So, What Is The Spin?
In my blog I have talked about flexible nutrition and why I think it’s the best way of approaching your nutrition over the long-term for accelerating fat loss as well as boosting your size and strength gains.
When it comes to flexible nutrition, it’s strengths lie in being sustainable, flexible, healthy and sociable. Essentially, flexible nutrition allows you to maintain and improve your health, reach your fitness goals and, enjoy the foods you like. All in all, flexible nutrition provides everything you need to go the long-term. But while talking about flexible nutrition, some of you are probably wondering: how do you implement it in reality? Good question! It really is up to you. After all, we all have very different lives, goals and personal preferences. But, I will give you an idea of what I do so that you have a sort of guideline to go by when implementing your own flexible nutrition plan.
Avoiding Misconceptions On Flexible Nutrition
One of the things you have to keep in mind when implementing a flexible nutrition plan is to remember: it’s not an excuse to just eat junk food. Yes, I know I said you can eat the stuff you enjoy as long as it fits into your daily calories, but, the goal is not just to achieve your fat loss, size and strength goals, but also, to maintain and improve your general health. I mean there is no point achieving your goals if it means risking your general health to get them. That is just going to be counterproductive over the long-term. Don’t forget, you are in this for the long-term, not just the next 6 weeks! As a coach, I want to help you achieve all that you want to achieve over the long-term. This means, ensuring you achieve great and peak health so that you can continue doing just that.
“It’s not an excuse to just eat junk food.”
If you want, you could always achieve your fat loss, size and strength goals if all you ever did was eat junk, processed and sweet foods. I mean if it all fits into your daily calorie allowance, then you will still reach your goals. But at the same time, nothing but eating junk foods day in, day out and generally having a terribly unbalanced nutrition plan, is going to be chaos for your general health. Over the long-term, health deterioration will effect your performance and your gains in the gym. Not only that, because junk foods tend to be much higher in calories then healthier food alternatives, the volume of food you have each day will be significantly lower. This means, you will probably feel less satisfied eating nothing but junk due to there being less on your plate. Having more good stuff in your nutrition plan generally means more on your plate!
“Health deterioration will effect your performance and your gains in the gym.”
There are of course a lot of people who follow something known as ‘if it fits your macros’ (IFYM) which is similar to flexible nutrition but not entirely the same. Although I can see why many people could confuse the two! Most of the people I know, who utilize IFYM, use it simply to fill up their nutrition plans with nothing but higher calorie, dense, junk foods to satisfy their need for something sweet (or savory). From a goal stand point; you will still achieve your fat loss, size and strength goals as long as all this fits in with your daily calorie allowances. But from a health perspective, IFYM optimizes nothing. Some people might argue that IFYM is simply flexible nutrition, but, unless you adopt some sort of strategy to balance the good with the ‘stuff you enjoy’, then it’s not flexible nutrition at all, it’s simply just junk food galore! 99% of the times when I analyze someone following an IFYM plan; their nutrition consists mostly out of the junk with minimal good stuff (complex carbs, unsaturated fats, lean proteins and, plenty of vitamins/minerals). This is why I class flexible nutrition as someone completely different from IFYM. If you ask me, IFYM in its current form is nothing more than a marketing ploy to misguide people on their nutrition.
Flexible nutrition is planned, structured and ensures that you achieve three things: 1) your fat loss, size and strength goals 2) you maintain and improve your health along the way through getting in all the essentials you need 3) keeping your journey social, sustainable and easy to follow through not depriving yourself completely of the stuff you enjoy most. In most cases, people who follow IFYM tend to mis-balance these three things completely, but with flexible nutrition all three are held in complete balance. In my experience, nutrition is not only about allowing you to achieve your goals, but its instilling good habits that last you a lifetime. If you take a butchered form of IFYM and eat nothing but junk and empty foods, you program your mind to become addicted to it, it’s difficult to stop and, people never learn the value of good food choices or how to balance everything in their plan. I mean look at it this way, if your diet is loaded with pop tarts, cake and chips, it’s going to be difficult to trim all that back if your diet mostly consists of that. In other words: it’s difficult to stop once you start going. It’s too easy to munch away a big bag of chips before realizing you have stocked up on 2000 calories in one go. Ouch!
“Nutrition is not only about allowing you to achieve your goals, but instilling good habits that last you a lifetime.”
Saying to a client: you can still meet your goals by eating nothing but the stuff you love, sets them on a risky path to failure. But at the same time, telling a client: you can’t eat that because it’s bad for you, also puts them down a risky path. This is why flexible nutrition is great: it meets the client half way, but also provides them with two additional benefits: meeting their goals and improving their general health. Don’t get me wrong, flexible nutrition still consists mostly of a well-balanced plan with mostly the good stuff, but the remaining time you will have the flexibility to add in some stuff you enjoy. All while maintaining this within your daily calorie allowance to ensure your fitness goals remain on track. When it comes to flexible nutrition, there are no restrictions in the sense: you can’t eat this, or, you must eat that, merely more structured choices, in other words: 80% of what I eat today is going to ensure all the macro- and micronutrients I need, while 20% is set aside for the stuff you love.
So, What Am I Suggesting For This Flexible Nutrition Plan?
Here are some general guidelines to ensure that your flexible nutrition allows for three outcomes 1) Your fat loss, size and strength goals 2) You maintain and improve your general health 3) It’s long-term, sustainable, sociable and, incorporates things you enjoy.
- An 80%-20% split. This means, 80% of your daily calories will be allocated for your essential macronutrients (complex carbohydrates, healthy fats and lean sources of proteins) and micronutrients (vitamins, and minerals), the 20% of your remaining calories will be reserved for what you fancy: could be a bowl of ice cream, maybe a slice of cake or perhaps you want to enjoy the Friday evening with a pizza (I know I do!). In other words 80% of your plan is tailored to improving and maintaining health, ensuring your fat loss, size and strength goals and, instilling good food habits, while the remaining 20%, is tailored towards maintaining the sociable, sustainable and long-term side of it.
- The 80%-20% split is ONLY a recommendation, to ensure that most of the plan is tailored towards the good stuff and not the bad stuff. This makes it easier to sustain. If there is too much junk stuff, people can slip into bad habits and the volume of food they get in a day can be less (this can sometimes reduce satiety and the feeling of fullness if a diet consists of mostly junk).
- The food choices to accommodate this 80%-20% split are up to your personal preferences and needs. This is the great thing about flexible nutrition; it focuses on the big long-term picture than stressing over any one food (or food group).
- This 80%-20% split will fit into your daily calorie allowances. As long as you know the number of calories you have to work with each day, you can then fit the number of calories into this split. Thus, ensuring you continue to meet your fitness goals.
Flexible Nutrition: It Has You Covered From Every Angle!
Flexible nutrition does something no other nutrition system or plan does: offers everything: long-term, healthy, sociable, sustainable, goal-directed and, easy to follow. The structure flexible nutrition provides means that you get in everything you need without depriving yourself of the stuff you love most. While IFYM is a similar system, most people who follow it have tended to butcher it into it being nothing more than an ice cream, sprinkles, and pop tart feast. That’s fine if you are only interested in your fitness goals. But, it does absolutely nothing to instill good food habits and a sense of health and sustainability. This is especially important for new people who are in this for the long-term.
“The great thing about flexible nutrition is that it focuses on the big picture.”
The great thing about flexible nutrition is that it focuses on the big picture (you and your goals over the long-term) something a lot of fitness gurus tend to overlook. It doesn’t concern itself with particular food (or groups), adding or restricting foods or the whole meal frequency-timing thing. It keeps it simple, structured and looks at the fundamentals of a goal-directed, calorie managed, long-term, healthy, sociable and sustainable nutrition plan. While many nutrition plans, diets and systems focus too much on arguing over the little things that make a negligible difference to ones overall journey, flexible nutrition focuses on and delivers the big things that bring the big positive differences to your performance, body and, life. That is what you need for long-term success.
If you have any questions about the article or would like to discuss further some of the topics mentioned, then please feel free to leave comments down below!