P90X Food Guide

While P90X is a world class workout that has helped hundreds of thousands of people lose weight and get in the best shape of their lives, the secret sauce is in the meal plan. You can bust your ass in the gym and sweat your face off, but if you aren't counting your calories and giving your body good clean fuel to use, you'll never get the results you want. Take it from me, people aren't exaggerating when they say that losing weight is 20% working out and 80% diet. I've lost (and kept off) 100 lbs for over 10 years now and P90X's meal plan is what helped me get to my goal weight.

It's very important that you take your diet seriously, even if you aren't a good cook. You don't have to be a Master Chef or even like cooking for that matter. If you follow the workout schedule and the nutrition guide for P90X, you will get in the best shape of your life.

Nutrition & Meal Plan for P90X Workouts

What makes P90X such an amazing workout program is the concept of muscle confusion to keep your progress from plateauing. As such, the p90x nutrition guide is broken up into 3 separate phases to help you get the best results out of each stage of training.

P90X Diet phases

Phase 1: Fat Shredder

The primary focus for phase 1 (workouts and meal plan) is based around building muscle and shedding fat. These recipes are designed to strengthen muscles with high protein food sources and reducing your body fat percentages by limiting carbohydrate intake so your body doesn't store excess carbs as fat.

If you find that you don't have enough energy in this phase to complete your workouts, add a single serving of complex carbs (sweet potatoes, whole grain bread / pasta, or brown rice) to help you power through.

Phase 2: Energy Booster

The workout intensity in phase 2 picks up so complex carbohydrates are added back into the mix. This boosts your energy to keep you from running out of fuel mid-workout and hitting a wall that keeps you from realizing your potential.

Phase 3: Endurance Maximizer

The final stretch of P90X is where the magic happens. All of your hard work is about to pay off since this is where we turn the intensity up to 11 and get shredded. This cardio heavy phase demands a high carb intake to keep you energized while lean proteins help with muscle recovery and repair.

You might not feel right about eating pancakes, pastas, and potatoes again (and I totally understand that), but trust in the program. These carbs won't stick to your hips and thighs because you're a fat burning machine that's tearing up the workouts.

Nutrition Levels

Food is fuel and everyone has different daily calorie needs depending on their starting weight and weight loss goals. For those of you that are trying to lose a lot of weight (50+ lbs), the last thing you want to do is go on a crash diet. Bluntly, you're setting yourself up for failure if you do that. One of the main reasons why diets fail is that the majority of diets are centered around you eating a very specific way or small subset of food while depriving you of the vast majority of food.

The beauty of this meal plan is that there are 3 different nutrition levels (with different calorie intake values) and which one you fall under depends on a few different factors to ensure that you're consuming enough calories to fuel your workouts while helping you lose weight and build muscle.

Calculating your nutrition level

1. Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR)

Your RMR is essentially the minimum number of calories your body needs to perform basic functions for sustaining life, i.e. breathing, blinking, pumping blood, etc. To calculate your personal RMR, you simply take your body weight and multiply by 10. The resulting number is your RMR in calories.

Body Weight x 10 = RMR

2. Daily Activity Burn

Everyone's lifestyle is different. An ER doctor that walks multiple miles a day is going to have a much higher daily burn than a web or graphic designer that spends the majority of their day sitting behind a computer. Knowing your daily burn helps you understand your baseline and how many calories you need to burn to lose weight. To calculate your daily caloric burn, multiply your RMR by 20%.

RMR x 20% = Daily Activity Burn

3. Total energy amount

P90X's workouts are intense and if you're pushing yourself (like you should be), you're going to be burning a lot of calories. If you don't consume enough calories, you'll run out of energy when you need it the most and not be able to finish your workouts or just feel plain sluggish throughout the day. That's the opposite of what we want!

To find out what your total daily energy amount is, simply add your RMR, daily activity burn, and 600 together. This number will determine which nutrition level you fall under.

RMR + Daily Activity Burn + 600 = Total Energy Amount

4. Identify your nutrition level

Whatever your total energy amount calculates to, round down to the bottom of the range and you'll have your daily caloric intake based on the nutrition level. This helps you maintain a small caloric deficit that encourages healthy weight loss. The idea behind these levels is to make eating healthy (and smaller portions) a regular habit that eventually becomes second nature.

   Total Energy Amount Nutrition Level Daily Caloric Intake
   1,800 - 2,399 LEVEL I 1,800 Calories / Day
   2,400 - 2,9999 LEVEL II 2,400 Calories / Day
   3,000+ LEVEL III 3,000 Calories / Day