“If It Fits Your Macros”, a.k.a. IIFYM. You’ve possibly seen this phrase thrown around on social networking sites and fitness websites. If yes, then you may also know about the debate this issue can create among fitness experts. So, whose side are you on? The ripped man with the 6-pack abs who says eating 6-8 meals per day comprised of brown rice, broccoli and chicken? Or the man with the 6-pack abs who says you can achieve the same results while still relishing the foods you love? Are both approaches really effective? Are calories really a calorie?
Today, we’ll put an end to this controversy and help you learn everything there is to know about IIFYM to help you get that physique you’ve always dreamed of. This will be a 2-part blog post. We’ll focus on the basics first and then teach you how to do the IIFYM.
Macro-nutrient vs. Micro-nutrient
Macro-nutrients are nutrients that deliver energy or calories. Nutrients are substances necessary for development, metabolism and for other body functions. Because “macro” means large, macro-nutrients are nutrients required in big quantities. There are 3 macro-nutrients:
On the other hand, micro-nutrients (“micro”, meaning small) are only needed in small quantities in your diet. These are nutrients that help your organs develop. There are 2 micro-nutrients:
Is A Calorie Truly A Calorie?
Thermodynamics state that a calorie is a calorie despite of the macro-nutrient composition of the diet. There are supplements that you can avail in the market that offer these nutrients. One example of this is the testosterone boosters. This will help you to have a support system for your diet and workout.
Now that we’ve covered the basics, it is time to get to know IIFYM…
What Is IIFYM?
If It Fits Your Macros or IIFYM is a versatile dieting method where you ignore subjective food labels such as “clean food” and “junk food” and instead focus on your:
Total caloric intake (calories in vs. calories out)
Daily set macro-nutrient targets (your carbs, fats and protein)
Micro-nutrient goals (your vitamins and minerals)
Focusing on these 3 will help you attain your desired body composition.
But, it’s worth mentioning that IIFYM is about fitting your “macros”, not your “micros” so it’s very likely to reach your preferred body composition while ignoring your micro-nutrient consumption. Yet for health benefits, it’s largely recommended that you fill your vitamins and minerals on a daily basis.
*You may take a multi-vitamin to hit those targets if you fall short with your micro-nutrient consumption.
Why Use IIFYM?
You might be wondering, “Why would I use IIFYM when I eat brown rice, broccoli and grilled chicken 7 times a day?”
Well, what’s great about IIFYM is that it permits “balance” in your life. It lets you live a flexible lifestyle where your healthy lifestyle complements your social life instead of inhibiting it.
Many times you hear of a bodybuilder who is cutting down for a competition and is unable to enjoy his social life in fear of ruining his diet.
If It Fits Your Macros is created to make sure that you hit your desired body composition goals while retaining a balanced social life with a healthy eating lifestyle all at the same time.
How and Why IIFYM Works?
A meal of brown rice + chicken + cashews = 1 McDonald’s burger. How? It’s pretty simple. Your body doesn’t identify whether your food intake is “clean” or “junk”. It will only identify food’s for it’s nutrients like carbs, fats and protein.
For instance: A seared grand chicken burger from McDonald’s has 501 calories consisting of 53.4 g of carbs, 15 g of fat and 35.3 of protein.
While a 120 g boiled white rice, 130 g of chicken and 25 g of cashews is equivalent to 520 calories consisting of 55.2 g of carbs, 16.5 g of fat and 37.9 g of protein.
When you eat either of the 2, your body processes the food according to there macro-nutrient values and will result the SAME effects on your body composition. These effects are solely on body composition and don’t take into account the micro-nutrients your body requires to sustain your health. You may choose for to try to fit foods into your macros with higher micro-nutritional values or take a multi-vitamin to create balance between the junk of processed foods consumed.
But what about the various types of fats in these meals? Obviously the burger contains more amount of unhealthy saturated fats than the regular meal.
In a recent study in the U.S., a professor of human nutrition decided to drop weight basically through calorie counting ignoring the rest of the nutritional values of the foods he ate.
The professor spend 10 weeks in a caloric deficit and ate chips, sugary biscuits and chocolates. You might think his health have suffered but actually, it didn’t. His LDL (bad cholesterol) dropped 20% and his HDL (good cholesterol) increased by 20%. He minimized triglyceride levels (a form of fat) by 39%.
His results obviously indicated that being overweight is the main cause of these effects, instead of the nutritional value of the foods being consumed.