If you’ve been on the internet chances are you’ve seen a post of someone eating some crazy amount of junk food or a calorie bomb like a triple cheeseburger with donuts for buns.
The caption underneath will read IIFYM or If It Fits Your Macros.
How can people who claim to be “clean eaters” justify this?
How does that guy still have a six-pack when he posts him eating “dirty” foods?
Another name for this nutritional approach is flexible dieting. What this means is that some fitness enthusiasts will breakdown their daily amounts of macronutrients (carbs, proteins, fats) which also translates into daily calorie totals.
Once someone decides on the macro-breakdown they want to eat (in accordance with their goals) the daily meal plan becomes anycombination of foods that hits the macros for the day. Instead of straight clean eating and calorie counting, you can eat anything you want! For example, if you still have 40g of carbs left for the day there may be room for pop tarts and Oreos.
This style of eating can be very effective because it is not a diet, it is a lifestyle.
It also allows people to indulge in the foods they like even if they are not traditionally “clean”. As long as at the end of the day you hit your macro totals/ calorie total you will meet your goals.
One can use a flexible dieting approach for cutting weight leading up to a fight, staying fueled for daily training sessions or even when bulking up and putting on muscle.
Flexible dieting can be a great way to eat for Muay Thai fighters. It allows great variation of food, which minimizes chances of boredom. It also allows one to choose what they need to fuel themselves for the day. Some fighters may need higher carbohydrate intakes than others because they train twice daily or more often then others. Flexible dieting allows people to tailor their nutrition to their individual needs.
Just because certain things fit in to your daily total doesn’t necessarily mean you should eat them. Just because you may be controlling your weight doesn’t mean your body is healthy or properly primed for training.
The dirty food should only consist of maximum 10% of your diet.
Use the types of nutrients you are taking in to your advantage.
For example, after workouts you want a good amount of protein as well as carbohydrates. A good rule of thumb is a 2:1 carb to protein ratio post workout (like these smoothies).
Complex carbs are very effective before a training session to give you energy and fuel you the entire time. If you want to eat dirtier foods or simple sugars it is best to eat them right after an intense workout.
You can use the high insulin spike from sugar to your advantage. The body is also in dire need of nutrients and will use up all the calories from the dirtier foods. It is less likely that they cause adverse effects.
When cutting you can scale back the shear volume of macros you consume as well as dial back your intake of carbs. If you are used to counting these things in your daily life, it will be that much easier to begin your weight cut.
When cutting weight, carbs may be scaled back but protein should be emphasized to prevent muscle/strength loss leading up to a fight.
The foods a fighter eats should be clean and be used to fuel workouts and training sessions as well as allow proper recovery. Keep your intake of vegetables, fruit and lean meats high. Complex carbs should be emphasized over simple sugars. However, having a flexible approach will allow you to eat dirty foods occasionally and stave off binge eating and cheat days.
Flexible dieting is a lifestyle and one that can be very effective for a fighter.
As long as whole foods are emphasized and used to fuel training, dirty foods can be eaten in moderation. You should enjoy life and your time as a fighter ,so it’s ok to go out and have some beer and wings. Just make sure it fits your macros!
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