07 May, 2012

P90X Nutrition & Diet

The nutrition and diet one is going out before my regular daily post today, so that I’ll be certain it gets done.

As I’ve mentioned before, P90X is divided into three phases. I’m currently in the first phase, which lasts 4 weeks. Each phase has different goals, and each phase has different nutrition plans as well.

One of the first things you’re supposed to do before even starting P90X is figure out what you should be eating. They have a simple little “rough estimate” caloric intake calculator.

Take your weight in pounds and multiply by ten. This is your resting metabolic rate. This would be how many calories you’d need to consume on a daily basis, even if you never got out of bed.

Take that number and multiply it by 20% (.2). This is your daily activity burn in calories. The 20% is a guesstimate, and based upon averages. If you lead a very sedentary lifestyle, it’s probably less, and if you’re out in the fields working the plow all day long, it’s probably more. It’s just a starting number. You’ll figure out as P90X goes on if it’s too high or too low for you.

Take the two numbers you came up with, add them together, and add an additional 600 for P90X (yes, that’s how many calories you’ll be expected to burn during a P90X workout—obviously, this number is flexible too based upon your size, and what kind of shape you’re in).

For me, the number I’ve come up with after adjustments is about 2,000 calories. And, I have determined that (so far, anyway) that’s probably on the high side too. This puts me at nutrition Level I.

For Phase 1, nutrition Level I looks like this on a daily basis:

Item Servings Calories Per Serving
Proteins 5 100
Dairy 2 120
Fruits 1 100
Vegetables 2 50
Fats 1 120
Carbohydrates 1 200
Condiments 1 50
Snacks 3* 100


The snacks are supposed to be a single serving of their Shakeology drink, a protein bar, and a recovery drink.

There’s also a complete meal plan with recipes. Here’s a sample day:

Meal Items Notes
Breakfast 1 Mushroom Omelet
1 cup fresh strawberries
8 oz. low fat cottage cheese
6 egg whites
3/4 cup sliced mushrooms
2 tbsp. chopped green onion
1/2 Roma tomato, chopped
1 1/2 oz. low-fat cheddar cheese, shredded
Snack Protein Bar
Recovery drink
Lunch Chef Salad 3 oz. fat-free turkey breast, chopped
3 oz. extra-lean low-sodium ham, chopped
1 1/2 oz. fat free mozzarella cheese, chopped
1/2 Roma tomato, chopped
2 cups chopped romaine lettuce
1/4 cup chopped hearts of palm
1 oz. avocado, diced
2 tbsp. low-fat ranch dressing
Snack 2 oz. soy nuts  
Dinner 6 oz. salmon
2 tbsp. Lemon-Dill Sauce
1/2 cup asparagus
1 cup wild rice
1 cup red pepper soup
1 tbsp. Whey Protein Powder
2 cups white wine
1 onion, finely chopped
5 roasted red peppers, cored, seeded, and chopped
2 cups chopped celery
1 tbsp. minced garlic
2 plum tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 cups fat-free low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
2 tbsp. dried thyme
1/4 tsp. each ground white pepper and ground cumin
1 dash salt

Protein Powder:
Used in protein shake


As you can see, you’re eating a lot, even on 2,000 calories! But, I have to admit, this meal plan scares me. That’s a really huge breakfast compared to what I normally have. And, as a diabetic, I tend to shy away from larger meals, regardless. A really really big meal for me these days is around 500 calories. And to be honest, I can’t remember the last time I had one that big. Last week, I had one dinner over 400. Most of my meals are under 300 calories. But I eat several of them, and have several snacks a day. I told my wife a few weeks ago, that in some ways I feel like I’m eating more than ever, because some days it seems like I never actually stop eating. But it’s all in what you eat and how much.

So, I’m not following this meal plan exactly. Tony Horton would be mad at me, no doubt. But I simplified it even further, and boiled all of those calorie numbers above into grams of protein, grams of fat, and grams of carbohydrates. I’m taking so many natural supplements, that I’m not all that concerned about getting in plates of stuff with lots of colors. And I’m pretty good about that, anyway. Much better than I used to be anyway.

The simplified math for me, is 230 g protein, 180 g carbs, and 40 g fat. Per day. That’s a heck of a lot of protein. Normal recommended amount for your average Joe is around 60 g per day. I put in a sample day of mine from about a year ago, and came up with 42 g. But for the last two months I’ve been doing about 120 g. It’s also very low in fat. A typical healthy diet would probably be just south of 60 g fat (depending on your size, of course) per day. Most people do quite a bit more than that. 40 isn’t impossibly low, but you really have to work at it.

For me, the carbs aren’t a problem. I’ve been carb watching for years, and I know about what I can eat on a given day and still stay healthy. Other people will have problems getting their carbs down this low as well.

Phase 2 is a little different. It’s one less serving of proteins, and another serving of carbs. I may or may not increase my carbs at that point. It will depend on how my body is doing. Phase 3 does some serious carb loading. I personally don’t see how I’ll be able to do that, but we’ll see how things are going when I get there.

I'll add some more info later on specific nutritional needs and why the diet is broken down the way it is.

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