Greg Cunningham joined those who have graduated from Preston North End Community and Education Trust’s FIT FANS programme at a celebratory event at Deepdale on Wednesday evening.
FIT FANS supports men and women aged 35 to 65 who have a BMI of 28 or above to make healthier lifestyle choices, while also encouraging positive behavioural changes, through a 12-week weight management programme delivered at Deepdale, with 90-minute sessions equally split between theory and exercise sessions.
With social restrictions having affected the delivery of the programme to all four groups – two groups of men and two groups of women – that have previously graduated from FIT FANS, all participants were invited back to Deepdale to reunite and celebrate their achievements.
Part of their reward included a surprise visit from Cunningham, who answered participants’ questions on all things health and fitness, to motivate them with their continued personal wellbeing journeys.
Some high-achieving participants were given additional recognition for their efforts as they won signed items from Greg, including mini PNECET footballs.
Greg said: “I really enjoyed it. It’s something I do enjoy doing but under the circumstances over the last couple of years, it has been tough. It’s been pleasing to come out and chat to everyone and see how they are getting on.
“They have been doing the 12-week FIT FANS programme. I said I’d come down and we’ve talked about good habits and have been talking about nutrition and healthy eating. It seems good for them and I’ve really enjoyed chatting to them about it.”
FIT FANS did speak with Brad Potts and former Lilywhite Jayden Stockley in an online capacity when the programme was being delivered online last year, with Greg’s in-person visit the first by a first team player to any PNECET programme since February 2020 because of social restrictions enforced by the pandemic.
Health and Wellbeing Officer Hannah White added: “We have had a few cohorts affected by the pandemic, so we invited everyone down from a few different cohorts and had Greg Cunningham come down.
“We did a Q&A session so the FIT FANS were able to speak to Greg and ask him all about his diet, lifestyle, what it’s like in the run up to a match and what he likes to do in his downtime.
“The FIT FANS were really appreciative as Greg has come down in his own time. They asked some really interesting questions and he had loads of answers, which was great! He really gave them an insight of what it’s like to be a professional footballer.”
PNECET is now recruiting for two further FIT FANS cohorts starting later this month.
Hannah added: “FIT FANS is a free 12-week programme delivered by myself, Ryan Allen and Jess Riley from PNECET.
“We help people to make better and healthier lifestyle choices. We have a lot of people come on the courses who are completely inactive, and some people who come on the course have tried a few things already but might have hit a roadblock. We provide them with some new information.
“The sessions take place here at Deepdale. We do 45 minutes of theory classroom-based stuff and 45 minutes of exercise each week.”
To sign-up for FIT FANS, please visit efltrust.com/fitfans and select Preston North End as your chosen club.
Alternatively, please visit our Weight Management page by clicking here to learn more about how PNECET can provide support with your health and fitness.