Exeter Chiefs community development coach Aron Struminski was inundated with emails when the latest Premiership Rugby Move Like A Pro programme was launched.
Move Like A Pro is a scheme delivered by Premiership Rugby clubs and supported by the Movember Foundation to help inactive men aged 30-55 to get fitter, healthier and improve their wellbeing.
Our aim is to inspire a legacy of long-term lifestyle change across the rugby fan community.
Move Like A Pro is directly linked to Movember’s vision of having an everlasting impact on the face of men’s health. A world where men live happier, healthier and longer lives, starts with simply moving.
If you think this is something you would be interested in then make sure you go along to click here to get involved.
In the meantime, we caught up with Aron to see how Move Like A Pro is going in Devon and what tips he’s been sharing with the participants thus far.
What is the main aim of Move Like A Pro at Exeter?
“The main aim is to try and reduce weight within the men we have. They’re middle-aged men that have not done a lot of physical activity before joining.
“I thought I don’t want to just chuck a load of exercises at them, I want to have a strategy and programme in place. So far, we’ve done body-weight exercises, so a lot of high-intensity training.
“I managed to get a gym on board, and last week I took all of my Move Like A Pro players down to the gym so they could experience a circuit within a gym environment led by the personal trainers.”
What have the group been up to on the programme?
“The main bulk of it has been playing rugby with them, trying to get the conditioning and fitness into them but not just from doing an exercise session.
“With my rugby sessions, the way I structure it, I try and keep them moving, working for two minutes then resting, and we repeat just so it allows them to work really hard without realising.
“They’re helping themselves lose weight and improving their fitness but they’re playing rugby so they don’t even realise they’re doing it. That was big for me, using rugby as a tool for weight loss.”
What else does the programme provide other than regular exercise?
“I’ve also worked on nutrition with them. In week three we went over nutrition and diet, it’s all good doing the exercise but in the mass scheme of things it’s such a small proportion.
“I had a presentation on what they should eat, what they should stay away from, and I also had a competition with them and said they’ve got two weeks to make a healthy meal plan.
“A lot of them were surprised about how much of a role you diet plays, even just telling them how much difference alcohol makes. They don’t appreciate the number of calories in a beer!”
What about the social benefits?
“We want to have the majority lose weight, but the main one is actually the social side, bringing a group together and creating friendships that will go on once the programme has finished.
“It isn’t just turning up and doing the sessions once a week, it’s what they’re doing outside of the sessions, they’re developing friendships that will hopefully last forever.
“I know at the last Chiefs home game a group came along to watch, so if it wasn’t for the Move Like a Pro programme that would never have happened, they wouldn’t have met each other.”
What are your main tips for being looking to improve their health and fitness?
“If we’re talking about this bracket of men, they’re not going to be able to go back into the contact sport, so my first tip would be to research touch clubs within your area.
“My second tip would be not to be afraid, I think for a lot of the men it’s jumping that first hurdle. The last thing I would say is if they join a club, don’t stop there, it needs to be a lifestyle change.
“If we’re going to talk about losing weight and improving your health and fitness, then there need to be other changes outside of what you’re doing, paying attention to what you eat a bit more.”