21 Things I’ve Learned About IIFYM ||


1. IIFYM = If It Fits Your Macros
2. Macros are macronutrients, the big guys: Fat, Protein + Carbohydrates
3. Micronutrients are all the other things listed on nutrition labels: minerals and vitamins, everything from sodium to Vitamin K. They aren’t focused on as much, unless you have medical or personal reasons to do so.
4. The total calorie amount of any food or drink item is calculated by a multiplication of total grams of carbs x 4, total grams of protein x 4 and total grams of fats x 9. This aspect of nutrition is the foundation of IIFYM.
5. IIFYM challenges the clean eating movement and way of thinking. When clean eaters say “be committed, eat clean!” IIFYM says, “you can eat poptarts and have your abs too.” IIFYMers believe there are no “clean foods”: only micronutrient dense food + micronutrient naked food. I made that second part up, they don’t use the word naked.

6. Literally anything can be eaten when following IIFYM, as long as it fits your macros.
7. Eating anything you would like and not hitting your goal macros is not IIFYM.

8. Every individual can find what their macronutrient needs are. Some hire a coach, while others use this calculator + go from there.
9. When calculating your macros factors like age, weight, height, and level of activity are all important.
10. The first number calculated is your BMR: Basal Metabolic Rate, or the amount of energy/calories you burn if you laid on the couch all day.
11. Next, your TDEE is your unique Total Daily Energy Expenditure. This number represents your BMR plus all the energy/calories you use living life.

12. Your next move is to decide if your goal is fat loss, maintenance, or bulking. 

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13. Cutting is eating in a caloric deficit  in order to lose fat and weight.

  • Lifting weights is the BFF to IIFYM, so it’s advised to continue to lift heavy during a cut to retain as much muscle as possible.
  • Those who are new to weightlifting can build limited muscle in a cut phase. They call those newbie gains. Enjoy em!
  • If you’re not new to lifting weights, and desire to lose fat while gaining muscle, that is referred to recomposition. Let’s come back to that in a second.
  • The trouble with cutting is that some people who choose to cut do not have the proper muscle base to sustain their desired look or level of leanness, so be aware of that if you don’t have much weight to lose and think that cutting is the best option- it may not be.

14. Maintenance is eating at a level of calories that will sustain your current body weight in the long run.

  • Over the long-term, eating at maintenance level and lifting heavy will slowly but surely recomposition your body. There can be slow but gradual simultaneous fat loss and muscle gain.
  • This is a good option for those who are already at a healthy body weight, cannot or do not want to bulk, or have very limited lbs to lose.

15. Bulking is eating in a caloric surplus and lifting HEAVY in order to put on muscle (and thus, weight) and strength with minimal fat gains over a period of 3-6+ months.

  • It is then followed by a cutting phase to get rid of any excess fat, if desired.
  • Bulking is generally done by those who are already at a healthy body weight for their height and/or fairly lean.

16. Once you’ve selected your decision, your macros can be calculated.
17. A typical individual IIFYM goal is protein set to 1g per lb of bodyweight, fat set to  0.4g per lb of bodyweight, and carbohydrates set to the the total calories remaining after protein and fat have been subtracted.
18. Now you eat! The goal in the end of all IIFYMers is to look exactly how you want while being able to eat as much as possible. Oh wait, I think that’s everybody’s goal. Yes?
19. Anything with fats, carbs, or protein is fair game and recorded throughout the day. Popular methods of recording include the MyFitnessPal app or similar, but if that doesn’t float your boat it can be as simple as logging it on 3 separate columns on a scratch piece of paper throughout the day. Aim to stay within +/- 5g of each macro daily.

20.Calories that are burnt while exercising during the week are not added back in, because they were accounted for and divided by 7 when you first calculated your macros.
21. And last but not least: recalculate your macros for every 5-10 lbs lost or gained, if your goal changes, or if progress stalls for more than 2-3 weeks.

As someone who loves this sort of stuff, I could geek out on this for the next year, and probably will. The possibilities are endless: added muscle, decreased bodyweight, even tracking IIFYM through pregnancy could be a game changer.

I hope you found these 21 beginner facts + ideas about IIFYM helpful! If you already have balance with your diet and weight, awesome, keep it up! But if you’re looking for something different, and are sick of pretending to care about nutrition while on Whole 30 when you really just want to look good, no shame! Welcome to the dark side. ;)

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