What the Heck is IIFYM?

So after being fairly open about my fitness progress over the last 4 years, my bodybuilding competitions, and my focus on what goes into my body I get lots of questions from family, friends, and strangers on Instagram about what my “diet” is like.

While I am not a nutritionist or dietician, I have used this tool known as IIFYM or “If It Fits Your Macros” for over a year and a half now. I also reference it quite a bit on here, so I felt like I owed readers some sort of explanation. I have tried different avenues of this approach, and have had varying degrees of success. I will be breaking down this diet approach in the most rudimentary forms, and referring you to my best suggestions for support, knowledge, and information.

In its simplest form, food consists of three components: protein, fat, and carbohydrate. Each component has a caloric value: 1 gram of protein or carbohydrate=4 calories, 1 gram of fat=9 calories.

So if something has 1 gram of protein, 1 gram of carbohydrate, and 1 gram of fat, to figure the caloric value you would translate grams to calories or: 4+4+9 which equals 17 calories.

Or, to make it easier, read the labels on your foods, and that math is done for you!


Now, every person is a little different in their caloric need. Based on your age, activity level, etc., you can calculate how many calories you need to eat in order to lose weight, gain weight, or maintain. This can vary and takes some trial and error to get exactly right, but it is important to remember that no matter the approach, weight loss= calories in-calories out. So if you should be burning 2200 calories per day, you would need to eat less than that in order for your body to start using other stores (aka body fat) as energy which will ultimately lead to weight loss.

IIFYM takes this a little deeper and looks at exactly how many grams of each macronutrient (protein, carbs, and fat) you need in order to optimally power your body. This may sound a little complicated, but bear with me. If you know you can eat 150 grams of carbs per day, the beauty is that the source is not as important! You could eat a square of dark chocolate that has 4.5 grams of fat and 9 grams of carbs, deduct that from your daily “totals” and then eat whatever else you are craving to hit your numbers.


A good example of a meal: veggies, protein, and some carbs, with a couple of Oreos to curb my sweet tooth 😉

There are dozens of questions  I could address and get into from here, but I just wanted to start with the basics. One issue I do want to address is the fact that IIFYM gets a bad reputation for being a “junk food” diet.

However, I truly believe to look and feel your best, you cannot follow IIFYM and only eat junk. Just last week I had a conversation with my trainer about how I had fallen away from eating whole foods, and was using up more of my carbs for wine than I should have. The results? Bloat was up, fatigue was up, mood was down. I took a week and focused on drinking only water and coffee, avoiding eating out, and allowing 1-2 treats per day, and I immediately felt better and was down over 2 pounds by Friday. Regardless of what we “can” fit, we “need” vitamins, minerals, water, and nourishing food. This is KEY to remember when starting macro counting.

Aaaand for the resources!

How we fuel our bodies is so important in our fitness outcomes. If you are at a point in your fitness endeavors where you feel you’ve hit a wall, or you are constantly cycling through diets or sworn-to-get-result routines, give this a try!

And as always, feel free to comment, email, or find me on Facebook if you have any questions!


❤ Alex

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