How “flexible” is flexible dieting when it comes to contest prep?
The IIFYM/flexible dieting approach has gained popularity over the past few years in the bodybuilding world (rightfully so) because it has broken through a lot of the traditional dogmatic beliefs, and allowed stage athletes to successfully introduce a much needed degree of flexibility to their otherwise extremely strict diets.
However, it’s only fair to point out a few considerations which puts some perspective and context into this approach when it comes to the sport of bodybuilding.
1. Highly competitive athletes use the IIFYM approach mainly to keep track of their macronutrients and calories throughout their prep.
2. Bodybuilders and stage athletes are generally very structured and rigid individuals, so what they consider “flexible” is probably “strict” by normal standards.
3. To avoid burning out, they often incorporate the flexibility into their off season, but generally will remain reasonably rigid as they get closer to comp.
4. Typically speaking, they only incorporate just enough flexibility for their approach to be sustainable, and they’re not using “flexible dieting” as an excuse to see what they can get away with.
5. The last few weeks of contest prep are very rigid and most competitive bodybuilders will just eat the same foods in various quantities to meet their macronutrient target, and not risk introducing new foods into their diet so late in the game to minimise variables.
So when someone tells you that they are tracking macros and flexible dieting to prep for a comp, don’t jump to conclusions, as it may not be quite as flexible as you would think.