Is The “IIFYM Diet” Legit? (If It Fits Your Macros)

Is The “IIFYM Diet” Legit? (If It Fits Your Macros)

Hey, this is Sean Nalewanyj, of
And today, I’m going to be talking about the concept of “If It Fits Your Macros” of IIFYM
for short. Now, this whole “If It Fits Your Macros” thing has become a hugely popular
topic in the online bodybuilding community over the past couple of years. And it’s led
to huge debates on the discussion forums, and chat rooms and YouTube videos between
the proponents of “Clean eating” and the people who side with “If It Fits Your Macros”. The
Clean Eaters will point at the IIFYM guys and said, “They’re lazy and unmotivated.”
And the IIFYM guys will accuse the clean eating guys of being uninformed Bro scientists who
don’t understanding nutritional science. At the end of the day, there’s really not a whole
lot to argue here. If It Fits Your Macros is actually not a diet or a specific nutrition
protocol. All If It Fits Your Macros really means is this; as long as your overall macronutrient
totals, so your protein, carbs and fats, as well as your micronutrient needs, so your
vitamins, your minerals, your antioxidants, et cetera, as long as those are being met
for the day, it doesn’t really matter which specific foods you consume in order to meet
those totals. That’s it. That’s really all If It Fits Your Macros means. As a side note,
I actually think it would probably be more accurate and cause less confusion if it was
called “If it fits your macros and your micros”, but that’s outside the point. At the end of
the day, there’s really no way to argue against this. Your body does not view your nutrient
intake within the context of individual food items. One chicken breast, and one cup of
rice and one bowl of Fruit Loops are not seen as separate entities. The body can’t say,
“That’s a chicken breast, that’s rice, and those are Fruit Loops.” In addition, it doesn’t
look at the first two items and say, “Those first two items are healthy and that last
item is unhealthy.” All the body really sees is the overall amount of calories, the protein
content, the carbohydrate content, the fat content as well as assortment of fiber and
micronutrients all mixed together in a giant blob of chewed up goo. The truth is that bodybuilding
nutrition is really just a numbers game. As part of a diet designed to support muscle
growth and overall health, you have specific daily macronutrient and micronutrient needs
in order to achieve optimal results. And your goal is to meet those numbers at the end of
the day, period. As long as the total mixture of food that you consume throughout that day
meets those numbers, it really makes no practical difference at all what those exact food items
are. Now, I’m sure a lot of you watching this are shaking your heads, you know, shaking
your head and thinking that — I’m saying that it’s possible to eat nothing but pizza,
and burgers, and ice cream and still maximize your results. And that’s definitely not what
I’m saying, nor is it what people who actually understand If It Fits Your Macros are saying.
Even people who follow the overall philosophy of If It Fits Your Macros, if that’s what
you want to call it, those people still get the majority of their food intake from traditional
clean bodybuilding foods like chicken breast, and rice and then vegetables. Why? Well, it’s
because the diet still has to meet your macros and your micros, and it’s not possible to
meet those totals by eating large amounts of junk food. It’s not possible to eat pizza
and burgers all day without over-shooting your fat totals. It’s not possible to pig
out on ice cream, and chug 7 Up all day and still meet your fiber, and vitamin and mineral
totals. It’s not possible to eat low quality protein all day, and still obtain the proper
amino acids needed for maximizing protein synthesis. So, those who stand behind If It
Fits Your Macros still consume a diet mostly comprised of healthy bodybuilding foods, since
that’s the only way to actually get your macronutrient and micronutrient totals met in the first
place. So whether you’re a 24/7 clean eater or If It Fits Your Macros guy, you’re still
going to be following a pretty similar diet. The only real difference between the two is
that If It Fits Your Macros people, usually allow a small percentage of their total daily
calories, typically 10% to 20% to come from junk foods by fitting them into their daily
totals. Whether they realize it or not, this is really the only true disagreement between
the Bros and the If It Fits Your Macros followers. For example, if your daily calorie intake
was 3,500, then 350 to 700 of those calories could be derived from any foods you want as
long as they fit into your macronutrient totals. And this is really where the term “If It Fits
Your Macros” is derived from. So to give a specific example, if your carbohydrate intake
was set at 325grams, and 260 of those, which is 80% of the total amount is being derived
from minimally refined, high fibers sources like oatmeal, and sweet potatoes, and blueberries
and broccoli, then the remaining 65grams can be derived from any carb source you’d like.
Whether it’s cookies, or corn pops or a frozen yogurt, the remaining 65grams is totally up
to you. And when you really examine the issue closely, it’s pretty hard to argue that this
would be counterproductive to your results in any noticeable way. And there’s a few reasons
for this. First of all, as I stated earlier, your body does not view your nutrient intake
within the context of individual food items. There’s no such thing as a food that’s inherently
bad or inherently good. There’s only a complete overall diet that is good or bad. Secondly,
10% to 20% only represents a small chunk of your overall diet. Having 80% of your food
intake derived from high quality proteins, minimally refined carbs and healthy fats is
easily enough to meet your fiber and micronutrient needs for the day. And third, so called “Junk
foods” still contain perfectly usable protein, carbs, fats and even vitamins and minerals.
It’s not that eating junk foods is bad. It’s that eating too many of them is usually bad.
For example, you can’t possibly say that cheeseburgers make you fat. You can only say that too many
cheeseburgers makes you fat. It’s not the cheeseburger itself that’s bad. It’s the excessive
quantity. So, within the context of your entire diet, you could argue that the term “Junk
food” doesn’t even have any real practical application when we’re dealing with a small
number like 10% to 20%. And the final point is that most traditional bodybuilders allow
for a cheat day once a week anyway. And this is always been considered perfectly acceptable
practice. The only real difference between that and those who following If It Fits Your
Macros is that If It Fits Your Macros people, typically consume a small amount of cheat
foods every day as opposed to a large amount of cheat food once a week. And in actuality,
having a full on cheat day once a week could actually be viewed as being potentially more
harmful.  And that’s because people who do a full of cheating once a week will usually
just binge out without counting anything. Whereas, people who follow If It Fits Your
Macros, track everything to make sure that they don’t exceed their daily calorie totals.
So, when it all comes down to it, not only is If It Fits Your Macros or flexible diet,
you know, some people might call it, not going to have any noticeable negative effects on
your results. But it provides a huge benefits, because it gives you a chance to actually
enjoy your diet rather than slaving away to the same boring foods 24 hours a day. And
you can do this while still achieving the same results. Actually, you’ll probably get
even better results since this type of nutritional approach is a lot easier to stick to over
the long haul. Now, let me make this clear, if you want to utilize this approach with
success, you have to actually track your macros. This isn’t a free pass to just start aimlessly
shoving Twinkies and donuts down your throat. The entire point of If It Fits Your Macros
is that you can consume these foods “If it fits your macros”. If you aren’t tracking
your diet, then you’re missing the whole point. You know, some people will point a finger
at If It Fits Your Macros followers by saying that they’re lazy and that they lack discipline.
But if anything, If It Fits Your Macros actually requires more work and discipline than a standard
bodybuilding diet, since you actually have to track the specific foods, calories and
macronutrients that you’re consuming. But, you know, as long as you know what your daily
needs are, as long as you know what’s in the foods that you’re eating, and how it fits
into your daily totals and your goals, If It Fits Your Macros is a perfectly legit concept
that you can employ to get into really good shape while enjoying your diet at the same
time. So, I hope you found this information useful. If you want to get a complete muscle
building meal plan that you can use either for 24/7 clean eating or for If It Fits Your
Macros purposes, make sure to check out the “No Fail” system over on
The link is in the description bar for that. There are 13 meal plans in total, ranging
from 2,000 calories up to 6,000 calories that you can get started with right away. Also
make sure to join the Elite Impact Lab’s Facebook page, where we do free supplement giveaways
every Sunday night. And make sure to subscribe to stay up-to-date on all of our future videos.
So, thanks again, for watching this video lesson. And I’ll talk to you again soon with
more free tips.

45 thoughts on “Is The “IIFYM Diet” Legit? (If It Fits Your Macros)

  1. So theotreticaly if someone followed iifym to the t and ate nothing but fruit…how would they ever have any muscle glycogen? Fruits digest as liver glycogen, and iifym says as long as your macros and micros are met it matters not of the source…

    so having no muscle glycogen is negligible when deciding on what to eat, because fruit cannot be digested and made into muscle glycogen.

  2. Yup, it's on my to-do list. Hodgetwins… I don't agree with some of the info they put out, but they're funny and entertaining as hell, so in that respect I'm a fan yeah.

  3. Amino acids can be converted to glucose/glycogen if necessary. (Most fruits contain both fructose and glucose anyway)

  4. I appreciate the reply. But would that not put a strain on the protein intake. You would have to increase protein to levels to compensate glucogeonesis. And fruite has varying degrees of each carb, but for the most part fruit are fructose.

  5. I agree 99% with this vid. What I want to add is that processed foods (including many junkfoods) often have additives in it that's not a macro/micro, but unhealthy things like artificial sweeteners, artificial coloring, flavouring and preserving material etc. That crap is usually in processed/junkfood, which in the long term can be unhealthy, no matter how many micro's you take.

    But again: Very good video. People saying "omg that makes you fat" really don't have a rational thinking brain.

  6. Scooby already did a video on intermittant fasting, reading many study-journals. His only conclusion was: there's no enough evidence for either side (works/ doesn't work), yet it's safe enough to experiment with yourself. I think that's a great conclusion.

  7. I don't see the problem with fruits being mostly stored as liver glycogen. It's not just there on standby. If your blood sugar level gets too low, the liver will release the glycogen for, for instance, your muscles. So, how won't you have muscle glycogen from fruit when the liver can release the glycogen. It's not like it's improsoned.

  8. Sean, are you implying that there is not any difference if I would just drink coke for my carb requirements? Yes I understand the fibers and micro's, but what if I got them from supplements?

  9. Why not do a collab video with someone like TMW…. You deserve more views and this could help in the boost of popularity.

  10. Very few people out there have this type of understanding of physiology. Keep up the work. As far as the comments on the popularity… just add in "instant abs" or something like that. HA. Thanks for the real tips on fitness that aren't shortcuts, but are what will help us be healthy long term.

  11. I hate the backlash against this type of diet. People just won't understand. Iifym is for smarter people when dieting it seems.

  12. Most people don't want their existing beliefs challenged… If someone has been "eating clean" for 5 years they don't want to be told that they could have been eating ice cream every day all that time 🙂

  13. Wouldn't a caveat to this be the glycemic index though? Ie ice cream or fruit loops will cause a more extreme insulin response than grapes or asparagus, thus promoting more fat storage…maybe a non factor to body builders who burn right through sugar, but if your goal is fat loss, I think your body wants the grapes 10 out of 10 times

  14. Fat storage will be determined by overall net energy balance. The GI has almost no practical relevance for bodybuilders or even those who just want to lose fat. Keep in mind that GI rankings are altered significantly when the foods are combined with proteins/fats – GI rankings were determined by those carbs consumed alone in a fasted state.

  15. if you dudes expect to get ripped much faster without spending a single another minute in the gym, then you have to check out this video COOK46.COM

    When working out, length is not a substitute for intensity.

  16. Crazy clip. Excellent vid clip. My pal was once obese. He transformed himself from 285lbs of fat into 201 lbs of full-strength muscle. Shit's extreme! I just joined myself as I wish to maximize my body. He made use of the Muscle Building Bible (Google it)…

  17. This video is practically everything you need to know as far as nutrition to look great. And I mean 1 level below pro bodybuilders great

  18. Hi Sean. I agree with your overall conclusion that one can gain muscle while on IIFYM and that it is, in some cases, more strict and possibly "cleaner" than a bodybuilding diet. However, I think you should consider the issue from an epidemiological point of view. A can of soda a day may fall within an IIFYM diet and not have any negative impact on someone's gains, but it will increase a persons risk of getting diabetes by 22%, and 1 in 9 people will get diabetes in their lifetime.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is that a lot of people think eating "clean" is broscience. If you frame "clean" eating as a disease prevention plan instead of how most bodybuilders present it as the only way to build muscle, then it makes perfect sense.

  19. I wish my caloric target was 3500… life would be great. Since my TDEE is only a measly 2000 calories, i can only eat 2300 when clean bulking 🙁

  20. Why didn't you just say "So long as it fits your calories and macronutrients and micronutrients your ok". Would've been easier.

  21. Hey Sean! Can you make a video about your opinion on L-carnitine and it's effectiveness?
    Thanks!!!! New subscriber 👊🏼👊🏼

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