Through all of my research on P90X, I kept reading over and over that sticking to the nutrition plan is absolutely the most important part of the program. You can go cheap on the equipment, or skimp on the protein, but the nutrition plan cannot be tampered with. You may as well forget about P90X as an option if you are unwilling to make major changes to your diet.
Luckily, Beach Body provides a few options for the P90X nutrition plan and you can work it into any budget:
1. The Meal Plan – Really expensive and time consuming cooking
2. The Quick Options – A few quick and easy options to eat out at restaurants and even fast food (1 or 2 times per week)
3. The Portion Plan – A way for you to design you diet with cost friendly foods that you like
It is also important to know that the meal plan has three phases:
Day 1-30: Fat Shredder (strengthen muscle, shed fat) 50% Protein, 30% Carbs, 20% Fat
Day 31-60: Energy Booster (provides energy) 40% Protein, 40% Carbs, 20% Fat
Day 61-90: Endurance Maximizer (peak physical performance) 20% Protein, 60% Carbs, 20% Fat
Before we dive any deeper, the first step in the nutrition plan is to calculate how many calories you body needs to complete the program. Using your body weight, a number of equations lead you to your energy amount (how many calories you need). I currently weigh 206 lbs. My energy level turned out to be just over 3,000 calories.
Depending on your energy level, you will fit into one of three categories:
Level 1: 1,800 – 2,399 calories per day
Level 2: 2,400 – 2,999 calories per day
Level 3: 3,000+ calories per day
At this point you can choose between the meal plan (they provide the recipes) and the portion plan. Since I chose the portion plan, I will explain it a little further. Depending on your energy level, the nutrition guide lists how many portions of different types of food you can eat. It also provides the foods that fall into those categories and the serving sizes that count as one portion.
To come up with a plan, your first step is to set up a daily routine for your meals, snacks, and work outs. This schedule will become your new religion for the next 90 days. You will live by it, and do your very best not to sway. If you are taking supplements, you may want to add them into your schedule at this point because certain supplements can fill you up. You want to make sure you are able to take them at the appropriate times and still eat all of your meals. and My schedule looks like:
6:30 AM – Breakfast
8:00 AM – Water (12 oz)
10:00 AM – Snack One
11:00 AM – Water (12 oz)
12:00 PM – Lunch
1:30 PM – Water (12 oz)
3:00 PM – Snack Two
4:30 PM – Protein Shake
5:00 PM – N.O. Explode
6:00 PM – Work Out
7:00 PM – Recovery Drink
7:30 PM – Dinner
11:00 PM – Sleep
Notice how I added in water and my bed time as well? I will be drinking water at all meals/snacks as well. You will need to drink eight 12 oz glasses of water per day on the program. You also must wait three hours after your last meal, before you can sleep.
Next step is two plan out your portions at each meal/snack. My looks like:
6:30 AM – Breakfast (3 proteins, 2 dairy, 1 fruit)
10:00 AM – Snack One (1 protein, 1 double snack)
12:00 PM – Lunch (2 proteins, 1 carb, 1 dairy, 1 fruit, 2 vegetables, 1 condiment)
3:00 PM – Snack Two (1 double snack, 1 protein bar)
7:30 PM – Dinner (2 proteins, 1 dairy, 2 vegetables, 1 fat, 1 condiment)
Your schedule/portions will vary depending on your energy level and eating preferences.
The next step is to substitute real foods for the various portions listed above. This is where you can save some money. The easiest way to do this is to eat pretty much the same meals every day and buy in bulk. This can get boring, but if you can handle it, it can save a ton of money. I highly recommend getting a membership at a club store where you can buy in bulk. The savings are amazing and made this diet possible for me.
My first impression was: “This is going to be expensive,” and “How in the world am I going to eat all of this food?” But after looking at my meal plan, I realized that I will be eating much smaller portions of food and spreading my meals out. Since I will be using the portion plans, my grocery bill comes out to about $75.00 – $100.00 per week.
Over and over again, I have to say that this P90X is an investment in your body and health. I am also learning that this program is the part of physical education that grade school didn’t provide. In 90 days I will have learned how my body works, learn about the science of diet, and learn what works best to sustain my results. It has already taken me outside of my comfort zone. Personally, I am going to take this nutrition experience as a learning opportunity. I am sure that it will change the way that I eat for the rest of my life. I hope that it does the same for you.