The epitome of a generation of bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts
The birth of the concept of IIFYM (If it Fits Your Macros) an acronym I’m sure most have heard, far pre-dates the pop-culture of food focus and aesthetics, it’s origins have even been cited to before the reign of Arnold.
Despite its birthplace, the meaning holds, IIFYM is simply a term used to describe an approach that entails reaching pre-prescribed levels of the three macro nutrients, possibly paired with a prescription for dietary fibre.
I’ve discussed my thoughts on this before and although my feelings of distaste for the idea have subsided somewhat, I still believe that it is too simplistic and reductionist for most people to use sustainably
A diet or training protocol is like a match. You can use it to light a candle, illuminate darkness, facilitate cooking, warmth, life etc. Or…
You could use it for arson.
Tell someone they can eat whatever they want as long as they hit their macros could lead to some pretty dubious decisions as many have proved. It could equally be the key to long term success and a healthy attitide to food.
At PropaneFitness, we prefer a different classification.
If It Fits Your Lifestyle.
This may seem somewhat abstract at first, I like to explain it with the following visualisation.
You pick your lifestyle, it might be one of a student, full time employee or maybe you run your own business. This serves as your core, a revolving entity with a gravitational pull. Whether you think it or not, your choice in this regard displays your preferences and dislikes, to a degree, the lifestyle you choose defines you.
Conventional physics still holds, you pull away from the core – gravity pulls you back. By extension, the more gravitational energy you create, the more violently your forced to equilibrium and the more drastic the consequence
The nature of your lifestyle will ebb and flow, you’ll experience intense periods of emotional stress, stints of boredom, flickers of success. These fluctuating experiences aggregate to what we know as life. An organic, stochastic entity that we daren’t try to predict.
You’re probably edging the cursor to corner of the screen, thinking I’ve turned into a preacher crazed by macros and amino profiles but stick around, I assure you there’s a profound application of this, one which we feel is fundamental to success.
As you may have inferred. Pull away from this ‘core’, you’ll get dragged back kicking and screaming. Tough period at work? maybe not the best time to try long fasts, Exam season? Maybe low carb isn’t for you. At its most simplistic level, IIFYL is just that.
Marry your dietary and nutritional protocols with your lifestyle, assuming progress is maintained.
It could even mean something as simple as – ‘I’m not going to fast because the only time I see my family is at breakfast, I want to eat with them’ or ‘my colleagues eat out at a restaurant once per week, I’m going to factor that in’
If you think you can push on through tough periods of life with an intense training regime and restrictive diet you’re wrong and you’ll likely realise the error of your ways in a cloud of icing sugar.
Strict boundaries don’t demonstrate dedication, they display naivety
When you pick a plan to follow, you do so because you think it will work. Or at least it seems like a good idea (on paper). In my time working with clients, very few people consider ‘Will I actually be able to do this, consistently, for the next 12 weeks’.
Most consider adherence a given when in most cases it’s the fundamental thing in question. Sure, some diets may work better than others, some may be more encourage optimal metabolic function, manage inflammation or accelerate autophagy but unless these things are your sole focus you should first consider how much a given protocol intrudes into your day and how much you notice the behaviours required.
I use the standard example that if going keto meant shredded in 10 weeks but a mixed macro diet with liberal food choices meant shredded in 15 weeks,
I’d take the latter along with my sanity and social life.
Venture down the road of low carb and what do you do at all those events over the next 10 weeks where the others simply don’t appreciate the question “hmmm, I dunno, how many carbs are in it?”. However, there may be blocks of time where you know Keto would be a feasible option – it’s about fitting in your diet to how you live, not vice versa.
It was only with these principles that Yusef and I were able to achieve these changes:
We transformed our appearance while:
- Drinking and eating what we enjoyed, when we wanted
- Training only when we could, around our schedule
- Balancing fat loss with social lives, university degrees and full time jobs (intense graduate schemes in finance and a medical degree)
- Securing a spot on the GB powerlifting team while only training 3-4 times per week, 45-75 minutes per session.
Magic? Drugs? Genetics?
Nope, nothing fancy – just simple principles that were flexible enough to allow us to live a real life and stay consistent no matter what.
We believe IIFYL is something people should embrace and over time we’ve developed many dimensions to the concept that we intend to share over the coming months so stay tuned for your regular dose of dogma debunking dietary liberation.