If It Fits Your Macros (IIFYM) is a structured program that helps you balance your body’s macro nutrients composition. It is an intricate concept that makes use of calculators to arrive at the specifics of particular elements and their nutritional compositions.
So, what are macros?
We all need nutrients for growth, development and sustainability. However, we do not need all nutrients in the same way. There are those we need in small quantities, and they are known as micro nutrients. On the other hand, there are those that our bodies need in massive portions, and we call them macro nutrients or, colloquially, macros. We have four categories of macros, and they include proteins, fats, alcohol and carbohydrates. Each of these contains a unique caloric quantity. For example, a gram of protein has 4 calories, one of alcohol has 7, one of fat has 9 and one of carbohydrates has 4 calories.
Let’s narrow it down to specifics.
Proteins are the ‘Mr fix it’ of our bodies. They repair our muscle cells and tissues whenever our bodies break down due to fatigue, resistance training or exertion in general. After tissues have been repaired, proteins work to keep muscle mass at a healthy constant.
How much protein do you need to consume?
Researchers agree that the ideal diet would involve anything from 0.8 grams per pound (of body weight) to 1.5 grams. Most people peak at around 1 gram per pound, but you need to consume according to your weight. To arrive at your daily intake, you will simply need to take your weight in pounds and multiply it by anything between 0.8 and 1.5. Sources of proteins include diary, fish, chicken, tendon meat, eggs and beef broth.
Carbohydrates work toward the health, composition and performance of our bodies. There is a raucous debate surrounding how many carbs we need daily, but we do know that they are incredibly important as the brain runs on glucose. Granted, the body can survive without carbs for a while, but we are not talking about mere survival here. We are talking about health, and you need carbs for heath. Carbohydrates are stored as glycogen in the muscles and liver, where they come in use for physically exerting activities.
How much of these do you need?
There is generally no consensus on this one, but anything between 1 and 3 grams per pound is good enough for any one attempting macro dieting. You can obtain carbs from fruits, vegetables, pasta, rice, grains and potatoes.
We all need fat for energy. We also need it for the absorption of the vitamins D, K, E, A, which are all fat soluble. Besides that, they are crucial when it comes to the production of hormones, so you need to have them in your diet.
What are the right amounts?
This depends on your energy requirements. If you expend more physical effort, you will need more. An ideal range would be 15-25% of your average daily macro consumption. Great sources of fat include coconut oil, palm oil, olive oil, dark chocolate and egg yolk.
Alcohol is not really needed by the body, but its best to keep in mind that every gram has 7 calories. Broken down by types, here is what it looks like:
· A 12 ounce serving of Beer/cider racks up 150-200 calories.
· A 5 ounces serving of wine has 120 calories.
· 1 shot of hard liquor has 80 calories.
Macro nutrient recommendations
There are many calculators that help you toward counting the nutritional components of healthy foods to consume, but there are problems with the calculations because plenty of them use percentages when it comes to lean body mass. The good news is that IIFYM has some of the most accurate approaches around. The only way to do it right is by simply tracking your macros, because that is all what matters.
The IIFYM approach
This simply dictates that you can eat as much as you want as long as it stays within the scope of your macro requirements. It aims at allowing you fun with your food but still staying healthy. Clean eating, paleo diets and vegetarianism won’t get you where you need to if you obsess over calories rather than macros.
The concept of counting calories vs counting macros
If you eat less calories than you burn in a day, you lose weight. If you eat many calories of the wrong product, then your muscles will become the victim. In a nutshell, this is a horribly complex way of tracking your nutrition. IIFYM simply requires you to count how many grams of each macro you consume in a day.
Calculating your optimal macros
Here, it all depends on your gender, age, weight, BMI and level of physical activity day in, day out. If you are having a problem figuring that out, then our macro calculator will help you get it done. The Keto Calculator, for example, allows you to simply fill in all your specifics and then a table of recommendations will show up. After you get an idea of what you need to be consuming in terms of macros, the next step involves taking a look at the nutritional data for every single food package you buy with the intent to consume. You might need to get a hold of some pen and paper and track your numbers over the first few weeks because you won’t be able to make calculations off the top of your head. The best approach, however, would be to download a macro tracker in the mold of MyFitnessPal.
If you really want to get the figures right, you might also want to think along the lines of buying a food scale. This helps a lot, especially when the product you are looking to consume does not come with a nutritional label.
Keep in mind that websites have different methods of calculating your energy requirements day in day out. At best, most out there work on a law of averages in order to balance the field of play. However, so long as you focus on the core aspects of the data involved and use our calculators here at IIFYM, then you are going to be just fine. Whatever you do, keep it consistent and drink lots and lots of water while at it.