TV personality champions children’s health at Halifax school’s sports day

Fitness guru and TV personality Zack George, aka STEEL from Gladiators, brought some unexpected joy to a school in Halifax this week.

As part of his personal mission to supercharge health and well-being amongst UK school age children, he called in to surprise 300 plus youngsters at Holy Trinity Primary School, in Savile Park Road, during their sports day.

On Monday, Zack delivered his Zactiv workshop as well as getting involved in the school sports day, with his visit covered by the BBC Look North film crew.

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Zack, who was named the UK’s fittest man after winning the UK CrossFit challenge in 2020, launched his Zactiv health and fitness initiative in June this year.

Zack brings his Zactiv workshop to Holy Trinity PrimaryZack brings his Zactiv workshop to Holy Trinity Primary
Zack brings his Zactiv workshop to Holy Trinity Primary

He takes his interactive workshop-based programme into schools across the country with the aim of engaging children and encouraging them to be the best and healthiest that they can be.

Sharing his personal story and rise to fitness, he also gives healthy eating and hydration tips, answers questions and shares mindful breathing exercises and confidence-boosting tips.

Sessions are designed in age-appropriate groupings, suitable for 3- to 16-year-olds.

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This is the tenth workshop he has delivered and the children and teachers at Holy Trinity Primary loved it.

Zack George - AKA Steel from GladiatorsZack George - AKA Steel from Gladiators
Zack George - AKA Steel from Gladiators

Kathleen Chapman, teacher and personal development lead at the school, said: “I would highly recommend a Zactiv workshop to any schools that want to boost positive mindset, confidence and well-being in school.

“All the children (and staff!) were buzzing and his workshop really engaged everyone. It was really inspiring to hear about Zack's personal fitness journey and his message that 'anything is possible' is one that will continue to inspire and have an impact on our children for years to come.”

Following the workshop, Zack emphasised the importance of hydration, handing out free signed water bottles.

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He went on to lead a warm-up in readiness for the children’s sports day, later taking part in ‘smoothie cycling’. Bikes had been set up with fruit packed blenders attached. The fruit was then blended by the power of cycling with the resulting smoothie as a reward.

Zactiv was founded as the direct result of Zack’s own journey to fitness.

In his pre-teen years, Zack was severely overweight and, as a result, had a huge lack of confidence, mentally struggling with how he looked. He also had a bad relationship with food and binge eating.

Benefitting from a dose of tough parental support in his teens, combined with his own nerves of ‘steel’, Zack embarked on a mission to get fit and healthy.

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He said: “As a child, I wasn’t happy in my own skin but with the support of my family and my dedication to achieving my goals, I turned this around with exercise and healthy eating.”

His hard work paid off. Within years he was crowned the UK’s fittest man – among a host of other accolades in the world of fitness.

The real-life superman, from Sileby, Leicestershire, has more than 233,000 followers on Instagram but has become a major household name this year for appearing in one of BBC TV’s prime-time Saturday night entertainment programmes.

He said: “I want to use that current fame and my personal story to inspire children and young people to take charge of their own physical and mental health.”

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As part of the programme, Zack has introduced ‘glimmers’, where children are asked to write down one thing that made them smile today.

“This action of positivity encourages good mental health habits and we ask them to continue this practice at home,” explained Zack.

Picking out some of the ‘glimmers’ at random, Zack read: “You visiting my school, that made me so happy”. Another read: “Getting a signed water bottle”, while someone else had written “Seeing my mum in the morning”. Even the teachers got involved. One wrote: “I have enjoyed seeing the joy that you have brought to the children today”.

Statistics show that one in five children leaving primary school in the UK is obese. Less than one-third of children take part in the recommended levels of activity for their age, and obese children are four times more likely to develop diabetes – a disease that has increased in children by 50 per cent since 2006.

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Zactiv is supported in part by sponsorship from businesses that are keen to align their corporate social responsibility programmes with the future health of our nation.

Delivering the workshops with his current partner firms, Nottinghamshire firm Muscle Foods and sports hydration brand Actiph, Zack has thousands of Actiph water bottles ready to be distributed to school children taking part in one of his workshops.

Meanwhile, Muscle Foods is developing a family hamper tailored to healthy lifestyles, which will initially be offered at a discounted rate.

In order to take the scheme to as many schools as possible, Zack is offering businesses the chance to join him on his mission and is actively looking for health-conscious commercial partners.

Anyone interested in sponsoring the programme or finding out more can contact [email protected].

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