SFIT – Breaking Bad (Habits)

This post is about Week 2 with Southampton FC Foundation’s Saints Fans in Training (SFIT) course covering our initial discussions around nutrition and our first taster of physical exercise.


Week 2

I arrived slightly early, which was down to the M3 being kind to me. I work over 45 miles away and the motorway is my biggest enemy. I decided to park away from the stadium and, rather than walk directly to reception, I did a tour around St Mary’s first to get my step count up.

One of our objectives from the first week was to gauge our average step count but as I’d started my own personal journey to fitness a couple of months prior, I was already doing more than I used to. Go back 3 months and my average was between 4k to 6k a day. Last, year, in 2016 I decided that since I had a Fitbit I was going to try and get around 10k a day which is the amount the professionals say you need to burn off the average intake of food. I achieved an average of 4 million* steps and a daily average of 11.2k a day however, as I hadn’t changed the other side of my lifestyle this was equalled out by gluttony of food and alcohol. I stopped in early 2017, mainly owing to bad weather but now my steps were on average around 7.5k. This was somewhat higher than most of the guys on the course which was understandable given I’d started my regime prior. Paul Hedges, the Health & Wellbeing Senior Project Officer running the course, set us a challenge of upping this weeks steps by 1500 a day. The eventual aim will be that we increase this on a weekly basis until we hit the magic 10k.

These days I find it really hard to hit 10k because of my job. My 45 mile commute starts at 6am and I’m in the car an hour before I’m sat at my desk at 7am. I get straight into meetings and phone calls with what’s going on with the team our South East Asian office or have an operational catch up with my team in the UK. My journey home down the M3 can take anything from an hour and half to two hours which doesn’t leave much time in the evenings. I’ve now changed the way that I work. I now block off lunch times in my diary so that people can’t schedule meetings with me and I go for a walk. I put my headphones on and fade into a selfish world of my own. There are two routes I can take, one is 3.3km and the other is 4.4km. Either route gives me enough time to get back to my desk and inhale my food before I start the next round of meetings etc.

Back on the course, the main topic of discussion was nutrition. I would say that 80% of what we talked about wasn’t new and that everybody sat around the giant plate of well being with it’s plastic food weren’t learning something they’d not heard before BUT this wasn’t the point. It was to act as a reminder and re-focus about how we should construct our daily food intake. We should have a good mix of everything, have our 5-a-day and don’t eat too many fatty and sugary foods. One of the things I did learn which was new to me was about portion size. The ideal portion of meat should be no bigger than a deck of cards and rice and pasta, etc should be no bigger than what you can fit in your hand. Paul did a great demo of pouring in some rice and pasta into bowls and lifting a handful out; there was still loads left in the pan with the message being, if you don’t work this food off it’s got to go somewhere.

The second part of this weeks course was our first introduction into physical activity. Marion Gealer, our other course leader, took us off for a quick warm up around the pitch, walking, jogging and bit of side stepping. After some stretching we got down to a bit of circuit training with the idea being that we’d have about a minute at each station.

Station Activity
1 Run up the steps around block 28\29 in the Kingsland Stand
2 Balance on 2 wobble cushions and squat
3 Run on the spot on a mini trampoline with a 15 second burst running faster
4 Lift either kettle bells\weights
5 Pull using both forearms on a pull rope
6 Run up the steps around block 30 in the Kingsland Stand
7 Sit back on a giant balance ball and then do sit ups

This all took around 15 minutes. We then did another lap of St Mary’s and then a warm down. Overall I found I didn’t struggle with the exercise this week but it’s aim was to be a starter session to cater for all abilities. I recorded the activity on the Fitbit and over the coming weeks I’ll track the effort and energy of each session. That said, I really enjoyed it and Marion takes the activity with great humour and you can’t but not like both her and Paul. The quality of instruction and enthusiasm is on a par with that I saw whilst in the military.

Week 2 - Activity
Week 2 – Activity

The takeaway message this week was that it takes 21 days to make a habit – something that you do unconsciously. In addition, it takes 15 days to break it. I’m now in the good habit of eating better because of Slimming World and I’ve increased my physical activity. I’m not sure I want the bad habits again.

Finally, we were set some SMART objectives for the following week:

  • Portion size – try and keep within it
  • Water – try and hit 2 litres a day
  • Snacking – plan it. Rather than hitting the crisps, plan a substitute such as a container of pre-chopped up fruit
  • Fruit – try to eat all more
  • Prepare 3 lunches in advance of eating them, keep in plan

Lastly, we all left buzzing. Every single one of us enjoyed the session and I can see already why it’s a success. The instruction is top dollar, the kit makes you feel part of something and the friendships are forming. Some of us already speak to each other on social media because of Saints so it’s nice to put faces to Twitter handles.

Looking to forward to Week 3.

* A distance of 3076 km. I could have walked to Stockholm and back.

One comment

  1. […] Paul’s session in the class room was a recap of the previous 6 weeks to gauge our understanding of the subjects that we’d been through.  He ran a Q&A session drawing on such topics as the history and reason of SFIT where the Scottish Health Service have a more proactive approach to prevention rather than cure (Week 1) than their NHS counterparts.  In addition, he covered the food groups and what types and amounts of food we should be eating (Week 2). […]

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