22 June, 2012

P90X: Diet

Sometimes I almost envy those of you who are overweight and doing P90X. Well, not during Plyometrics or when I’m doing pull ups. Then I laugh at you. But, the rest of the time…

One of the first things you do before starting P90X is to figure out how much you’re supposed to be eating. I’ve mentioned this before, and gone into my calculations. For most of you, if you’re overweight, you’re going to be cutting your caloric intake by a pretty hefty margin, while increasing your physical activity.

That’s the way to do it, for maximum effectiveness. And you’ll feel it, and you’ll see the body changes pretty rapidly. And, once you figure out what the right calorie number is for you, you’re pretty much set for a while.

For thin people, it’s a little harder. When I started P90X, the calorie number was 50% more than what I had been consuming. I tried doing it. I really did. But the first week, I never even made it to the calculated number. I got within a couple hundred calories a couple times, but I felt like I was gorging myself.

And worse, I gained weight. Since I knew I hadn’t been on the program long enough to start increasing muscle mass, I knew exactly what the weight was. Fat.

Well, that didn’t make me happy.

So, I cut my caloric intake back severely again. But it’s not as if I can just pick a number and use it. I have to find the maintain number. Which isn’t that easy. And since I’m working out every day, and hopefully growing muscle, I don’t even really want to maintain. I’m ok with gaining a little weight, as long as it’s not fat. Worse, assuming I do grow muscle, I need more calories to support the increased muscle mass. So, the number isn’t even constant. It’s always changing. Figuring out my ideal calorie number is kind of like trying to hit a moving target with a warped arrow while blindfolded.

And, just when I think I’ve got it figured out, I hit a “Recovery and Ab Focus” week like this week. You still work out every day during the Recovery week, but it’s a much less strenuous week than the typical week. I gained three pounds this week. During the last recovery week, I gained two. And I actually consumed slightly fewer calories than the week before, both times. Still, this shows that I’m going to have to keep doing pretty strenuous workouts on a regular basis if I’m going to keep my weight and my blood sugar in check.

Phase III starts tomorrow. In addition to the challenges I’ve been having, the nutritional elements are quite different during Phase III than during Phase I and Phase II. I can dump the protein bars and shakes for more fruits and veggies, and the occasional smoothie. This means I have to watch my blood sugar even more closely, so Phase III is going to be quite the challenge for me.

Blegh. If only I were fat. Winking smile

In case you’re wondering, my body fat dropped to 10.7% during Phase II, even after gaining three pounds this week. It looks like I should be able to get under 10% by the end of the program, assuming Phase III goes well. In fact, I was almost certainly under 10% at the beginning of this week. Grrrrr.

But the end result of this will be that I’ll be in much better shape, and I’ll know exactly how to eat and what to do to maintain or even improve that shape. I get closer every day. I’m not as close as I’d like to be, but there’s really no comparison between how I feel today vs. how I felt just one year ago.

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