Generation Iron Branch Warren Flexible Dieting

The tale of two contest preps and the proper use of flexible dieting

In 2012 I decided that I was going to pursue a goal of mine and compete in my first bodybuilding show; a challenge I had long avoided out of fear. I had been lifting for about 13 years.  Like most guys I trained a body part a day, but never legs, and knew nothing about nutrition. When I hired my coach, I was about 227lbs at 6’1 and when I learned how to track my caloric intake, I was around the 4000 calorie mark a day. I was on that perma-bulk you always hear about from guys who are always talking about getting bigger but never once been on a cut. I ate anything and everything without knowing what effect, good or bad, it could have on my body. My excuse for this was: I workout so therefore I can eat whatever I want. To my surprise at the time, this is the wrong way to think.

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I had a little over 20 weeks to get stage ready. In reality, knowing what I know now, I should have taken more time because I had too much body fat. However the goal was the goal and I was going to make it to stage as lean as I could be. I went from eating whatever my stomach desired to the completely “clean” approach. To this day I hate this term.  “Clean:” a word which has no clear, absolute definition but which could be defined as only a small selection of foods, none of which are processed. You know the infamous chicken and rice or sweet potato maneuver that any person would think the stereotypical bodybuilder would eat.  No, sorry, no tilapia in this story. To this day I still don’t know why this fish is seen as some sort of staple in a bodybuilder’s diet to get lean.  So I basically ate the same boring thing every day for the entire course of the prep (good thing I am not person who needs variety in my diet) and eventually nearly eliminated carbs and I followed up with a lot of cardio. Have to sacrifice to win right? To truly belong to the club of bodybuilders, you have to give up what the normal person eats every day – or so one would think when they listen to some competitors and coaches out there.

I’m not going to lie, it was brutal and tough. I had to bring my food everywhere or stay home and not be a part of certain events. I became “that guy,” the one which friends would exclude from going out or social gatherings because I couldn’t have anything.  Most people would have cheated on their diet, constantly focused on if or when they could have a “cheat meal,” (a term coined to mean acceptable binge eating which, by the way, is discouraged in discussions regarding nutrition and health everywhere else in society), or quit and never made it to stage.  Needless to say I made it stage at a weight of 173lbs and won my shows.

So what is the second part of this story? Where is the positive message out all of this?

My second prep was so much different and more enjoyable. After the shows were over my coach reverse dieted me back out of my contest prep diet, so that I was able to increase my metabolic capacity. This meant I was able to handle more food and maintain a lighter bodyweight than my first prep. The heaviest I weighed this offseason was 215lbs and maintained a lower body fat percentage. Now that I was familiar with tracking my macros (protein, fats & carbs), my coach introduced to me what is known as Flexible Dieting (aka IIFYM, If It Fits Your Macros). I was still in the “only eat clean” mentality and was really struggling with the idea of trying any other way. However, I gave it shot and introduced the “dirty” foods. I did not abuse the privilege and eat nothing but cookies, chips and other junk foods to fill in my carb intake for the day. Some people out there like to try to skew this approach to be a dieting free-for-all, but I used moderation and introduced these “dirty” foods for a small part of my caloric consumption during the week. If I felt the need to have a candy bar or whatever, I had it. I just fit it into my macros while at the same time making sure to hit all my macro and micro nutrient intakes for the day. I utilized this throughout my off season and continued it with my most recent contest prep. This time I had no cravings, no thoughts of a cheat meal, no crash dieting into the show and no fear of a food making me fat or not being able to get lean enough. I got to stage this year at 173 lbs once again but was leaner and bigger. It was an off season well spent with improved training techniques and no food avoidance during the cut.


I went to birthday parties, bbq’s, traveled for business and pleasure during all phases of prep and never once struggled with how to eat, what to eat or having to become a social outcast. I had cookies, candy, chips, burgers, pancakes and even the infamous Poptart (now remember what I said before, these were a small portion of my intake). I was able to enjoy life and at the same time get stage ready.  My favorite thing was when people would see me eat and say, “You can’t have that, you are going to ruin your prep.”

So, basically what I am saying is that with proper application, you can use this approach as well and get stage ready. You don’t have to feel deprived or be waiting/hoping for your coach to give you a “cheat meal.”


You can check out more of Greg’s exciting and informative videos and pics by visiting his Youtube and Instagram pages.

Greg Robinson
Greg Robinson is 33 years old and a natural pro bodybuilder. This year he has placed first in his Men’s Open Bodybuilding Class at the OCB Battle for the Belt in Burlington, NJ and took 2nd in his pro debut on Sept 27th, 2014 at the ANBF Jersey Shore Natural VIII. He currently is the bodybuilding representative for the American Natural Bodybuilding Federation and maintains a full time job as an Index Manager You can find Greg Robinson on his Facebook and Twitter below.