What is IIFYM?
IIFYM stands for If It Fits Your Macros, also known as flexible dieting. For many years the bodybuilder diet has been bland and tasteless. Often filled with stereotypical “clean” foods such as skinless chicken breast, broccoli, brown rice etc.
But what if you want to get good results and still be able to eat out at restaurants or indulge in a much needed treat? The good news is it doesn’t have to be all or nothing.
IIFYM is not a diet plan as such, it simply refers to the way you manage your diet.
To lose weight you need to be burning more calories than you consume – However, this does not necessarily mean you can only these so called ‘clean’ foods. So long as you are in a caloric deficit then you can chomp away on whatever you please and you will still lose weight. The exact opposite is true for gaining muscle, given the right training stimulus and a caloric surplus then you will add muscle regardless of eating ‘clean’ foods or not.
“Your overall calories and macro-nutrient split essentially determine the effect your diet will have on your body composition – Not the foods you eat”
This is where IIFYM comes in, instead of sticking to plain chicken, what if I told you that you could have a sauce with that chicken or fit in a small treat that wouldn’t be deemed as a ‘clean’ food providing you could work it in to your macro-nutrient split. By doing this you will not do any harm to your body composition so long as you stay within your defined calories and macros.
Why does IIFYM get a bad rep
If it fits your macros way of dieting gets a bad rep because some people have taken it to the extreme and their nutrition comes mainly from burgers, pizzas, even McDonalds. While it’s still possible to achieve your goals whilst eating these foods it is far from optimum and extremely unhealthy.
Effects on body composition
Your overall calories and macronutrient split essentially determine the effect your diet will have on your body composition – Not the foods you eat. Can you get lean and shredded by incorporating ice cream in to your diet every day? Yes. Is it ideal? No.
Don’t believe me? Here is a story of how a professor lost 27lbs eating twinkies.
How you should use IIFYM
The majority of your food should still be good, healthy, wholesome food to ensure you get the right micronutrients, vitamins and minerals.
However, if at the end of the day you have a few calories left over in the form of say carbs and fats and you’ve been craving a doughnut all day – working that doughnut in to your macros and your calories for the day is much better than not having it then binging later on because your diet plan is too rigid.
Flexible dieting when done right is the key to being able to stick to your diet in the long term. Too many restrict themselves to a diet of bland and boring foods only to find it too difficult to stick to for more than a few weeks. By following a flexible diet approach it lets you have those occasional treats without having to destroy your hard work.
No need to be that guy in a restaurant with your friends eating just a plain salad anymore… Bon appetit!
Disclaimer: Do not eat pizza and hamburgers every day for optimal results.