If It Fits Your Macros (IIFYM), or flexible dieting, is a method of dieting that revolves around meeting daily macronutrient intake targets. Macronutrients are any of the nutritional components that are required in the human diet in relatively large amounts: protein, carbohydrate, fats (minerals such as iron and zinc are classified as microminerals – and calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus are macrominerals). Fiber is also a macronutrient and is important. Each macronutrient has a role to play, and is needed in different quantities depending on your goals, metabolism, training history, and many other factors.
IIFYM – In a way, it is a slap to the face of conventional dieting, and the notion that anyone who wants to get into shape or become leaner has to eat a stringent diet of “clean” foods at precise times throughout the day, must have certain foods pre and post workout, and that any deviation of this will be breaking the laws of dieting. What is a “clean” food anyways?! What makes something “clean” versus “dirty”? If we look back throughout the history of fitness and health – the foods that are termed “clean” varies decade to decade and is very much hypocritical.
The idea of IIFYM is quite simple… you can be flexible in eating the types of foods you want as long as you meet your allotment of protein, carbs and fats. The allotment that is set for you is based on your goals. Whether those goals be to lose body fat, gain muscle, or get show ready lean, etc.
- 1 gram of protein = 4 calories
- 1 gram of carbohydrate = 4 calories
- 1 gram of fat = 9 calories
As you can see here, macronutrients make up your calories. The idea here is that a flexible dieter tracks their macronutrients (and fiber) rather than typical calorie counting (i.e.: eating 1700 calories a day) to make up their daily allotment.
One misconception about flexible dieting is that it can allow you to eat junk all the time as long as you are still hitting your macronutrients. This is 100% wrong and 100% stupid. We still want to be providing our bodies with optimal food sources for energy, performance and recovery. For most who use this approach, it is still a lot of the same food sources that a “clean” calorie counter would eat on a daily basis, but without all the major and minor allowances and restrictions that “clean” eating forces along the way. In a nutshell, it allows for us to live life a little. To enjoy a treat or a piece of birthday cake without going off the deep end. Life happens and IIFYM allows for flexibility and enjoyment.