Train like this, eat that way, don’t do this, always do that; you get my drift.
So it’s no surprise when competitors are just getting started or looking to find new ways to train; it’s easy to get lost with all the opinions at each corner.
If you’re reading this and looking for that FINAL answer, well it’s not here; it never will be. And that is why this sport and its competitors has so much passion and drive fueling it: because it gives you the opportunity to find what works for YOU!
If you’ve read my previous blogs, you know nutrition is the main importance and where I start my training. I’ve been getting tons of questions about my nutrition practice; flex dieting or IIFYM (if it fits in your macros), so I’m breaking down the key things you should know about flex dieting to see if it might be a great fit for you.
Now before I begin, understand I’m giving you the highlights here. Macronutrients and flex dieting can be a very detailed, diverse, and extensive style of nutrition. If you’re considering adding flex dieting to your program, I suggest doing further research to find what style is best for you.
3 Things You Should know about Flex Dieting:
1.You Gotta Look at the Numbers Bro: Macronutrients are broken down into 3 numbers: fats, proteins, and carbohydrates in grams; yes calories pay a vital part in your program, but the bread and butter are these 3 numbers. Part of flex dieting is logging your food intake in total grams to match the macronutrient goals you’ve set according to your goals and activity level for that day.
How do you get to these 3 numbers? Here’s an example:
Men: 66 + (13.7 x weight in kg) + (5 x height in cm) – (6.8 x age in years)
Women: 655 + (9.6 x weight in kg) + (1.8 x height in cm) – (4.7 x age in years)
Sorry to get so scientific on you, like I said, flex dieting is all about numbers. Now to calculate your true training macro formula take the total calories and separate them with the ratio of 40% protein, 30% fats, and 30% carbohydrates to find your breakdown in grams.
Depending on activity level, body composition, or certain goals, these ratios may differ from the standard format, but this gives you a place to start.
2. It’s not all junk food and it sure isn’t all chicken and broccoli.
Flex dieters have been getting bad raps for years over their choices in filling their daily macros, and I won’t lie, after years of only “clean eating” I couldn’t believe IIFYM was sustainable.
The truth is, flex dieting is only successful when a majority of your daily food intake is a choice of nutrient dense food. In my experience, trying to fill a daily macro nutrient goal with foods high in sugar and fat, won’t leave you hitting your goal macro numbers, but will leave you hungry with only a couple meals a day! Think about it: if I can only have 140 grams of carbohydrates, a plate of pancakes isn’t going to leave me many meals in my day.
Most flex dieters choose IIFYM not because it’s a free pass to go crazy on treats, but because it can provide a balanced approach to nutrition and training all year long, not just a few hours after walking across the stage.
After a rigorous show schedule, I developed a severe outlook and relationship with food. Flex dieting allowed me to restore that approach and balance, without abandoning my habits of clean eating I already established.
3. You can cut, build, maintain, or reverse; its all about adjustments.
When I first began IIFYM, I was reversing a metabolism in shambles from 3 back to back shows. I thought how in the world can I rely on macros to cut or build in my future?
Although macronutrient and flex dieting is science based, you have to remember that it is typically a slower process to results than other diet approaches such as keto or low carb based diets, but I’ve found the results are more substantial with flex dieting. Let’s give you the quick version of how to adjust micronutrient numbers to fit your goal:
Reversing- coming off a show or any low carb or fat diet can take a significant amount of time for the body to adjust. Especially, if you’ve chosen a “clean eating only” approach to your food, your body’s enzymes have forget how to handle certain foods.
A great place to start is where your macro numbers were within 3 weeks out from your show. From there you slowly add carbs and fats back into your diet weekly by small numbers of 5-10 grams, until your body fat or weight has reached its pre-show or lean mass weight you feel comfortable with.
Cutting- This is the biggest scare for competitors looking at IIFYM; how do you cut still eating that? Well, once again, we’re back to the numbers.
80% of your cut should come from diet and 30% should come from your cardio or activity. With that in mind, to obtain a slow, healthy weight loss rate you should aim for 1-1.5 pounds weight loss a week.
Subtracting 20% from your previous maintenance calories will be needed in order to loose body fat, here’s an example:
Daily Maintenance calories: 2,172
Formula: 2,172 x .20 = 434
2,172 – 434= 1,738 calories daily for body fat loss
Right now, there’s a war going on in the world of body building.
Clean eaters vow to reject any slice of IIFYM philosophy and flex dieters swear and preach about the benefits of their balanced intake.
My take? I’ve done every single diet, philosophy, gimmic, pill out there and ya know what? I’m not sold on any certain one. I take a little of everything and combine it to what fits me perfectly for my goals, my training, and well ME.
I hope the same for all of you! Succeed, fail, take advice; try it all! And know that when it comes to your goals, only you decide what’s best for you! Article contributed by: Alysha White Axis Labs Sponsored Athlete and Master Trainer