This phrase that has taken over the personal training world by storm.
If it fits your macros, also known as: IIFYM.
This approach has become the foundation for weight loss which most online personal training systems use when designing a meal plan.
But this approach can be completely flawed and we will explain why and how.
And in today’s post we’ll reveal the exact reasons.
For Weight Loss: IIFYM is a dieting approach based on energy output and energy input.
Most online personal training systems look at weight loss only in terms of calories.
Burn more calories than you eat and the weight comes off.
According to this approach, regardless of whether you eat a balanced, health-promoting diet of whole grains, lean proteins, and fruits, or a bunch of processed foods, as long as the calories are right, you will loose weight. (Source)
In other words, as long as the number of macros (carbs, proteins, and fats) do not exceed the number allotted by your coach, you will be on track to losing weight.
it is not this simple.
IIFYM is an approach based on food quantity as opposed to food quality.
But not all calories are created equal, and this is obvious from the different ways that calories from different sources react in your body.
Foods you are allergic too or intolerant too can set off a domino effect that alters the chemistry of your digestive system, affects the levels of good and bad bacteria in the gut, and disrupts hormone balance.
(If you don’t know how to naturally treat food intolerances, this post explains you everything you need to know).
The result is often an immune system response and inflammation, which can affect your ability to maintain a healthy weight.
There are several fundamental flaws associated with this quantitative approach, or IIFYM, to online personal training.
Problems with IIFYM Relating to Loosing Weight
1) Difficulties with Estimating Someone’s Caloric Requirements:
To be able to correctly estimate an individual’s energy requirements you must measure their BMR (basal metabolic rate) and to closely follow their day-to-day life to gauge their physical activity level.
Most online personal training programs ask 1-2 questions at most, if any, about the client’s energy demands. So what do they base their calculations on?
2) Following the Recommended Macros on Your Meal Plan Perfectly
Let’s assume your personal trainer was able to precisely calculate your caloric requirements.
The next step is on you…
…executing the plan.
To be able to weigh and precisely portion your meals in the long term, is very unrealistic, and eventually leads to failure.
Following a diet based on food quantity, instead of food quality, is very difficult to maintain – especially with a calculated IIFYM diet.
3) Everything You Are Eating May Not Be Getting Absorbed
Let’s take it a step further and assume you can execute this precise and accurate meal plan put together for you by your personal trainer.
The majority of people in the fitness world automatically assume that the food they eat is all being used by the body.
(This is a big flaw of an assumption because it is not about what you put into your body, but rather what you absorb.)
Factors such as:
- stomach acid
- food combining
- drinking water with meals
- not chewing well
- eating under stress or in a hurry
…are all factors that affecting the efficiency of the digestive track and areas that the IIFYM macros adapted by most online personal trainers leave out.
Instead of playing this guessing numbers game and focusing on food quantity, your online personal trainer should focus on improving the quality of food and teaching you how to improve the health of your digestive system – this can be done with a meal plan that is customized to your body type, your workout schedule, sex and personal training goals.
Ways to Improve the Digestive System
1) Optimize Stomach Acid:
The stomach is the first part of the digestive system that food reaches and plays a key role in the digestion process.
The majority of people do not have adequate stomach acid levels so their digestion is greatly compromised.
This is HUGE.
Poor diet and lifestyle choices decrease the production of stomach acid.
To stimulate stomach acid production:
- Avoid drinking water or any other fluids with meal
- Avoid gluten and dairy
- Supplement with betaine HCL
2) Chew Your Food Well:
The process of chewing your food leads to the production of digestion enzymes, literally preparing the body for the incoming food especially if your following a strict IIFYM diet daily to loose your weight.
Pay attention to the number of times you chew eat mouthful next time you eat.
Case in point:
Try to chew each mouthful 30 times.
3) Avoid eating when stressed or in a rush
Do not eat when you are stressed.
When you are stressed your body’s sympathetic nervous system is activated so you are in a state of fight or flight.
In other words:
To loose weight, follow the above advice, so your digestive system is not shut down that you may absorb much of the food you are eating.
Be sure to always eat in a calm state.
When you are calm your body’s parasympathetic, or rest and digest, system is activated so your body is ready to absorb the food you eat.
If you are not in a calm relaxed state before eating, it is important to take several deep breathes to stimulate your parasympathetic system before you eat (Learn More Here).
4) Avoid eating gluten and dairy
This is one of the biggest mistakes made in the online personal training world!
Very often you see coaches recommend foods such as cheese, pasta, and milk to their clients to meet their daily IIFYM macronutrient intake.
This about it:
These foods are common allergens and/or foods people are intolerant to that not only compromise the digestive system, negatively affecting your body’s ability to absorb nutrients.
They can also lead to symptoms including bloating, fatigue, acne, migraines, and of course weight gain.
5) Take supplements that support digestion
Combining meat with starchy carbohydrates strains your digestive system.
Very few online personal trainers understand the concept of food combining.
…when you are following a IIFYM weight loss diet, and you combine a carbohydrate source, such as brown rice or sweet potatoes, with a protein, such as beef or chicken, in a single meal you strain your digestive system.
The majority of people’s digestive systems are not functioning optimally, and when protein and starchy carbs are mixed the digestive system gets overworked and does not absorb all the nutrients in that meal.
To maximize the absorption of nutrients in each meal it is important to supplement with a HCl (hydrochloric acid) product and digestive enzymes, especially when combining proteins and carbs.
Loosing Weight and the Problems with IIFYM:
- Makes it acceptable to eat low quality foods
- Difficult to gauge macro requirements
- Weighing and measuring food is not realistic in long run
- What you are eating may not even be getting absorbed so numbers don’t matter
Instead of focusing on numbers, focus on improving your digestion by:
- Optimize stomach acid: avoid gluten and dairy, avoid drinking fluids with meal, and supplement with betains HCl
- Chew your food well (each mouthful 30 times)
- Avoid eating when stressed or in a rush
- Avoid eating gluten and dairy
- Supplement with digestive enzymes and betaine HCl
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