Oh, the holidays are coming and bowl season is quickly approaching!! This means lots of sweet goodies and fatty foods that you tell yourself you are going to stay away from but who are we kidding here?! Most people will give the excuse to the fall and winter months as bulking season, however you are an athlete and you are going to make better decisions. Yes you are don’t question the system. Haha, well this opens up the discussion of flexible dieting. If you haven’t been under a rock you know that flexible dieting or IIFYM (If it fits your macros) is all the rage right now and all types of fitness gurus claim that using this diet is an eternal hall pass to eat ANYTHING you want as long as it fits into your macronutrient schedule. They may even back their findings with a study performed by a university in which a professor lost over 20 pounds eating noting but convenience store junk food! Although this new style of dieting sounds amazing and quite frankly is AMAZING, there are some rules to follow if you wish to incorporate flexible dieting into your lifestyle.
How to Flexible Diet
Tip 1: Learn YOUR macros
Understand flexible dieting is NOT A GET OUT OF JAIL FREE CARD to see if you can medal in the junk food Olympics. Rather, flexible dieting is a way to keep you consistent in eating healthy year round without resorting to becoming a social hermit who is in constant fear of eating the wrong things. When you flexible diet the first tip that one should show is to make sure to calculate your macronutrients as accurately as possible. Websites such as www.scoobysworkshop.com, www.legionathletics.com, and rippedbody.jp are wonderful resources to start from when calculating your macros. If you want to do this thing right you will have to know what percentage of each macronutrient based on your calorie intake you can have to achieve or maintain your optimal body composition. Without this information you are basically going into this whole diet thing blind which can turn into a disaster.
Tip 2: STILL stay 80/20
Will flexible dieting help you fi in that donut, or giant slice of pizza? CERTAINLY!! But you should have a basic understanding of the nutrient density of food. The fatty, cheesy, sugary things that we love are cool, but how do they help us PERFORM?? Keeping performance at the forefront should give you the maturity to eat the proper foods that will help your body move and perform to its utmost potential. That being said make the bulk of your diet consist of dark leafy greens, complex carbohydrates, and lean protein sources. Yes you can have that soda every once in a while but be mindful of what you are putting into your body. One should also be mindful that the “good stuff” is very CALORIE DENSE. This means that a cookie for example at 300kcal=42 cups of spinach. So although you THINK YOU are eating less, if the bulk of your foods are junk you WILL GO OVER your specified calorie ceiling so to speak. So be mindful of how you feed your face.
Tip 3: High Carb/High Fat Diets Don’t Mix
What you don’t see or hear when you see these models on the internet raving about flexible dieting is that they are EXTREMELY METICLOULOS in their diet to fit in the sweet treats that they love without gaining fat. These experienced models and athletes do this by choosing between a high carb, low fat diet, and a moderate carb, high fat diet. In order to change any type of body composition, you must either be in a deficit or surplus of calories in the relationship of calories that you need for daily living. Keeping calories key, you must choose a diet that will keep your calories in check. Research hasn’t shown differences in high carb or low carb diets being any different for fat loss but what it does show that a high carb high fat diet is a recipe to gain a ton of fat FAST. Flexible dieting is tricky in that if you are not careful those junk food items that you fit in could put you in calorie trouble quickly. You can’t do both, so whatever route you choose be mindful that you can stick to this way of eating for a sustained amount of time. Our recommendation is to never let fat be more than 30% of your total calorie intake. If you follow this simple rule, you should be golden.
So eat up!! But be mindful what’s on the menu guys!
Minor Bowens, CSCS, USAW
The SWXLLER Company