The Spartan Warrior

The truth about fitness and nutrition.

IIFYM - If It Fits Your Macros

The phrase If It Fits Your Macros (often abbreviated to IIFYM) refers to meeting the individual macronutrient needs relevant to one’s goals and then filling the remaining calories with foods of personal preference. Meaning, eat whatever you want as long as it fits the macros. Don’t get it?

Since it’s more common to ask about IIFYM when following a fat loss plan, also known as cutting, we will use an example that relates to it.


  • 200lb man at 20% body fat wants to lose weight
  • Maintenance Calories: 3000 (click the link to see how this is found)
  • Calories to cut: 2400 - this is a 20% caloric deficit
  • 1.5g protein per lb/LBM: (1.5 * 160) 240g
  • 0.45g fat per lb/BW: (200 * 0.45) 90g
  • Calories from fats + protein minimums: (240 * 4) + (90 * 9) = 1770
  • Calories from reaching minimums taken from calories to cut: (2400 - 1770) 630
  • He has 630 kcal left to fill with whatever foods he chooses (pancakes, pizza, cake, pop-tarts, ice cream) and still lose weight as a result of remaining in a calorie deficit.

How do I calculate my calories and macros?

Tips (some are general and do not specifically pertain to IIFYM):

  • Try to get most of your macros from whole foods. They are high in micronutrients needed to maintain overall health.
  • Tailor your meals to suit your individual preference. 6 meals a day is the same as 3 meals a day. There is no difference.
  • Timing your nutrients is not necessary. There is no universal macro or calorie breakdown you should be eating pre and/or post-workout. Overall micronutrient, macronutrient and calorie intake relevant to your goal(s) is far more important.


What “eat whatever you want as long as it fits into your macros” means is basically, eat right, but don’t get all caught up in the whole ‘clean vs dirty’ food debate that seems to still go on. If you want to eat whole grain bread, oats, brown rice, etc. etc. Then do it. If you want to eat white bread, white rice, and pop tarts, as long as it fits in with your other macronutrients and your goals in terms of caloric intake then it isn’t going to make much of a difference in the long run. It all comes down to personal preference.

So, basically don’t get into the whole “If I have ice cream I’m going to get fat” or, “I’ll never have pizza again” mentality. If you want it, you can have it, just make sure it fits in with all the guidelines above.

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