You may have heard the terms 'IIFYM' or flexible dieting on popular social media sites or being promoted by fitness bloggers. But what does it all mean? Can counting your macros help you achieve your health and fitness goals?
What are macros?
Macronutrients are the building blocks of nutrition. Comprising of protein, carbohydrates, and fats, macros are the nutrients we need most. All foods contain these three macronutrients in varying degrees, and by manipulating the ratio of macros you eat, you can alter your results. By counting your macros, you can achieve weight loss, muscle gain, and improve your recovery after a tough session.
How do you count macros?
Thankfully, counting your macros is very easy because it is all down to science and maths.
1g of carbs contains 4 calories.
1g of protein contains 4 calories.
1g of fat contains 9 calories.
If your daily calorie needs are 2,000 calories, you can use maths to calculate how many grams of each macro you will need to eat to achieve your goal. The main variant is the ratio of macros you decide to have, and this is entirely personal and dependent on your goals.
A bodybuilder will have vastly different needs to a marathon runner, and this will translate to different macro ratios. You can also use macros for weight loss. A bodybuilder does a lot of weight training and will need a lot of protein. Therefore, an example macro ratio for a bodybuilder might be 40% protein, 40% fat, 20% carbs. If the bodybuilder's calories needs are 2,000 calories, then they would need to eat 800 calories worth of protein, 800 of fat, and 400 of carbs. Therefore, they would need to eat 200g of protein, 88g of fat, and 100g of carbs each day.
To simplify the process, you can use an online macro calculator the do the sums for you and help you determine your macros.
IIFYM - If It Fits Your Macros
There are different types of macro diet out there, and a very popular way of eating is following the IIFYM rule: if it fits your macros, you can eat it. However, this is not necessarily a healthy way of living, as by following this rule you could potentially consume a lot of hydrogenated fats, sugar, and chemicals, which are not conducive to a healthy diet and lifestyle. IIFYM is more of a fad found on social media and should not be followed as a strict diet.