A Renaissance Diet and IIFYM Calculator

I’ve started working with a new coach who as well as writing me a powerlifting program, has started to delve into the obvious problems with my nutritional approach. He came up with a ferociously tricky program for me to follow which was based heavily on the recommendations from the Renaissance Diet Book.

I’ve spent the last couple of weeks reading around these ideas and then drawing up an IIFYM and Renaissance Diet calculator (link to spreadsheet) that will determine both my macros for any given goal and also churn out the macros per meal as recommended by the Renaissance Diet. I thought I would save you the bother of having to recreate, or worse still, buy your own calculator by sharing the workbook and instructions here and on the warriorwoman Resources page.

I will provide enough of an overview of the Renaissance Diet for you to be able to use the calculator but I won’t delve into the scientific background or some of the minutiae of the method. For that you will have to stump up and pay the exorbitant fee for the original book.

What is the Renaissance Diet

It’s a diet program designed by a group of smart exercise scientists (they have PhDs) who are clearly very experienced in strength sports and physical transformation. They use a program called Renaissance Periodisation where your macronutrients and calorie target are based on your weight, goals and training volume. These targets are then split into individual meal targets with the composition varying around your training program.

So for example, on a training day with 6 meals in total, your protein would be split equally across all meals as the aim is to maintain a steady supply of protein, fat would be omitted from your mid-training meal as its slower to digest and your carbs would be heavily weighted to the meals pre, during and post-workout.

In terms of food composition they provide a pick list of lean protein sources, veg, healthy fats and carbs.

What do I think of the Renaissance Diet?

Well, I like elements of it and hate others.

The macro composition targets seem robust and are based on per lb of bodyweight goals – we all know as strength athletes that we could probably afford to squeeze some more protein into our diets. Splitting these goals down per day is just about manageable but splitting down to individual meal targets is a right royal pain in the ass! I don’t know how people do it. In my Renaissance Diet workbook I do provide a meal calculator so you can follow along to the rigid guidelines if desired. I would be very interested to see how you manage each meal though. I’ve tried to draw up a few meal ideas that work but I have to call upon foodstuffs with single macronutrient contents in order to make it work.

The food composition causes me some difficulties too. The protein sources are all lean cuts of meat and include the abomination that is egg whites. I absolutely cannot countenance throwing away a nutritious egg yolk in order to reconstitute a meal with an egg white and some other form of healthy fat, eg. avocado or nut butter.

Renaissance DietAll is not lost though. The guys who designed the Renaissance Diet have already prioritized each of their principles and as I am long way from the performance end of the scale where marginal gains are the name of the game, I am more than happy to abide by the first two principles which should get me about 80% of the rewards.

Principles in order of priority:

  1. Calorie consumption
  2. Macro composition
  3. Meal Timing
  4. Food composition
  5. Supplements

If It Fits Your Macros – IIFYM

IIFYM is a popular movement with crossfitters and other strength athletes. It follows the belief that macro composition and calorie balance is the key to achieving your body goals. In that respect they have a lot in common with the Renaissance Diet guys. 

Doughnuts and DeadliftsWhere they differ is in food composition. IIFYM don’t give two hoots about food composition, a carb is a carb as far as they are concerned. If you want a doughnut and you need a shed load of carbs to meet your macronutrient targets then go ahead – have the doughnut.

It’s the inspiration for my favourite brand of t-shirts: Deadlifts and Doughnuts.

The IIFYM and Renaissance Diet Workbook

This IIFYM and Renaissance Diet calculator (link to spreadsheet) workbook should work for you whether you want to determine daily macronutrient goals for IIFYM or the meal specific macros for the Renaissance Diet. It should also work for those who want to lose weight like me or those who are seeking bodyweight gains.

Macro Calculator

Start in the macro calculator tab and enter your personal details in the orange boxes, some of these are drop down selections to restrict your answers. Please note that I have not protected this spreadsheet in anyway, which means you are free to amend to suit your own needs but also means you can mess the whole thing up if you overwrite a formula. 

The calculator used the Harris-Benedict formula to calculate your BMR (basal metabolic rate) it then adjusts this based on your weight loss / gain goals and then applies a multiplier based on your activity level.

The macros are then split in the following priority order:

  1. Protein based on 0.8 – 1.2 times bodyweight in pounds regardless of activity levels
  2. Carbs are split based on activity levels from 0.5 – 2 times bodyweight in pounds
  3. Fat consumes the remaining calories. It isn’t allowed to drop below 10% (grams) of your bodyweight in lbs e.g. Min fat consumption for a 200lb person is 20g. The balance is then extracted from the carb target.

The area in the blue box reveals your target macronutrient targets based on your training volume. For rest days and light workouts use the LIGHT section. You can use MODERATE or HIGH where your strength routines become more intense – see the guide next to the blue box.

IIFYM and Renaissance diet Macronutrient Calculator
If you try this for a couple of weeks and your weight isn’t going in the right direction then alter the calorie adjustment number in the appropriate direction and re-test. Although this looks like a precision exercise the formula for calculating BMR is based on averages of average people and we are anything but average!

That’s all you need for IIFYM go forth armed with these macro proportions, download MyFitnessPal and start recording. For a while I imagine you will get to the end of the day either needing a pure protein meal (try Quark) or pure carbs (an easier predicament), but as you get more experienced you’ll probably be able to balance out your days.

RP Meal Calculator

If you want to rule your gut with an iron rod then you can delve into the RP Meal Calculator tab

you must first complete the macro calculator described above and then your only action on the new tab is to choose the number of meals you want to go for – either 5 or 6 in my workbook although I think you can go as high as 8 in the full program.

The table in the blue box then reveals your per meal macronutrient targets in grams. You can move each meal number around according to when you exercise. It is initial set up to reflect a morning workout routine.

Renaissance Diet Meal Plan
Let me know how you get on.

Infinitely Hard Eggs

Soft Boiled EggI am a big fan of eggs. They are nutritional power houses and are one my staple foods at the moment. I’m in the middle of a paleo-style detox (Whole 30) and so my current diet consists pretty much of eggs, meat, fish and vegetables.

In order to keep up with my voracious egg consumption I’ve been trying out the Severin Titanium Electronic Egg Boiler. I am not particularly adept at the perfect egg boil, so I thought an electronic gizmo might save the day. I was a little concerned when I read the instructions, which had been translated into an impressive array of languages, and informed me that I could achieve an infinite level of hardness with my egg, just by turning a dial.

I have problems with infinite hardness, not least because I want a dippy egg but mainly because I am sure the egg would self-combust before it approached anything near infinite hardness. After trying the gadget on umpteen occasions and having failed to soft boil more than 24 eggs I would now concede that this is a device that is focussed on it’s goal of achieving at least brick-like hardness.

This morning, in a bit of a strop, I turned the device down to its lower setting and tried again with a rather special Organic Burford Brown Hen egg, complete with the Red Lion stamp of quality and Britishness. The gadget beeped after a mere 30 seconds (or so), the water had not boiled and the egg had not even warmed through. I picked it up, shook it to reveal a fluid centre and then cracked it on the side of my frying pan and went back to the good old fashioned way of cooking a breakfast egg.

The British Lion Eggs website is a really useful resource for eggy related info and detail on egg nutrition. This page on eggs and cholesterol, although voluntarily restricted to health professionals provides some research backed evidence to explain how the cholesterol raising misconception arose.

Primal Kitchen Loveliness

I was sent 3 snack bars from The Primal Kitchen to try out last week. I’m afraid they were so lovely that I didn’t have chance to take artistic photos before I’d polished them off.

20140611-212942-77382223.jpg

The Almond and Cashew bar is particularly delicious and I’ve already bulk ordered some additional bars for the snack cupboard.

They’ve been designed to make paleo snacks more accessible and include minimal ingredients, all real food. My favourite bar contains only dates, almonds, cashews and almond oil.

I have found them the perfect snack for taking on endurance events like the London2Brighton. They’re also handy in the office drawer but can be a little to tempting for my own good.

Just as a quick aside. It’s Day 11 of Juneathon and I’m still on track. I reluctantly dragged myself on to the treadmill this morning for a High Intensity Training session before work and was mighty glad I made the effort. There are few things more rewarding than a completed run.

Quorn Lasagne

With two teenagers in the house, meal times often become complicated. One does not cope well with one-pot amalgams which are my fall back staple and the other is a VEGETARIAN!

It is not unusual to have three different dishes on the go and I’m afraid the vegetarian often suffers from my lack of imagination and gets a Linda McCartney fakey on her plate alongside a floret of broccoli and a bit of carrot – the only two vegetables she’ll contemplate eating.

Quorn sent me through a few sample products recently and I have to say the Quorn mince is an absolute winner. It’s a healthy protein source and can form the basis of a tasty meal without the heavy, greasyness that beef mince can add to a meal.

It is tasty and meaty enough, in a better than meat sort of way, to be acceptable to everyone in the house.

We had the in laws around this weekend and they added “not fond of red meat” to the list of food requirements. With the Quorn mince at the ready I was able to knock up a pretty darn tasty lasagne that suited everyone’s tastes and it was quite a joy to have everyone around the table enjoying the same dish.

Quorn Lasagne Recipe

Quorn Lasagne PreparationHere’s the bulk of the ingredients I gathered for the vegetarian Quorn Lasagne.

  • Onions x 3
  • Garlic
  • Carrots
  • Quorn
  • Marmite (1 tsp)
  • Splash of Worcestershire Sauce (I hope this is vegetarian)
  • Passata
  • Tomatoes fresh
  • Tomatoes tinned
  • Oregano
  • Tomato purée
  • Sun dried tomatoes x 4ish

Ragu

The carrots are an optional extra but I use them to bulk out the mixture and to sneak a few hidden vegetables into the teenagers.

Chop and fry the onions and then garlic. Add in the carrots and fresh toms before chucking in all the wetter ingredients. Add a teaspoon of marmite and dash of Worcestershire sauce for the umami hit and then simmer for approx one hour while you faff with the cheese sauce.

Delia's White SauceI always revert to Delia for my white sauce but I do add a bit of cheese for taste. (I didn’t get to be this weight by cooking cheese-less sauce!). I also made extra by doubling up on the quantities so I’d be sure to have enough for 2 generous lasagnes.

I ended up with quite a lot left in the pan though, so if you can cope with a 1.5 x calculation I’d recommend you go with it. It was my intention to go with 1.5 x Delias recipe but I messed up when measuring the flour and you really don’t want to make a cheese sauce with too much flour – always go for less rather than more flour or else it will taste disgusting.

Next its time for the layering.

Quorn Lasagne

Start with a layer of ragu, followed by cheese sauce then the lasagne sheets. You want to aim for three layers of pasta sheets, finally topped with white sauce and a sprinkle of cheese.

The three layers ensures that the cooked lasagne has a bit of rigidity and doesn’t serve up like a dollop of Bolognaise sauce. I got it perfect for one dish but the second was too shallow to cope with a full 3 layers and I felt cheated at dinner time when I was served from the sloppy tray!

Sizzling Quorn LasagneHaving prepared this at the crack dawn, I then went out for a very long walk. Leaving instructions for the oven to be switched on about an hour before my estimated arrival and was very glad to arrive home shattered but rewarded by a lovely sizzling feast.

Quorn samples have been doing the rounds of the running blogger world and here’s a few of the other Quorn recipes I’ve spotted:

Helsbels – Made a creamy pasta dish with the Quorn Meatballs
JogBlog – Made a Chicken Quorn Lattice Pie

Beetroot and Protein Powder Truffles

enjoying-beetroot-truffles.jpgThese were supposed to be chocolate truffles with a hidden ingredient but I got so carried away grating an excess of roast beetroot that I was unable to hide the purple vibrancy of the mix. I tried to smother them in a thick dusting of cocoa powder but there was no fooling my diners – I practically had to force the kids to swallow them. I wouldn’t let it put you off trying the recipe though, teenagers are renowned for gagging on healthy vegetables and these moist little treats could be just your cup of tea.

I was recently sent a load of protein powder shakes from Kinetica Sports and initially thought they would make good emergency lunch supplies to stash in my desk drawer for those days when I haven’t had time to prepare a chicken salad. I don’t tend to use a lot of protein powders anymore, they aren’t real food and so don’t fit that well with my attempts to stick at the Paleo diet but they are probably a better option than ready-made sandwiches.

Kinetica-shake.jpgAfter my first desk-based shake I decided I’d have to find another use for them. They were pretty unpalatable and a complete disappointment as a meal replacement.

The different protein shake brands tend to differ in the mucosity (texture) and flavour scales. I regularly used Myoplex diet as a breakfast option, one sachet would make a full pint of a flavoursome and filling shake although it did admittedly score highly on the slime scale with a similarity to raw egg nog. In comparison, for the same calorie count, Kinetica Whey Protein shakes make a thimble-full of a slightly powdery liquid with no hint of slime at all but an entirely disappointing flavour with an artificial aftertaste.

The emergency lunch supplies were ferried back home for the addition of  a little creativity……

beetroot-protein-truffles.jpgBeetroot and Protein Powder Truffles

  • 3 tbsp Coconut Flour
  • sachet of Whey Protein Powder (chocolate)
  • 3 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp peanut butter
  • 2 large roast beetroot (note that this was too much and one smaller beetroot would be sufficient)
  • milk to mix (feel free to use coconut milk if available)

beetroot-truffles.jpgHaving mixed these to a stiff paste, I rolled into balls, panicked at the colour and so dusted with cocoa powder and bunged them into the fridge for a couple of hours.

The general consensus seemed to be that the flavour was ok but the texture  was considered disturbing by most. A thicker paste is probably advisable and go easy on the beetroot.

Kinetica also sent me some ready-made protein bar snacks and these were rapidly devoured by the family. So if you don’t fancy my beetroot treats but like the idea of a protein hit, you wouldn’t go far wrong by trying Milk Pro Toffee.

I doctored this recipe from the Protein POW website which is a great resource for protein powder recipes, the original chocolate and peanut butter bar looks a lot more appetising than my version.

 

The Paleo Diet and Mindful Eating for Weightloss

As a large runner I spend quite a lot of time focusing on food and diet. My aim is to establish a diet that makes it easy for me to maintain an acceptable weight, feel satisfied and still provides sufficient levels of energy for me to live my life with abandon.

My dietary program has been heavily influenced by three excellent books that have a similar theme of simplifying food and eating.

My first recommendation is Savor, a Buddhist guide to mindful eating. This book attempts to fuse nutritional advice with the Buddhist concept of mindfulness through the discussion of the four noble truths and a series of exercises or meditations that encourage a focus on the present.

The eating messages I’ve taken home are:

  • Eat at the table
  • Avoid multitasking – so no TV, work or magazines
  • Appreciate your food by use of all the senses
  • Chew and take it slowly
  • Quality not quantity

I’ve turned to Michael Pollen for the sort of down to earth advice succinctly wrapped up with the maxim: Eat Food, Not Too Much, Mostly Plants. Homespun advice that would make your mum and grandmother nod their heads in appreciation.

In Defense of Food, contains Michael Pollen’s manifesto for eating and attempts to find the commonsense lost in the nutritional world that has become hijacked by commerce and the food industry.

In addition to the Eat Food, Not Too Much, Mostly Plants advice you’ll find tips such as:

  • Only eat food your great grandmother would recognise as food
  • Avoid products with unpronounceable ingredients or more than 5 ingredients
  • Avoid food with health claims

Both of these books suggest a common sense approach to eating and food, but slightly more prescriptive advice can be found in the next book which advocates the diet of our ancestors.

The Paleo Diet by Loren Cordain

In a nut shell The Paleo Diet asks us to consider our food choices from the perspective of our early ancestors.

From an evolutionary time frame our digestive systems remain as they were in paleolithic times. The agricultural revolution has brought about many changes in our eating habits but our bodies have not yet had time to catch up.

By reverting to our ancestral food types we can achieve many health benefits and reduce a number of inflammatory or allergic reactions that are associated with modern foods such as wheat and highly processed foods. I mentioned in passing recently that I’ve had a lot of success treating plantar fasciitis with the paleo diet.

Acceptable Paleo foods:

  • All low starch vegetables (so potatoes are excluded but you can substitute with sweet potato)
  • Meat (preferably lean) and fish
  • Eggs
  • Olive Oil
  • Nuts (not peanuts which are legumes)
  • Berries and fruit
  • Red Wine (some would argue)

The Paleo Avoidance List – No Grains, No Sugar, No Processed Food:

  • Sugar
  • Salt
  • Processed foods
  • Potato
  • Rice and grains (and flour products)
  • Bread
  • Pasta

The Paleo Diet really is a very easy diet to follow. I’ve already listed out the rules in the space of two paragraphs. That’s all there is to it. I find it a very acceptable way to live, I may have to plan ahead sometimes but Paleo food is quite accessible – just stick to the edges of the supermarket where you’ll find the fresh produce aisles, then snack on fruit, nuts and cooked meats.

Because it’s an easy way to live, that’s the way I see it – a way of life. That enables me to let myself off the hook from time to time. Some may call it cheating but it does mean that if I visit friends for dinner, I can join them without feeling the need to educate them on my current eating habits. I just return to Paleo tomorrow.

Many Paleo advocates call this the 80:20 rule – get it right 80% of the time and you’ll be alright. Julia Buckley would say “Mostly good, most of the time”.

I’ve had great successes on the Paleo Diet, I lost 6lbs in the first week, 3-stone in the first year and I have been on a steady decline since then. It could be considered a boring diet but it has the great effect of reducing my cravings. So while I may feel hunger I’m actually not that bothered by the feeling, it can rumble away for a while before I need to satisfy the pangs. That is incredibly unusual for me, before the Paleo diet I would say I practically lived in fear of hunger, I would anticipate the feeling and ward off the onset with fairly regular snacking.

The Paleo diet has a lot of similarities with the GI diet, they don’t necessarily recommend the same food types, as the GI diet includes whole grains which would be avoided on the Paleo diet, but they both impact on and stabelize insulin levels in the body. I think it is this that stops the cravings and the emotional highs and lows with traditional dieting.

If you’d like to kick start your Paleo lifestyle I can highly recommend the Whole 30 challenge which is a 30-day uber strict paleo diet challenge. It’s a great way to detox and determine if you have any food intolerances but its also a useful way to familiarise yourself with real foods again.

The Whole 30 food list is even simpler than the Paleo one from Loren Cordain’s book:

  • NO milk
  • NO alcohol
  • NO bread
  • NO sugar
  • NO pasta
  • NO grains
  • NO pulses
  • NO flour

It may feel strange to avoid grains which have for a long time been touted as a health food pillars but they are relatively recent intruders into our diet. If you look at the Paleo Diet with its lean meats and fish, its abundance of veg, salad and the delights of fruits, nuts and berries, you can rest assured that you are eating healthy and nutrient laden food.


The Whole 30 Challenge

I’m nearing the end of the Julia Buckley Fat Loss program with just 2 more weeks of hard graft before I take the final measurements and review the before and after photos.

Julia’s program has a very structured training plan but the nutritional aspect has been left much more fluid, enabling the recruits to guide themselves towards a healthy and workable nutrition plan. The food motto for the JBFL program would probably be “Mostly good, most of the time”, where good means low in processed carbs.

I started my diet plan with a predominantly Paleo foundation, so immediately cut out bread, pasta, potatoes and sugar. I’m afraid I was following a French caveman who turned out to be a founder member of the Stella Artois brewery and alcohol managed to sneak past my paleo principles.

3 weeks ago I decided to take the plan a bit more seriously and went in search of hardcore Paleo rules.

The Whole 30I found the Whole 30.

For the last 25 days I’ve been following an über strict paleo detox. So that means NO milk, NO alcohol, NO bread, NO sugar, NO pasta, NO grains, NO pulses, NO flour.

I’ve been living off jasmine tea, eggs, chicken, tuna, veg, fruit and cashew nuts. That’s pretty much it. If it weren’t for the cashew nuts I’d probably be wafer thin by now.

Its been a struggle. Cutting out milk in my tea turned out to be the surprise challenge. I had a very sulky patch during week 3 – I was bored with the monotony of it all and wanted a god damn beer. I did have a couple of blips in the end. I had two bottles of Mythos at a Greek restaurant and a dollup of Elmlea fake cream with some strawberries. On the whole though, this has been a rewarding and successful challenge.

One of the main ideas of the Whole 30 plan is to detox or get clean for a whole month so you can slowly re-introduce food types into your diet to assess for any intolerances. I don’t think I’m bothered much by food intolerances so expect to be able to re-introduce milk and alcohol almost immediately. I hope I’ve learned something about moderation though.

My intention is to stick to a mostly Paleo inspired diet, the reduction in processed carbs and sugars has freed me from many of the intense food cravings I had and I feel much less of a slave to food. I’m looking forward to a bit more freedom and flexibility though.

If you’re tempted by the Whole 30 Challenge I would recommend the following two books “Well Fed: Paleo Recipes for People Who Love to Eat” and “It Starts with Food: Discover the Whole30 and Change Your Life in Unexpected Ways” as well as this amazing iPad recipe app, “Nom Nom Paleo” which is a joy to use and includes some really delicious and inspired Whole 30 compliant recipes. Despite having cut out a number of potential ingredients from my diet, with the help of these 3 guides I’ve actually been incredibly creative in the kitchen, knocking up homemade mayonnaise, Chinese style cauliflower “rice” and a rather special Vietnamese beef dish.

Upbeat Protein Drink Review

Its not unusual for me to review my diet and decide that there is an excessive proportion of carbohydrate in the fuel mix.

Then I’ll embark on a period of clean living where the bread, potatoes and pasta are rejected in favour of lean meats, eggs, fish and vegetables. If I want to stick a label on the new eating plan I might call it Paleo but the aim is to have a balanced plate of protein and veg for each meal.

I always find that breakfasts are the hardest meal to slot protein into. Of course there are eggs, with enough cooking options to add interest to every day of the week, but I rarely fancy cooking when I’ve just got up, I’m just too used to the ease of cereal or toast.

I’ve recently taken to whizzing up a protein shake first thing in the morning. It’s a great way to get a perfect balance of carbs and proteins and if you are lucky with your brand choice it can even taste pretty good. Since my days trying out the Body for Life program I’ve been a fan of Myoplex Diet. It comes in 200 calorie sachets and makes a pint of very tasty (chocolate or strawberry) shake. The texture doesn’t appeal to everyone though, I’ve tried to encourage the teenage vegetarian to take a sip and risk a dose of protein but it is greeted with grimaces as the consistency has a slight similarity to raw egg white.

Upbeat Protein DrinkI was happy to be sent a few samples of the latest health drink Upbeat to try out last week. These come ready mixed in small bottles and have about 150 cals for a 250ml bottle. They have two flavours, strawberry and mango. Mango is my favourite and tastes likes a fresh smoothie – you wouldn’t really know you were drinking protein and there is no texture issues.

Upbeat have achieved something quite impressive in making such a tasty shake in the convenience of a ready made chilled drink. My experience with assorted powders is that they don’t last well after you’ve mixed them, they tend to separate and turn lumpy so if you want to take a shake for later you’ll need to have access to a whisk or one of those shakers that marks you out as a bodybuilder, so Upbeat could corner the market in tasty, whey based, protein drinks.

I can see myself buying these Upbeat protein shakes as a convenience snack when I’m desperately in need of sustenance but want to avoid the lure of high carb treats.

New Schemes

DumbbellsMy latest fitness and weightloss scheme is the Julia Buckley Fat Burn Revolution. A 12-week program that rotates sessions in the style of many of my previous fads. It has a definite likeness to the Body For Life program with its emphasis on protein rich meals, weight training and high intensity, short lived cardio sessions but it also mirrors the plyometric Insanity workouts with a hint of Convict Conditioning body weight training.

I’m a week in. Only 11 weeks to go to a new me.

Last week I took the before photos and spent a good 10 minutes sobbing at the results. It shouldn’t have been a shock, I weigh myself daily, I know how horrific that number is. Somehow though, the numbers managed to hide the visual impact.

The years have taken their toll and the photo emphasised the impact of gravity, the pounds have shifted downwards and my thighs are now hovering in the place my knees used to occupy.

I have high hopes for the program. Julia has achieved impressive results with previous recruits and obviously I am hoping for my own transformation. I am 10 days away from the biggest challenge of my life and 12 weeks away from my summer holiday and potential beachside humiliation.

I am completely open to transformation.

Big Fat Sitting Duck

Hardcore workouts appeal to me, at least the “idea” of hardcore exercise appeals. I have a copy of Insanity and have once attended a British Military Fitness class, I’ve even watched Jillian Michaels on the telly and I can confirm that it was a brutal experience.

The latest initiative by UKpaintball.co.uk may well be a step too far.

Overweight folk are being invited to part with £199 and sign up for 10 sessions of target practice.

Just to make it clear – the fatties are the target.

The idea is that the participants will be unarmed and have to run the gauntlet while staff take pot shots at them with the paint guns.

“There will be several shooters in place and so it’s unlikely any of those involved will be in a safe area for too long, which, combined with wanting to avoid getting hit, should result in a lot of running around, shedding hundreds of calories in the process.”

I’m sure it’s good exercise but what on earth would encourage you to go back again for sessions 2-10? I imagine that after you’ve admired the array of bruises on your wobbly bits and scrubbed the remains of the emulsion from your skin, a gentle jog in the local park will look far more attractive.

Maybe you can progress through the ranks and swap kg’s for ammo and armour – first kilogram lost gets you a shield and when you reach your weight loss target you are rewarded with a pump action, sawn-off, paintball accelerator so you can get your own back on the staff who’ve had free rein with your nerve endings for the last few sessions.

“Getting hit by a paintball can really sting and so I’m sure anyone who takes a shot will be even keener to avoid the next one, which will hopefully enable them to burn even more calories.”

The company believes that fear based exercise could well be the next big thing but I’m not sure if I’d be brave enough to sign up for this level of torture, I’d be worried that they’d turn the session over to the latest stag party and I’d end up cowering by the nearest tree like a big fat sitting duck.