Northampton amateur footballers lose 31 stone of unhealthy weight in a year, through MAN v FAT

Sam Byles has lost 31kg through MAN v FAT Football (Photo: Submitted)
Sam Byles has lost 31kg through MAN v FAT Football (Photo: Submitted)

MAN v FAT Football Northampton, which operates in partnership with Northampton Town In The Community, takes place every Tuesday evening at Goals at Abbeyfield School. The programme’s organisers have extended an invitation to potential new players who may wish to make a positive change to their lifestyle through the football-based programme.

Public Health Northamptonshire data suggests that more than 68 per cent of adults in the Northampton area are overweight or obese. That could be as many as 127,000 people.

Recent research from the National Food Strategy review estimates that every unit of body mass index put on by every individual raises the UK’s annual healthcare costs by £16.**

Two players at the club who have experienced the benefit first hand are Sam Byles and Matt Bates, both of whom are 30 years old and who have lost 31kg and 39kg in weight respectively – that’s nearly five and just over six stones.

“MAN v FAT is a great way to lose weight as doing it by yourself can become quite mundane,” says Sam, whose starting weight was 17 stones (108kg) and is now just over 12 stones.

“The fact that it's partnered with football means we can have fun while doing it! The league system makes it competitive and motivating to lose weight, while being part of a team means you can work together to achieve your goals on and off the pitch.

MAN v FAT is a great way to spend your evening. You get to meet people who are in the same boat and everyone is very supportive. I hadn't played football for a long time before MAN v FAT and it’s now a healthy part of my life.”

Matt, who joined MAN v FAT weighing just over 21 stones (135kg) but who has brought that down to 15 stones (96kg) agrees:

“Having regular football to play, having scheduled exercise like that has really helped with maintaining my weight loss to date,” he explains.

“Only recently have I realised the positive affect MAN v FAT has had on my lifestyle. Having been invited to play in their "biggest losers" match at the end of last season, twinned with people taking more of an interest in my weight loss, it's really kept me going. I've even had people like my brother telling me that I've inspired them to start their own weight loss journey.”

Aimed at men with a BMI of higher than 27.5, MAN v FAT Football has more than 8,000 players taking part in over 150 clubs across the UK. The programme was created by Andrew Shanahan, who, fed-up with traditional weight loss classes primarily aimed at women, decided to develop a programme that combines the beautiful game with achievable weight loss goals for men.

The total amount of weight lost by MAN v FAT players in the UK currently stands at over 550,000 pounds.

Before matches, players are weighed, this is followed by a 30-minute game of six-a-side football, with extra goal bonuses awarded to teams based on their weight loss. Weight loss and match scores then contribute to teams’ league positions within a club.

Karl White, Regional Manager at MAN v FAT comments: “MAN v FAT isn’t a lose-fat-fast programme, we encourage body positivity and losing weight at a healthy, sustainable pace. While weight loss is the key goal for players, the programme is perfect for men who want to get back into playing football after a period of time away from the game and improve their fitness gradually.

“You’ll get fitter with no judgement and make lifelong friends with us. We’re looking for new players to join our club, so if you think MAN v FAT might be for you, get in touch at –

In addition to football sessions, MAN v FAT players also receive off-the-pitch support including healthy meal recipe ideas and tips on general fitness. Players also get full access to MAN v FAT online gym, so they can train in their own time at home.