FIT FANS will help you achieve your goals in 2022!

As we transition into the New Year, you may have set the stereotypical get fitter resolution but lack the knowledge and tools to make a sustainable change. You might be looking at purchasing a gym membership or that magic latest diet fad but before you do be sure to check out your local football club and their FIT FANS initiative; it’s FREE, inclusive and fun!

The programme enables people to learn and put into practice small, consistent changes to improve their health.

Funded by Sport England through the National Lottery and run at around 40 EFL Clubs across the country. It is a free health programme for men and women aged 35-65 who are looking to lose weight, get fitter and lead a more active life.

Average weight loss statistics for the FIT FANS programme are impressive and exceed those of many other programmes. On average women lose well over 3kg and men over 5.5kg by the end of the 12 weeks. We also have evidence that lifestyle change and weight loss is sustained over the following 12 months. More than 90% of men and 85% of women lose weight during the programme with many losing a clinically significant amount.  Our data shows FIT FANS helps people to increase physical activity, reduce sedentary time, leading to weight loss, a significant reduction in blood pressure and improvement in self-reported mental wellbeing measures.

However, the benefits extend much further than just weight loss, with many participants commenting on the positive effects it has had on their mental health and social activity.

Nic attended FIT FANS with Northampton Town Community Trust credits the programme for indirectly helping those close to the participants too. He said, “It has not only changed my life but changed my kids lives too.”

The programme brings a diverse group of individuals together to form an environment that mirrors that of a family.  A FIT ROVERS participant echoes:  “Taking part in FIT ROVERS was the best thing I’ve ever done. The sessions and workouts are brilliant, but the camaraderie and banter is even better. I lost over a stone and a half but even more importantly, I feel like I’ve learned to enjoy myself again and that people like me, which has made me like myself again.”

Lifelong Villa fan, Kate attended her beloved clubs FIT FANS programme which gave her the motivation to change even after the end of the 12-week programme:

“The 12 week programme was fun, informative, and motivating. The classes have set us both on our way to a whole new healthier and fitter lifestyle. Michelle, Dru and Josh supported us all the way and delivered the health and fitness messages in a way that made us feel like we could succeed.

This motivation has stayed with us even though the course has ended. We have since signed up to more fitness classes, are watching what we eat and are losing more weight.”

In 2020, the programme won the Leaders in Sports Community Award which showcases the most innovative organisations and people driving the sports industry forward.

1000’s of people have made massive improvements to their health and lifestyle and there’s no reason that can’t be YOU. So before you spend a fortune on gym membership or weight loss plans, try your local football club, it’s FREE, proven to work and you might find having fun and making new friends too.

FIT ROBINS allowed City fan Sam to improve his health and wellbeing after contracting COVID-19 twice

Bristol City Robins Foundation has helped Robins fan Sam improve his health and wellbeing in time for the Christmas festivities. 

After contracting Coronavirus twice, Sam’s fitness had been on the decline and he would struggle to climb a set of stairs without coming over breathless.

Sam explained: “I was sick of how I was feeling and was ready to make a change. After reading about the FIT ROBINS program, it seemed to offer a good balance of education and fitness. Unlike other diet programs I have tried in the past, this felt like it would provide me with the tools to make permanent changes rather than temporary ones.”

FIT FANS offers both an educational and physical outlook on a more healthy lifestyle. This balance has enabled Sam to continuously make small changes to his lifestyle that has amounted to huge results.  He now plans in advance to ensure he eats healthier and make better choices with food, finding time to exercise even if that is just a case of parking further away to get in those extra steps.

With the exercise that Sam has been completing, he has seen vast improvements in his physical fitness whilst losing weight along his journey.

Average weight loss statistics for the FIT FANS programme are impressive and exceed those of many other programmes. On average women lose well over 3kg and men over 5.5kg by the end of the 12 weeks. We also have evidence that lifestyle change and weight loss is sustained over the following 12 months. More than 90% of men and 85% of women lose weight during the programme with many losing a clinically significant amount.  Our data shows FIT FANS helps people to increase physical activity, reduce sedentary time, leading to weight loss, a significant reduction in blood pressure and improvement in self-reported mental wellbeing measures.

He said:  “The program also enabled me to make changes that meant I did not need to follow any strict diets or restrict what I could have. Not at any point have I felt deprived on my journey, and I feel confident these changes are something that is sustainable and becomes a part of my everyday life.”

The variation of each session has seen Sam partake in a range of exercise that keeps him engaged from playing football, circuits or even just a walk around the local area. However, a secondary benefit for Sam was the camaraderie that FIT ROBINS provided in  T getting to know the other participants and supporting each other on their own journeys.

Sam praised the coaches at the Foundation, he said:  “The coaches offered support throughout the program and although encouraged they never put any pressure on anyone. It was reassuring to know that I could go at my own pace, and they would be there to offer help and advice if required.”

FIT ROBINS Lead Coach Lee Gillett commented on how FIT FANS can be the foundation for change that reaches all generations of families, he said: “It’s really tough for families at this time of year, if we can make a small difference and keep our children active and well feed with freshly cooked, healthy meals we can make a real difference to those young people.”

Burton Albion and Burton Albion Community Trust joined forces to serve their local residents in response to COVID-19

Burton Albion and Burton Albion Community Trust have joined forces to serve their community during the global pandemic. A whole year since they first actioned their fight against COVID-19, they have reflected upon their successes so far. 

When the first dose was administered at the Pirelli Stadium Covid-19 Vaccination Centre a year ago, it was the start of an incredible pandemic response from Burton Albion.

Now, 12 months on nearly 200,000 vaccinations have been given to grateful members of the community – with first, second and booster doses helping to save lives.

It has taken a phenomenal commitment from the football club and the community trust, working in tandem with NHS professionals and relying on the support of dozens of volunteers.

It’s something that everyone involved is justly proud of.

Head of Community Matt Hancock said: “It started with the club stepping up and wanting to be at the heart of the pandemic response. Burton Albion under Chairman Ben Robinson has always been at the heart of the community and at the time of greatest need was always going to be ready and waiting to make a big difference.

“The club has donated the facilities at the stadium and made it all possible working with the NHS to make sure we had a smooth, efficient and caring vaccination centre ready from day one.

“Since then, we have taken the massive step of freeing NHS staff to get back to their important work by BACT taking on the operation of the centre ourselves, which sets us apart from what other football clubs have done. None of that would have been possible without the dedication of our staff and volunteers and the wholehearted support of the football club.”

Ben Robinson said: “I can’t praise enough the dedication and commitment of all those working at the Vaccination Centre. It’s the biggest and most important task we have ever undertaken at Burton Albion, and it’s been an amazing success story.

“And we are now stepping that up even further with the threat of Omicron and the need to deliver booster jabs as quickly as possible.”

The Chairman visited the Vaccination Centre to thank the staff and volunteers and to make a presentation to Debbie Melling, the Vaccination Centre Site Lead for the NHS, for her birthday.

Vaccine Centre Lead, Debbie Melling being presented her flowers on her birthday.

Roy Burton, the Vaccination Centre Coordinator, said: “We have come a long way since we gave the first dose on December 16 last year and we will have topped 200,000 by early in the new year.

“Next week we are running clinics from Monday to Thursday with five extra bays and we expect to deliver 3,000 doses a day.

“The Community Trust took over the running of the centre from April which was another big step for us.”

It’s not just at the Pirelli Stadium where vaccinations are being delivered.

Roy said: “BACT and the NHS, as a joint venture, have been to De Ferrers to give doses to school pupils and to Uttoxeter Racecourse five times and we have gone out to the homes of people who can’t come here.

“A friend of BACT Chairman John Jackson has had his leg amputated and couldn’t get here for his booster so we went out to him. That links into the wider pandemic response because the NHS and BACT can then keep in touch with people like that and make sure they are getting the support they need.”

January offers another big challenge with a planned Super Sunday on the 16th with 17 bays in operation and a target of 6,000 to 8,000 doses delivered with a mix of appointments and walk-ins.

Roy said: “The Chairman has given us the club again for that and it should be stressed that Burton Albion doesn’t receive a penny for this and donates all the facilities, electricity and lighting to allow this to happen. It’s Ben Robinson’s commitment to supporting the community through the football club that has enabled all this to happen.”

As the Christmas period approaches, Burton Albion will continue to serve and protect their local community throughout COVID-19.

The FIT COBBLERS camaraderie helped Nic and his family become one again

Prior to embarking on a life-changing journey with FIT FANS at Northampton Town Community Trust, Nic struggled with the motivation make changes in his lifestyle.

He stated: “My activity had pretty much ground to halt, my step count for the week was only 30-40,000, my food choices were poor and I kind of ignored my mental health quite a lot. I struggled to do anything about it and lacked the motivation to commit to seeing anything through.”

However, after spotting an advert for FIT COBBLERS last year he applied immediately, as comments, “Having the Club name attached to it really helped and kind of make it feel a bit ‘cooler.’ Having access to the club and people like Akshay was a big part.”

At his initial weigh-in, Nic was 15 stone, which was as heavy as he had been in his whole life. This emboldened Nic’s to give it everything, not just for his benefit but his children’s and his wife.

The results speak for themselves as Nic explains, “I think at the end of week 12 I was doing 160,000 steps a weekend and was I really eating super clean for 12 weeks. So throughout that 3-month programme, I lost 2.5 stone.”

Average weight loss statistics for the FIT FANS programme are impressive and exceed those of many other programmes. On average women lose well over 3kg and men over 5.5kg by the end of the 12 weeks. We also have evidence that lifestyle change and weight loss is sustained over the following 12 months. More than 90% of men and 85% of women lose weight during the programme with many losing a clinically significant amount.  Our data shows FIT FANS helps people to increase physical activity, reduce sedentary time, leading to weight loss, a significant reduction in blood pressure and improvement in self-reported mental wellbeing measures.

With such great results, Nic was anxious as to whether he would fall back into his old habits. However , he credits Akshay Mistry, Northampton Town’s Community Trust Sports Participation Officer Nic with helping him and the rest of the group keep going. So much so that Nic has surpassed his expectation and continued to lose another stone in weight.

Nic said: “It didn’t really stop, we carried on with a weekly zoom fitness class with Akshay. There’s a WhatsApp group where everyone is really supportive. All of the people that have come through the programme continue to check in with each other and we support each other on those tougher days when people are finding it a bit harder.”

Nic has continued his healthy habits and the benefits have created a domino effect for those close to Nic explains,

“This has not only changed my life but it’s also changed my kids life. I’m there for them much more now. I’ve got more energy and more time for them to do things they want. I do lots of walking and now the kids and my wife all come on my walk. We all go out as a family and have just become more active together.

FIT VILLA sparked lifelong Villian Kate into change

Lifelong Aston Villa fan, Kate found FIT VILA the perfect opportunity to make positive long -term changes to her health and well-being.

Prior to enrolling on the programme, Kate was aware that her eating habits and physical activity had lapsed due to the national lockdown but lacked the consistent motivation to ‘get up and go’.

However, finding the FIT FANS initiative hosted at her beloved club was the initial spark for her to begin her journey.

Average weight loss statistics for the FIT FANS programme are impressive and exceed those of many other programmes. On average women lose well over 3kg and men over 5.5kg by the end of the 12 weeks. We also have evidence that lifestyle change and weight loss is sustained over the following 12 months. More than 90% of men and 85% of women lose weight during the programme with many losing a clinically significant amount.  Our data shows FIT FANS helps people to increase physical activity, reduce sedentary time, leading to weight loss, a significant reduction in blood pressure and improvement in self-reported mental wellbeing measures.

For Kate, the programme has supported her in several ways. Not only has she lost 4.6kg but has found consistency within her lifestyle from strength training at home to monitoring her diet.

She said: “The 12 week programme was fun, informative, and motivating. The classes have set us both on our way to a whole new healthier and fitter lifestyle. Michelle, Dru and Josh supported us all the way and delivered the health and fitness messages in a way that made us feel like we could succeed.

This motivation has stayed with us even though the course has ended. We have since signed up to more fitness classes, are watching what we eat and are losing more weight.”

Kate has continued to use the foundations of FIT VILLA to succeed in her healthy lifestyle.

Blackburn Rovers and FIT FANS has given Scott a second chance at life

FIT ROVERS gave Scott a new positive outlook on his future after a period of rehabilitation and having to start his life over again at the age of 40 due to drug and alcohol dependency.

Average weight loss statistics for the FIT FANS programme are impressive and exceed those of many other programmes. On average women lose well over 3kg and men over 5.5kg by the end of the 12 weeks. We also have evidence that lifestyle change and weight loss is sustained over the following 12 months. More than 90% of men and 85% of women lose weight during the programme with many losing a clinically significant amount.  Our data shows FIT FANS helps people to increase physical activity, reduce sedentary time, leading to weight loss, a significant reduction in blood pressure and improvement in self-reported mental wellbeing measures.

The course’s practical and educational benefits were forefront of Scott’s progress in his physical and mental well being where he learnt and implemented a balanced lifestyle regime whilst adapting methods to ensure he was able to manage his mental health. However, the biggest impact on Scott was his ability to meet a whole new group of people without fear of judgment.

He said: “I had lost everything, you never judged or discriminated me and gave me a chance to come on the course which I’m very grateful for because FIT FANS has given me so much.”

As a result, he was more motivated and positive than ever as his whole lifestyle and wellbeing were focused into positive environments. On the back of this development, Scott was successfully offered a job as a Community Sports Coach at Blackburn Rovers Community Trust where he hopes to create an impact on younger generations.

He explained: “No words can describe what it means to work for the club I’ve grown up supporting and to try and make a difference to children and young people in the community to hopefully help them not take the path I unfortunately fell down.”

FIT BANTAMS helped Bradford City supporter Paul accumulate enough exercise miles to travel virtually to Lake Garda.

Paul like many of us throughout the COVID-19 lockdown period had positive intentions of getting fit but as a sufferer of seasonal affective disorder, he was left with very little motivation or direction in his well being journey.

As a follower of Bradford City, he came across FIT BANTAMS through a friend from a previous cohort. As he enrolled on his journey, Paul had two main goals he wanted to achieve, the first being to lose 12kg and the other was to accumulate cycling and walking distances to get virtually to Paris.

Average weight loss statistics for the FIT FANS programme are impressive and exceed those of many other programmes. On average women lose well over 3kg and men over 5.5kg by the end of the 12 weeks. We also have evidence that lifestyle change and weight loss is sustained over the following 12 months. More than 90% of men and 85% of women lose weight during the programme with many losing a clinically significant amount. Our data shows FIT FANS helps people to increase physical activity, reduce sedentary time, leading to weight loss, a significant reduction in blood pressure and improvement in self-reported mental well-being measures.

Paul said: “Meeting likeminded people on the course gave me the confidence I needed, exchanging ideas on eating habits, exercise regimes and of course the guidance from the tutors was invaluable.”

The engagement and support of the cohort and programme leaders proved pivotal for Paul to ensure he remained consistently engaged so much so even after the 12 weeks he still regularly meets up with other members to play football.

With the help of FIT FANS, Paul was able to continue his healthier lifestyle all whilst smashing his original targets as he lost 14kg and managed enough exercise mileage to surpass Paris making his way to Lake Garda in Italy.

FIT MAGPIES helped Hayden get into the best shape of his life whilst combating his own mental health

FIT FANS gave Hayden the motivation to improve his lifestyle, health and wellbeing.

Prior to enrolling on the programme, Hayden struggled with self-motivation and had very little energy to exercise. Consequently, he fell into a constant cycle of procrastination that caused him to battle his own mental health with problems stemming from his negative feelings around his weight and image.

Hayden found FIT FANS as a method of hope that a group of likeminded individuals with similar goals would aid him in his journey of consistent improvement in all aspects of his life. FIT FANS is centered around an educational approach of small, manageable lifestyle changes that can be implemented long-term.

He said: “It has been a revelation… I have been able to incorporate this into my lifestyle now.”

Average weight loss statistics for the FIT FANS programme are impressive and exceed those of many other programmes. On average women lose well over 3kg and men over 5.5kg by the end of the 12 weeks. We also have evidence that lifestyle change and weight loss is sustained over the following 12 months. More than 90% of men and 85% of women lose weight during the programme with many losing a clinically significant amount.  Our data shows FIT FANS helps people to increase physical activity, reduce sedentary time, leading to weight loss, a significant reduction in blood pressure and improvement in self-reported mental wellbeing measures.

Hayden’s enthusiasm and dedication to the programme and his own development saw him set his own challenges too; he cycled the ‘Coast to Coast to Coast’ route that took him from Hexham to Tynemouth to Whitehaven.

He explains: “The course was not only offered an exercise programme- but also an educational one, and that is where I felt I could get a lot of benefit regarding understanding what I’m eating and how it can affect you.”

FIT MAGPIES has helped not only Hayden notice changes in himself but his wife recognises he is now in the best shape he has been for many years.

Mens Health Month; How Fit Fans Is Providing Benefits Beyond Weight Loss

Today marks the beginning of Mens Health Awareness Month. Football Clubs have a unique draw that allows us to reach people that other organisations struggle to engage.  This is particularly true of our FIT FANS programme, which uses the draw of the Football Club to enable people to make sustainable changes that improves their health.

Funded by Sport England through the National Lottery and run at around 40 EFL Clubs across the country. It is a free health programme for men and women aged 35-65 who are looking to lose weight, get fitter and lead a more active life.

Average weight loss statistics for the FIT FANS programme are impressive and exceed those of many other programmes. On average women lose well over 3kg and men over 5.5kg by the end of the 12 weeks. We also have evidence that lifestyle change and weight loss is sustained over the following 12 months. More than 90% of men and 85% of women lose weight during the programme with many losing a clinically significant amount.  Our data shows FIT FANS helps people to increase physical activity, reduce sedentary time, leading to weight loss, a significant reduction in blood pressure and improvement in self-reported mental wellbeing measures.

However, the benefits extend much further than just weight loss, with many participants commenting on the positive effects it has had on their mental health and social activity.

Stephen Snell attended FIT FANS with Charlton Athletic Community Trust credits the programme for “changing his life” as he lost over 2 stone in weight and adopted a healthier diet and exercise regime.

Furthermore, FIT FANS has the ability to indirectly help those close to participants too. FIT BANTAMS gave Jonathan’s children a fitter, happier dad after he completed the 12-week programme. He said: “I now play football with my kids on a regular basis and my family, friends and colleagues have all mentioned how much more relaxed I am.”

The programme brings a diverse group of individuals together to form an environment that mirrors that of a family.  A FIT ROVERS participant echoes:  “Taking part in FIT ROVERS was the best thing I’ve ever done. The sessions and workouts are brilliant, but the camaraderie and banter is even better. I lost over a stone and a half but even more importantly, I feel like I’ve learned to enjoy myself again and that people like me, which has made me like myself again.”

In 2020, the programme won the Leaders in Sports Community Award which showcases the most innovative organisations and people driving the sports industry forward.

FIT FANS gave Jonathan’s children a fitter, happier dad

The pandemic caused many of us to fall into a pit of anxiety and stress and for Jonathan Sutcliffe this was no different. To combat these overriding emotions, he turned to increase his workload and left little time to look after himself or spend time with his children.

As he noticed this trend, he came across Bradford City Community Foundation’s FIT BANTAMS on Facebook but remained apprehensive for a while even after attending the programme, but he credits the staff’s approach to ensure all participants are welcomed.

FIT BANTAMS is a sector of the EFL Trust FIT FANS programme, which is funded by Sport England through the National Lottery and run at around 40 EFL Clubs across the country.

With the programmes approach to education and adaptation through small, manageable changes Jonathan first notably saw his step count increase from just an average of 500 per day to 20,000 per day.

“I am now doing regular 3-mile walks, attending the weekly FIT BANTAMS football session every week and playing football with the kids a lot more.”

But most importantly, through exercise and playing sport with his children, his stress levels decreased so not only has his life benefited from these changes, but his kids now have a more active, happier dad.

“I now play football with my kids on a regular basis and my family, friends and colleagues have all mentioned how much more relaxed I am.”

Although Jonathan’s successes extended to both his working and personal life, he has also seen drastic developments in his weight. His weight has dropped by a stone, and it has continued in this steady trajectory as Jonathan is at his lowest weight in over a decade.

 

Find out more about FIT FANS here