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Following the shocking results of a government study in 2009 which showed that almost two-thirds of men in Scotland are overweight, the SPL have come up with an idea to help football fans to get fit and to lose weight. Football Fans In Training (FITT) is a 12-week weight loss programme aimed at men over the age of 35 to get them exercising and to motivate them to change their unhealthy eating habits.
FFIT is funded by the Scottish Government and The Football Pools and sessions run for 90 minutes a week, where the participants are taught about healthy eating and take part in a training session. The men go to the home ground of their favourite SPL clubfor the sessions and are trained by the team’s coaches. Rangers legend Derek Ferguson has become an ambassador of the scheme and spoke to The Hour about the good it is doing. He said:
“The coaches taking them through the sessions are not just football coaches. In terms of their diet they’re very knowledgeable and it’s a great idea. The guys that pass each other going to the games will get friends for life. It’s not just the fitness side of it, it’s the overall wellbeing, and the mental side of it is playing a big part.
“As you get a little bit older sometimes you get into certain bad habits and it’s just informing the guys about certain things, and it’s enjoyable. A lot of guys don’t like going to gyms or going out running themselves so it’s that team bonding thing.
“It’s an all win situation, going to your club that you support and meeting the other fans.”
Rangers fan Jon Maxwell has already completed the programme at Ibrox and over the 12 weeks he lost one and a half stone. Before he took part in FFIT he didn’t do much exercise, but now he’s out on his bike most nights and does boxing training with his kids. He said:
“We all dream about playing with our football teams but the fact that I could go to Ibrox every week and put on the Rangers top and then get trained by the coaches and taught about diet was fantastic.
“What they teach you is that you can have treats. You’re not on a strict diet but it’s counting calories so if you have a pie it’s just constantly thinking about what to eat for the rest of the day.”
Jon has kept in contact with the other men who took part in the programme with him and they are planning to hold their own training sessions to keep up the good work. If you are interested in taking part in FFIT you can email firstname.lastname@example.org, call 0800 389 2129 or text FFIT to 88802 giving your name, contact details and the name of the SPL club you’d like to attend.