude behind-closed-doors games).
Individuals as well as teams able to sign up – and an incredible 90% of participants lose weight. And while people who sign up are given tips on losing weight, they're given the responsibility to do it themselves. So if you just enjoy playing the game and struggle to shift pounds, well, that's fine.
Here are some of the stars of the season so far:
Coach: Eloy Grana
Eloy is the lead coach at two central London clubs, MAN v FAT Kensington and MAN v FAT Westminster.
Despite having a heavy workload, Eloy continues to give 110% of his time and effort to support the players across both clubs and has successfully manage to grow Kensington from a four to a six-team league, which is the first time the league has made the jump above four teams. His enthusiasm is hugely appreciated by all of the players he looks after!
Individual/Player: Sebastian Yates (Norwich)
Since joining MAN v FAT Norwich, Sebastian has lost nearly five stone with the programme. When speaking about his successes with the rest of the lads in Norfolk, he said: “My motivation came because I was not sleeping well, and I felt uncomfortable with my own weight. People were looking at me based on my size and I decided to do something about it, bit by bit.
“I now watch what I eat, and don’t beat myself up if I have a bad day. I monitor all that I do, but don't get obsessed by it and know that I can pick things up the next day if things slip slightly. If you want to lose weight, just believe in yourself. You might put on a pound here or there, but if you keep at it, you'll get there and hit your targets.
“MAN v FAT has helped me to understand the importance of losing weight. The team aspect keeps you on track and I enjoy being a part of it.”
Team: Thin It To Win It (West Bromwich)
The Thin It To Win It players have enjoyed great success as a team, shifting over 10 stone between them since the MAN v FAT programme returned to action in April. The team’s success has been due to great teamwork off the pitch - pushing, challenging and supporting each other in WhatsApp groups and in their spare time with the group organising other football games and gatherings. They have become very good at sharing the good stuff, as well as opening up when they’re struggling.
Their team name signifies a mission has no doubt helped too! In the team, we have Paul Slaney, Rob Carr, Martin Simpson, Rob Kirk, Stephen Shuttleworth, Gary Onions, Pete Dangerfield, Michael Brown, Stephen White, Stu White and Andrew Field.
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 signing up for Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal in 1996, 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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