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The fanActiv blog: part one

15 February 2017

Mark Chapman from Brentford's media team is taking the fanActiv challenge

It’s not easy admitting you’re overweight but when simple activities such as tying a shoelace leave you a little out of breath then it’s time something was done. Well, help is at hand for me, if I want to do something about it. 

About fanActiv

Formed in December 2015 as direct result of friendly dialogue between Brentford, Tottenham Hotspur, Fulham, fanActiv was launched. 

The aim was to get around 20 male fans of each club signed up to lose weight over the course of around ten weeks. The fanActive programme uses digital platforms to encourage people on the course to keep up with the pace and turn the rivalry between football fans into healthy competition. Well, Brentford’s Community Sports Trust is taking part again this year and I put myself forward. The programme has been extended and now there are several London Clubs taking part. 

The course is being run by Neil Young, who is Health Programmes Manager at Brentford’s Community Sports Trust. Alongside being a personal trainer, he will be our mentor until the programme finishes in late April. 

Now or never

For me, it’s now or never, I’m 42 tomorrow, into middle age, and with an expanding waste line to match. My predicament is even the more shameful given I work at Brentford’s Training Ground in Osterley, surrounded by top-class athletes, modern gym equipment, professional sports scientists, and nutritious meals cooked for players and staff. I know what I should eat and what to do to keep myself trim, but am too lazy to follow through on it – until now.  

Up to the end of a day’s work is fine for me in terms of eating, as the meals – for which we all pay a monthly fee – are superbly cooked by Training Ground chefs Saif and Joe. It’s the evening that’s the killer, which normally is junk food or something bunged in the oven quickly. Even worse, it's sometimes a sandwich for dinner with some crisps thrown in or even chocolate. Sounds familiar? My problem of cooking something for an hour to eat it in five minutes flat has to end. The fanActiv course will provide me with cooking advice in addition to talks on healthy meals.

Also, we will undertake track work and if we want it, a session of five-a-side football on a Monday evening with the possibility of a match against Fulham’s fanActive participants. Local pride is at stake!

To work

So registration day arrived on Monday evening at the Sports Trust’s Learning Zone at Griffin Park alongside 15 or so other like minded Brentford males. We all had our height and weight taken; additionally it was a first to know that I’m actually six foot four after decades of incorrect measurements. Sadly, wasn’t new to the fact I am overweight, obese even, at 117.5kg [that’s 18 stones and four pounds for all you Brexit fans]. Now at this point my father would probably crack a joke about not knowing they could stack it that high, but for me, it’s not funny and a realisation that I must do something about it.

During the introductions, it was striking to note that several fathers spoke of their desire to make sure they could play with their children in the park without issue, and their young family being drivers for the need to change. 

I’ll be back here this time next week in the latest installment of how I’m using fanActiv to lose weight and get more mobile. You can also follow the fanActiv programme on twitter.

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