Everything you need to know about MAN v FAT, the unique way for men to lose weight

Editor F365
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Team post for photo at MAN v FAT Football National Finals, 2021
MANvFAT Football players at the 2021 Grand Final

The most recent Health Survey for England found that 68.2% of men aged 16 or over were overweight or obese, compared to 60.4% of women.

There is no medical reason why more men should be overweight than women – men actually have a faster metabolism – but whether it’s down to lifestyle, laziness, less pressure to look good, or a combination of all three, there are millions of men in the country who would like to lose some weight.

So many, in fact, that the phrase ‘lose weight men UK’ has been Googled 170million times.

The NHS, mercifully, ranks number one for that particular search term, but deep down everyone knows the advice before they’ve even read it: eat healthier and exercise more.

Both can be a challenge, but exercising requires not just motivation but also the confidence to get into a gym or out onto the streets for a run. It’s where many fitness drives fall short, but MAN v FAT Football is the unique weight loss programme that overcomes the biggest and most annoying obstacle to losing weight. It makes exercising fun.

What is MAN v FAT Football?

At its heart, MAN v FAT Football is a simple idea: playing football is a fun way to lose weight for men who might otherwise not exercise. But it provides all of the same help and resources you would expect from any other slimming club, plus the team support and, perhaps crucially, a competitive element to the journey.

Games are 10-a-side and consist of two 14-minute halves with a two-minute half-time break and roll-on, roll-off subs. But you do not need to enter a full team to get involved – most players join as individuals and then get put into a team that typically competes over a 14-week season depending on the number of players and teams at a location.

But unlike normal football leagues, results are not calculated only by goals scored on the pitch; teams are awarded and deducted weight loss and weight gain ‘goal’ bonuses and punishments that are added before a result is calculated, which means a team could win 5-0 in the 30 minutes but still lose the match if the opposition has outperformed them on the scales before kick-off.

MAN v FAT Football match

Indeed, if nine or more of a single team lose weight or remain within a healthy BMI range over a week, their team will be awarded five goals. Seven or more players completing their food diary between weigh-ins will earn their team three goals, but even just one player losing weight or completing their diary is worth a goal.

Three weeks of weight loss for a single player (they do not need to be consecutive) is a hat-trick and adds another goal, while any player to have reached 5% or 10% lost from their registration weight earns their team three goals. So every player has a chance to contribute goals to their team and challenge for the top scorer award, which is awarded on bonus goals only.

But a player can also score own goals by going above their registration weight or reaching a healthy BMI range and then straying out of it. So, as we have all become accustomed to with VAR, there is no celebrating until an official match result is in.

And it’s not just the games that will help you in your weight loss efforts – you get access to an online gym, a mental health platform and a members area, The Dugout.

The Dugout brings all aspects of your MAN v FAT membership together in one place, giving you everything you need to be the man claiming the headlines with your weight loss each week. There are hundreds of recipes and articles to get you thinking about how to tackle shedding those excess pounds.

How do I join MAN v FAT Football?

MAN v FAT Football has leagues in 167 locations across the UK. Open to men with a BMI of 27.5 or over, it costs £9.99 to register with a club and then £28.50-£31 per month, depending on the location. That cost covers the matches, referees, trophies and medals for the season, plus weigh-ins, a handbook, and other in-person and online support to help with weight loss.

However, MAN v FAT are kindly offering Football365 readers a discount on new memberships – simply add the promo code F365 to see the cost reduced from £9.99 to £3.65.

There is a BMI calculator as part of the sign-up process to confirm whether you’re eligible, but if you feel you have weight to lose, you almost certainly are. Indeed, the aforementioned Health Survey for England reported that the average BMI for men in the country is 27.6.

You do not need to be a football genius nor have played recently to join – MAN v FAT Football is for players of all abilities – but if you do not feel comfortable getting involved you can even join a team as a non-playing member and have your weight loss contribute points as well as benefitting from the support of your team-mates in your own personal journey.

MAN v FAT Football Grand Final 2021

Upon signing up, you will be allocated a team with a balance of positions and weights, sent a welcome e-mail with answers to any likely questions, and then be added to a club WhatsApp group and given details about your induction session.

If you have any friends that would like to join MAN v FAT, you will receive a unique referral code upon signing up which saves them £5 off the registration fee. If you would like them to be on the same team as you, ensure they enter the same league and then e-mail football@manvfat.com with both your names, though note it isn’t always possible due to team capacities.

You will need appropriate footwear (trainers or studs, depending on the location), shinpads and a shirt in your team’s colour. Any other questions you have, you can ask at your induction session or in your WhatsApp group.

How did MAN v FAT begin?

MAN v FAT was founded in 2014 by journalist Andrew Shanahan, who wanted to lose weight and joined his local slimming club only to find it was aimed squarely at women.

And so, wondering how many other men had  found themselves in the same situation and been put off, Shanahan crowdfunded an initial run of the MAN v FAT digital magazine, which surpassed targets and received support from Jamie Oliver, the National Obesity Forum, Weight Concern and the British Dietetic Association

A website and book followed before, in 2016, the first MAN v FAT Football league was launched in Birmingham. Today there are clubs in 167 locations across the UK, with around 8,300 men participating each week and almost half a million pounds shed since inception.

In 2019, MAN v FAT became a part of Thrive Tribe, an award-winning healthy lifestyle provider, and the following year MAN v FAT Challenge was launched.

What is MAN v FAT Challenge?

If you want to lose weight and like the idea of team-based challenges but don’t want to dig out the football boots, MAN v FAT Challenge might be for you.

First launched when regular sessions were suspended due to the pandemic, it was initially intended to keep MAN v FAT Football members on track during lockdown with virtual weigh-ins and weekly habit-building challenges.

But it proved so popular that the digital-only service has remained ever since and now helps members all over the world, with several local councils in the UK even offering funded places and the launch of MAN v FAT Challenge At Work, a workplace weight loss scheme that pits teams against other businesses.

Just like MAN v FAT Football, the Challenge programme is exclusively for men and incorporates weekly nutrition and exercise challenges, with weigh-ins that contribute to your team’s success plus individual medals and other awards on offer for losing weight over a 14-week period, just like the Football programme.

Unlike other slimming groups, MAN v FAT Challenge does not ban any food groups or set a restrictive diet; it is aimed at creating healthy habits for sustainable long-term results and also offers mental health support via a free online platform.

MAN v FAT are kindly offering Football365 readers a discount on new memberships – simply add the promo code F365 to see the cost reduced from £9.99 to £3.65.