(Gazette file photo)

Victoria Grizzlies partner with program to help Victoria men lead healthier, active lifestyles

The goal is to provide the tools for lifelong habits

The Victoria Grizzlies have partnered with a program that promotes healthy, active lifestyles for men.

HAT TRICK is a program based out of the University of British Columbia Okanagan that partners with elite athletic teams in communities to help increase awareness about health and fitness.

Taylor Kirby, HAT TRICK research assistant, said the concept came from Europe, modelled after a program for soccer fans. Participants work out and spend time around a sport that interests them and are supported by athletes. HAT TRICK has worked with Western Hockey League teams such as the Kelowna Rockets and the Kamloops Blazers.

Through the program, they aim to remove the stigma around group workouts for men, and working out with sports teams helps them feel more comfortable. Kirby added men who join the program have a love for sports and have similar values, so the drop-out rate is low.

“They motivate each other, it’s all about competition with guys,” she said. “Guys who’ve done the program a year ago are all still working out together.”

The program is 12 weeks long and each week will include one group session that incorporates physical activity and tips for sustainable changes in eating habits by Grizzlies’ training staff and outside experts. Participants fill out a questionnaire for mental fitness before and after the program. Kirby said results show that most participants are less susceptible to depression once the program is complete.

Lance Black, president of the Grizzlies, said the organization was more than happy to help a good cause. It’s a cause that hits close to home for him as he falls within the age category and recently lost 40 pounds in 90 days.

Black was an avid road biker, but a few years ago was thrown over the handlebars of an electric assist bike. He has struggled with headaches and neck problems ever since, which affects how frequently he works out. Running on a treadmill used to give him strong headaches.

“I wasn’t able to do physical activity like I was before,” he said. “The treadmill and exercise made me feel worse, so it was a vicious cycle.”

After his recent weight loss, Black said he used a treadmill, and has been doing light weights and made it a goal to do some walking every day. He realizes health is important and hopes to speak to participants about leading a healthy lifestyle.

“We’re always here to help people and reach out to those that need help,” he said.

“It helps the hockey players become men, the more we give back the more they have a sense of life outside of hockey.”

To qualify for the program, men need to live in Greater Victoria, be between the ages of 35 and 65, active less than two and a half hours per week, a pant size of 38 inches or greater and a body mass index of 25 or higher.

For more information or to register visit hattrick.ok.ubc.ca or call 250-807-9907.

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