PNBA legend Natural Olympia champion Philip Ricardo Jr. discusses if a meal plan or IIFYM is better for leaning out.
A proper nutrition plan is vital for anyone’s fitness goals, and it’s especially imperative for professional bodybuilders. But, of course, with so many different nutrition plans out there, it can be challenging to figure out the right one for you. The Longevity Muscle Podcast posted a clip on Instagram of Philip Ricardo Jr. explaining if it’s better to do a meal plan or If It Fits Your Macros (IIFYM).
Philip Ricardo Jr. is INBA PNBA’s 2021 Natural Olympia’s Men’s Bodybuilding Grand Masters reigning champ. He’s won Natural Olympia on multiple occasions and has been in the sport of natural bodybuilding for decades. In the Longevity Muscle Podcast interview, Ricardo Jr. stated:
“EVERYONE IS DIFFERENT. I WAS ALWAYS PRETTY LUCKY BECAUSE I HAD THE DISCIPLINE TO STAY ON A BASIC DIET. I DON’T NEED A LOT OF VARIETY SO THAT I CAN USE CHICKEN BREAST AND FISH AND BROWN RICE AND ASPARAGUS THE ENTIRE PREP AND NOT FEEL CRAZY.
I’VE TRIED OTHER PROTOCOLS AND HAVING POP-TARTS AND THINGS LIKE THAT, BUT IT JUST DOESN’T WORK FOR ME.”
He also said that you shouldn’t be a slave to your nutrition, and you should enjoy life, food, and cheat meals. Ricardo Jr. thinks he’s a carnivore by nature, so he doesn’t mind eating pure, clean foods. He credits being disciplined from a young age and in the military to help him stay on a strict diet. However, he admits to being a sucker for Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.
IIFYM Vs. Meal Plans
IIFYM means if it fits your macros. As the name suggests, you can eat whatever you want on this diet so long as it fits your nutrition targets – calories, protein, fats, and carbs. On the other hand, a meal plan is more strict. With a meal plan, you are required to eat certain foods.
According to Philip Ricardo Jr., a meal plan works best since he doesn’t mind eating the same healthy foods. However, he acknowledges that everyone is different, and he allows himself some sweets during the off-season camp until a month out before shows.
The pro to IIFYM is that you can eat your favorite foods as long as your nutrition targets – name it cookies, pizza, or Pop-Tarts. You can eat it if you’re still hitting your calorie, protein, carb, and fat targets. Of course, it may not be the most beneficial for your overall health to consume junk foods, so even if you’re following IIFYM, it’s recommended that you consume 80% of your calories from healthier foods, and the remaining 20% can come from whatever you want.
A meal plan is much more strict. And although it can be set up to include some junk foods, a meal plan is eating the same foods repeatedly. The benefit of this is that you will for sure hit your nutrition targets, and it will mainly consist of healthy foods. It makes dieting simple.
Nutrition In Natural Bodybuilding
In natural bodybuilding, it’s even more essential to be on point with your nutrition. That’s because drugs are prohibited. And without the use of drugs to enhance your physique, you must make sure you are doing everything right with your nutrition to build a competitive body. Leagues such as the INBA PNBA vet their athletes through the most rigorous drug testing procedures – the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).