The football league for fat players has worked brilliantly well - and is expanding

Louis Dor
Tuesday 05 July 2016 18:00
sport

Losing weight is hard, and anyone who has struggled with it will tell you so.

Everyone needs a little incentive and support when trying.

If you're a guy, there's a lot less stigma attached to playing football than dieting.

Thus, MAN v FAT was born - a five a side football league with the aim of collective weight loss.

The founder, Andrew Shanahan, told indy100 that players are weighed before the game by a weight loss coach before playing:

What happens is the score on the pitch is half the weighting of the overall results - the other part of the scoring is the weight loss for that week.

A team could go on and get thrashed 6-0, but they may still win because they may have more players who've lost weight.

The scores for weight loss are calculated by how many players have lost weight, how many have hit targets and whether certain players have hit consecutive targets - encouraging continued results.

This means, you don't even have to play if you don't feel comfortable running or have mobility issues - you can still help your side win through weight loss.

Alongside the football, players receive support through forums, weight loss professionals and each other:

They get support through, online mostly, peer support groups, run through WhatsApp mostly, where the teams come together to cheer each other on.

Andrew tells us that many have gone on to become Sunday League players and weight loss coaches themselves, inspired by the even playing field they experience at MAN v FAT.

Some of these guys haven't kicked a ball for two decades and are very uncertain, the reason why is that they haven't had an even platform to come into the game.

The team sport aspect is what really drives weight loss though:

I think that's the key to it, hugely - I don't know if you've ever had issues with yout weight or had times you wanted to lose weight, but the key thing, especially for men, is knowing that others are going through that - that they're not the only person doing it.

The scheme's trial was successful in the extreme - 95 per cent of players lost weight and 62 per cent hit their target of five per cent body weight loss.

The average weight lost was just under two stone.

Ben Gallon, a 31 year old builder, was a great example of the effectiveness of the league - he lost just over four stone.

Picture: MAN v FAT

Or Chris Fenton, a senior care assistant from Birmingham who lost four and a half stone.

Picture: MAN v FAT

Or Ujay Ali, at the top of this article, 32, a bank manager who lost four stone four pounds.

The new league is launching in mid-July and you can see the listed locations on the map, below:

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To sign up, you can register at ManVFat.org, and there's more info in the video below:

More: There is now a football league exclusively for fat players

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