The football programme helping men in Oxfordshire get healthy

Lena Weib

A football-focused programme has helped 70 men across Oxfordshire improve their health and fitness in 2021, as well as shed 1,500lbs of weight.

MAN v FAT Football is a weight loss programme that combines six-a-side football with healthy lifestyle and well-being advice.

The men, who all started the programme with a BMI of above 27.5 play at a clubs in Banbury, Bicester and Oxford, once a week.

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Ashley Smith, who plays for MAN v FAT’s Bicester club has lost eight stone with the help of the programme, said: “What I enjoy most about MAN v FAT, is the atmosphere, we’re a group of people who drive each other to lose weight and improve our lifestyle. It also makes you feel that you’re not on your own with trying to lose weight.

“I would fully encourage people in our area to at least give it a try, if more people join then we can have more teams and more competition – and ultimately this would result in more people losing weight.

“MAN v FAT has helped me a lot, to date I have lost eight stone, seven of which was with the help of the programme. It has also made me aware of ways to change my lifestyle, helped me keep an eye on what I’m eating and introduced me to some great people. Without it, I think I’d still be as heavy as I was before I started.”

The programme helps men loose weight while playing the beautiful game

Before matches, players are weighed, which is followed by a 30-minute game of six-a-side, with extra goal bonuses awarded to teams based on the amount of weight players have lost.

Weight loss and match scores then contribute to teams’ league positions within a club. Players receive additional support including healthy meal recipe ideas and tips on general fitness.

Players from certain postcode areas in the county may be able to benefit from a free first 14-week season at either site, subject to a £10 refundable deposit upon completion of the course, funded by Oxfordshire County Council, which works in collaboration with MAN v FAT.

Richard Crick, MAN v FAT’s Head of Football said: “We are extremely proud of the progress made by our players, coaches and the wider team involved at our Oxfordshire clubs.

“Our Banbury, Bicester and Oxford clubs all currently have a number of spaces for new players, so if you’re ready to make a positive change to your health and wellbeing in 2022, while having fun and making new friends in the process, get in touch!”

Players can join up at and they can get more information by calling 0345 163 1042 or emailing [email protected]

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