IIFYM and Flexible Dieting…
Seems amazing but is it all its cracked up to be? Just hold on I need another bit of my peanut butter , nutella croissant. Hmmm damn that tastes good. But wait, thats not healthy to eat surely you say, well no its is definitely not the healthiest option out there of course. That is the beauty about IIFYM and Flexible dieting, if you know how many calories you need to eat and are able to have some self control there is no harm in indulging in certain delicious foods that you normally would not include in your diet.
Without a shadow of a doubt the biggest component to the success of any diet, is calories. Calories are king and one of the main principles that need to be addressed when fat loss or muscle gain is concerned. The second component of a diet one should consider is the macro nutrient breakdown of the diet especially when aimed at losing fat or gaining lean freaky muscle. If your macros are not spot on you will not be able to perform a the level you need to in order to effectively gain lean muscle mass.
IIFYM takes these two principles and uses them to build a diet that is very flexible on food quality and very rigid on food quantity.
How long has IIFYM & Flexible Dieting been around?
Like most diets and training programs they have both been around for some time now however like all the others its hard to pin point exactly when and where it originated from. Like many other programs that have been tried and tested it has evolved and adapted to our current age and lifestyle that we live in today.
Guidelines of IIFYM/Flexible Dieting
If you have dieted before you know that it can get tedious with food restrictions and meal timings. The IIFYM approach is totally different in as much as you can eat what you want if you can make it fit into your personal macros caloric intake for the day.
If you look at the IIFYM diet they say that all macros are considered equal , meaning 30 grams of carbs, from brown rice is the same 30grams of carbs from coco pops. This type of dieting has lead to the all new flexible dieting. For me personally I am still a meat and nuts diet kind of guy however thats not to say I am not a cookie monster so being able to add in the odd cookie or cheesecake here and there fits in perfectly with my lifestyle.
Both IIFYM and Flexible Dieting use sex, height, weight, lean mass, level of activity, days per week, minutes per day, intensity of exercise, weight goals, and even types of training to build a calorie and macronutrient profile for you.
There are nuances to each IIFYM calculator but most of them will utilise a protein per pound of bodyweight value that falls between 0.7 and 1.0 grams per pound of body weight, sets fat calories between 0.35-0.5 grams per pound and then rounds out the rest of the calories from dietary carbohydrates.
If you were wondering how to track your macros and calories, there are numerous apps that you can use that will scan food barcodes or add up your typed in diet and calculate everything automatically for you. My fitness pal is probably the most common one that is being used a the moment.
Meal Timing and Frequency
There is no strict guideline of meal timing or frequency on the IIFYM diet which is another gem to this diet. It is totally up to the user on how to manage their food intake. Personally I like the intermitting fasting approach while others adopt the 6 smalls meals a day, I have also some people having one large meal for dinner and that is it.
What is the general mainstream belief
The mainstream belief is that calories and macros are by far the biggest piece to the nutrition puzzle in terms of getting results. In terms of overall performance you just cannot live on twinkies and milk even if you are adding whey protein to every serving. You need to good food , you need fruit, vegetables and other fibrous carbs along with your good sources of protein. .
Scientific Studies on IIFYM
There are no scientific studies published directly on IIFYM to date. This is likely due to the fact it doesn’t hinge on a singular dietary principle as traditionally thought of and it has not got the eye of mainstream nutrition researchers yet.
Fat Loss Benefits
For any fat loss program to be effective you need to be in a calorie deficit, you know this and if you are following IIFYM correctly you will be knowing exactly how many calories you have a day along with hitting the correct macros needed for the best results in fat loss. This is like any other diet, if you do it right you will see results. If you think you can eat what you want and not count calories properly you will just end up being a fatty who thinks they know everything but actually knows bugger all.
Muscle Building Benefit
If you to gain lean muscle mass you need to be in a calorie surplus daily, so once again this is regulated by calorie intake. One thing to note is that Protein intake needs to be a lot higher for both building muscle and fat loss. To maintain muscle mass while dieting your protein intake needs to be at a higher percentage of total calorie intake.
In most IIFYM calculators protein intake is based on body weight and protein natural sits at an optimal level during both cut cycles and bulking cycles.
Overall Health Benefits
I think one of the main benefits from IIFYM or Flexible Dieting, is that you are the one that is held accountable. You choose the foods you eat and drinks you drink. The world is massively over weight and people are just to damn lazy to educate themselves on what to eat, how to eat and when to eat. It really is simple once you know how it works and it doesnt take long to learn you really can eat what you want.
Now the absolute no brainer here when weight loss or muscle building is factored in, is that there are additional health benefits from having higher levels of fruit, vegetable, fish, and tree nut intake when compared to highly processed foods like pop tarts, sugary cereals, etc. As tasty as they are too much processed foods is detrimental to your health long term, so stay away as much as possible, they will only hinder your performance and slow your progress down if you include to much into your plan.
I have found IIFYM and Flexible Dieting to be easy and also hard to follow, let me explain…. I have my fitness and health goals which are easily attainable using this approach however, when I say easy I mean I am travel alot and as along as I eat good foods with the right size portions and I am training I can have a little sweet treat to accompany my food every now and then. When I say it is also hard I say that as my arm is very flexible and I have take this flexible dieting approach to new levels by over eating when I haven’t had sweets in some time. This is effects my overall performance and slows my progress down .
There are inherent benefits and drawbacks to the IIFYM approach that make it easier for some people to follow, while harder for others. Take a look at your lifestyle, your diet, your training and make a decision based on that. Hell you can even mix it up with other diets or health protocols to suit you because ultimately thats what it needs to do, is suit you.
If you have started IIFYM , Intermittent Fasting, Flexible Dieting or another health protocol and find its working shoot me an email or comment on here and let me know how it is going. Whats worked for you ? I am also keen to try new ways to make my life easier while enjoying the fruits of life.