The first season of Peterborough’s newest football league has just finished and the result was a shock.... Man 519: Fat 0.
Every Monday night dozens of the city’s heavyweight footballers face their toughest opponent... the digital scales of coach Sean Hackett, as they weigh in before the matches kick off.
The Man v Fat league in Peterbough is one of a number springing up in towns and cities all over the country. The theory is simple - combine the fun of football, the competition of a league table and the support of team mates to help chaps who could do with shedding a few pounds get the motivation to do so.
The six-a-side league combines the on-the-pitch score between two teams with their weight loss score.
For every player that loses weight since the previous week’s weigh-in the team gets half a goal, if a player loses weight three weeks in a row the team gets a hat-trick, and so on. It means that a team can lose on the pitch, but can overtake their opponents and win the fixture if they’ve had a good week on weight loss. It also means that players can contribute to the score in two ways... often a player who starts out heavier and struggling for fitness can be a star in the weight loss stakes.
Man v Fat Football leagues started in the UK in January 2016 as a scheme with Solihull Council. In that scheme, 95 per cent of players lostweight and 62 per cent hit their five per cent weight loss target. It is the first weight loss scheme to ever be officially endorsed by the Football Association, and in Peterborough it has been a huge success... with the players taking part shedding a combined 519kg. In Peterborough it is also improving the lives of players. One, Rob, said: “A while a ago I was diagnosed with leukaemia, I have struggled to lose weight and keep losing any enthusiasm for everything in general, but since joining MVF with the encouragement of not just my own team players but every team, I have managed to lose two stone and keep it off. You don’t have to be a great football player to enjoy the game, and some weeks I don’t play but I enjoy the banter watching the games and not wanting to let your team mates down by putting on weight.” Andrew Kay, 33, a landscape architect, said: “ After numerous attempts at losing weight and getting fit, I’ve found that MVF has been the only one that I’ve been able to stick at. Being new to the area I was able to meet some great people and that drove me to make sure I lost weight each week... to not let my teammates down. I’ve lost close to 15kg, and my confidence hasn’t been this high for years.”
Andy Taylor 38, a healthcare assistant added: “Before joining MVF I found it hard to just walk up stairs, but now with healthier eating and exercise I’ve lost 20kg this season and I’m a lot more active.
“I can do a lot more with my family and I have met some great lads in my team as well as the whole group. I can’t wait for next season.”
Neil Webb 45, an architectural ironmonger said: “Joining MVF has been the best thing I have done regarding my weight and health. I have lost two stone in weight over 14 weeks and decreased my diabetic medication in the process. Really looking forward to next season with a great bunch of lads who are full of encouragement.”
Mark Shore, 44, a business intelligence analyst, said: “I have lost over a stone. MVF has certainly helped my fitness, 15 weeks ago I struggled after ten minutes. I can now play the whole game without too much of an issue. The support and banter definitely makes the league a good thing to be part of.”
Ian Anderson, 49, a delivery driver said: “The best thing I ever did was join MVF. I’ve lost a stone in weight and gained some great mates.”
Sean Hackett, the coach, said: “Being my first season doing anything like this I’ve been so surprised at the results and how it’s gone. To be part of helping so many men who have themselves come to us and said ‘I’m not healthy’ or ‘I’m overweight’ in threemonths to saying “I feel so much better, healthier and fitter” is amazing. When I first started I didn’t have any goals to aim for but now having helped over 80 men over the season achieve nearly 520kg lost in 14 weeks shows what MVF can do for anyone.’’
Now the Peterborough MvF league is looking to expand by adding two more teams. You don’t need to be part of a team to join, players register individually and are assigned to a team by the coach who balances abilities, weights and fitness levels.
For more information or to register visithttps://www.manvfatfootball.org/peterborough