Fans team up with London Knights to lose weight, learn nutrition

Western University's Hockey FIT program matched hockey fans with junior hockey teams. A new study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise shows the pilot program works. On average, participants lost eight pounds.

'Men really wanted to be in their own space. They thought big was strong'

Eighty participants lost an average of eight pounds in the 12-week program. (Hockey FIT promotional video/Western University)

London Knights' fan Rick Corin used to call himself a couch potato. Then he lost 50 pounds, and through Western University's Hockey FIT program, he's managed to keep the weight off for two years.

"I guess the initial attraction was because it had the promotion at Budweiser Gardens, and also sharing the experience with other hockey fans," Corin who now wears a Fitbit, told London Morning host Rebecca Zandbergen.

Rick Corin kept off 50 pounds with the Hockey FIT program. (Kate Dubinski/CBC News)

Program pairs fans with hockey teams

Western University Professor Dr. Rob Petrella developed the program two years ago which paired fans with both the London Knights and the Sarnia Sting hockey teams. 

"Men really wanted to be in their own space. They wanted to do things that men do and they didn't see dieting as masculine and they thought that big was strong."

80 participants spent 90 minutes a week for 12 weeks at the rink running hockey drills and learning about nutrition and food portions.

"This is about being part of the team. Getting on, not on the ice, but into the locker room, seeing some of the teammates, players from the ice, some of the coaching staff. So they were involved in giving the guys a sense that they're actually part of the team," said Dr. Petrella who just published astudy published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise which shows the pilot program is working.

On average, participants lost eight pounds, and managed to keep the weight off for a year.

Dr. Petrella hopes to expand the program to all teams of the Canadians Hockey League and their fans. 

This fall, the program will run again with 80 new Knights fans looking to shed some flab and learn more about fitness and nutrition.