Flexible Dieting or If It Fits Your Macros

This week we hear from trigger point master trainer and level 3 certified PT Alan Bichara about flexible dieting and interval training.

“Being professionally certified for the past 5 years and personally practicing different methods of fitness for the last 10years, I have simplified my craft to be very effective and efficient. My job as a coach does not end at the gym, I will be constantly striving to help people become a better version of themselves.”

I’m pretty sure if you read online articles about fitness and health or follow specific fitness personalities on social media you have run across the terms “flexible dieting” aka “IIFYM”, but what does IIFYM mean?

Wouldn’t it be great to have a small treat in the middle of your day or week and not feel guilty about it? Well IIFYM will help you make your “strict” diet be more interesting, and it will still help you achieve your goal, be it losing body weight, losing fat or gaining lean mass.

IIFYM means If It Fits Your Macros, it’s basically a nutrition system that requires you to break down and track your diet into 3 categories, your macros, which are Protein, Fat, and Carbs.

What are MACROS?

Macros or macronutrients are your Proteins, Fats, and Carbs. Every day we eat a specific amount of calories, and your calories are made up of your macros. Each macro is measured in grams (g) which is converted by our body into calories (kcal).

1 gram of protein = 4 calories

1 gram of carbohydrate = 4 calories

1 gram of fat = 9 calories

How are they calculated?

In this article I will help you to track your macros, but first we need to know how much calories you need to consume.

We need to know your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) and your TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure).

To compute for your BMR just press here.

Now that you have your BMR, we need to know your TDEE. To find your TDEE, we need your BMR and use the equation below.

Sedentary = BMR x 1.2 (little to No activity)

Lightly Active = BMR x 1.375 (1-3 days/week of activity or exercise)

Moderate Active = BMR x 1.55 (3-5 days/week of activity or exercise)

Very Active = BMR x 1.725 (5-6 days/week high intensity workout or activity)

Extremely Active = BMR x 1.9 (Daily high intensity workout and activity)

Take note with deciding what formula to use, don’t just consider your workout but your work as well – are you a labourer/carpenter or someone who walks a lot for work or someone who sits down all day?

Now that we know our TDEE, we make our goal, do we want to lose weight or gain lean mass?

Lose Weight: TDEE – 500kcals/day

Gain weight: TDEE + 200kcals/day

So finally we have your calories on point, we now have to break it down, to know our “budget” and how we can spend it.

We will break down your TDEE into your macros.

Protein = 1g protein per 1 pound of body weight or bodyweight in kgs x 2.2

Fat = 30% of TDEE divided by 9

Carbs = {TDEE – (protein intake + fat intake)} divided by 4

What does this mean?

As you can see in this equation, the only thing constant is your protein which is adjusted with your ideal bodyweight. Fat and carbs depend on how much calories you consume, so we only decrease or increase carbs/fat according to your goal.

I’m pretty sure a lot of people hate maths and this might seem like too much computation so I really recommend, and personally use, myfitnesspal.

But once you get the hang of it, it can be very beneficial to achieve your goals.

A practical example 

Now let’s get you started, having a weighing scale is optional. Most things you buy that come in packages come with nutritional facts and you can see your macros directly.

Let me show you an example of a 40-year old, 55kg female, 165cm tall, moderate activity, and works out 3 x/wk.

BMR = 1220kcals x 1.55 (moderate activity) = 1891kcals

Goal (lose weight) = 1891(TDEE) – 500kcals = 1391 daily calories needed

Macros:

Protein = 55kgs x 2.2 = 121grams of protein x 4 = 484kcals

Fat = 1391x.30 = 417kcals/9 = 46g

Carbs = 1391 – [484(protein requirement) + 417(fat requirement)] =490kcals/4= 123g

Knowing your macros will help you make up your meal plan, it doesn’t have to be the same boring food every day, although it helps to make the counting easier.

Remember it will take a while before you get used to adjusting and knowing how your body reacts, the best thing to do is stay consistent and never stress about it.

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