What is IIFYM and flexible dieting?
IIFYM is an acronym for If It Fits Your Macros. The term "Macro" is short for "Macronutrients," which are; protein, fat, and carbohydrates. Your body requires a certain amount of each of these to function properly. Determining how many of each macro you need is based on your age, weight, height, activity level, and goals. IIFYM plans require you to track your food and drink intake to make sure you are eating the necessary amounts of each macro. This is also known as 'flexible dieting' due to the wide variety of food options available.
How do I track my food and drink intake?
Most people track their macros using the MyFitnessPal free app. The app has a built-in database that has millions of food options. Most of the time, you can scan a barcode and the nutrition information is already loaded. You can also search for foods that don't have nutrition labels (like fresh vegetables, restaurant foods, condiments, etc). There is also a website for the app.(which is where you need to go to change some of the settings for the app). The old-school, harder way to track your macros is with a pen and paper - but it is still necessary to have the tools to look up the nutrition information on all foods. You should track your food BEFORE you eat it, so you know if it fits into your macros or not. If it doesn't fit, either save it for a day that it will fit, or decrease your portion size.
How do I know what to eat to fit my macros?
All plans include a grocery list with recommended foods broken down by macro. The grocery list is a list of recommendations, not required foods. Finding what foods work best for you comes with practice! Knowledge about nutrition labels will help tremendously when venturing outside of that list and incorporating a variety of foods. The great thing about IIFYM is that you can use ALL foods to meet your goals. Planning out your meals ahead of time (even the day before) will make tracking much easier.
Should I do a Macro Plan or a Meal Plan?
The Macro Plans are what I live by. They allow flexibility in your diet, along with the ability to enjoy social events and meals with friends and family. The Macro Plans will give you a set of "macros, " (protein, fat, and carbohydrates) that you will eat every day. When using the Macro Plans, it is very important that you stay within 10g of each macro every day consistently. For example, If your macros are 150P/45F/250C, this means that you need to eat 150g of protein, 45g of fat, and 250g of carbs per day, or within 10g of each one. I recommend downloading the MyFitnessPal app, and using that to track your food and drink intake. It is really easy to use and allows you to scan barcodes to get nutrition information, search for foods manually, and create and save your own recipes. The app also allows you to put in your macro goals for each day, and can be customized to the number of meals you eat per day.
The Meal Plans are designed for people who need very strict directions in order to stay on track. The Meal Plans include 6 small meals per day, with 3 options for each meal. These plans do not allow flexibility, and are not sustainable long-term. I use these for people who need a strict starting point, but then will transition into the macro plans to allow for more variety in your diet as well as an overall better relationship with food and nutrition.
What is included in the customized workouts?
Weightlifting plans are designed to build strength and muscle tone. Workouts will be in 3-6 week phases and will focus on muscle endurance as well as muscle strength. Workouts are designed to prevent injury, and each phase will be different. Depending on your previous gym experience, the workouts will focus on one or two muscle groups per workout. The number of repetitions and the number of sets are included, but not the weight. You should choose a weight that challenges you, but not so much that your form suffers. Cardio schedules will also be given depending on current fitness level and goals. I suggest that if you are serious about getting in shape, join a gym!
Is this what you did for competition prep?
No. I did not follow the IIFYM style of dieting for my competitions. Competition prep is much different than day-to-day nutrition, but IIFYM can still be utilized. However, I did not know this was an option in the early stages of competition prep.
Can I do this while pregnant/breastfeeding?
Yes. Since there are no "mandatory" or "off-limit" foods, you can absolutely do this while pregnant or breastfeeding. You should talk to your physician about what foods you should be eating and the minimum number of calories you need per day for the health of you and your baby.
Is there a vegan/vegetarian option?
Yes. The macro plans allow you to choose what foods to eat, so you may pick vegan and vegetarian options. There are also vegan/vegetarian options on the grocery list that is included in all packages. Meal plans can be adapted to vegan/vegetarian diets as well.
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