Ordsall Leisure Centre is playing host to ‘Man V Fat’, a company aimed at encouraging men to lose weight whilst offering unique incentives to push members.
The company have helped thousands of men across the country feel more positively about their weight and fitness by employing a system of weight tracking which can affect the outcome of matches.
Tom Shirley, 34, has been helping to coach the league system they have in place, and he explained how important this type of event is for men:
“Man v Fat started back about six, seven years ago now and ultimately, we know that 90% of people that attend weight loss interventions are female, we realised there was something needed to be done to try and help men do it.
“Man V Fat Salford has been going for a few years now. I jumped in a couple of years ago, the guys have been running it created a really good community for themselves. They’ve got a really good atmosphere.”
On the topic of how the league system actually works with the weight loss incentives, he said:
“Whether they come down on their own or join with other people, they are assigned to a team of a different colour, whichever one that may be, and then each week they play a different game against one of the other teams; so yellows vs blues, reds vs greens, whatever it might be.
“We weigh the guys in before the game, depending on how well they’ve done on the scales they’ll score goes for the team. So, for every two players that loses weight, they score a goal for every three players that tracks their food collectively they score a goal.
“If they hit targets like 5% or 10% of their weight loss, they’ll score three goals and then whatever they do after pitch gets added to the score of the game to create an overall table.”
These incentives help members stay on top of their weight with the weekly check-ups, which comes at a crucial time for public health.
The Health Survey for England estimated in 2019 that 28% of adults in England are obese and a further 36.2% are overweight.
This same survey also stated that men are more likely than women to be overweight – 68.2% of men compared to 60.4% of women shows a large difference and suggests how these types of events could help to reduce those numbers.
Man V Fat has seen huge success with their programmes with thousands of men losing large amounts of weight. Mr Shirley said:
“We’ve got about 100 guys in the club itself at the moment and I think the main thing has been, it’s just a really positive atmosphere. And I think people that come down enjoy it, make lifelong friends, people that they enjoy spending time with.
“Over the last 14 weeks, the guys have lost 200 kilogrammes. As a whole company the guys have lost over 400,000 pounds across the country.
“So, it’s been really successful and we know it works, we know that 90% of guys that sign up lose weight. We know that 60% of guys who take part in more than 10 sessions tend to lose over 5% of their body weight and here it’s been really since the pandemic where over 1000 kilogrammes lost.
“There’s one guy who’s coming up to 30% of his body weight since April. Three guys in the club have managed to achieve a healthy BMI.”
You can look at some more inspiring weight loss journeys with Man V Fat here: https://manvfat.com/a-brand-new-man-amazing-loser-matt-bell/
Jason Walsh, 28, has been going to Man V Fat since June and he explained how it’s been benefitting his life since he started:
“I started losing weight in January, as like a New Year’s resolution and I wanted to play football as well. I only played football as a kid and to be fair, as well, I moved to Manchester like just at the start of this year and I wanted to make some friends to be fair.
“It’s hard to push yourself to lose weight on your own you know, it’s doable, but it’s 1000 times easier when you’ve got a team behind you and you’re tracking every week and you get like, you get rewarded.”
Jason started off at 107kg but since starting the programme he has lost an astounding 21kg having dropped to 86kg, showing the benefits to having regular exercise in your weekly schedule.
Jamie Hollingsworth, 33, also attends the weekly matches, he said:
“You know what? The lads are all mint. Every one of them. You can talk to any of them, and they’ll all help you out whether it’s mental health or dieting, the rest, it’s well good. Any one of them, that’s what I’ve noticed anyway in all the chats.
“When you do it by yourself, you’re talking to yourself aren’t you? We’re all on the same boat so there’s nothing to hide.”
Mental health is another aspect that was discussed throughout each interview, and statistics show that men’s mental health is suffering.
According to the Mental Heath Foundation three times as many men as women die from suicide and that, according to the Government’s national wellbeing survey, they also report lower levels of life satisfaction.
The social aspect of Man V Fat was highlighted several times and this suggests that going out and mixing with others, whilst keeping fit, will help improve your view of your own image and potentially your level of life satisfaction.
Adam Franks, 22, spoke about the switch in mentality this can give you:
“They’re big lads, small lads, anything. But incentive is to lose weight. So even if you’re the skinniest guy in the world, and you want to lose weight, your incentive is to lose weight.
“I think also having league competitions and games and cup games, to get a medal at the end of it, the lads are like ‘oh buzzing’ because even if they don’t feel positive about how they look, they’re enjoying a Thursday coming to play football and actually meeting new people.”
On his personal feelings about the programme and its benefits, he said:
“This has been helping me get the fitness levels up. So when I actually get on the pitch, I’m not like a snowman and I’m just stood there, I can actually move about and actually feel positive and benefit from doing this on a Thursday.”
Whilst losing weight every week is the goal, for some it might not always happen at the speed they expect. Adam explained how these mental setbacks can be overcome with playing:
“I’ve seen lads who have lost loads and loads of weight and some weeks you can gain weight, some weeks you can just maintain what you had the week before.
“For the lads who actually are losing weight, it’s good because they’re losing weight then coming on the pitch and they could win the match and the result helps push them on more, and it motivates them to continue coming down.”
For more information on how to join, you can click the link here.
You can also watch the video form of the story here: