IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros) is what would happen if moderation found calorie counting on Tinder, took calorie counting out to a nice seafood dinner, got her all liquored up, and got lucky that night. Instead of counting normal calories, you’re now counting macros, and practicing moderation. It’s the best of both worlds.
What are macros?
Macros, or macronutrients, are the 3 main categories that all foods fall within. Every single food can be broken down into the three macronutrients: protein, fat, and carbohydrate. Nearly everything you shovel in the hole in your face contains a mix of these three.
- Protein: Protein is primarily meats like chicken, beef, bison, and fish. Dairy, nuts, and veggies all have varying amounts of protein as well.
- Carbohydrates: Carbs are any vegetables, breads, beans, cereals, rice, sugar, and grains. Dairy, nuts, and some other sources of protein and fat contain carbs also.
- Fat: Fat is any sort of oil, butter, nut butter, or dairy fat. Meats all also have some amount of fat in them.
IIFYM is basically a diet outline that is comprised of these three categories. Each meal you eat slowly whittles away at these categories, and you stop eating when all three categories are completely filled for the day.
How to count macros?
Let’s say that per day you should be eating 175 grams of protein, 225 grams of carbs, and 70 grams of fat. That’s 2,230 total daily calories. When you eat something, instead of calculating the total calorie content, you just worry about the macronutrients in the food.
Instead of subtracting 450 calories for that sandwich you ate, you’d find the protein/carb/fat counts for the sandwich and subtract them from your daily goals. That would continue on for every meal or snack until you’re out of protein/carbs/fat for the day.
Any IIFYM diet should be comprised of traditionally “healthy” foods for the most part. Nutrient dense, plenty of fiber, high protein, and complex carbs are ideal. IIFYM allows you to add in pizza, cheesecake, or a giant steak if you want as well. All you have to do is subtract the macro totals from your daily amount.
To get your macros, there are a million online calculators. One of the most popular is iifym.com. Not every calculator is perfect, the important thing is you find a set of numbers and give it a go for 2-3 weeks. After that, reevaluate and adjust if needed.
Apps like MyFitnessPal or My Macros + (what Veronica Vain likes to use) make it easy as hell.
Can you get shredded and eat junk food?
Somehow, the official food mascot of IIFYM has become pop tarts. Don’t ask me how, because anyone who knows anything that pop tarts are the most overrated thing in existence. Seriously. The guy who came up with pop tarts did so because his daughter wanted cake for breakfast, and pop tarts are nowhere fucking close to cake. Especially the cakes that come in a little cup, that some people call cupcakes. But I digress.
There’s no more important variable in fat loss than total daily calories. If you want to lose weight, you need to eat less than you burn. Just ask the Kansas State Professor who went on the Twinkie diet.
IIFYM bro’s love to flood Instagram with pictures of shit food they tend to eat, and make work within the context of their diet. This isn’t exactly the whole story, because social media never is. Most IIFYM dieters eat plenty of normal “healthy” foods. They’ve just figured out exactly how to incorporate foods that aren’t apart of a traditional diet.
It’s entirely possible to get ripped eating food that isn’t a part of a normal diet. When it comes to physique goals, quality of food doesn’t play as large of a role as quantity of food. If your calorie needs are met, and the macro split is right, fat can be lost eating pizza/cupcakes/cheesecake/beer.
You don’t need to take my word for it. I asked someone whose job requires them to look great naked. BroBible favorite, professional sex haver, and IIFYM follower Veronica Vain had this to say about what macros did for her:
“I learned about iifym last June from my boyfriend, he introduced me to the concept because I had always struggled to look more “toned” like every girl out there. Also, like every girl out there I thought eating like a bird and binging when I couldn’t take it anymore was the answer. So I started weight training, counting macros, and carb cycling. The results are apparent from some before and afters I have somewhere in my Twitter feed.”
Veronica also went on to add: “I’m nowhere near the fitness level and body composition I want to be, but macro tracking and weight training is the only thing that’s ever really gotten me long lasting results.”
The beauty of IIFYM
The reason IIFYM has become so fucking huge in the fitness world is that foods are no longer off limits. People looking to get anatomy chart type shredded used to subscribe to the idea that chicken, rice, and broccoli were the only foods you could touch.
Those days are no more. Bro’s can still eat cheesecake, pizza, or whatever else their favorite foods are and drop fat like a Biggest Loser contestant on an ephedrine diet. As long as they can make it fit into their macros.
Gone are the days of a food being “clean” or “dirty”. In reality, no food is bad or good. Some foods have more nutrients than others, that’s obvious. If you want to be able to eat something, you should be able to eat it.
IIFYM has given people a numerical representation of moderation. Moderation, or a balanced diet sounds awesome. The problem is few people can intuitively practice that. When you get numbers involved the road gets way easier.
Veronica Vain admitted she even found the moderation or balance part of IIFYM kind of weird at first: “I was a little skeptical (what do you mean I can eat ice cream after the gym??) but my body started changing with a month, so it was pretty irrefutable. The merits though are definitely being able to eat a wide range of foods like chips and ice cream, which helps to keep you committed and less likely to succumb to temptation. I’m not as diligent as I could have been, but I never feel like I’m on a diet and my body is always improving.”
The only perfect diet is the diet you can stick to, that brings you lasting results. For more and more people out there that diet happens to be IIFYM, since it doesn’t even feel like a diet. If your progress has come to a standstill and you’re feeling deprived, maybe counting macros is the route you need to take. Just quit with the fucking pop tarts though.