IIFYM – What The Heck Does That Mean?

IIFYMOver the last year or so I’ve been hearing a lot about a new nutrition plan to follow, or moreso a way of eating.  I’d see people talking about IIFYM and honestly for a long time I had no clue what it stood for.  So if you’re in that boat, don’t feel bad.  It didn’t take a ton of research to figure out what it was, and it’s actually something I’ve done quite a bit of in the past just without knowing it.

IIFYM – What Is It?

So IIFYM, what the heck does that stand for?  It stands for If It Fits Your Macros.  Your macros being the breakdown of your macronutrients, so basically what percentage of your diet is coming from carbs, protein and fat.  Instead of focusing on specific foods, you can eat whatever you want, as long as it fits your macros 🙂  So this is really aimed at simplifying your nutrition.

When you think about it, the way I’ve followed nutrition plans like the P90X Nutrition Plan, basically follows this concept.  For example, I, along with many other people doing P90X, followed the Fat Shredder Plan.  That breaks down to 30% carbs, 50% protein and 20% fat.  But did I eat the exact meals from the nutrition guide?  No, and you really don’t have to.  You just have to create your own meal plans with foods that will total those percentages.  So I’ve done this in the past quite a bit and have had really good success with it.  That way, if there are certain foods you don’t like, you don’t have to eat them.

Benefits of IIFYM

I think there are some huge benefits to following an IIFYM plan.  The main one being flexibility.  You don’t have to eat specific foods.  You get to eat whatever you want and just have to track it to make sure you hit your macros.  This can be a big help, especially when faced with the issues of going out to eat, or eating at a friends house, etc.  When you don’t have control of exactly what’s being served, you can alter the rest of the days to not have one meal throw you off track.  A lot of people stress about those types of situations, so I think this kind of eating plan really helps out and frees you up to not make you exclude yourself from social events purely because of food.

I also like it because it doesn’t stress over eliminating certain foods.  There are always studies out there saying contradicting things about certain foods.  Today egg yolks are healthy, tomorrow they’re bad.  Same goes for coffee, wine, etc.  I think it gets confusing to the point that it’s hard to know what to do.  But IIFYM doesn’t really care about that.  If you want to eat egg yolks to hit your fat percentage for the day, go for it.

Additionally I like the focus on macros.  I’ve seen a lot of success in my own fitness journey when I’m focusing on, and nailing my macros.  It does force you to put some thought into what you’re eating, which I think is a good thing.  The macros you want to hit are really dependent on your goal.  Are you looking to build muscle, lose fat, maintain your weight?  You breakdown of carbs, protein and fat will be specific to what you want to accomplish. So it’s flexible from that standpoint as well because it’s specific to the individual.

Downside of IIFYM

In my mind, there is really only one downside of IIFYM.  That being that there is no focus on nutritional value.  It’s great that you can create your own meal plans and just make sure to hit your macros, but I think that misses a key point of any nutrition plan, and that’s actually focusing on the quality of food you’re eating.  A lot of people use IIFYM to justify hitting up fast food places, eating ice cream, etc.  I guess you can hit your macros off of burgers and shakes, but are you going to be as healthy as if you were hitting your macros with lean meats, fruits, vegetables and nuts?  I really don’t think so.

While I really like IIFYM and basically follow it myself, I guess this is just a word of caution.  You can certainly hit your macros and eat unhealthy foods.  Doing that every once in a while is not a terrible thing, but if it’s consistent that you eat pop tarts or other sugary snacks to hit your carb numbers, I just don’t see how that’s good for your health.  So my advice, if you’re considering following IIFYM is to focus on your macros, but also make sure you’re putting high quality food in your mouth.  Hitting your macros is great, but doing that with healthy food is even better and I think your body will thank you for it 🙂

Trackbacks

  1. […] and drinking Shakeology every day.  We’ll be tracking our nutrition and mostly using an IIFYM approach.  There are just over 300 of us in the group, and I can’t wait to see where this […]

  2. […] is also popularly known as IIFYM, which I wrote about here.  It’s been growing more and more popular lately.  I think many people have been eating […]

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