FIT BLACKPOOL: "Something had to change"

Gareth received an email through his work about FIT Blackpool and registered his interest in the programme. After getting in contact with staff at Blackpool FC Community Trust, he was soon registered for the programme and all that it entailed. 

Before the programme started, Gareth did not have a healthy lifestyle. He described himself as a “something and chips” man. His meals and snacks were not nutritious and were affecting his health and weight massively. Gareth was in a “downward spiral” and used several excuses including, “its down to lockdown“. He stated, “the truth is that that I was on the larger side way before covid even entered the world”.

Due to COVID, Gareth had found himself working from home, which came with its own implications. He would find himself finishing work and head straight to the sofa “watching whatever rubbish was on the tele”. Gareth recently became a grandfather and realised something had to change so that he was able to be fit and healthy, enabling him to spend some quality time with his new grandson.

Gareth started FIT Blackpool in September 2021. FIT Blackpool is a free 12-week weight management programme that combines both classroom-based interventions with physical activity, to help provide immediate and sustainable results. Some topics covered are nutrition, barriers to exercise, alcohol, importance of an active lifestyle, as well as more specific topics like reading food levels correctly and knowing exactly what to look out for in our food. The physical activity consisted of a combination of circuit training and team sports.

Since taking part in FIT Blackpool, Gareth has made significant changes to his lifestyle and started to reap the rewards. He added that the programme included “food, calories, food labels and knowing exactly what was in his food” as being beneficial.

From the start of Gareth’s journey, he set little goals over the weeks and by the 12th week, several changes had been made. These changes include changing his diet, he was eating five portions of fruit and veg a day, exercising a lot more and doing a minimum of 10,000 steps a day.

As a result of this change, Gareth purchased a gym membership and is now attending the gym three or four times a week. Gareth found the programme had been “excellent and really worked” for him. Gareth also saw his social circle expand during the programme. He and the other males in the cohort meet up once a week for a walk and talk, increasing their step count as well as having a laugh on the way. This was arranged by Gareth and the others in their WhatsApp group, where they would motivate each other through their individual journeys.

Gareth saw a huge weight loss over the 12 weeks of FIT Blackpool. He lost 15.3kg in weight and a massive 19cm from his waist measurement. This was all made possible through Gareth’s healthy lifestyle changes he made on FIT Blackpool.

Kim Follows, Community Engagement Officer, who delivered the programme added “Gareth’s results are incredible but not surprising. From start to finish Gareth engaged fully in the programme and took on board the discussions each week. He also took part in the weekly walks that the group organised between themselves. The changes he has made to his diet, adding fruit and veg have made a huge difference to his lifestyle. His results are so well deserved as he invested 100% and I am so pleased he has achieved something he can now maintain long term”.

“This programme has saved my life; I know that some will think that is dramatic, but I was on a downward spiral”– Gareth Smalley.

>> For more information on Fit Blackpool click here <<