Bro Diet vs IIFYM (Part 1): Team IIFYM

Is IIFYM or a bro diet better for getting stage ready? Is there a perfect diet? This is the story of Brittany Brinkman and Tara Baldouf who use IIFYM and why it works for them.

For part 2: Team Bro, Yo click here.

I have to be honest and say that I don’t think competition prep nutrition is “one size fits all.”

I want you to understand that what works for someone else, isn’t necessarily what is going to be the best fit for you. You need to work with your coach/trainer, decide how you want to feel/fuel and listen to your body. Heck, just when you think you have it figured out, it might change. Just like your physique, your methods may also be a work in progress.

I’m going to start with two beautiful competitors as guests; Brittany Brinkman my friend Tara Baldouf choose to use an IIFYM plan for prep (and are total badasses) so here are their stories! Still unsure of what IIFYM is? Intro to If It Fits Your Macros >here<

It’s a PAR-DAY up in hurr today!

Brit Brinkman

I am a national level bikini competitor who follows the IIFYM approach during my competition prep as well as my off-season.

I have been competing for two years.  In the beginning, I used to follow the typical ” clean diet” approach.  I would basically eat eggs, tilapia, chicken, rice, potatoes and veggies every day for months with one “cheat meal” a week.  While this approach did get me stage ready, I was getting tired of eating the same boring foods.

I also began to view “unhealthy” foods as “bad” because my cheat meal meant just that– I was “cheating” on my diet.  This approach made my off-season difficult because once I had the freedom to eat whatever I wanted, with no show in sight, I would often overeat and binge on foods that I had been craving.  This started a vicious cycle for me and started to make my relationship with food even worse.  I knew I either had to stop competing altogether, or find a better way to prep for shows that would be more mentally healthy.


Now, I have a set number of macronutrients that I follow and meet everyday.  During prep, these numbers change often depending on my progress, sometimes they might even change by the day.  As long as I am hitting these three numbers every day, no foods are off limits.  I even ate ice cream and cookies during all of my peak weeks!

If you follow me on snapchat, you got to drool over these pumpkin rolls with cream cheese frosting that I made last night 😍😍😍 This was my macro finisher before bed and yes, I ate all 6 😂🐷 I like to go to bed with a full tummy! Macros for rolls ONLY: (23c, 6f, 35p) Frosting & toppings were additional according to my macros that I had left. *RECIPE* mix: -1 scoop snickerdoodle protein -1/2 cup pumpkin puree -1 tsp baking powder -2 egg whites -2 tbsp coconut flour -vanilla extract, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, stevia to taste -1/2 cup almond milk or more if needed. ***Bake at 350 til done! My frosting was a mix of fat free cream cheese, ff/sf cheesecake jello mix and almond milk. Set in fridge to thicken. Topped with oreos butterfinger, Resee’s pieces and sprinkles 😀😀😀

A photo posted by Brit Brinkman (@britbrink) on

While IIFYM may seem “easier” to some, it is still very difficult and rewuires a lot of self control.  I still go into a deficit and get hungry and grumpy!  While a lot of people think we just eat cookies and pop tarts all day, the truth is, we’re usually only eating 2-3 cookies or 1 pop tart in order to keep it within our macros.

IIFYM is much more enjoyable for me because I am still able to eat all of my favorite foods and I can stil go out to dinner with family and friends as long as I plan ahead to find a meal that fits my macros.  IIFYM has also helped me transition into my off-seasons better and not feel the need to binge on food.  Since no foods are ever off limits to me, I never feel guilty when I eat them.  I no longer have a negative relationship with foods.  It’s a wonder feeling to find balance and feel in control of my nutrition.  Not only does this help me physically, but also mentally.


I enjoyed a long off-season then will be competing on the national stage again this spring!
My favorite recipe is a pizookie (pizza cookie) fresh out of the oven topped with ice cream.  Macro friendly version: macros 46 carb, 11 fat, 33 protein


Tara Baldouf

In 2014, I decided to compete (and do my own prep) for the first time in a natural organization called Executive Productions Federation of Bodybuilding. I had been working out for a year, following’s programs and eating based on a computed macro output from

I spent 16 weeks in prep, eating mostly chicken, broccoli, spinach, brown rice, oatmeal, eggs, egg whites, isolate whey and olive oil. Basically, what most people call, a “bro diet”. I only deviated from my “bro diet” when I went on mad food binges in my pantry.

And I mean BINGES!

I remember being so hungry and standing on the step stool eating dark chocolate covered pretzels and globs on peanut butter. It made me happy for the moment, then I felt discouraged and let down. I failed. The next day I would hit cardio twice as hard and try to UNDO all the bad eating. Little did I know I was doing it all wrong. I took advice from others on Facebook groups and from trainers in the gym. I was told, “if it’s working, why change anything.” I thought it was working. I was losing weight, little did I know I was also losing muscle, too. After my 16 weeks of prep were up, I took the stage at 113 pounds. I looked thin, stringy and tired.

I had little muscle mass, but hey, I tried it and I got 1st place in Novice Figure out of 4 girls and 2nd place in Open Figure out of 4 girls. I must’ve been doing something right, again, so I thought. My first prep was very hard on me, as I work 50-60 hours a week in surgery. That means, not eating for hours, standing on my feet for long hours and getting up early before dawn or going to the gym late at night to complete my workout regimen.  I was hungry, exhausted and not a nice person through most of prep.

In 2015, my plan was to take on my own prep again. I remember the feelings of the first prep and decided to maybe seek out a coach who uses flexible dieting.  With the help of my new coach, Jonathon Potter from, I was able to eat foods I didn’t think were possible on prep. He told me, as long as I stay in my macro parameters I can enjoy what I want. I enjoyed flexible dieting for 25 weeks during prep, even during peak week. I ate and drank what I wanted.

I ate pumpkin pie, Lucky Charms, pizza ravioli, apple oat bake, Subway, pancakes and waffles, eggs and bacon, flat bread pizza, burgers and french fries, yogurt and protein bars, PEANUT BUTTER, OREOS, NACHOS and DIET PEPSI.


IIFYM competitor

I took stage at 113 pounds with 3 more pounds of muscle added to my body frame. My body fat percentage was 11.5%.  I placed first in Open Figure twice, and I came in 2nd place Open Figure.  I am in the best shape of my life this year, with the help of flexible dieting (or IIFYM) and a science based coach. I will never use “bro diets” again. I’m taking a year off to build up my metabolism and want my body to be bigger and better for 2017.  I’m looking forward to my next show!

Tara Baldouf figure competitor IIFYM

Tara’s Recipe for Banana Bread Protein Muffins

🍌Banana Bread Protein Muffins🍌 (macros listed) easy recipe I adopted from @kimhoeltje with a couple tweaks. 🔹1 scoop fav protein powder🔹16g coconut flour🔹1 large ripe banana, mashed🔹1/2 cup @lovemysilk unsweetened cashew milk 🔹1.5tbsp (23g) @samsclub daily chef egg white🔹1/2t cinnamon 🔹1/2t vanilla🔹optional @sweetleafstevia stevia🔹1. Whisk together wet and dry ingredients 2. Stir in mash banana 3. Pour in spray cupcake tins 4. Top with cinnamon and sweetener 5. Bake 350 for 35 min 6. Let cool and eat it all!!! #proteinrecipes #easybananabread #bananabread #proteindessert #onaquest @questnutrition #coconutsecrets #mexicanvanilla #breakfastideas #foodporn #recipes #ebookrecipes #bodybuildingrecipes #flexibledieting #macros #iifym #notadiet #fitfam #fitfriends #food #foodandfitness #fitspo #fitspiration #iifymwomen #iifymgirls

A photo posted by Tara (@taralou685) on

 I hope you gained some insight by hearing their stories and why IIFYM works for them during prep.  Thank you so much to these two wonderful women who continue to inspire and ROCK their bods!
I will be back soon to share why I follow a strict bro diet and a recipe for you!
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