You have probably seen or heard IIFYM, but what does it really mean?!?! There is a lot of information about the subject available but I am going to cover the basics. Feel free to send me an email if you have any questions.
What does IIFYM mean?
IIFYM stands for If It Fits Your Macros
What is a Macro?
Flashback a year or so ago (before I was a macro-lovin’ fool), I thought macro was only related to computers and I had no idea how I was going to eat centered around a computer?!?
Macro is short for macronutrient. There are three macronutrients; carbohydrates, protein and fat. Each macro has a certain number of calories and these combine to create the total caloric content for food.
Each carbohydrate contains 4 calories, protein has 4 and fat has 9. There are some decimals for these numbers, but for a 099 level course – whole numbers will suffice.
Why count macros?
For years, I counted calories. After all, 1 pound = 3,500 calories so a calorie deficit should lead to change on the scale. It does – to a certain extent. But, eating the right balance of macros will maximize the way your body processes food to help achieve your personal goals.
How do I count macros?
You can keep a paper log or using an app like MyFitnessPal. Personally, I use MFP because my phone is always with me and it already has a huge database of food. So, if I eat an apple the database already has the nutritional information.
First, you need to determine the optimal number of carbs, protein and fat to achieve your desired goal.
I can help you set these targets. As your body composition changes, your macros will need to change as well to continue to progress toward the composition you ultimately desire.
There are a lot of general guidelines available, like 40% carbs, 35% protein and 25% fat. But, ideally the ratios should be specific to each person based on their type of exercise, amount of exercise, age, weight, gender, etc.
What can I eat?
Short answer… anything.
Long (a.k.a the keeping it real answer): No foods are off limits but moderation and planning are 100% required. If you have 3 Krispie Kreme donuts for breakfast, it’s going to be a difficult day.
I try to plan the night before (this is not always possible or feasible). Specifically, if I know we are going out to eat. For example, we recently were planning a Saturday night dinner at Cheesecake Factory. I knew I wanted to split a Hershey’s Chocolate Cheesecake (pauses to wipe drool from keyboard) so I entered that in MFP first and planned around it.
The beauty is that there are no required foods or off limit foods so it is suitable for all tastes. If you have to have a bowl of ice cream in the evening or cannot get your day started without a bowl of cereal, then enter your bowl of cereal or ice cream at the beginning of the day and plan accordingly.
Let’s look at an example…
You cannot live without your morning cup of coffee, bagel and cream cheese.
One cup of coffee with 1 tbsp cream, an average bagel and 1 tbsp of cream cheese has 275 calories (39 carbohydrates, 10 grams of fat and 6 grams of protein). So, the remainder of the day has 161 carbohydrates, 144 protein and 65 grams of fat. It takes a little planning at first, but you can work in all of your favorite foods and still get the physique you desire.
Is Macro tracking just for gym rats?
NO! IIFYM is for anyone. It does not matter if you are trying to get your body fat from 12% to 10% or if you have 50 pounds to lose eating the right amount of each macronutrient will help you achieve your goals.