Fighting Fit Pilgrims

Despite the current coronavirus enforced lockdown, the Argyle Community Trust continues to make a significant impact in improving the health of members of the Green Army.

The Trust’s first cohort of Fit Pilgrims, a 12-week course in which participants receive nutrition, wellbeing and health advice alongside a fitness programme, has yielded phenomenal results.

Across the 27 members of the course, the combined weight loss exceeded 200 kilograms, with a total reduction in waist circumference of 186.5cm.

Emma Potter, Health and Disability Officer, leads the programme, and is delighted with the progress of her first group.

She said: “They’ve all done really well. Everyone who participated lost some weight – but, more importantly than that, our participants reported having improved mental health and a more positive outlook on life.”

The EFL Trust's FIT FANS initiative 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.

The Fit Pilgrims sessions are split into two 45-minute sections, ensuring that participants are able to make educated decisions about their nutritional intake, as well as improving their fitness levels.

“We do 45 minutes around nutrition, eating a bit better, looking at food groups and food labels. But it is not only about food – we do quite a bit of work on mental health, having a positive outlook, and working together to achieve goals,” explained Emma.

“The second-half of the programme is where they do their fitness – so we go out and do some work. We start off very gently, a bit of walking and light weights, and we advance over time to make it more challenging with things like circuits.”

One participant, Adrian Brewer, lost a whopping 30kg across the 12-week programme, now weighing 113.1kg, down from a starting weight of 143.5kg.

He said: “The programme has helped me to reach a number of goals. I am so much fitter and can even do 20-plus mile bike rides.

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“Whilst the programme was not as such a competition, I have treated it as such as that is my own method of motivating myself. Having other members around and plenty of people to support you has also been great, and I have met many people who will remain friends after the event.”

Despite the programme now coming to an end, support for participants remains ongoing, with Emma and her colleagues making regular contact with group members in the coming months.

“We would have done a fitness session each week with them, but we are going to carry that on remotely – supporting them through Google Classroom and things like that,” said Emma. “There will be a new cohort once we are allowed back into Home Park – and we check in with all of our participants after six months – so it’s an ongoing support network.”

96% of group members reported feeling more satisfied with life following the completion of the programme, while 89% reported being happier in general. Seven in 10 group participants also reported feeling less anxious.

Another 12-week Fit Pilgrims cohort will begin once lockdown measures are lifted. In order to qualify to take part, participants must be aged between 35-65, have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 28 or above, and a waist measurement of over 37 inches (male) or 31 inches (female).

For more information, or to register your interest, email, or click here.