Are you moving from a Bro prep/ coaching experience to IIFYM/Flexible Dieting and feeling panic in the core of your soul? I am going to talk you down today and gently help you find your way to success and meal time peace.
What is the difference?
Bro-diets are legendary for only ALLOWING foods like these.
Egg whites, turkey, chicken, fish, beef (super lean 1x per week) asparagus, sweet potatoes, brown rice, olive oil (maybe) and the super duper magical oatmeal.
IIFYM /Flexible dieting, Macro counting is NOT a diet, you eat according to your fitness goals by hitting your macro nutrients of Protein, Carbs, Fats and the micro-nutrient fiber.
Bro-Flex is when coaches tell you you are eating IIFYM but give you a restricted list of items that you can swap with. If you have a swap list, you are not IIFYM.
Let me first of all reassure you. Look at this quote from Mr. Olympia Frank Zane who utilized Flexible Dieting in his show prep, 1979.
Remember this: IIFYM was born out of Bro-fatigue. It came about organically when competitors discovered they could swap foods as long as they achieved their macro nutrient goals. The goal of IIFYM was never to eat crap all day, but to offer options.
You must hit your macros but you must hit your fiber goals too. The food you eat will by nature be ‘healthful* to hit that fiber!
You should know this
In a cut (active fat loss) the amount of discretionary food is very low, about 5 percent of your day.
In off season, the percentage can be up to 80% wholesome*/20% discretionary.
This is where the ‘poptart divas’ of Instagram confuse and infuriates the Bro dieters. Everyone has different macros.
So… If your carbs are low, you can’t eat much in the way of sweet treats however if you have lots to work with, you could potentially have more. Everyone is different.
My macros wouldn’t allow me to eat 18 pancakes ever but the Rock did. His macros are totally different than mine! Of course they are.. Look at him! He needs more food than me! That’s why YOU need macros based on YOU and not a cookie cutter diet your whole bikini team followed.
How I prep with IIFYM.
As an IIFYM coach, I believe quality of food matters.Myself, I eat 5 different sources of protein each day. I do use greek yogurt and dairy as protein. I use whey, bars and of course animal protein. Chicken 5x per day disgusts me and my stomach can’t handle beef so I need options. I eat wonderful food that looks gorgeous, tastes delish and hits my macros perfectly. I have over 35 different foods each week- not the same 11 foods for 16 weeks that I used in my bro-preps. Our team eats 300-500g fruits and veggies daily minimum. We have a veggie minimum for athletes.
This is the actual food our athletes at in prep for our last show.
I enjoy a diet soda when I want one, but I get down a gallon of water every day. I use sugar free syrup and stevia too. I eat what I want!
Story time:One of my competitors calls herself the pancake queen. I love this. I also find pancakes amazing and delish and they can be made to taste like whatever you want. My first coach would not allow me to eat pancakes. It had to be 6 egg whites and 1/2 cup oatmeal cooked. NO pancakes because “I wouldn’t look right”. I buried egg whites in mustard, hated breakfast so hard.
Quality of food
I also use my food score ratings from MyNetDiary. I only eat A and B foods. If you don’t know about food scores Click here
This would typically NOT be on the Bro diet but the macros fit my prep. I use it.
It has fiber and protein! I mix it with Sugar free syrup and get a lovely bowl of icing. Look here
Do I have to get my carbs from sweet potatoes, brown rice, Ezekiel bread?
I don’t. I use things like Flat out wraps, fruit, veggies greek yogurt (has both protein and carbs-I use Light and Fit). I use Light Smart red sauce from Prego. Basically I eat what I like. Dude, I haven’t had Ezekial in 2 years!
WAIT.. aren’t foods like brown rice, sweet potatoes and Ezekial magic?
My bro coaches told me they were but I can’t find any science that backs that up.
I hate brown rice. My first coach made me eat 8 cups of brown rice a day for a carb up.
I buried it in salsa and mustard to choke it down. I could have had something else. There was no reason I couldn’t have except her lack of knowledge. I refuse to be miserable in prep or any other time. GROSS. I carb up now on SF Fro yo. Even in prep. I refeed with purpose and I eat things that I like.
I do, however, eat a lot of sweet potatoes because I like them. I use them in amazing pancakes because they are carmelly and sweet. I don’t choke down food I hate but I eat things that I like. . If you want toast whatever. It has good macros, but it’s not my thing. If you want it.. make it fit.
I ate this in prep last year..
English muffins, eggs, turkey and ff cheese. I put SF syrup on it. It fit my macros. Those english muffins are fiber city.
Oh.. prepped with Margarita Shrimp salad
pancakes 100 ways too.
How to not go crazy when you start.
When I began I might have flown a little too close to the sun. I can fit a lot of things into my plan but I sort of lost sight of my goal to eat for my health. I was crabby because broccoli took up so many carbs when I really wanted goldfish cookies. Now, I am very solid in my conviction eat well and I don’t feel well when I eat lots of sugar treats even if they do fit. I prefer in off season to use foods like Poptarts to fuel my leg day. But that’s my journey. The beauty of IIFYM is that it is YOUR journey.
For my team in PREP we follow the guideline of 95% nutrient dense food 5% discretionary.
Yes, I know that all food has macros and nutrients , you can read more on this here.
Off season is 80/20.
Start by tracking what you normally eat then tweak where you like.
Input your coaches plan into your tracker and see what the macros are.
If you are not enjoying asparagus (gross) and want to swap it out.. look here.
I simply added the asparagus into MyNetDiary in the amount that was on the menu.
I thought about the veggies I’d like to eat and began to add them in to see how much I would have to eat to get close to those macros.
I like pumpkin a lot and can mix that with some brown sugar stevia (adds 2g carbs)
but It’s fantastic. The thing to notice with the pumpkin is the fiber. I don’t have the 3g fiber that the asparagus has but I hit my fiber goals daily anyway. If you don’t have a fiber goal.. this should be a red flag!
Some athletes can eat cabbage into their last week. Green beans are pretty easy peasy to sub up. I add Reduced fat Parm to my green beans and take the fats (3g ) for my serving.
Look how close Zuchinni is! I personally do zuchinni chips in my last week. I love them!!
I use sites like rippedrecipes.com to create healthful concoctions that feed my body and soul. I like sweets. I will put something like this in my tracker early in the day so I can enjoy it at couch time. The base of this is garbanzo beans. Every ingredient is rated A,
including the dark cacao chips that I count out and weigh.
But, I can’t seem to stop eating my Bro foods I’m too afraid.
I hear ya. The thing is, bro foods aren’t bad choices. They are solid choices especially the further into prep you get. Typically you will have to taper macros to continue to get stage lean. I am very good at ‘stretching’ my food out by using volume foods like miracle noodles and zucchini. Things like Quest bars aren’t good choices for me late in prep because it uses a lot of macros in a small meal. I need more volume!! However, you simply don’t have to live in a world where you have NO options. If you make pancakes out of your egg whites and oatmeal you can do it. I use Sugar Free syrups too but I weigh and account for everything I put in my mouth. If I find ways to eat foods that make me happy, and provide me with my P:C:F: and fiber I am very happy.
Give me an example:
I do this late in prep. Oh Lort, I had a some banana, that’s not bro at all. But look at those macros. My low carb days are happier than when M1-M6 was chicken breast only.
Again, to fulfill your macros +5/-5g each day you must eat well, but you have options.
Using sites like Pinterest, IG, blogs, with the #IIFYM #Flexible dieting you will find many amazing ideas that you can modify to fit your prep!
I wish you luck in your competition training!
*I know food terms like nutritious, wholesome or healthy etc are just terms I’m using to
give you a visual. All food has macros. I also know the difference between Apples and Hostess Twinkies and you do too. So bear with me. Use your food scanner and make the best choices for yourself..The overall snapshot of your day should be healthful food with room to improvise. Choices! Just as eating healthy one day of your life doesn’t make you ‘healthy’ eating discretionary foods doesn’t make you unhealthy. Its what you follow consistently matters.