Trim Down Shape up has been evaluated in a number of ways. In September 2013 Leeds Metropolitan University published a paper entitled: 'A process evaluation of Trim Down Shape Up a bespoke male-specific weight management intervention'. The study evaluated men's experiences of taking part in this weight-management programme. The University reported that all the men who participated in the study found the design of the programme, i.e. free of charge, male-specific and outside the traditional gym environment, as very suitable for their needs and the main reason they attended the first session.
The group camaraderie was the dominant factor that motivated the men to attend the subsequent sessions. Other contributing factors for sticking to the programme included the feeling of achieving not only the goals the men set themselves but also losing 5% of their weight in 12 weeks. All men reported a determination to maintain a healthier lifestyle in the future. The use of behavioural change techniques by the lifestyle coaches also helped the men to become healthier.
Their report concluded that although recruiting men in health improvement and weight loss interventions still remains a challenge the evidence from this evaluation offers positive insights into how to attract men to these activities. They concluded that their study adds to the existing evidence showing how men learn, adopt and stick to a 12 week weight loss programme in a sports related setting. A second research paper is being undertaken to follow up the men at 8 and 12 months after they have completed the programme.
An independent review of the TDSU service was undertaken by Leeds Beckett University in 2014 ‘To understand the psychosocial impact of men’s engagement in the Trim Down Shape Up Programme’. The Qualitative study identified the main Psychosocial motivations for joining TDSU. The key design characteristics of the TDSU programme such as location, activities and a male specific environment were identified as significant influencing factors. The impact of regular engagement in TDSU is identified, namely; improvements in physical health, diet, psychological health and social wellbeing were experienced alongside the weight loss. This is best summised by one of the participnats who was quoted to have said “What makes Trim Down Shape Up different from other organisations is, I like to think of it as a lad’s night out, but with exercise instead of beer. Because it’s all blokes, you’re all the same, kind of, place in where you are, and where you want to be, and you’re all in it for the same thing, and you have a good laugh.”
With support from expert advisors ABL set up a national steering group for men's weight management in 2012. This group meets twice a year and acts as a forum for the sharing of good practice and research in the field of weight management for men. It reviews the latest research and evidence and identifies successes and barriers to the programmes. Organisations who attend included Fit Fans, Go Men's Health - St Helen's, Fit Blokes -Dudley, Inform - Coventry, Health of Men - Bradford, Southwark Council, Motivate - Notts County FC, South Tees NHS Trust, Leeds University, the Men's Health Forum etc. Within this steering group the Trim Down Shape Up branding and programme has been praised for its innovation and appropriateness for the target group.