in Nutrition

3 Drawbacks Of IIFYM (+ How To Solve Them)

Did you hear about IIFYM, right?!

I mean, unless you've been on the mission w/ Matthew McConaughey on Insterstellar, you should have encountered this weird acronym at least once.

Although you may have never encountered the word "acronym", you illiterate meathead.

IIFYM is to meal planning what the 'Sex Pistols' were to music: let's break all the rules, nothing matters anyway.

IIFYM For Dummies​

It goes like this: for every day, you set just the macros you need to hit to reach your caloric intake. Then you eat random stuff during the day but you make sure to track everything that goes in your mouth with an app like MyFitnessPal.​

"OMG THIS IS AWESOME!!" — I hear you screaming while you take your clothes off and start running in the streets with a renewed sense of freedom and joy for life.

First of all, put your clothes on, young man (if woman, you can keep them off), I can't talk to you like this.

While this approach might indeed sound completely 'life changing' and 'why didn't anyone think of this before?', let me tell you that it has its caveats (and not small ones).

iifym they said you'll be lean they said

This Is The Real Life, Not Just Fantasy​

When I compared II​FYM to punk rock, it wasn't just to be funny.

IIFYM takes the nihilist approach to nutrition, disregarding the very important topic of nutrient timing, to name one.

Your body isn't just a car in which you put gasoline and you can drive for miles.

I mean, this would be kinda OK if you didn't give a shit about getting big, strong and ripped as fuck.

For the average Joe, IIFYM is perfectly fine, assuming that the average Joe is even tracking his macros.

average joe iifym

But for bodybuilding, powerlifting or any athletic performance, IIFYM is the lazy ass approach that is not taking advantage of tons and tons of research on how to optimize your nutrition for the best performance.

DISCLAIMER: If you wanna be the average Joe, don't get big, strong and ripped and especially if you like to waste time, don't read forward, find some bros on the internet and follow his/her advice.

Only For The YOLO Kinda Guy/Gal

Throughout the day, your body is better at doing certain things compared to other times.
Scientists gave this concept a name which sounds Chinese if you never studied Latin: circadian rhythm (circa = around; diem = day).

Circadian rhythm

Image from https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3017148

For instance, we have already seen how better your body is at handling carbs at the end of the day and why you should eat most of your proteins at night.

So, what are we gonna do, ignore all this research and "fuck it, YOLO!"?

Don't get me wrong, you can still make incredible gains on IIFYM, especially if you are a beginner.

Well...beginners by just looking at a barbell would make gainz for fuck sake!

But the more advanced you become, the more important it will be to optimize your nutrition.

Unless you wanna stay at intermediate level forever and be mediocre.

I won't judge (you know I totally would).

Eat Like You Are Gonna Die Tomorrow

IIFYM binge

The other problem with IIFYM is that people tend to go really "I eat like tomorrow I'm gonna die", completely embracing that Epicurean lifestyle and eating just crap.

Of course you can gain/lose weight on unhealthy diets, because in the end, the general principle of IIFYM of 'calories in vs calories out' still holds true.

But then you lose sight of the fact that food is not just 'energy' but also 'medicine'.

You know, minerals, vitamins and stuff.

These are called micronutrients and you need to take into account also that when you eat to not make "I eat like tomorrow I'm gonna die" a self-fulfilling prophecy.

I'm sure most of the people would like to just eat pizza, pasta and Nutella all day long (quick note for the stereotype-lovers out there, in Italy we don't eat like that, just saying).

But at the end of the day, you'd be using food only to give you energy and not nutrients to keep you healthy.

So, if you are here for the long run and don't wanna go full Janis Joplin/Kurt Kobain/Amy Winehouse, you better replace that Oreos with an Apple.

"Really bro?! Are you going parent mode on me right now?!"

Of course you can always have a "cheat meal" that fits your macros. If it helps you staying on track, go ahead!

What I'm recommending is not to take 100% of your calories from junk/processed foods as these are devoid of micronutrients that you actually need for muscle gain.

IIFYM surely satisfies the fat kid inside you but remember that fat kid doesn't want you to get strong and ripped.

The Rational IIFYM

Wrapping Up (Talking About Burritos Eh?)

After reading this post, you know that IIFYM is a nihilist approach to nutrition.

but it fits my macros
  • It ignores nutrient timing.
  • It tends to be unhealthy in people thinking IIFYM is just an excuse to binge on crappy food because "no bro, it fits my macros".
  • It actually causes more stress that you'd imagine (paradox of choice).

The rational IIFYM is a way to combine IIFYM with science and with health.

Let me know in the comments below if you try it and what you think about it.

Till the next time, stay big!​

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P.S. If you want to be coached by me and you are badass, committed af and ready to change your life, send me an email to alex@www.thebroscientist.com. I take on only the most motivated and serious people so if you are not like that, don't contact me please.