Macro counting: Does quality of food matter?


When I first began IIFYM/Macro Counting I was coming off 48 weeks of ‘clean’ contest prep. I had a bad case of “Bro-fatigue”.   Bro-fatigue is when you hit the wall on the few  foods you are only allowed to consume in prep.
Sweet Pot
brown rice
rice cakes

I had begun piecing together my new IIFYM/Macros and found that I could eat lots of amazing food in my off season and still hit my macros of Protein, Carbs, Fats and the micro nutrient Fiber.  I had no issue doing it and I got nice results.  It was nice to eat things I really wanted everyday.

The longer I did that, the more I whined about broccoli taking up my carbs because I wanted gold fish cookies.  What I found was I was whirling out of control and filling my days with a little high quality food and lots of processed fun foods.

I did not really feel my best. My training began to suffer a bit.


Let me clarify the basics of IIFYM. You should hit your macros of Protein, Carbohydrates and Fats +5/-5 daily. You must also hit your minimum grams of the micro nutrient fiber.

If you follow my blog, you know I have  struggled with sugar. In the past, certain foods have triggered binges for me.  I’m doing much better so it’s not as big of an issue, however for many.. it is..

I hear the question a lot “How much sugar can I have?”

Sugar reads as a carb so if you are counting carbs you don’t need to count sugar. I don’t.
Sugar is in many things.. Lactose is natural dairy sugar. Dairy is a great source of protein!! Fruit has sugar and it’s amazing for you. ❤

The goal of IIFYM in the beginning was not to fill the day with junk, but to ease “bro-fatigue” and fit in some things you like.  This concept is sometimes lost in the IIFYM community.
It’s lost on the people who look at the concept as a ‘fad diet’ or are under educated in the concepts of Flexible dieting.  For a was lost on me. I flew too close to the sun.

The original concept for IIFYM was that  80-90% of your daily intake would come from healthful, high quality food.

Let’s say we have a bikini athlete who is cutting for a show.
If you are cutting (active fat loss), only 10% of your macros should come from ‘discretionary foods.’. Of course if you are bulking and have lots of carbs to work with, that will look different than, for example, my day.  I have 180 carbs a day on my cut so only 18 carbs should be discretionary macros I use those 18 carbs pre-workout to help me lift.

Edit: in my  actual prepping: I use 95%/5% as my ratios. My food has to be tight. But that’s just me!

Ok.. I know, what are healthful (nutrient dense) foods?  You and I both know healthy foods. Yes, pink cupcakes have macros but they might have very little fiber. They don’t fall under the “profoundly healthy” category, but once in a while I could make them fit.
Discretionary means: I don’t really need it.

Did you know you can see your ‘food score’ rating in your tracker?

While the macros of lots of fun and exciting foods could fit your plan, think about how you are fueling your body. The bonus of eating well is all   the extra micro nutrients that come with eating vegetables and fruits. Not to mention fiber.

My journey
I have made  a conscious  effort to get a very large portion of my daily carbs from vegetables. I like the way I feel better when I eat more whole foods. I see a difference in my skin so that makes sense to me. I do eat greek yogurt and some are quick  to point out that’s processed. I don’t necessarily believe that processed  defines a food as crap.

When I look at a food I want  to judge it  in the context of my whole days food.

If 90% of my diet comes from nutrient dense foods, half  a pop tart isn’t a big deal. I’m consistent with my choices.

You don’t have to fall under the spell of “bro foods ‘ to reach your goals, especially if you are not a physique competitor .

Edit: Simply because you choose to do IIFYM/macro counting/flexible dieting, you can still create amazing, nutrient dense treats  that fit your macros . Check out
for ideas!


Update: 8/30/2016: Lifestyle and off season clients may use 80/20 as their guidelines
as long as they meet their fruit and veggies, EFAs and fiber numbers.
One goal I was missing:  was to strive for my Protein first to help stop potential binges.
This is working great!

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