Former Preston North End physio Tom Little explains his departure and new role at Sheffield United

Former Preston North End fitness coach Tom Little left the club this summer after eight seasons at Deepdale.

By Tom Sandells
Saturday, 2nd July 2022, 12:30 pm

Read More

Read More
Ryan Lowe talks patience for Premier League loans and the return of Aston Villa'...

Little had spent eight years with North End, intitially joining the club under Simon Grayson with the pair having worked together at Huddersfield Town.

This summer however he made the move to Sheffield United, approached by two former players that he had coached, Blades boss Paul Heckingbottom and assistant Jack Lester.

Former PNE fitness coach Tom Little with his new Colour-Fit Method book.

It is a different role for Little, who is currently releasing a new book about nutrition and training called the Colour-Fit Method, with a larger team at his disposal.

He told the Lancashire Post: “Without actually looking elsewhere the Sheffield United opportunity came into my lap. It was a new challenge, a new environment and the club has potential.

"My day to day practice with Ryan Lowe and Mike Marsh, I rate them both very, very highly and I wish them both nothing but luck.

“At PNE it was quite deliberate to have a small staff, we do have expansions with the nutritionist and strength and conditioning coach that would come in but when I was there they were kept part time for financial reasons.

Tom Little during his time as PNE fitness coach.

"Here, I have five full time staff within my performance department and then there are more coaching staff, more analysts and I sit at the head of it.

"There is a lot more leadership for me here, more management, and going down those lines. It's a nice challenge because I have been used to leading a smaller team and going out and doing most parts of the job.

"It's an exciting challenge and one I really think I can get my teeth into.

“My age is finally paying off because I had both the manager and assistant manager when they were players.

Preston North End's physio Matt Jackson alongside fitness coach Tom Little.

"I had Paul Heckingbottom when he was at Barnsley and Jack Lester when he was at Nottingham Forest. They both had seen me in action and thought I could bring something to the department.

"It's been a long time waiting for those players to become managers but it's starting now, being old is hopefully going to start paying off!

"Although it depends on whether they thought I was any good with the training, they might be few and far between and I might just have been lucky landing on these two!

"I had Alex Neil when I was at Barnsley as well and he said he used to hate me, luckily I won him over when he came to Preston.”

Little is now releasing a book based off his efforts to get North End’s player to eat healthier and to be able to follow along with diets.

He calls it his ‘Colour-Fit Method’ – a colour coded system to help with selection of meals, with images, calories listed and even videos demonstrations on how to make them.

Although it was designed with elite athletes in mind, with the top flights in England and Scotland both using the method, and the Welsh rugby union team, there are applications right the way down to amateur level.

Its simple aesthetic, colour coded in the shape of a plate with symbols dedicated to the person’s need – best health, body shape or performance – originated close to home.

He said: "The design started off with my six-year-old, I was coming up with ideas at the time and he said it and said 'that one makes you run, that one makes you healthy'.

"So I thought I might have a chance with Pearo (former PNE midfielder Ben Pearson) and players like that! That's a bit disrespectful to six-year-olds, but that was it.

"Based on that concept we started building a really big meal library, we found a bigger pick up but we were missing a core element.

"We decided to make meal videos and that was the real turning point.

"There were pictures that would come up and look really nice for the meal, then when you went through it there would be links to the videos of how to cook them in there.

“Colour-Fit is something that has taken off within elite sport but the whole concept of simplifying nutrition is a problem that everyone struggles with, and to take it out to the general public I thought a book was the best option.”

He reached out to the same publishers as used by famous fitness coach Joe Wicks and it began a four year journey between the idea beginning and the book being released this week.

The book came out on Thursday and is available on Amazon and at book stores.

"I reached out to a publishing agent and he loved it straight away, the publishers have done an unbelievable job with the book,” he said.

"It's got the Colour-Fit methodology, it's got over 150 recipes in there and every one of them has a video link that you can access via a QR code.

"It also contains numerous training and nutrition plans for a variety of goals, like losing weight and optimising health, as well as performance in numerous sports from amateur to elite level.

“The simple nature of the meals inherently makes them economical as well.

"If you want them for the feeding your family point of view, making your own meals is without a shadow of a doubt is the best way to go about it.

"There will be less wastage from things you haven't used during the week. It's where the meal builder application comes in, sometimes you can't just follow a recipe exactly and you have to use what's in your cupboards.

"That's why the knowledge of how to shape a meal from basic ingredients will end up saving you lots of money and keep the family happy when it comes to their tastebuds.

"Economising is important for everyone, especially in the current climate and how expensive food is getting.”