Tag Archives: macronutrients

What’s a Macro & What the Heck is IIFYM?

Quorn Vegan Burger Assembled 600

Ready for the quick and dirty lesson on macros and IIFYM?

Macro is short for macronutrient and macronutrient refers to the big three; carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.  Foods are generally categorized by the macronutrient they contain the most which is why rice is generally referred to as a carbohydrate even though it also contains protein and fat.

You may also have heard of micronutrients which are the vitamins and minerals that are essential to maintain health.  Our bodies require these to run at optimal levels.

IIFYM is an acronym for “If It Fits Your Macros.” ¬†IIFYM is a lifestyle that has been embraced by many in the fitness industry…many of whom previously spent years restricting their diets (myself included) to foods they considered “clean” (whole foods aka “bro” foods such as sweet potato, tilapia, asparagus, etc.). ¬†The IIFYM revolution has opened many of our eyes to the fact that as long as you eat your set macros for the day (specific grams of Carbs, Protein, and Fat tailored to your particular needs), you can eat those macros ANY WAY YOU CHOOSE. ¬†For years it was widely believed that in order to get lean and obtain those elusive abs you needed to eat all whole foods and eliminate treats.

Those of us in the IIFYM community are proving time and time again that you can achieve health with balance. ¬†Confession time… For years I have eaten those clean foods and deprived myself of treats only to decide to allow myself a treat now and then and with that first bite I would CRACK and an all out treat fest would ensue. ¬†Trust me, you would be shocked by the flood gates that would open. ¬†It was as if I couldn’t stop myself. ¬†After these treat fests my body would scream at me and to say I felt awful (both physically and mentally) would be an understatement. ¬†These food fests as I call them would make me so disappointed in myself.

Then IIFYM came into my life. ¬†Suddenly I was able to fit a treat in if I craved it and do so guilt-free. ¬†The mental freedom that this brought me was nothing short of amazing. ¬†Knowing that I could technically have a treat when I wanted one took away the “all or nothing” mentality that previously led to my food fests while following my restrictive lifestyle.

I stumbled upon this lifestyle by chance when looking something up on the web. ¬†I honestly can’t even recall how it happened. ¬†Somehow I was directed to Corina Nielsen’s blog,¬†live fit, and THIS¬†particular post which led me to Layne Norton‘s vlogs and countless hours of research. ¬†The idea of finally achieving balance while simultaneously remaining fit was so appealing to me. ¬†My IIFYM searches led me to multiple Instagram pages and I again stumbled upon a gem, Katie Ringley aka katiesfitscript. ¬†I decided to hire Katie (yep Nutrition Coaches hire their own coaches too) to help me navigate this new world of Macros and IIFYM and I am so glad I did. ¬†I started my own mostly fitness-based Instagram page (fitquestmom) and continue to gain inspiration from those I follow. ¬†Trust me when I say that following people you respect and that inspire you helps keep that fire stoked within to hit those workouts hard!

fitquestmom Instagram Page

That being said, 90 percent of my food still would be considered bro foods because that is what I truly like to eat and what makes me feel the best (gotta get those micronutrients in).  I am now more fit than ever and the flexibility this lifestyle has afforded me is so freeing.

ISSA Cert_LogoI am such a believer that I went back to school and earned another nutrition certification so I can help others achieve the health and balance I have finally found.  I am now an ISSA Fitness Nutrition Specialist and have been helping clients learn this simple and maintainable lifestyle.

My client, Gracie, was able to achieve the results you see below in just 9 weeks and I have to tell you they were 10 weeks when she was traveling for work, working CRAZY hours, and experiencing a truckload of personal stress.

FitQuest Before and After IIFYM

In her own words:

“I have started another part of my path in life. ¬†Instead of just trying to ‘lose weight’ my focus is on being the healthiest person I know my body wants to be. ¬†I am working with such a great, positive, supportive, loving woman! ¬†@fitquestmom has put me through a nutrition program. ¬†I am coming up on 10 weeks now and this is my progress so far. ¬†I am very thrilled by my results due to the fact that I am doing it healthy this time. ¬†Counting macros is everything! ¬†And patience is another. ¬†You must have this…health is not a race but a lifestyle…Diet is almost what got me to this point…my workouts have now picked up again finally (due to an old injury acting up from time to time). ¬†I am so happy that I have made it this far, but I know I still want to achieve excellence in myself.

Before I started the program I told Gretchen why I wanted to do this, ‘I want to wake-up every morning and look in the mirror and be happy in my own skin.’ ¬†I can finally say that is where I am right now and I am overjoyed! ¬†I feel comfortable with myself again. ¬†I can’t wait to see where the next 12 weeks takes me. ¬†So thank you for standing strong beside me @fitquestmom, I really couldn;t have done it without you. ¬†XO.”

I truly love helping people learn how to eat and how to create a lifestyle that is healthy and easy to maintain.  I want my clients to learn how to eat in a way where they can go out to eat, live their lives, and not be stuck with a Tupperware kind of life.  Through macro counting my clients are able to lean out while eating as many calories as possible.  The popular diets out there ruin our metabolisms through constant restriction, super low calories, and FEAR of carbs.  I love bringing people back into the world of eating carbs while simultaneously leaning out.

One thing I stress is that if you are looking to lose 10 pounds in the next 2 weeks, my programs and approach to IIFYM is not for you.  As I mentioned before, I like my clients to achieve results while eating as many calories as possible, so it oftentimes can take a few weeks for us to find the sweet spot where my client is eating a satisfying amount while simultaneously leaning out.  My programs are not cookie cutter and are tailored to the individual.

Does IIFYM only work for those who are fitness minded? ¬†No, of course not. ¬†Achieving the lean and toned look is done most efficiently while following IIFYM along with lifting weights, but it doesn’t have the happen that way. ¬†I calculate your macros based on your activity levels, how much you have been eating, and a multitude of other factors. ¬†IIFYM is for anyone and everyone.

The IIFYM lifestyle does require you to track your food (I use MyFitnessPal) and if that doesn’t appeal to you, then IIFYM is not for you. ¬†I also weigh my food when I am at home, but quite honestly once you have been doing that for a few months you get REALLY good at guesstimating the amount you are eating which makes it really easy for me to keep track of my food when eating out. ¬†Once you get through that initial learning curve you are home free.

If any of you are interested in working with me, check out my FitQuest Nutrition Coaching page.

If you are interested in trying to calculate macros on your own, here is a general IIFYM calculator.  When you work with a coach, they take much more into account when planning your specific macros, but this is a good place to start.

In my next post I will go into detail with regards to how MyFitnessPal works and how you can use it to track your macros.

P.S. If you are interested in seeing what I eat on a daily basis, feel free to send me a “friend request” on MyFitnessPal. ¬†My username is gretchentseng.¬†



Filed under IIFYM and Macros, Nutrition

Hello Again…I Have Missed You!

Idaho Barn Watercolor

I can’t believe so much time has passed. ¬†Have I really not posted since December 2013??? ¬†Wow. ¬†Crazy.

Life has been good to me and my family.  In November of 2013 we closed on our house in Idaho and made the move from California to our new home.  We hosted Thanksgiving with our families from both sides in our new empty home and it was such a wonderful way to christen it.  The watercolor above is of one of my favorite farms in my neighborhood.

Since then we have been adjusting to life in our new state and I have to say it has been the best thing we have ever done as a family.  We have a much more active and outdoors kind of life now and I even have that big beautiful organic garden I have always dreamed of! My dad and I built the trellis below for my garden last summer.

Veggie Grettie Organic Garden

While I have remained physically active, in the past year I have also reignited my passion for lifting weights. ¬†Through lifting weights I stumbled upon Corina Nielsen’s blog, and she opened my eyes to the world of IIFYM aka “if it fits your macros.” ¬†I promise to blog about what exactly IIFYM is in a detailed post soon, but suffice it to say, it has been life changing for me.

I began working with a nutrition coach (who I will be sure to interview for you all soon) and the results blew me away. ¬†By simply prescribing me a diet of macros (macro-nutrients; carbs, fats, proteins) in gram amounts specific to my needs, I was able to lean down considerably and increase my strength in the gym. ¬†Perhaps the best thing about IIFYM is that it is up to you how you chose to eat those macro-nutrients. ¬†i.e. would you rather eat a pop tart or a sweet potato for your carbs, tofu or chicken for your protein, avocado or butter for your fats…obviously the healthier foods you choose, the more micro-nutrients (vitamins, minerals, antioxidants) your body will get.

Below is a before and after of the beginning of my IIFYM journey from mid October 2014 (LEFT) to 12 weeks later (RIGHT).  Apparently that is also the amount of time it takes to achieve an awesome pasty winter complexion!

Gretchen Tseng FitQuest Before After IIFYM

You all know how I am an absolute nutrition geek, so this new lifestyle led me down the path of studying for yet another nutrition certification.

I am now a certified Specialist in Fitness Nutrition through the ISSA ¬†(International Sports Sciences Association) and have been working with clients and loving it. ¬†Not only am I able to work with clients in person, I can also work very successfully with clients online…in fact that is how I worked with my nutrition coach (and continue to do so).

For more information about my services click the FitQuest Nutrition Coaching tab above. ¬†I would love to work with any and all MOTIVATED clients… As stated brilliantly by a coach I respect deeply, Sohee Walsh, “I am a coach, not a cheerleader” so please make sure you are truly motivated.

So what does all this mean for Veggie Grettie??? ¬†The blog will continue, but with a different spin. ¬†There will be recipes (still gluten and dairy free…and yes…I do still eat meat…and no…there does not need to be any more discussion about that), there will be nutrition and fitness information, there will be reviews of products I LOVE, and as always my love of veggies lives on, though it is no longer the sole focus of this blog. ¬†I am living a much more BALANCED life now and as thus, am transitioning to “Balanced Grettie.”

For those of you interested in following my day to day escapades, I am now on Instagram as fitquestmom.

I’m back.

Veggie Grettie China


Filed under Education, Exercise, Nutrition