Hi guys! Hope you are having a great weekend!
I wanted to contribute to the great debate on competition diets.
If you have been involved in the fitness industry, you are probably familiar with two of the main meal plan styles when it comes to body building and competition prep: IIFYM and Eating clean (aka traditional body building diet). IIFYM stands for “If it fits your
mouth macros.” Meaning that you calculate how many grams of protein, carbohydrates and fat you should have in a day and can eat whatever you want as long as the numbers add up at the end of the day. “Eating clean” can mean many different things but for the purpose of this post I will use it to mean a “traditional body building diet” of whole, unprocessed foods with an emphasis on high protein.
For my last few competitions, I did more of an IIFYM style of eating. I tried to eat healthy, unprocessed foods whenever possible but I would often turn to protein bars and other processed foods when I was in a time crunch.
This time around I have actually been sticking pretty closely to my meal plan and ONLY eating whole, unprocessed food.
Since I cut out the processed food I noticed huge changes in my body. First of all, I feel better. I have more energy and feel like my body is just running better if that makes sense. Secondly, I feel like it is easier to lean out this time around. I have always been pretty lean, but I noticed that in my last prep, I was looking a lot softer than in my first competition. This time I am looking more cut and defined. Although the numbers on the scale have been going up, my body fat has stayed the same, which means I have gained muscle. With IIFYM my weight and body fat were slowly creeping up.
Check out these two progress pics:
Today (June 1) Back Pose on “Traditional Eat Clean” diet
Check out the definition in my glutes and hamstrings in my recent “eat clean” photo. I think that my skin tone even looks better now. Even though I have been training hard, I am positive that my diet has made a huge difference.
Its interesting because when I started this journey I wanted to believe IIFYM. IIFYM makes dieting a little easier because you can be more flexible about your food choices. And, after all, 20 grams of protein from a chicken should be the same thing as 20 grams of protein from a protein bar, right?
Well, now I don’t think so. I think that this may be the result of many factors including the thermogenic effect of food (how many calories it takes your body to process your meal), producers not being entirely accurate on their nutrition labels and the possible the effect of food additives and/or lack of nutrients on metabolism.
IIFYM may work for some, and it may help you reach your goals if you are not worried about minor physique details (i.e. fitness competition). There are also many ways to do IIFYM and I think taking and “eat clean” approach to IIFYM would be great (like eating all whole, unprocessed food to meet your macro requirements.) However, I now know that a liberal IIFYM diet does not give me my best results. I need to be a little more strict about my eating to look my best.
I am excited to see how my body will transform in these next few weeks as I prep for my 4th contest.
Have you all experimented with your diet? What did you find worked best for you?