FIT BORO

Middlesbrough FC and MFC Foundation are helping fans to tackle their weight, get healthier and be happier by joining FIT FANS, a free 12 week programme at the Riverside Stadium.

Launched in January 2020 at 30 Clubs in England, the EFL Trust’s FIT FANS programme is supported by over £2.25 million of National Lottery funding from Sport England and aims to use the magnetism of football to tackle obesity levels in over 10,000 fans across the UK.

36.4 million people (61.4% of England’s population) live within 10 miles of an EFL ground, with four in 10 residents within this catchment area falling into the most-deprived population groups.

Sport England has identified lower physical activity participation rates among people living on low incomes and that is why they have joined forces with the EFL Trust network to help people create a long-term healthy and active lifestyle.  FIT FANS is one of a number of initiatives to tackle lower physical activity participation rates among people living on low incomes, which is one of Sport England’s key priorities.

FIT FANS is the operating name in England and Wales for Football Fans in Training, which was created in a Scotland by the University of Glasgow and the Scottish Professional Football League Trust.

The programme shows individuals how to:

  • Improve their eating habits by reducing portion sizes and swapping fatty and sugary foods for fruit, vegetables and high fibre foods
  • Achieve at least 45 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity on most days of the week. They receive weekly exercise sessions at their club for 12 weeks, and follow a personal pedometer based walking programme that encourages them to fit physical activity into their daily lives
  • Use tried-and-tested behaviour change techniques to become more active and improve their diet. These include regular self-monitoring of their weight and pedometer step counts and setting SMART goals to make changes that can be sustained long term.

The 12 week programme gives fans unprecedented access to their Club and a look behind the scenes.

Helena Bowman, Head of MFC Foundation
We are delighted to be a part of the FIT FANS programme. MFC Foundation uses the power of the football club badge to inspire confidence and inspire hope in the people of Teesside and FIT BORO encapsulates these aims. After delivering the programme for four years, FIT BORO has been proven to support weight loss and increase physical activity less and sustain them.”

Mike Evans, Director of Operations, EFL Trust
FIT FANS is an example of our potential to make a really significant contribution to the health of our communities.  We are excited by the prospect of rolling the programme our across out network and reaching many thousands of men and women.”

Patrick Brosnan, Sport England’s Football Lead
We are delighted to see the success FIT FANS has had in its pilot phase at 5 EFL clubs in England and hope that the National Lottery funding to EFL Trust will go a long way in harnessing football fans’ love for the game to support more people to lead healthy and active lives.”

Nicky Reid, Chief Executive, SPFL Trust
We are delighted to have reached agreement with the EFL Trust to bring Football Fans in Training to clubs right across the EFL. The programme – which was developed in Scotland – has been life changing for thousands of men and women, in both the short and long-term. I am sure that thousands of football fans are going to love being part of the programme, and are going to reap enormous rewards by being healthier and happier.”

For more information on the FIT BORO programme please contact paul.south@mfcfoundation.co.uk