Flexible Diet: The Complete Guide


The success of gaining muscle mass and losing weight by 80% depends on two factors: calorie content and the structure of your diet.

Calories are the basis that you need to operate to achieve your goal. If you want to lose weight, then reduce your daily calorie intake, and if you build muscle, you increase it.

Flexible Diet: The Complete GuideFlexible Diet: The Complete Guide

The success of gaining muscle mass and losing weight by 80% depends on two factors: calorie content and the structure of your diet.

Calories are the basis that you need to operate to achieve your goal. If you want to lose weight, then reduce your daily calorie intake, and if you build muscle, you increase it.

And macronutrients determine your athletic performance and are responsible for the recovery and growth of muscle fibers after exercise.

The flexible diet (IIFYM) combines these two nutrients and is quite loyal in terms of the quality and quantity of food consumed.

The history of the flexible diet

The flexible diet has long been popular, and no one can say for sure when or where it came from. It all started with a simple calculation of the daily value of calories and nutrients, but over time, IIFYM has become a lifestyle with peculiar subtleties.

The modern flexible diet has moved away from rudimentary formulas and uses advanced calculating tools. When determining the daily value of calories and macronutrients of a person, gender, height, weight, percentage of muscles in the body, activity level, training intensity, athletic goals, and even the type of training are taken into account.

The essence and basic principles of a flexible diet

A flexible diet is like a breath of fresh air among a variety of strict diets. The idea is that the body must be getting its daily calories and nutrients, no matter what food it comes from. That is, 30 g of carbohydrates from brown rice and 30 g of carbohydrates from sweets are equally valuable for the body.

Calories and Macronutrients Daily Values ​​are calculated based on your needs and lifestyle. In general, the IIFYM principle tells us to consume per kilogram of weight:

  • 1.5-2.0 g of proteins;
  • 0.7-1 g of fat;
  • And the remainder of the daily value “gorge” on carbohydrates.

Since the quality of the food does not matter, you need to monitor the number of meals and their nutritional value.

How often should you eat on a flexible diet?

A flexible diet does not insist on a certain number of meals per day. You decide how many meals to distribute daily calories and nutrients.

Limitations

Compared to other diets, the list of restrictions on IIFYM is obscenely short. The main restrictions apply to calories and macronutrients.

This is because flexible diets believe that food quality plays only a small role in weight loss or weight gain. And this idea goes against the recommendations of most nutritionists.

What are the steps in a flexible diet?

In principle, there are no stages as such. There is a starting point where you need to calculate your daily calorie intake and nutrient requirements. After that, you can proceed directly to the diet.

Some people vary their daily calorie intake as they strive for a specific athletic goal (“drying”, gaining mass, maintaining weight). But this is their personal initiative, and not mandatory stages of a flexible diet. During such cycles, depending on their purpose, the daily energy consumption changes:

  • While gaining weight, you will consume 10-25% more than usual;
  • On the drying you will reduce your daily calorie intake by 10-25%.

Who is a flexible diet good for?

A flexible diet is suitable for people who like to eat delicious food and are ready to count calories every day.

IIFYM is the complete opposite of strict diets like the Paleo, Mediterranean, or Keto diets. Only strong-willed people who can refuse their favorite food can cope with them.

Is it easy to stick to a flexible diet?

Yes and no. On the one hand, stick to a flexible diet simply because you can eat anything.

On the other hand, you have to count literally every calorie, and this can be a big hurdle at first. But over time, you will learn to determine the weight of a portion by eye, and there will be less math in your life.

Another trap awaits you in catering establishments, because the calorie content and nutritional value of dishes are rarely indicated on the menu.

What Scientists Say

To date, there are no specific studies on flexible diets. Most likely, the lack of scientific evidence is due to the fact that the idea of ​​the superiority of calories over food quality is still alien to scientists. However, on the net you can find isolated experiments of enthusiasts.

Flexible diet for weight loss

According to the scientific literature, two conditions must be met to burn fat:

  1. Calorie balance.
  2. Compliance with a diet.

For example, one study compared four diets – Atkins, Ornish, weight watchers, and zonal, and people lost almost the same weight on each of them. In other words, it turned out that it is the fact of the diet, and not the type of diet, that plays a key role in losing weight.

Read also: What is the most effective diet for weight loss?

Other interesting evidence suggests that simply limiting your daily calorie intake is far more effective at burning fat than drastically changing your macronutrient intake.

Flexible diet for gaining muscle mass

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