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Nutritional based articles straight from's specialist writers 

Posted 31 January 2013 by Adam Bisek

A look At Getting Ripped Via

(IIFYM) 'If It Fits Your Macros'

Getting Shredded: If it fits your macros, really?  (IIFYM)

Much debate exists amongst dieting gurus these days. Many different methods have shown great anecdotal results, even with greatly contrasting approaches. One of the most argued approaches is the "If It Fits Your Macros" or IIFYM for short dieting approach. From a very general standpoint IIFYM is concerned with the quantity of the food in your diet rather than the quality. Shades of gray do exist within IIFYM approach, and thus through a quick logical view I plan to help distill whether it's quantity, quality, or somewhere in the middle that leads to a shredded 6-pack!

What's really the argument?

To truly disseminate the "If It Fits In Your Macros" (IIFYM) approach to dieting, you must understand its basic concepts as well as its different methods. To utilize IIFYM simply means that your meals, and subsequently your diet, need to fit the outline protein, fat, carbohydrate, and overall calories assigned, but the actual foods take a metaphorical backseat. Layne Norton, IFPA & NGA pro bodybuilder, uses what could be categorized as an IIFYM approach for his physique clientele, but ensures that enough fiber is consumed. Norton essentially states that as long as the fiber content is high, and you are truly hitting the correct ratios of macronutrients for a physique competitor style diet, then it would be hard to eat a box of "pop tarts" a day and still be doing it right

(See Layne's point of view below).

With Norton's technique, he himself has had much success bringing a well-conditioned physique to the stage, as have many of his clients. Norton's style, however, is not necessarily used by all in the IIFYM culture.

While some use the IIFYM method to bring some laxity to their diets, others take the freedom a bit further. The post workout window brings about 20oz Mt. Dews and half pint of Ben and Jerry's for those who really take fitting solely their macronutrient requirements. "Why not, the logic is to get an insulin spike right?" I would affectionately give this the trendy phrase "bro-science;" a termed used for undereducated gym members half-hazardly using their interpretation of the current literature. On the other end of the spectrum more modest IIFYM'rs would substitute white rice for brown as a carbohydrate source, or lighten their caloric load earlier in the day to allow for a meal with friends that may be more calorically rich in the evening. While at the end of the day both examples above use the IIFYM approach, you can see much variation in the implementation exists.

Questioning IIFYM methodology

Venturing back to the "golden days" of the bodybuilding movement really sets the context for any legitimate discussion on diet. The original basis by which health seekers engaged in this lifestyle was to become just that, healthier. The idea was to eat healthy nutritious foods and train in such a manner that the combined effect would create both a health vibrant external being and an equally healthy inside. It seems as though this mindset of extremes has become transient amongst almost every facet of the sport of bodybuilding and the fitness industry in general. A good contrast would be a classic bodybuilder reaching for a banana as his or her post workout carbohydrate source, while the IIFYM bodybuilder trying to pack on as much mass could reach for a mountain dew. While depending quantity, these two options may have similar carbohydrate content, one is rich in micronutrients and has some fiber, while the other is devoid of the latter and is loaded with high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), which in excess has a plethora of proposed negative health correlates.

If I were to bring about an argument refuting IIFYM and its implementation it would focus on its overall message and abuse. When I work with clients the message I want to get across is that sustained, practical weight loss and positive body composition change occurs with a habitual adaptation to consuming healthy foods. The idea is that if you eat the right foods the numbers (i.e. macronutrients and calories) will fall in line. To my point any novice can spend the day matching up Little Debbie's snack line up to their macro's, but I think they would be better served reading Myotropics author Stacey Natio's article about learning what types of healthy fats could meet their requirements. Below is a list of ways to Implement the IIFYM methodology in the way I believe it was originally meant for; a means to decrease dietary rigidity, and increasing practicality of dieting while still being healthy on the whole.

Switch up your starches: Don't be afraid to occasionally use white or basmati rice instead of brown, or red skin potatoes in lieu of yams. One of my favorite treats is Ezekiel sprouted bread made into French toast. The idea is that you don't have to have 8oz of sweet potatoes at each sitting to get ripped. And as you may already know, protein consumed at the same meal as the aforementioned starch switch hitters will decrease the glycemic index of the meal.

Swap protein sources: Getting stuck in the extra lean ground turkey and tilapia rut is no fun, and I can certainly empathize. Don't be afraid to use fattier types of meat such as 93/7 ground meats or even more marbled cuts of steak. Again, if the fat content fits into your fat macronutrients then it should be fine, just remove what may have been a tablespoon of peanut butter from your meal plan and you’re golden. Using fattier fish like salmon can fit in, and certainly make room for egg yolks, just simply account for the fat, it's what the whole idea of IIFYM really is.

Be compliant, not perfect: I like to use the 95:5 compliance rule with my clients. Let’s say you have 35 meals in a week, that's 5 meals a day, pretty normal right? That means that 2 meals a week can be meals that are not typical meals in your diet. This could be a night out with your friends and you have a burger, maybe even an adult beverage. This "allowance" of a cheat meal can give psychological and physiological benefits.

Wrapping it up!

In reality the IIFYM model on dieting isn't an inherently bad approach. When the concept utilizes whole, nutritious foods on a 95% basis to reach the assigned macronutrient and caloric requirements is when it flourishes. This allows 5% for that night out where you can indulge. Not only have I found this approach to be even more successful than complete rigidity, but also keeps dieters sane. So when it comes down to it, IIFYM correctly can be a great approach to dieting, but like I said, when done correctly!

Adam Bisek (Bodyspace)

Posted 26 January 2013 by Anna Sward

Recipe: Banana

Protein Waffles



  • 1 whole egg
  • 1/2 a large banana (70g)
  • 1/4 cup (28g) of banana whey protein powder
  • 1/4 cup (66ml) of milk
  • 1/4 cup (40g) of quinoa flour (could sub with oatflour)


Blended together and cooked inside a waffle iron until...
well, until the light of the iron indicates they're ready!


Macros per waffle (out of the two you get from the mix above):

  • 192.1kcals
  • 21.7g carbs
  • 16.3g protein
  • 4.7g fat
  • 2.15g fiber!

Recipe created by Anna Sward


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Posted 21 December 2012 by Amy Jo Horvath - NPC Figure Competitor

Holiday Eating: 8 Tips to

Beat The Holiday Binge

8 Tips to Beat the Holiday Binge

For years of Holidays I said I will start my diet after the Holiday or I will run an extra mile in the morning on the treadmill. Well my passion to change finally became bigger than my passion to find excuses. So I am determined to make this Holiday season more about the sounds, smells, decorations, and the company than the FOOD! Here are some tips I plan to follow for the upcoming Holiday and I hope you will also find helpful to keep the unhealthy calories and resulting body fat on Santa where it belongs...

1. Workout in the mornings

1. Workout in the mornings before the day is filled with holiday shopping, parties, planning, and cooking. By putting your workouts off, you will easily get busy with the chores of everyday life and additional excitement of the Holiday. By getting it done first thing, you will not need to say “No” to unexpected chores, errands, etc that always have a way of finding their way into the season.

2. Journal your Food

2. Journal your Food. And keep it accurate... by cheating on the journal, it only hurts your “bottom line” ... pun intended. The journal can help keep you accountable and serve as a visual reminder to what you ate the day before. It is too easy to conveniently forget that piece of fudge you mindlessly popped in your mouth after dinner yesterday too!

3. Eat BEFORE you go to a holiday party

3. Eat BEFORE you go to a holiday party. This will help prevent loading your plate with the unhealthy stuff containing butter, sodium, oil and added sugars at your gathering. Additionally, grab the dessert plate to use as your dinner plate to keep your portions in check.

4. ALLOW for your favorite Holiday treats

4. ALLOW for your favorite Holiday treats. If you enter the Holiday season saying you are not going to enjoy any of the foods of the season... you might just be setting yourself up for failure. Life is all about balance. If you SCHEDULE your “cheat treats” into your week, it will help prevent from a possible mental failure. Too many times in my unhealthy living days, I would wake up saying I am going to do better today with out any real plan on how that was going to happen... and then when I would over indulge, it would feel like a failure and all too easy to just quit and say I will “start another day”. By allowing yourself a scheduled treat it allows you to have a bigger game plan and the ability to realize that it is simply a treat and no longer your lifestyle.

5. Enlist the support of a Holiday Buddy

5. Enlist the support of a Holiday Buddy. Find someone who has similar goals and hold each other accountable. Share your food journals and party schedules so you can check in on each other!

6. Have a “Spotter” when baking

6. Have a “Spotter” when baking. Ok, this one is really all about me. My weakness is all of the Holiday baking I do for neighbors, family and friends who do not share my goals. I like to “taste” the cookies, the fudge, the bread, the candy....oh my! My children have some Holiday favorites and they will be with me every time I pull out my blender!

7. Spend one day a week doing Food Preparation

7. Spend one day a week doing Food Preparation. Plan a weekly meal of healthy items to keep you on track through each week. Take a day to grill some lean chicken, boil eggs, make some healthy snacks all to keep you on track. If you do not have the healthy choices readily available as you are rushing in or out the door you will be more inclined to grab the unhealthy, boxed, processed foods or even skipping a meal... neither of which is going to help with your goals and create insulin fluctuations and cravings. Food prepping is a recipe for success! This is something I do all year long but is especially important during this time so you have healthy food available to grab when a craving hits.

8. Do not set unrealistic goals.

8. Do not set unrealistic goals. For many, the Holiday season is not a time to set aggressive exercise and weight loss goals. If you are one of these people, be realistic about your goals to avoid frustration and possibly losing your motivation. Instead set small goals and celebrate them... the importance here is to not let the Holiday season be a reason for you to lose your motivation and forward momentum. If you have longer-term goals, longer than “make it through the holidays without gaining 10 pounds” keep them! Make an accommodation for the holidays and the treats and indulgences that come along with it, so you can truly enjoy them. Make adjustments to your training, your timelines of your goals and above all, be creative. Your long-term goals do not have to be abandoned. Many people fail because they start their journey strong, being too strict, which is NOT sustainable. Consistency is key when it comes to success in your nutrition and training.

Amy Jo Horvath, NPC National Figure Athlete

Posted 22 April 2014 by Amy Jo Horvath - NPC Figure Competitor

Recipe: Pumpkin And

Oatmeal Casserole

Pumpkin And Oatmeal Casserole



  • 2 medium ripe bananas, sliced
  • 1 cup canned pure pumpkin
  • 2 Tbsp raw honey, divided
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 cup uncooked oats
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts, plus 1 TBSP for topping
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder (I use low sodium)
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon, divided
  • 1-1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1-cup original almond milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract


Arrange the banana slices in a layer on the bottom of a prepared 8x8" pan. Sprinkle 1/4 tsp of the cinnamon over the bananas and drizzle 1 tbsp of the raw honey over the bananas. Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes at 375 degrees.

Meanwhile, combine the oats, 1/4 of the walnuts, baking powder, pure maple syrup, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, nutmeg and salt and stir together. In a separate bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, remaining honey, milk, egg and vanilla.

Remove the bananas from the oven. Pour the oat mixture over the bananas. Pour the pumpkin mixture over the oats, making sure to distribute the mixture as evenly as p possible. Sprinkle the remaining tablespoon of walnuts over the top.

Bake for 35 - 40 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the oatmeal has set. Serve warm from the oven. Makes 9 servings.


  • 1 Serving:
  • Calories: 119.9
  • Fat: 3.8g
  • Cholesterol: 23.9mg
  • Sodium: 66 mg
  • Potassium: 165.4mg
  • Carbs: 19.9g
  • Dietary Fiber: 3.2g
  • Sugars: 10.4g
  • Protein: 3.1g

by Amy Jo Horvath - NPC Figure Competitor

Posted 08 December 2012 by Amy Jo Horvath - NPC Figure Competitor

Slow Cooker Recipe:

Spicy Chicken Stew

Slow Cooker Spicy Chicken Stew

I love my slow cooker and have hit the motherload with some wonderful and healthy recipes! This one did NOT disappoint! The entire family enjoyed this one... which means it will be a regular in our house.


  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks (approx 600 grams)
  • 1 (10oz) package frozen sweet corn
  • 3 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 3 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 white onion, chopped into big bites
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jar (12.5oz) of natural, salsa (I used hot/spicy - I did not use low sodium but you can to cut on sodium)
  • 1-1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp Chile powder
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 8 - 4oz skinless, boneless, chicken breast (I try to find/use low sodium)
  • 2-1/2 cups veggie broth, no sodium
  • 4 (6 inch) fresh corn tortillas cut into strips

Garnish Options:

Non-fat plain Greek yogurt


  • Place potatoes, corn, celery, carrots, onion, garlic in slow cooker.
  • Stir in salsa, cumin, Chile powder and pepper.
  • Place the chicken evenly on top of veggies and pour veggie broth over chicken.
  • Cover slow cooker and cook stew on high for 4 - 6 hours or until the chicken pulls apart with fork.
  • Shred the chicken, add the tortilla strips and mix well with the veggies.
  • Makes 10 servings


1 serving (not including garnish):
Calories: 224.6
Fat: 2.7g
Cholesterol: 44mg
Sodium: 519.6mg
Potassium: 379.2mg
Carbs: 30.8g
Dietary Fiber: 4.8g
Sugars: 11g
Protein: 23.5g

Recipe by Amy Jo Horvath - NPC Figure Competitor: Facebook Fanpage

Posted 04 January 2013 by Amy Jo Horvath - NPC Figure Competitor

Slow Cooker Recipe: Oatmeal

With Cinnamon & Apples

Slow Cooker, Steel-Cut Oatmeal with
Cinnamon and Apples

The mornings in our house can be pretty wild. My daughters have 3 different buses and schools so we are coming and going all morning. The idea of a healthy slow cooker breakfast that is ready when we are was perfectly wonderful! I turned the slow cooker on at 10pm and it was ready at 6am.  My crock pot does not turn off after the cooking time, it turns to warming so it was hot and ready as the girls needed it. It was so easy to throw in the cooker at night and the house smelled wonderful as we were waking up.


  • 2 apples, peeled, cored and sliced into bite size pieces
  • 1-1/2 cup original almond milk
  • 1-1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup uncooked steel-cut oats
  • 2 tbsp pure maple syrup (or your desired sweetener)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp ground flaxseed (I used flaxseed meal)
  • 1/8 tsp salt


  • Add all ingredients to a slow cooker.
  • Stir, cover and cook for 7 - 8 hours on low.
  • Makes approximately 7 servings


  • 1 serving:
  • Calories: 153.1
  • Fat: 2.6g
  • Sodium: 32.7mg
  • Potassium: 87.2mg
  • Carbs: 29.2g
  • Dietary Fiber: 5.1g
  • Sugars: 10.2g
  • Protein: 4.5g

by Amy Jo Horvath - NPC Figure Competitor

Posted 09 February 2013 by Jeremy Scott

Recipe: Protein

Pumpkin Pie Milkshake

PROLAB Protein Pumpkin Pie Milkshake


  • 2 scoops of PROLAB Whey Isolate Vanilla Flavor

  • 1 cup unsweetened Coconut Milk

  • ½ cup pumpkin puree

  • 2 Tsp cinnamon

  • ½ tsp nutmeg

  • 2 Tsp. Stevia or more if you like it sweeter

  • Ice Cubes - approximately 5-10


Mix all ingredients into a blender and enjoy your protein packed pumpkin shake!


  • Protein 53g
  • Carbs 20g
  • Fats 4.5g

Jeremy's Online Training:

Posted 20 January 2013 by Jeremy Scott

Recipe: Pumpkin Protein

Spice Smoothie

Pumpkin PROLAB Protein Spice Smoothie

  • 2 scoops PROLAB vanilla whey isolate protein powder
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt 

  • 1 cup canned pumpkin

  • 2 cups diced pineapple
  • 2 cups of bananas peeled and mashed
  • 3 Tsp. Truvia
  • 1 Tsp. Cinnamon


Mix all ingredients together in a blender and enjoy!


  • Protein 55g
  • Carbs 130g
  • Fat 4g

Jeremy's Online Training:

Posted 12 January 2013 by Jeremy Scott

Protein Shake Recipe:

Chocolate Mint

Chocolate Mint PROLAB Protein Shake

  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1 cup cottage cheese

  • 2 scoop PROLAB chocolate whey isolate protein powder

  • 3-5 drops peppermint Extract (add or decrease drops for flavor)
  • 1 Tsp. Chia Seeds
  • Add Ice as desired 1-2 cup crushed


Mix all ingredients in a blender and enjoy!


  • Protein -78g
  • Carbs – 17g
  • Fat – 6g

Recipe by Jeremy Scott:

Posted 13 November 2012 by Anna Sward

Recipe: Protein

Banana Bread


  • 2 medium bananas (200g)
  • 1/8 cup (22g) of coconut flour
  • 3 whole eggs
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup (46g) of oats
  • 1/2 cup (54g) of banana whey protein powder
  • 1/2 cup (105ml) of milk (I used cow's but any will do)
  • 8 brazil nuts (I added this for kicks; you can throw in any nut you want too
    - they add a nice flavour and crunch)
  • 1 tsp of baking powder


Blended together and baked at 160 (320) for about 40 minutes (or until your utensil comes out clean after stabbing the bread) in a silicone bread loaf pan.


Macros per one slice (out of the ten you get from the mix above):

  • 105 kcals
  • 7.85g protein
  • 8.79g carbs (3.7g sugars)
  • 3.98g fat (1.2g sat)
  • 1.93g fiber

Recipe created by Anna Sward
Anna's website:
Anna's Facebook fanpage:


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