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Page last updated at 19:55 GMT, Tuesday, 15 February 2011

SPL FFIT fans discover portions to blame for obesity

Hearts fans attempt to get fighting fit

By Paul Bradley

FFIT, Football Fans in Training, is an initiative from the Scottish Premier League Trust that aims to address the health problems of Scotland's unfit males.

The second week of the course was a real eye-opener for me and the lads from Heart of Midlothian that I joined during the session at Tynecastle Stadium.

Almost everyone in Scotland knows what the main food groups are and those of which that are good for you, and those that are not.

Paul gets the gloves on for 'boxercise'
Basher Bradley is a big softy really, especially around the middle!

Like many, I understand the requirement for a balance between these food groups but Allan Grey, physical activities co-ordinator for Health all Round, explains where we of a rotund nature go wrong.

"The size of portions that the guys are eating seems to be the biggest mistake that comes out of the programme," revealed Grey.

On the face of it, this seems a really blaringly obvious statement.

Until you check out what constitutes a portion, that is.

For instance, according to the NHS Choices website, a healthy diet will have eight to 11 portions of starchy food a day.

So what would you reckon a serving of boiled potatoes would be?

Heart of Midlothian community manager Alan White asked the group this question, with the answers returned ranging between three to six.

"A boiled potato the size of an egg is one portion," replied White to a stunned and speechless bunch of Jambos.

The gang grew even quieter when Alan held up a portion of steak. A portion, which if I'd been served in a restaurant, I'd have sent back, asking 'where's the rest of it?'

The lesson continued through dairy and vegetable food groups - when one man in the group admitted to never eating fruit or veg. He eventually agreed to set himself the target of at least one portion by the next meeting.

This seems to be a standard tool of the course. Setting achievable and sustainable targets. This was slightly worrying as the next tools for the night were boxing gloves and the potential target, my coupon!

Grey took us for the 'boxercise' while coach-cum 'DJ' White provided the most clichéd selection of music since Saturday night, which apparently was alright for fighting.

And what a laugh we had. It was genuinely entertaining and an enjoyable way of getting the group into it's first session of moderate exercise.

Next week I'll be sharing my time with Celtic fans and stepping up our walking targets as well as computing what our daily calorie intake should be.

If you'd like to take part in the next FFIT programme, contact your nearest SPL club's community coaching team, or email There's also a Facebook page, search for Football Fans in Training.

see also
SPL fans train with club coaches
10 Feb 11 |  Scotland
Figures show 'obesity epidemic'
29 Nov 09 |  Scotland
Confessions of a weight-loss cyclist
11 Apr 09 |  Health

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