Bedford men lose 460 pounds thanks to FA Man vs Fat programme

The Man vs Fat players in Bedford aim for weight loss and camaraderie...

A Bedford football club that encourages overweight and obese men to get fit and adopt healthy lifestyle choices has helped 40 local men lose 460 pounds of excess weight in 2023 so far.

Man vs Fat Football Bedford takes place every Sunday evening at Cranfield Pavilion, and 40 men currently play on a weekly basis.

Public Health England (PHE) data published in April 2023 suggests that around 62 percent of adults in the Bedford Borough area are overweight or obese.

Combining sport and camaraderie

Nick Wilkinson, a player at the the club who has lost an impressive three stone with the help of the programme explains how he has seen a huge improvement.

“At Man vs Fat, I play a sport that I love, meet new people in the same position as me and work in a team to hit goals and targets.

“I would definitely encourage other men to get involved with because it brings everyone together. It’s great for mental health and supporting one another has a positive impact.

“My starting weight when I signed up to Man vs Fat was 128kg; the heaviest I have ever been.

Nick Wilkinson has lost three stone since joining the Man vs Fat programme

“Man vs Fat has changed me completely both on and off the pitch. I can definitely run for a lot longer than I could six months ago! 

“I recently completed a 5km run in under 30 minutes which was a great achievement for me.

“I’ve also found that my football has improved since joining, I feel better inside. I have had a lot of positive comments from family and friends, as well as my teammates at the club and other members including the coach.”

8,000 members across 150 clubs

Aimed at men with a BMI of higher than 27.5, Man vs 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. 

Before matches, players are weighed 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 vs Fat commented, “Man vs 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.”

In addition to football sessions, Man vs 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 vs Fat online gym so they can train in their own time at home.

If you think Man vs Fat might be for you, you can get in touch at

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