Train hard, eat whatever you want, and still get results. Forget about ever having to count calories again. Forget about restricting yourself and having to forego eating your favourite foods. This is the promise offered to you by If It Fits Your macros – IIFYM.
What does IIFYM stand for?
IIFYM stands for IF IT FITS YOUR MACROS and it is more so a philosophy rather than a diet per se.
Those in the fitness world who support the IIFYM movement say it is the be-all-end-all of dietary approaches.
But is it all it is cranked up to be?
Let us take a detailed look from the outside and see for ourselves if IF IT FITS YOUR MACROS can deliver on its promises.
IIFYM departs from the premise that depending on variables such as your age, gender, weight, and muscle mass, your body has a specific macronutrient profile, and as long as your diet meets this ratio, it will not matter what types of foods you are consuming.
As the name implies, IIFYM is ALL about your macronutrient consumption.
What is your macronutrient profile?
While the majority of the population is well versed in the importance of vitamins, minerals, and other micronutrients; a rather large group is still unaware of the significance of having a balanced and controlled macronutrient profile, and it is this precisely that the IIFYM movement is trying to change.
A macronutrient is a name used to describe the three main components of human nutrition.
Macronutrients make up the bulk of our dietary consumption and are essential to a myriad of bodily processes.
The three macronutrients are:
- CARBOHYDRATES: Carbohydrates is the group of chemical compounds that consist of sugars, starches, and fibres. Most carbohydrates are broken down by the body and turned into glucose which is then used to fuel the body through specific metabolic processes. Because carbohydrates play such an essential component of cellular energy metabolism, it usually takes up the majority of macronutrient allotments for most people.
- PROTEINS: Proteins are mainly composed of amino acids and are the macronutrient that plays a crucial role in tissue growth, repair, and maintenance. For physically active individuals a stable and consistent intake of lean protein is essential. Proteins also play a significant role in the hormonal synthesis and immune efficiency.
- FATS: Fats have long been misrepresented in the collective consciousness of society. A large subgroup of the population is under the impression that all fats are harmful to the organism and should be avoided at all costs. Fats are essential to many functions of the body, and a diet devoid of fat will lead to dangerous health complications. Fats are needed for hormonal synthesis, cellular integrity, and micronutrient absorption.
For decades, nutritionists have recommended a balanced diet based around an approximate 65/20/15 macronutrient split. The IF IT FITS YOUR MACROS movement offers more flexibility. What IIFYM does not in fact offer is permission to throw all caution and common sense to the wind and base your diet on junk food and empty calories.
Getting started on IIFYM
The first step that needs to be taken when thinking about going on an IIFYM diet is to establish your macronutrient allotment and to do that you must first calculate your approximate daily caloric intake.
There are many available tools for this purpose, but once you have an estimated daily calorie consumption you can choose which macronutrient ratio you will be using, and this will depend in great part on what your end goals are.
Bodybuilders versus marathon runners and IIFYM
A marathoner will need to consume different foods and in different proportions than a powerlifter whose ultimate goal is to develop strength.
A typical bodybuilder might choose to go with a 40/40/20 split while a performance-oriented athlete might need a 50/30/20.
These are merely starting points, and the individual is expected to remain vigilant and adjust appropriately to reach goals and maintain good health.
Working out your split
Once you have decided on a split, you multiply your daily calorie intake by the percentages from your split and divide that by the total calories provide per gram of each macronutrient.
In the case of carbs and protein, it is four calories per gram, and fats provide nine calories per gram.
This will now give you with your daily macronutrient allotment in grams. These are the values you must meet your dietary choices. It is that simple.
Flexibility is key to working within IIFYM
Besides flexibility, one of the most important advantages offered by IIFYM is that the program allows you to adapt and grow as you learn more about nutritional values and how your body reacts to your diet.
This will make it easier for most people to stick to the plan long term and not suffer from pesky yo-yo effects usually associated with calorie counting and stricter diets.
The freedom afforded by IIFYM will allow the individual to bear the burden of dietary restrictions more easily.
Studies have shown this conclusively
Studies have shown over and over again that flexible diets are more easily adhered to over time than stricter diets and as such present much higher rates of success.
IIFYM is a personal approach to nutrition, and nothing is set in stone, and it is here that some pitfalls may arise.
The same freedom that allows the individual to custom tailor their diet often gets misinterpreted into thinking that fat from fried chicken and fat from an avocado is the same.
Balanced nutritional intake is key
It is important to maintain balanced and sensible nutrition and not neglect micronutrient composition of the foods we are ingesting.
The same applies to carbohydrate choices. Simple carbs such as those found in white rice and refined sugars will never compare to complex carbs found in brown rice and whole grains.
Keeping a close eye on this issue will guarantee longtime success in whatever your goals are.
As always, with any nutritional plan, it is of paramount importance to cover all the bases and supplement with high-quality nutritional products.
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- Wrong, Where It Went. “IIFYM: The Good, Bad, and the Ugly.”
- Hudson, Dayne. “WHY ALL CARBS ARE THE SAME-EATING HEALTHY AND IIFYM TRUTHS.”
- Johnson, Fiona, Michelle Pratt, and Jane Wardle. “Dietary restraint and self-regulation in eating behavior.” International journal of obesity 36.5 (2012): 665-674.
- Timko, C. A., and J. Perone. “Rigid and flexible control of eating behavior and their relationship to dieting status.” Eating and Weight Disorders-Studies on Anorexia, Bulimia and Obesity 11.3 (2006): e90-e95.
- Smith, C. F., et al. “Flexible vs. Rigid dieting strategies: relationship with adverse behavioral outcomes.” Appetite 32.3 (1999): 295-305.
- IIFYM Macro Diet Plan for Fast Weight Loss – IIFYM – IIFYM, https://www.iifym.com/
We have, in preparing this information, used our best endeavours to ensure that the information contained herein is true and accurate. But accept no responsibility and disclaim all liability in respect of any errors, inaccuracies or misstatements contained herein. Information guide only and any other further information should be considered by a professional.