Simple Weight Management (gain muscle/drop fat) without IFFYM
Tracking macronutrients and calories is one of the most quantitative tools an individual can use to develop a better physique. It really has turned physique development from a hard to grasp art, into a step by step science.
Nonetheless it still doesn’t make tracking any less of a pain in the ass.
It really isn’t for everyone. The majority of my clienteles are either businessmen or athletes, and the majority will be quick to tell you (especially the athletes) that tracking macronutrients can be a tiresome chore. Particularly when you understanding the relative unimportance of tracking for my clientele’s goals:
- Athletes should be performance driven. Sometimes this does involve gaining muscle or losing fat but aesthetics is not usually a priority, nor should it be.
- Businessmen generally work with me to improve HRQOL (Health Related Quality of Life) and it could be argued that anally monitoring food intake is doing quite the opposite (unless they enjoy it).
Furthermore, tracking isn’t a necessity for beginners or intermediates, even if they’re exclusively focused on their physique. As history has proven, some pretty incredible physiques’ were around even before the invention of myfitnesspal…
It must be said that many really enjoy IFFYM and get great results from it. I am not arguing against IFFYM, just offering a different method that you will hopefully find useful.
However not directly tracking food still leaves us with two issues:
- To Gaining Muscle/Weight you must be in a calorie surplus.
- To Losing Fat/Weight you must be in a calorie deficit.
How do you know if you’re in a calorie surplus or deficit if you’re not monitoring it?
Simple, the most well used diet monitoring device of all time – the scales (and mirror)! On top of weighing yourself daily (before you’ve eaten and after you’ve gone to the toilet) here are a few guidelines to follow:
- Beginners and intermediates should aim to gain around 1 pound (lb) a week.
- If you’re gaining much more than this on a weekly basis, say 3lbs, it would be a good idea to reduce food consumption ever so slightly.
- If you’re not gaining 1lb per week and you start to plateau, eat a little extra something daily – say half a handful of nuts.
- If you’re very lean (sub 12%) you may be able to get away with gaining a weight a little quicker (Forbes, 2000) (Hall, 2007). Though only if you’ve been maintaining your weight for an extended period of time, don’t aim to gain weight quickly straight after a “cutting phase”. Men with a higher bodyfat percentage or longer training age should aim to gain weight slower.
- Do the opposite.
- Leaner individuals should aim for a maximum of 1lb loss a week, very lean (sub 10%) individuals should aim for less than 1lb per week (specific to the individual and their body fat – highly variable).
- The majority should aim for 1lb, maybe 2lbs.
- Bigger fellows can pursue much quicker weight loss (highly variable on how overweight you are. When in doubt, ask me).
Now for the age old question – ‘Do I cut first or gain mass first?’
Mike Israetel PhD answered this very concisely:
- Are you over 15% (25% for females) fat with average genetics? Cut first.
- Are you under 10% (15% for females) fat with average genetics? Mass first.
- Somewhere between the two? Your call.
Best of luck with all your pursuits,
*Criterion for this Method
There is one criteria for this method: you must have a habitual diet, eating similar foods on a daily basis. If you have spontaneous and varied eating habits, this method will not be the best for you. You must find what diet suits your lifestyle.
Forbes, G. B. (2000). Body fat content influences the body composition response to nutrition and exercise. Annals of New York Academy of Sciences, 904, 359-65.
Hall, K. D. (2007). Body fat and fat-free mass inter-relationships: forbes’s theory revisited. British Journal of Nutrition, 97 (6), 1059-63.