Celebrating Success: Media Mogul Carl Norton

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Our MAN v FAT Community do a great job of telling our story through their own words. Carl Norton, a MAN v FAT member, is one of the best – and is twice winner of our Media Mogul Award. He tells us more…

Why is celebrating success so important to you?
I LOOOOVE seeing people succeed, but more importantly, I love seeing their happiness elevate, I have always wanted to motivate and encourage people, especially overweight men. It’s something I am extremely passionate about, I want to see people grow in confidence and feel empowered. 

It also stems from my own experiences where I feel if I had  support and encouragement from the people, my life would have been different in a positive way,  unfortunately I had poor self-esteem and didn’t believe in myself and I stopped caring as much – I hate the idea of anyone feeling like I did, were they think they’re not important, and their success isn’t a big deal, because it absolutely is.

This is a big reason why I like to celebrate players success because it not only lifts that player, it lifts their team mates, it lifts their league and it also provides an incentive for players to achieve their own success.

I also think, if a potential member sees this type of content, they will be encouraged to sign up or at least further their interest by enquiring because they want to experience the same as the person who we celebrate.  

Personally for me, it’s very rewarding having the ability to make someone’s day better, It makes me feel good to be able to do that.  

What are the key steps involved when sharing players success?
Always make sure the player has consented and seen the content before it is put online, that’s the first step for me. I usually reach out to players in the main group chat, I will post previous content and ask if anyone would like their story sharing, I also arrange this at the sessions.

I will get the player to send me some photos and ask them to write their story. I usually include questions such as

  • Why did you join MAN v FAT? 
  • What appealed to you about MAN v FAT? 
  • What was your first session like? 
  • What is your favourite aspect of MAN v FAT? 
  • What have you achieved so far at MAN v FAT? 
  • How has MAN v FAT impacted your life? 
  • What would you say to someone thinking of joining MAN v FAT? 

Sometimes players will answer the questions directly and sometimes they use it as a guideline to answer the questions and I will edit it onto a template that I try to make personal.

For example, the most recent one was a veteran James Moore and I wanted to incorporate that into the image. I also add a before and after photo, I try to be as creative as I can be with it.

Once I have finished, I will get the green light to post it from the player, usually at 7.30am/12pm/5.30pm/9.30pm, I time it to be around the times that people are scrolling, the more engagement the better because it makes the player feel good.

How did you get the community to buy into what you do on social media? 
I would frequently post in the main group with the content I was making. I would also share content from other clubs and speak about how we could improve as a league and generate conversations on how we could highlight the league to attract new members.

I am fortunate enough to be friends with Facilitator of the year 2021 Dave Bell, who recognised that my posts were quite unique at the time and really encouraged me along with his support by using MAN v FAT Hull’s Facebook page as a platform to share my content and made me an admin, which connected me with our whole league and players would approach me about the media work and how they could be involved.  

It’s almost like a metaphorical medal for some players to have their stories told or accolades celebrated that they can share with their friends and family.

I am hoping to get my league more involved in the future, I take inspiration from across the community, and would like to get some videography and restart the short video series I started last year. I have been writing some comedy shorts and players want to get involved, we live in a day and age of social media and more players are engaging which is brilliant.  

There will be a lot of showmen at each club, getting them involved can help bring them out of their shells with encouragement and participation from their league mates.  

It can be challenging, but if you showcase why highlighting your club is beneficial internally and externally, I think majority of members will be open to taking part.

In what ways do your celebrations aid the community at your club?
I think it has a positive impact on the individuals whose success is been celebrated, because in that moment, there is 80 men giving them praise and applauding their achievements, that moment will give them confidence and it’s nice to be acknowledged for the hard work you’ve put in to reach whatever milestone you achieved in life. 

The celebration doesn’t end in the group chat or on social media, members from different teams will approach that player to congratulate them and talk about weight loss, it connects members with one another to provide that community vibe and learning from one another and by sharing their success gives them a platform to share their wisdom to other players which can have a domino effect because those players may be on the other end of those congratulations in the future and gives them a motive in their own weight loss.  

Just seeing the content online can make players feel like they belong to something. It also positively impacts mental health, which is something I personally strive for as a wellness coach at the Hull & East Yorkshire Community counselling service, it gets people talking and many of the guys tend to open up about their challenges and adversities when they share their success story which is really empowering for themselves, and all involved.

What advice would you give to anyone who wants to put celebrating success at the forefront of their club? 
I would recommend they do it 100%, if you’re able to go that extra mile to empower your members, highlight the league and showcase the MAN v FAT ethos on social media to attract new players, you will personally feel rewarded for the time and effort you put into your club’s social media content and it will benefit your community in multiple ways.

It also opens up opportunities to connect with members, coaches and the MAN v FAT HQ team from all around the country and raises the profile of your club amongst the other clubs and the players you share are inspiring other men around the country too.

What did it feel like to win the MAN v FAT Media Mogul award in 2023?
Oh man, probably the most overwhelming feeling, I wasn’t able to attend unfortunately but thanks to the Preston legend James Baker (@James v Fat), he recorded the announcement and I heard the full room cheer, it really touched me because I had been going through a really challenging time and to hear all that love and support for me from people – many I haven’t physically met – was just amazing and its something I will always cherish.

I didn’t expect to win it, I felt overjoyed, I just have to say the other nominees deserved it as much, especially Dan McAuley of Carlisle, What he and Coach Bev does is brilliant, the whole standard of MAN v FAT social media influencers has been raised levels and its down to your hard work and inspiring others to do the same things with their own creative element.

How do you do it?
Everything I do, is done on a 3-year-old rubbish smart phone with a potato for a camera, BUT with a bit of time and creativity, you can create content to rival that of the latest tech.

I’m not a media savvy guy or good with technology, I am a creative person and I use this to make my content.

I use an app called Pixart, its basically Microsoft paint for a phone, it really isn’t glamourous or high end. But I want to share this because if I can do this kind of thing.

I take inspiration from the official MAN v FAT posts, and I will try to make it look as professional as possible. I have experimented with different styles but I think the simple templates are more effective.   



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