Are You A Sponsored Athlete Or An Unpaid Salesperson?

Original post can be found here:

http://www.rxmuscle.com/blogs/the-business-fitness-modeling-and-showbiz/11790-are-you-a-sponsored-athlete-or-an-unpaid-salesperson.html

Are you an athlete
Most sports supplement companies and other fitness related companies aggressively promote their products through athletes who can sing the praises of their benefits. Who could be better at describing the efficacy of a product and how it enhances training or recovery than an athlete who not only already uses those types of products, but someone who has a following and who can convince new customers to purchase from the company which they represent?

Here’s where things get problematic. The pool of bodybuilding and fitness athletes is pretty massive, and the waters are teeming with athletes who are anxious to get their so-called “big break”. As a result of this, savvy marketing teams from fitness related companies often sweep up these individuals because they are enthusiastic and can propel a brand’s exposure. All the company needs to do is to offer some free product to the athlete and provide instructions on how to use social media to get the word out that these products exist. Then the athletes post images of themselves holding or using products, and add affiliate codes so that any orders which are generated through that athlete’s post are credited to the athlete. This can be a great way for an athlete to make some extra money while competing or chasing down fitness related gigs and projects.

It is important to bear in mind that such athletes really aren’t sponsored, but are instead unpaid salespeople who provide free advertising and generate sales via social media posts which direct followers to product websites. Yes, they get commissions if they have affiliate codes, but such commissions are nothing to write home about unless someone is really blowing the roof off in sales. This is in stark contrast to a true athlete sponsorship, in which an athlete is paid to represent the brand as a brand ambassador. The sponsored athlete is chosen for his or her physique, performance history and awards, facial good looks, charisma, enthusiasm, and often the size of his or her social media following. Usually a sponsored athlete signs a contract which stipulates that he or she will receive a certain amount of free product, and in most cases will also receive financial compensation which is either paid via a monthly salary or via a contest stipend. Though the athlete usually agrees to a set requirement or recommendation to provide social media posts for the company at regular intervals, the company pays the athlete for his or her trouble. Personal appearances and events are also part of the sponsored athlete agreement and clearly described in the written contract. The sponsored athlete is compensated for use of his or her likeness on advertising materials as well.

Obviously it is a far better deal to become an official sponsored athlete for a company. Otherwise, you are just providing free advertising and cheap labor in exchange for products which are sold at a significant markup from what they are manufactured at. If you post a selfie with product that somehow goes viral, the company will certainly love the boost, but I doubt you will ever see any type of compensation if you aren’t a sponsored athlete, which means you provided your likeness for free. The truth of the matter is that there are only a handful of athlete sponsorships to go around, with a massive surplus of athletes vying for those spots. The athletes who end up getting sponsorships stand out from the crowd in some way, or fit a brand’s look and philosophy so well that it makes sense to bring them on board to represent a brand. The rest of the athletes must navigate through all the companies out there to try to find an arrangement which benefits them in some way. Sometimes it is easy to sell a product, usually because the athlete enjoys using it so much that he or she doesn’t mind providing free advertising or labor.

Sometimes a supplement company will launch a contest which is based on social media posts. One company, which shall remain unnamed, launched a huge campaign this year that was patterned on this idea, and decided to award 5 of the entrants $10,000. Sure, that sounds like a good chunk of change, but if there were 8,000 entrants, then 7,995 walked away with nothing. At the end of the campaign, the company got tons of free advertising and all those hashtags they requested for “tracking” purposes also propelled their brand in a huge way. To be honest, this is a brilliant marketing tactic, but not the best move for the majority of athletes who participated. I have also seen companies launch contests in which entrants must purchase a product, then post on social media with hashtags to enter the contest. This is another form of free advertising for the company, a great way to generate sales, a brilliant means for them to boost exposure, and yet another way for athletes to be suckered into doing free advertising. I don’t see much harm in taking part in such a contest if you truly love a product and want to proclaim it, but just remember that it works wonders as an advertising tool for the company without any benefit for you.

One thing I will never advocate is purchasing products, even at a steep discount, while also representing a brand as one of its “sponsored” athletes. If you are asked to pay for a product while also providing free advertising on social media channels, run quickly in the other direction! Basically you are dealing with a company which doesn’t value you enough as an athlete to provide compensation for your advertising efforts. This isn’t the same as purchasing a product, finding out you like it, THEN posting something on social media which lets people know how much you like it. I know of several athletes who had done this, which sparked the attention of the company which manufactured the product, eventually leading to a sponsorship deal. But do not, I repeat, DO NOT PAY for products as a way to get false sponsorship for a company.

It isn’t a bad thing to work as an unpaid salesperson in the fitness industry as long as you know your place and value. Once your following builds, the smart thing to do is to leverage your visibility into getting an athlete sponsorship. The main thing is to make sure that you don’t get taken advantage of in the process.

Why Zinc Is So Important

zinc-image

Here is an article which I wrote a few years ago and which still applies to general health:

Zinc is a vital mineral which is found in every tissue in the body due to its involvement in cell division. In the world of fitness and bodybuilding, zinc has a number of roles, including maintenance of normal hormonal levels, proper endocrine function, body composition, energy levels, optimal physical performance and protein synthesis. Thus it is crucial to maintain normal levels of zinc in the body when training or prepping for a competition.

Zinc is highly concentrated in meat, dairy and some seafood. This is why vegetarians most commonly suffer from zinc deficiency. So how can you tell if you suffer from a zinc deficiency? Common symptoms include an altered sense of taste which leads to cravings for sweets and salty foods. Other symptoms of zinc deficiency include low energy, infertility, low libido, memory problems, poor immunity and diarrhea.

A relatively easy way to test yourself to see if you are deficient in zinc is to do a taste test. Take 1 to 2 teaspoons of zinc sulfate (you can get this at health food stores) and add to a cup of water. If it tastes just like water, you are very zinc deficient. If you experience a slightly metallic taste, you are moderately zinc deficient. If it is strongly metallic and unpleasant, you most likely have normal zinc levels. Please bear in mind that this test is never as accurate as a blood test, but at least it will give you an idea of what your levels are.

For those of you who want to know the specific health benefits of zinc, here is a list of benefits.

Enhances Strength and Athletic Performance:

Zinc plays a major role in anabolic hormone production which makes it a key player in optimizing athletic performance and strength. When zinc levels in the body are normal, more growth hormone and insulin-like growth factor-1 is released, which result in enhanced muscle growth and performance. Researchers have also noted that zinc enhances the conversion rate of androstenedione to testosterone, which improve strength gains during the recovery phase.

Enhances Reproductive Health and Fertility in Both Men and Women:

The cells of the male prostate require an extremely high concentration of zinc for proper function. To give you an idea of how much zinc is necessary in the prostate, male prostate tissue requires ten times more zinc than other cells in the body for normal function. There is a correlation between low zinc levels in men and increased risk of developing prostate cancer and infertility. There is also evidence to support the link between low zinc levels and low libido. Another implication with low zinc levels is its importance in maintaining optimal testosterone levels. Men with low zinc also tend to have low testosterone, which puts them at greater risk of andropausal symptoms.

In women, proper levels of zinc are essential for egg maturation and ovulation. Zinc also optimizes utilization of estrogen and progesterone and regulates their levels. During pregnancy, zinc plays a vital role in ensuring proper cell division in the growing fetus and helps to prevent premature delivery.

Essential For Taste, Smell and Appetite:

Zinc activates areas in the brain that process information from taste buds in the mouth and olfactory cells in the nasal passages. In addition, levels of zinc in the plasma influence taste preference and appetite. Many programs which treat anorexics use zinc to revive taste and appetite.

Makes Skin, Hair and Nails Healthy:

Zinc accelerates skin cell renewal which is why it is commonly used in diaper rash creams, acne treatments and creams which are used to treat dermatitis. It has strong anti-inflammatory properties and has a soothing effect on rashes, burns and blisters. Some shampoos contain zinc to help prevent dandruff. What you may not know is that zinc is important for healthy hair and that low zinc levels can cause hair loss, dull and thin hair, and loss of pigmentation.

Essential For Vision:

Zinc is found in high concentrations in the retina, but this level declines with advancing age, precipitating age-related macular degeneration which is characterized by a partial or complete loss of vision. Zinc also has a protective effect against the development of cataracts and night blindness.

Supports Cardiovascular Health:

Zinc is vital to normal cardiovascular function. When levels of zinc are low, the endothelial layer in blood vessels becomes inflamed and accumulates cholesterol deposits, both of which increase one’s risk of heart disease. Low levels of zinc can amplify the negative cardiovascular effects of diets which are high in fat and cholesterol, whereas adequate levels of zinc will inhibit the progression of heart disease.

Increases Insulin Sensitivity:

The presence of zinc is essential for normal function of most hormones, including insulin. Zinc binds to insulin and aids in storage in the pancreas as well as release of insulin in the presence of serum glucose. In addition, zinc is found in the enzymes which enable insulin to bind to cells so that glucose can be utilized for fuel, a process better known as insulin sensitivity. Why is this important? If zinc levels are low, enzyme levels drop, insulin sercretion drops and glucose remains in the bloodstream, a process which can lead to diabetes if it is chronic.

Improves Mood:

Dopamine, a chemical in the brain which boosts mood and energy, is partially regulated by zinc, so zinc once again plays an important role in the body. There is also evidence to support the theory that the presence of zinc boosts serotonin levels in the brain.

Supports Immune Function:

Zinc supports T cell function and is thus strongly tied with combating inflammation. T cells are responsible for mounting an immune response to invaders such as bacteria or viruses.

Has Potent Antioxidant Effect:

Zinc can remove toxins from the body and prevent accumulation of harmful compounds in tissues. This mechanism has a protective effect against the development of cancers, especially in the prostate, ovaries, pancreas, breast and colon. In addition, zinc prevents the buildup of heavy metals in the brain such as aluminum, which has been closely linked with Alzheimer’s disease.

If you suspect that you are deficient in zinc, you can supplement daily with 20 to 30 milligrams.

(Original post can be found here: http://www.rxmuscle.com/blogs/the-lab-supplement-school/7294-why-zinc-is-so-important.html?hitcount=0)

Lose Sleep, Lose Muscle

Originally published in March 2014 on RxMuscle.com:
http://www.rxmuscle.com/blogs/the-news-the-newest-in-mp/10329-sleep-deficit-and-muscle-loss.html?hitcount=0

sleep%20equals%20muscle

Those of you who insist on burning the midnight oil and carving into time during which you should be sleeping are doing yourselves a disservice. When you build up a sleep deficit, not only do you adversely affect your attention and overall energy, you also diminish the potential muscle gains you would obtain if you consistently got a good night’s rest.

A good portion of the slump in muscle repair and growth which occurs from inadequate sleep is due to inadequate secretion of growth hormone (GH). GH is only secreted during deep sleep, so people who don’t sleep for more than a few hours will spend less time in deep sleep and cause GH secretion to drop. In addition, there is some evidence that testosterone secretion also drops, creating a double whammy which cripples the body’s ability to utilize fat and build muscle.

Cravings can also become a significant issue with sleep deficits as a result of hormonal effects. Leptin, a hormone which signals that you are full from a meal, is inhibited during sleep deprivation, resulting in increased food cravings (especially for carbohydrates). Conversely, ghrelin, a hormone which signals hunger, increases by as much as 30 percent after only a two night sleep deficit.

The body also produces more cortisol during the late afternoon, which is exactly when the body’s production should be tapering down to prepare the body for sleep. Higher cortisol levels promote deposition of more fat and utilization of muscle for energy during a sleep-deprived state.

When you cheat yourself out of a full night’s sleep, you also deplete neurotransmitters in the brain which are in charge of regulating mood. The result is irritability and, over the long term, depression, both of which can impact the intensity of your workouts and hinder your efforts to pack on muscle.

Sleep deficits also result in a decrease in alertness and concentration which often translates into submaximal workouts. And Sleep deficit affects strength. A study in Ergonomics examined the effects of sleep deprivation on weightlifting, with compelling results. As expected, there was a significant decrease in maximal lift for bench press, leg press, and dead lift after a three-day sleep deficit was established.

If you are in the habit of cutting into your sleep time, or you practice erratic sleeping patterns which are creating a sleep deficit, try to get into a rhythm in which you get enough sleep every night, especially if you are hitting a plateau with your training. Once you start getting adequate sleep, you will notice a big difference in your strength and muscle gains.

NPC/IFBB ANNOUNCES NEW MEN’S DIVISION – CLASSIC PHYSIQUE

IFBB
NPC

BIG NEWS! There is now a new men’s division in NPC and IFBB Bodybuilding events which bridges the gap between Men’s Physique and Men’s Bodybuilding: Classic Physique. Click on the link below to hear the interview with Jim Manion and Sandy Williamson and to read details on the guidelines for this new division.

http://npcnewsonline.com/npc-announces-new-mens-division-classic-physique/218682/

Misconceptions About The Men’s Physique Division

Originally published on mensphysique.com on Wednesday, 16 July 2014. It was a pretty popular post!

http://www.rxmuscle.com/blogs/the-news-the-newest-in-mp/11258-misconceptions-about-the-men-s-physique-division.html
jeremy b greater gulf states 2013
The Men’s Physique Division has stirred up tremendous interest and a decent amount of controversy within the IFBB and NPC, with a plethora of fans as well as a camp of haters. Perhaps the most exciting thing about the inception of this division was the door of opportunity which opened for men who were interested in competing on a bodybuilding stage but who did not want to sign up for the rigors of a competitive bodybuilder’s regimen. As expected, the floodgates opened and the Men’s Physique Division became wildly popular, not just among competitors within the division, but also among its ever-growing fan base worldwide. Sadly, there have been naysayers who have popped up with scathing criticism of the division which echoes the main misconceptions about the division.

Here is a breakdown of the three main misconceptions which have been circulating since the division was established in 2011.

“The Men’s Physique Division should be renamed Men’s Bikini.”

Ever since the Men’s Physique Division (MPD) was established, insults began flying about how it had no business sharing the stage with Bodybuilding. The ideal Men’s Physique body is supposed to be distinctive from a bodybuilder’s body, balanced with a pronounced v-taper, and without the excessive muscularity that is so celebrated in Bodybuilding. The more abbreviated posing which characterizes the MPD, along with the specific poses, the beach god look, and the model type good looks which many competitors possess have prompted many bodybuilders and fans of old school bodybuilding to compare MPD to a beauty pageant.

I will admit that there have been rare instances in which I have seen MPD competitors exaggerate their posing in such a way that it becomes a bit comical and somewhat pageant-like, but such instances are isolated. I think it’s important to remember that MPD competitors train HARD, and the best in the industry are very well respected athletes. It is outrageously rude to make comparisons of these tremendous athletes to pageant contestants.

“Men’s Physique (MP) guys don’t have wheels.”

The regulation garment which was chosen for the MPD, the board short, was selected primarily to evoke the idea that the competitors were supposed to look like they had just walked off the beach, embodying the ideal buff beach body. However, this particular short style is cut in such a way that it always hides the quads and hams, so it is often impossible to tell whether a competitor has well developed legs or is hiding toothpick legs under all that fabric. My experience has been that I have seen quads on many MP competitors which rival the wheels of seasoned bodybuilders, blowing the idea that MP guys have stick legs completely out of the water.

Many MP guys lift heavy, and they certainly do train legs! Every once in a while you might see an MP guy with spindly legs, but the division certainly does not deserve to be picked on about leg development. It has in fact been suggested by many to implement a shorter cut onstage in order to reveal the quads and hams. Perhaps once that occurs, MP competitors will finally be able to dispel this rumor.

“All Men’s Physique guys are divas or gay.”

First of all, anyone who is narrow-minded enough to make a blanket assessment of the sexual orientation of an entire division of competitors simply because many of them are visually very appealing is completely ignorant. It seems like the haters who make such comments are mostly envious because the MP guys are the ones who usually turn heads and make the ladies swoon. As a matter of fact, many women, including me, were ecstatic when the MPD was established because we as spectators finally had our eye candy. Many MP competitors easily fit the expression “pretty boy” due to their Abercrombie & Fitch boyish good looks. Honestly, I don’t see how that is a bad thing!

Though I have observed a high maintenance and diva-esque attitude in some MP competitors, that type of attitude by no means pervades the division. Let’s face it: the world of competitive bodybuilding can sometimes spark up a picky, persnickety attitude in competitors regardless of gender or division, and that certainly includes competitive male bodybuilders, who can be the biggest pains in the ass because their regimens are so extreme.

It has been exciting to watch the MPD grow from the new kid on the block who got picked on, to now being a well-respected division which has enhanced the sport of competitive bodybuilding. Not only has the MPD brought in massive revenue for the NPC and IFBB, it has brought competitive bodybuilding to the mainstream with its more attainable body silhouette.

Are You A Sponsored Athlete Or An Unpaid Salesperson?

Originally published on mensphysique.com on Wednesday, 12 November 2014

This was the most popular article I ever wrote for the site, getting over 2,700 likes.

SponsorshipSlide
http://www.rxmuscle.com/blogs/the-business-fitness-modeling-and-showbiz/11790-are-you-a-sponsored-athlete-or-an-unpaid-salesperson.html

Most sports supplement companies and other fitness related companies aggressively promote their products through athletes who can sing the praises of their benefits. Who could be better at describing the efficacy of a product and how it enhances training or recovery than an athlete who not only already uses those types of products, but someone who has a following and who can convince new customers to purchase from the company which they represent?

Here’s where things get problematic. The pool of bodybuilding and fitness athletes is pretty massive, and the waters are teeming with athletes who are anxious to get their so-called “big break”. As a result of this, savvy marketing teams from fitness related companies often sweep up these individuals because they are enthusiastic and can propel a brand’s exposure. All the company needs to do is to offer some free product to the athlete and provide instructions on how to use social media to get the word out that these products exist. Then the athletes post images of themselves holding or using products, and add affiliate codes so that any orders which are generated through that athlete’s post are credited to the athlete. This can be a great way for an athlete to make some extra money while competing or chasing down fitness related gigs and projects.

It is important to bear in mind that such athletes really aren’t sponsored, but are instead unpaid salespeople who provide free advertising and generate sales via social media posts which direct followers to product websites. Yes, they get commissions if they have affiliate codes, but such commissions are nothing to write home about unless someone is really blowing the roof off in sales. This is in stark contrast to a true athlete sponsorship, in which an athlete is paid to represent the brand as a brand ambassador.

The sponsored athlete is chosen for his or her physique, performance history and awards, facial good looks, charisma, enthusiasm, and often the size of his or her social media following. Usually a sponsored athlete signs a contract which stipulates that he or she will receive a certain amount of free product, and in most cases will also receive financial compensation which is either paid via a monthly salary or via a contest stipend. Though the athlete usually agrees to a set requirement or recommendation to provide social media posts for the company at regular intervals, the company pays the athlete for his or her trouble. Personal appearances and events are also part of the sponsored athlete agreement and clearly described in the written contract. The sponsored athlete is compensated for use of his or her likeness on advertising materials as well.

Obviously it is a far better deal to become an official sponsored athlete for a company. Otherwise, you are just providing free advertising and cheap labor in exchange for products which are sold at a significant markup from what they are manufactured at. If you post a selfie with product that somehow goes viral, the company will certainly love the boost, but I doubt you will ever see any type of compensation if you aren’t a sponsored athlete, which means you provided your likeness for free.

The truth of the matter is that there are only a handful of athlete sponsorships to go around, with a massive surplus of athletes vying for those spots. The athletes who end up getting sponsorships stand out from the crowd in some way, or fit a brand’s look and philosophy so well that it makes sense to bring them on board to represent a brand. The rest of the athletes must navigate through all the companies out there to try to find an arrangement which benefits them in some way. Sometimes it is easy to sell a product, usually because the athlete enjoys using it so much that he or she doesn’t mind providing free advertising or labor.

Sometimes a supplement company will launch a contest which is based on social media posts. One company, which shall remain unnamed, launched a huge campaign this year that was patterned on this idea, and decided to award 5 of the entrants $10,000. Sure, that sounds like a good chunk of change, but if there were 8,000 entrants, then 7,995 walked away with nothing. At the end of the campaign, the company got tons of free advertising and all those hashtags they requested for “tracking” purposes also propelled their brand in a huge way. To be honest, this is a brilliant marketing tactic, but not the best move for the majority of athletes who participated.

I have also seen companies launch contests in which entrants must purchase a product, then post on social media with hashtags to enter the contest. This is another form of free advertising for the company, a great way to generate sales, a brilliant means for them to boost exposure, and yet another way for athletes to be suckered into doing free advertising. I don’t see much harm in taking part in such a contest if you truly love a product and want to proclaim it, but just remember that it works wonders as an advertising tool for the company without any benefit for you.

One thing I will never advocate is purchasing products, even at a steep discount, while also representing a brand as one of its “sponsored” athletes. If you are asked to pay for a product while also providing free advertising on social media channels, run quickly in the other direction! Basically you are dealing with a company which doesn’t value you enough as an athlete to provide compensation for your advertising efforts. This isn’t the same as purchasing a product, finding out you like it, THEN posting something on social media which lets people know how much you like it. I know of several athletes who had done this, which sparked the attention of the company which manufactured the product, eventually leading to a sponsorship deal. But do not, I repeat, DO NOT PAY for products as a way to get false sponsorship for a company.

It isn’t a bad thing to work as an unpaid salesperson in the fitness industry as long as you know your place and value. Once your following builds, the smart thing to do is to leverage your visibility into getting an athlete sponsorship. The main thing is to make sure that you don’t get taken advantage of in the process.

The If-It-Fits-Your-Macros Trend

Originally published on mensphysique.com on Thursday, 09 October 2014

http://www.rxmuscle.com/blogs/the-kitchen-eating-strategies/11653-the-if-it-fits-your-macros-trend.html
IIFYMslide
You have probably heard about the “If It Fits Your Macros” (or IIFYM) trend which has been increasing in popularity within the fitness and bodybuilding world. It’s not surprising that the concept was embraced and developed by people within the industry who were sick and tired of adhering to monotonous, restrictive meal plans in which the vast majority of foods were labeled as evil and forbidden. On a personal note, I jumped on the IIFYM bandwagon as well because I was fed up with avoiding certain so-called “bad” foods and also dealing with metabolic burnout from years of caloric restriction. What surprised me was the positive manner in which my body responded to taking in maintenance calories as opposed to constantly functioning at a caloric deficit which only served to slow down my metabolism.

The term macro refers to the principal nutrients which the body requires: protein, fat, carbohydrates. IIFYM dictates that as long as you fulfill the energy needs of your body, you can obtain calories from any food source. Let’s face it: your body needs a certain amount of protein, carbohydrate and fat, along with fiber and micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals in order to function optimally, but it doesn’t scrutinize every macronutrient gram as it is thrown into the body. On the other side of the coin, it is also important to bear in mind that most proponents of IIFYM do not consume large amounts of junk food either. As long as quality protein is consumed in adequate amounts to contribute to muscle growth and repair, along with micronutrients and dietary fiber to support normal digestion, it shouldn’t matter if a small percentage of caloric daily intake is obtained from discretionary or junk food items.

My personal opinion is that the quality of carbs still should come into play if you are employing an IIFYM approach. However, if the majority of carbs comes from quality sources such as oats, sweet potatoes and brown rice, a small amount of junk carbs (cookies, Pop Tarts) shouldn’t tip the balance too much. I am a fan of carb BACKloading and believe the largest insulin spike should come at night before you sleep, since you will be fasting for several hours.

I know some of you are still reading this with great skepticism and want to hold onto your six boring meals of tilapia and green beans every day, refusing to accept the concept of loosening the reins a bit and actually enjoying a variety of foods. IIFYM doesn’t mean that you lose control and eat whatever you want, whenever you want. What it DOES mean is that foods will no longer be forbidden or “bad”, and that you can actually consume them on a fairly regular basis as long as you keep track of your daily nutrient intake.

The main drawback of IIFYM is that you must track your food intake, which in a sense is another form of food fixation. However, there is a greater chance that you will meet your body’s nutrient needs than if you follow a cookie cutter, calorie restricted, orthorexia lover’s contest prep meal plan. When clean eating is followed 100% and the majority of food sources are banned, caloric restriction is almost inevitable. Such caloric restriction, when practiced for an extended period of time, will cause fat loss to stall and metabolism to slow down.

How about if you met your macronutrient needs without having to banish most foods from your diet? So many people in the world of fitness suffer from orthorexia, a psychopathological condition in which foods are labeled as “good” or “bad”, and in which individuals become socially isolated over their need to eat “correctly”. I have seen so many competitors struggle with an increasing difficulty in losing fat, so their coaches restrict their calories even more and ban more foods from their meal plans. Fruit, healthy fats, and healthy carbs are stripped away in an effort to lean the competitor out. Another thing to consider is what food deprivation does to people. If a food is “bad”, suddenly the temptation to indulge in that bad food is intensified.

You might want to consider trying IIFYM if you are in a slump with your current meal plan. You may feel like a hamster on a very boring and restrictive “clean eating” wheel in which you are only allowed to eat very specific foods in certain combinations. For some of you who have been doing this incessantly for years, you may have noticed over time that it has become more and more difficult to lose weight. Your meal plan is probably VERY rigid and VERY boring, consisting of foods you are probably so sick of that if you never had to eat them ever again, you would rejoice in the streets for days. Give IIFYM a try. You might be pleasantly surprised at how your body responds.