Oooooh talk about a contentious subject. What I really mean by clean eating in this instance is your “Traditional Body Building style diet”, because over the past couple of weeks I’ve seen (and weighed in on) a lot of arguments implying that this level of precise attention to detail is required for ALL people with any form of weight management or body composition goal.
First up let me say this as something of a disclaimer, I’ve never been in body building contest shape, and I don’t train people for contests either. I do train people to be in damn awesome shape though, using a Flexible Dieting aka IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros) approach, plus strategic and methodical training systems.
So, the real body builders can argue amongst themselves about what’s required to get into contest shape and it’s not really any of my concern, until it starts to spill over into what’s required for the average person to go from being over weight or obese (or just “out of shape”) into pretty damn awesome shape at a normal or chosen goal weight. I’ll get to why it’s an issue a little later.
Your traditional style body building diet is always going to consist of more lean protein, more nutrient dense vegetables, very little if any “junk” foods with empty calories. You could pretty much say “here’s a list of the most super nutritious foods, you can eat your fill of them and be certain to end up with a good spread of vitamins and minerals and appropriate macronutrient ratios suitable to your goal of getting lean and strong”.
It’s pretty much impossible and pointless to argue against. It’s a tried and tested method used to create some of the most impressive, super-human physiques ever seen. Now, I’m fortunate enough to be acquainted with some of best names in body building in the country at the gym, and of course it’s easy enough to follow the big names on the international scene via facebook, twitter or whatever else. If these guys want to tell me “this is the only way to do it”, to go from the short of shape I’m in, to the sort of shape they’re in… who am I to argue? They’ve done it, I haven’t.
Except for one thing. There are some who have done it, who’ll tell you straight out that they do NOT follow the traditional “clean eating” style body building diets. This is what’s known as Flexible Dieting, or “If It Fits Your Macros”. The theory being, sure those body building diets work because they deliver the appropriate total calorie intake, macronutrient ratios, vitamins and minerals to fuel and nourish the body in the way that is required to optimum results, but with some planning you could just as easily meet those nutritional requirements with a less strict, less restrictive approach, including more of the foods you like to eat.
Now… people love to argue and they’re always going to want to tell each other “your way is wrong, my way is better”. Well… who cares? If you want to be right so bad, you’ll have your chance to prove it at the next contest. Where it becomes an issue though, is when they’re selling these ideas to other people. Not “other people” who’ve decided they want to compete in body building, but regular every day people who need to lose weight and get into shape for their health or to improve the quality of their life.
As far as Flexible Dieting or IIFYM for weight loss goes, let’s not mince words here. When people speak out against the efficacy of IIFYM for weight loss they’re either morons trying to appear clever, or actually clever enough to realise there’s a lot of money to be made by telling people “it’s all very complicated and if you really want to understand it the only way is to buy my book”.
In the following entry, I’m going to use some very basic common sense to debunk the usually touted reasons why these idiots claim IIFYM won’t work.