Curtin University program aims to help out-of-shape footy fans get fit

Fremantle Dockers fans at the club’s facilities during the Aussie-FIT project.
Fremantle Dockers fans at the club’s facilities during the Aussie-FIT project.

A CURTIN University program is giving die-hard football fans the chance to get fit at their favourite club’s facilities.

Researchers have recruited more than 100 male AFL fans aged between 35-65 with a Body Mass Index of 28 or higher to take part in the Aussie-FIT project.

The health and fitness program run by Fremantle Dockers and West Coast Eagles coaches aims to encourage out-of-shape football fans to get active and take care of their bodies.

Participants take part in weekly 90-minute session which features a fitness and educational component at the clubs’ facilities in Cockburn and Leederville.

Fremantle Dockers fan Steve McLeod took part in the project earlier this year and said it helped him lose 17kg in the last 16 weeks.

“I was coming from a high base and I’ve still got a lot to lose, but so far so good,” he said.

“Without making major changes, it’s mainly been about eating better and exercising better, which has been very beneficial for me.

“Some of it is common sense, but it’s more about lifestyle changes and motivation.”

Mr McLeod said working in a group of people with similar fitness levels made him feel more comfortable about his attempts to lose weight.

“I was coming from a very low fitness base, but you weren’t made to feel bad,” he said.

“The fact you’re with a bunch of blokes who are more or less in the same boat as you, they don’t judge you and you can work at your own pace.

“You get out of it what you put into it and I think it’s a great initiative.”

Curtin University project chief investigator Eleanor Quested said the project is providing researchers with an insight into overweight football fans’ response to information about health and nutrition in a bid to reduce obesity.

“By taking part in this project, we expect the fans to reduce their weight and waistline, increase their knowledge of healthy eating and different types of physical activity, learn how to sustain their new lifestyle over the longer term, and gain a unique, behind-the-scenes experience with their favourite footy club.”