Stoke City fans encouraged to lose weight in Britannia Stadium fitness programme
STOKE City fans are being challenged to lose weight – and will be rewarded for their efforts with a smaller club strip.
Portly Potters supporters are being urged to drop a shirt size in 12 weeks by taking part in a fitness programme based around the Britannia Stadium.
And those who drop five per cent of their body weight will be given a free 2012-13 Stoke City shirt to fit their new trim figures.
Stoke City health coach Andy Shingler, who is organising the project, said: "This is something we have never tried before, but the aim is to encourage fans to get active and help them increase the amount of physical activity they do.
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"It is being laid on for local people and aims to make a big difference to their outlook on life.
"Physical activity sessions will be held once a week near or at the Britannia Stadium. There will then be a short discussion on a specific health topic, such as healthy eating, hidden calories and snacking."
Stoke City will be working with the Premier League's Creating Chances scheme, NHS Stoke-on-Trent and the Lifestyle Programme to deliver the incentive.
Stoke City legend Denis Smith, a trustee of the Stoke City Community Fund, said: "This is a tremendous idea for anyone who feels they have put on a bit too much weight.
"It can't do people any harm if they want to give it a go.
"The whole idea is a to get the community active and if people stick to it, they even get rewarded with a brand new shirt. This is not just a short-term challenge – it will provide people with the knowledge to make a total lifestyle change."
Potters fan Dave Harrison, aged 61, of Haveringham Drive, Eaton Park, said: "It seems like a good idea. I'm always looking to lose a bit of weight.
"On the back of the Olympics, people care more about their appearance. It's better than going to the gym."
Stoke-on-Trent South MP Rob Flello has already signed up for the scheme.
He added: "I am doing it myself with the aim of losing about three stones, so I hope it encourages other people like me who want to shed a few pounds."
To take part, you must live in Stoke-on-Trent, registered with a local GP and aged between 18 and 75 and have a body mass index of 25 or more.
Participants must have a wearable Stoke City shirt that matches their chest size to swap for a smaller version.
The programme is designed to suit all needs and abilities, with no specific level of fitness required. But those taking part must be willing to be weighed at week one, three, six and 12 of the scheme and they must have their chest and waist measured in the first and last week of the challenge.
Stoke fan Rob Ledgar, aged 48, of Heron Cross, said: "It's a fantastic idea. Anything which encourages people to be healthy is a good thing and Stoke have been taking the initiative with quite a few things like this. It will motivate fans to get fit."
Anyone interested in taking part, should call Andy Shingler on 07515190472.