IIFYM For Contest Prep – part 1. “IIFYM is the Lazy Approach”
This is a topic that I have been meaning to write about for a little while now. It’s a topic that has been touched upon by Vince Delmonte, a fellow WBFF pro; Ben Pakulski who you may know as a prominent IFBB pro and more recently, which is what reminded me I wanted to talk about this topic, fellow WBFF pro Gabriel Sey. (edit – Gabriel is now a UKBFF Physique Finalist who you should follow. One of the humblest guys in an industry full of ego LINK )
All of these guys have made videos, touching on the topic of IIFYM for contest prep versus clean eating. The topic that I specifically wanted to touch upon was : can you use “if it fit your macros” to prep for a competition and get into peak condition?
Is it Possible to Use IIFYM for a Contest Prep and be Stage Ready?
If you can listen to audio/watch video – then here is a video I made on my channel regarding IIFYM to prepare for a competition. If you are at work or somewhere where you can only read, then skip below the video for the full article :
In the videos that the aforementioned guys have made, they dismiss it as something that can’t be used in a contest preparation. I just wanted to quell the myths and misconceptions, which in my opinion is something that surrounds the if-it-fit-your-macros kind of diet style.
What I have done is write some points after watching each of those videos again, so I want to touch on each and every point across a number of articles. Actually, before I get into my points, let me briefly explain what IIFYM or “if it fits your macros” actually is.
IIFYM and Why We Look the Way We Do
If it fits your macros : I’ve heard it been mentioned a few times by people that IIFYM is a “fad diet”, that it’s something that’s popped up recently when in reality it’s not something that’s come out recently at all. It’s not something that has just been pulled out of thin air.
The principles behind IIFYM are actually the reason why everyone is in the shape that they are whether you know it or not and whether you follow macronutrient counting or not. Basically, why our physique looks the way it does is predominantly a result of calories in versus calories out and what those calories are made of i.e. what their macronutrient compositions are – protein, carbs and fats.
This is the most scientifically backed reason for why our body composition is what it is and I’m not just talking about one study. I’m talking about the most evidence behind it, the most research backing it. Calories in versus calories out determines weight gain or weight loss. Now, where that weight gain/weight loss comes from is determined by the macronutrient composition of those calories.
Let’s say for example your goal is to gain weight. You don’t want to gain that weight from fat. You want to gain weight from quality lean muscle. So your macronutrient composition is what’s going to determine whether that weight gain comes from lean muscle or the majority of it comes from body fat same with losing weight. So if you want to lose weight, you don’t just want to lose weight for the sake of it and just have the scales move down for the sake of it. You want your weight loss to come from body fat and again that’s a result of having optimal macronutrients, having your calories made up of optimal macronutrients.
Your macros are not something that’s just cropped up. It’s something that is scientifically proven. It has benefit for centuries. It’s not like something that has been pulled out of thin air. It’s been in place and it’s what has been working behind the scenes even if you’re not aware of it. Your physique is a result of calories in versus calories out and what those calories are made up of, even if you track or don’t track. That’s what if it fits your macros is.
What is pretty recent, granted, is that it’s been given a name but the principles themselves are not something that is recent – The principles have been around for years. With that said, let’s go ahead and delve into the points that each of those athletes made.
Is IIFYM the “Lazy” Approach?
The first one which really rattles my cage is that it’s been labelled the “lazy approach” by quite a few people. This point makes absolutely no sense and couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, I’d argue the complete opposite and say that if you aren’t tracking your macros, then THAT is the lazy approach.
I’ll use myself as an example here : it took me a 21-week contest prep to turn pro last year and that was extended to 35 weeks because I then went to the world championships for my professional debut and for somebody to call what I did “the lazy approach”, when for 35 weeks I had to track every single thing that was going into my mouth is completely inaccurate in my view.
As I said, I would counter that with the notion that if you’re NOT following if it fits your macros (Which purely means you have a macronutrient target!), then THAT is the lazy approach for a contest prep because you can’t get as accurate as you need to be if you’re not tracking. The irony with all of these IIFYM detractors is that they are actually using it themselves – they just rather foolishly believe that “clean eating” and IIFYM are separate entities when they are not and can be used in conjunction.
“Clean” refers to the TYPES of foods you’re eating while IIFYM refers to the QUANTITY and MACRONUTRIENTS. You can quite easily and if you’re smart, will be combining a diet made up of optimal macronutrients (IIFYM) with mostly whole, nutrient dense (what some people would label “clean”) foods in a contest prep.
To conclude, far from IIFYM being “the lazy approach”, If you’re not tracking your macros, if you don’t have a macronutrient target, then THAT’s the lazy approach. You having no idea what you’re putting into your mouth when you’re in a contest prep is the lazy approach. I don’t care how clean you’re eating (and the two things aren’t mutually exclusive! You can still track macros and eat mostly whole, minimally processed foods!).
I don’t care how prepared you are, If you’re not tracking your contest prep which is very, very important, then THAT’s the lazy approach. If you are tracking, then you are following “if it fits your macros”. If you’re a “clean eater,” then you can still eat your “clean” foods but if you have a macronutrient target, you are following if it fits your macros. (Sorry, I know that hurts if you’ve considered yourself a “clean” eater and have been bashing IIFYM without actually knowing what it is 😉
Stay tuned for Part 2 and in the meantime leave your comments below as I’d love to know what you think and share this on Facebook/Twitter for others to enjoy.