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Gladiator Steel visits Halifax school to inspire healthy lifestyle

Gladiator Steel visits Halifax school to inspire healthy lifestyle
Gladiator Steel visits Halifax school to inspire healthy lifestyle

Image caption, Steel, real name Zack George, says he used to eat junk food “four or five times a week”

  • Author, Hayley Coyle and Tom Ingall
  • Role, BBC news

Gladiators’ Steel is promoting a ‘healthy mindset’ among young people after admitting he was overweight and had low self-esteem as a child.

The athlete, whose real name is Zack George, is now a CrossFit champion and a familiar face to fans of the BBC Saturday night TV show. He says he used to eat sweets and chocolate “every day”.

Steel, 33, from Leicester, visited a primary school in West Yorkshire on Monday to encourage pupils to make healthier choices and boost their self-confidence.

He told the BBC: “My passion is teaching children how to eat healthily, exercise and have a good mindset.”

Steel told children at Holy Trinity Church of England Primary School in Halifax that he used to eat junk food “four or five times a week” but also enjoyed watching Gladiators on TV and considered them “superheroes”.

He drew abs on his stomach, he said, to look like his movie idols.

“They could play all those games and look great. I said to myself, I want to be a gladiator,” he said.

“So I started eating healthier and exercising to make my dream come true.”

Image source, Tom Ingall/BBC

Image caption, Steel visited a school in Halifax to promote exercise and healthy eating

Steel co-founded an initiative aimed at improving health and wellbeing in British schools, running workshops for children aged three to 16.

He said: “You see that some of the children who come to the workshops have very little self-confidence. They have their heads down, their shoulders rolled forward and they are very quiet.

“By the end, their chests and backs are straight and they’re smiling. That makes it worth it.”

He added: “It’s really important to use the platform we have for the greater good.”

Steel is one of the new generation of Gladiators who star in the BBC One version of the popular 90s series, filmed at the Utilita Arena Sheffield.

Image source, Tom Ingall/BBC

Image caption, Steel, 33, said he used to dream of becoming a TV gladiator

School principal Sarah Huby said you could “feel the excitement” that a real Gladiator was visiting the school.

“It’s something they’ll always remember,” she said.

“We want our children to grow up happy and healthy. The world is very different now and we need to prepare them for that.”