A popular trend in the fitness and bodybuilding industries is the new wave of flexible dieting commonly known as If It Fits Your Macros or IIFYM.

IIFYM came about as a method of dieting that allows you to eat essentially what you want as long as your hitting your macro-nutrient breakdown. In a world of chicken, rice, and broccoli, this idea seems refreshing.

If It Fits Your Macros, Eat It?

Does this mean we no longer have to consider what foods we put into our bodies? We can just eat to our hearts content as long as we hit our macro-nutrient mark? Well, the answer is no.

Pop-Tarts seem to be the mascot for the flexible dieting crowd. Pictures of delicious and tasty treats show up all over Instagram and social media channels. Guys and gals with six packs show off their physiques and point to their plates stating “WE EAT WHAT WE WANT!”

In many cases this may be true. But for the most part it is not. We still need to consume nutrient rich foods and we still need to meet our macro-nutrients as well as consuming enough … but not too much fiber.

What flexible dieting or If It Fits Your Macros (IIFYM) allows for is the freedom to enjoy foods without the physiological breakdowns.

Mind Games—If It Fits Your Macros

Along side many of those pop-tart and ice cream pics are photos of cheat meals and binge meals commonly associated with “clean eating”. When a dieter goes long stretches of consuming only chicken, rice, broccoli, salad, etc. they come to a point when enough is enough and enjoy tasty foods is a must.

Much like individuals whom don’t consume alcohol and then binge drink on the weekends, fitties tend to binge eat when they fee they have earned it.

Hardcore dieting  can play mind games on an individual. Feeling bad after having something they once enjoy, now they must pay the price by either “burning it off” or making a sacrifice somewhere in their diet.

Flexible dieting or IIFYM helps alleviate those hunger pangs.

If It Fits Your Macros versus Clean Eating

Is IIFYM better than Clean Eating? It depends how clean eating is defined. And as of yet there really isn’t any clear definition on what clean eating is or what a clean food is as opposed to a dirty food.

We commonly think clean foods to be foods that are natural and unprocessed, which in most regards is true. However in this day and age how can we be really sure. Yes there are better options or cleaner options like olive oil as opposed to hydrogenated oils.

Our bodies see foods for what they are … a breakdown of nutrients. So in reality we could eat a Big Mac for example and still benefit in some degree. Although I wouldn’t want to because most fast food is pumped full of sodium. However that doesn’t mean we cannot enjoy one every once and a while if we want to.

Truthfully neither concept is better than the other. I mean who wants to eat only chicken and rice all the time? On the other end we can’t go around eating pop-tarts all day thinking were going to get shredded. Using both concepts together can work to our advantage. In part 2 of the series I will go into further detail.

In the meantime it is essential that we understand our caloric intake and macro-nutrient breakdown, and if you’ve been involved in the fitness game this isn’t something new.

Below is a great video by BioLayne  talking about IIFYM and Clean Eating.

BioLayne Video Log 12 – Clean Eating vs IIFYM (If it fits your macros)

Stay tuned for part 2.

About the author, Steve Hall

Steve is a strength training fanatic who geeks out over the best, most efficient workouts, nutrition and gear to help get you stronger and healthier!