The P90X workouts are tough. But, I tell everyone I coach that its diet, nutrition and supplements that get people the results they’re looking for. The workouts make you fit on the inside, your nutrition makes you look fit on the outside.
I didn’t really follow any nutritional plan or recipes provided by Beachbody during my run through P90X. It’s not that I don’t think they’re good – I just didn’t have the time. I did, however, really pay attention to the caloric ratios that Beachbody recommends for Phase 1. Beachbody says that during Phase 1 you should get 50% of your calories from protein, 30% from carbohydrates and 20% from fat.
What I did was identify a group of “core” foods that I knew by eating, and interchanging daily, would allow me to hit those ratios. I settled on an average of 1,900 calories per day for Phase 1 (the first 30 days) and then just ate combinations of these “core” foods, being mindful of my ratios and calories throughout the day. As I got closer towards the end of the day, if my ratios were off, I’d look for a food that would result in a positive adjustment.
When Phase 2 came around (the middle 30 days) I was having such great success that I was hesitant to change the ratios to 40/40/20, as recommended by Beachbody. Therefore, I decided to maintain the 50/30/20 ratios that I had been doing, but add additional calories to further fuel my workouts and help me remain anabolic. I averaged 2,400 calories per day during Phase 2.
Finally, by the time Phase 3 came around (the final 30 days), rather than switching to 20/60/20 ratios, I again kept Phase 1 ratios and upped my calories. I averaged 3,000 calories per day in Phase 3, always felt strong and energetic and was still dropping weight like crazy.
Here are the “core” foods I ate, and still eat today. They are grouped by “category” with applicable comments underneath.
Tyson brand Steak Strips, 6 oz. (280/36/2/12)
Foster Farms brand Chicken Strips, 6oz. (240/40/10/4)
Chicken, deli meat – 8 slices (70/12/3/2)
Turkey, deli meat – 8 slices (70/13/2/1)
Chicken burger, 5 oz. patty (210/21/6/12)
Turkey burger, 5 oz. patty (200/24/4/8)
Chicken breast, boneless/baked, 8 oz. (165/36/2/2)
Steak, lean flank, 5 oz. (320/35/2/18)
Turkey bacon, 5 slices (100/15/0/2.5)
These meats were my main source of protein aside from supplements. If my ratios were lacking in protein, eating something from this list would always make a positive adjustment. Meats are great building blocks for muscular development.
Shakeology, 1 packet (140/17/17/1)
P90X Results and Recovery, 2 scoops (220/10/39/2)
Supreme Protein bars (Peanut Butter Pretzel or Cookies and Crme flavors), 1 bar (400/30/26/18)
Premier Nutrition Twisted bar (Peanut Butter), 1 bar (230/15/21/8)
Cytosport Muscle Milk RTD (Cake Batter flavor), 1 container (320/32/12/16)
Cytosport Whey Isolate, 1 scoop (110/25/3/0)
New Whey protein tube, 1 tube (156/42/0/0)
Dymatize Protein cereal (granola crunch), 1 packet (265/34/29/2.5)
Lean Dessert Protein Pudding (banana or cinnamon), 1.5 scoops (225/32/12/5.5)
Tri-o-plex cookies (Macadamia Nut), 1 package (336/18/30/16)
Isopure, 1 bottle (160/40/0/0)
Elite 12 Casein protein, 2 scoops (258/42/12/4)
I could never have achieved my nutritional goals without supplements. Period. Yes, they can be expensive. But, let me tell you, the results you’ll achieve are worth any monetary price paid. That’s the truth people.
Apple (Granny Smith), medium
Strawberries, 1 cup
Honestly, if you’re taking supplements, fruits become pretty insignificant from a nutritional aspect. I basically had fruits, especially the strawberries, as forms of dessert.
Snacks / Misc
Beef Jerky, 2 oz. (180/20/6/2)
Turkey Jerky, 2 oz. (136/20/6/2)
OS Trim stick (ostrich jerky), 1 stick (80/14/2/1.5)
Egg (hard-boiled, white only), 1 egg (17/4/1/0)
Yoplait Greek Yogurt, 1 cup (130/12/19/0)
Peanut Butter, 2 tbsp (190/7/7/16)
Low-fat Cream Cheese, 2 tbsp (80/4/2/6)
Oroweat Whole Grain Sandwich Thins, 1 thin (100/5/21/1)
100% whole wheat english muffin, 1 muffin (150/6/27/2)
Corn tortillas, 2 tortillas (110/3/22/2.5)
Chipotle Cheese, 1 slice (80/5/1/6)
Special K Protein cereal, 1 cup (135/13/19/4)
These are things you can fit in anywhere, or mix with other items (e.g. – the peanut butter on an English muffin, etc.). I can make a mean (and healthy!) steak fajita with the corn tortillas, steak strips, 1/8 cup shredded chipotle cheese and grilled onions.
Veggies / Rice
Brown rice, 1 cup (230/5/40/4)
Baked Potato, 1 potato (180/5.5/40/1)
Yam, 1 yam (161/3/39/1)
Broccoli, 1 cup (50/3/8/1.5)
Cauliflower, 1 cup (55/3/9/1.5)
Carrots, 1 cup (82/2/12/4)
I really learned to like yams while doing the P90X. I tried to eat the more “carb heavy” items (yams, potatoes, rice) earlier in the day and then taper off carb consumption by having the lower carb items (broccoli, cauliflower and carrots) later in the day.
Skinny Cow ice cream bar (Mint Truffle), 1 bar (100/3/19/2)
Starbucks Iced Latte (Vanilla Lite), 1 can (130/9/20/2.5)
Rold Gold pretzel twists, 1 bag (110/2/23/1)
Rice Crispy Treat, pre-packaged – 1 square (90/1/17/2.5)
Welch’s Lime Fruit bar, frozen – 1 bar (80/1/20/0)
Hey, we all need ’em! You work your butt off and need a little reward. I get it. These are things I’d have occasionally that didn’t cause the “engine to come off the tracks.”
McDonald’s Classic Grilled Chicken sandwich (plain), 1 sandwich (360/31/49/4.5)
Carl’s Jr. Charbroiled BBQ Chicken sandwich (plain with BBQ sauce), 1 sandwich (380/34/49/7)
Burger King Grilled Tendercrisp sandwich (plain), 1 sandwich (360/34/48/4.5)
Wendy’s Spicy Chicken sandwich (plain), 1 sandwich (420/26/51/13)
Arby’s Large Roast Beef sandwich with Arby’s sauce, 1 sandwich (590/46/45/25)
Panera Bread Smokehouse Turkey Panini, 1 panini (720/53/67/26)
It’s inevitable that we’ll end up at fast-food places occasionally. I have young kids and they want their Happy Meals! I found the key to eating healthy at places like Mickey D’s was to know what you’d order before-hand! I researched menus of places we might frequent and decided what I’d get. If you know what you’ll get before you get there, you’re much less likely to drive away with a cheeseburger, french fries and a milk shake.
Also, be careful of the buns! Buns, especially white-flour buns, can be a disaster for a seemingly healthy chicken sandwich. What I would do is take the meat from the sandwich, toss the bun and replace it with an Oroweat sandwich thin. Check out the difference: Arby’s large roast beef sandwich as is: 590 calories, 46 grams protein, 45 grams carbohydrates and 25 grams fat. Arby’s roast beef sandwich with an Oroweat sandwich thin: 440 calories, 43 grams protein, 22 grams carbohydrates and 21 grams fat. Big difference!
So, feel free to read the P90X Nutrition Guide cover-to-cover! Implement as much or as little of it as you like. The above is what worked for me, and I followed it because I found it to be the easiest way to approach my nutrition with a busy lifestyle.
Now go press “Play” and “Bring It!”
More information about the P90X.