P90X workouts are tough. But I tell everyone I train that it’s diet, nutrition, and supplements that get people the results they’re looking for. Workouts make you fit on the inside, your nutrition makes you look fit on the outside.
I didn’t really follow any nutrition plans or recipes provided by Beachbody while on P90X. It’s not that I don’t think they’re good, I just didn’t have the time. However, I really paid attention to the calorie 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 “core” food group that, by eating and swapping them daily, I knew would allow me to achieve those ratios. I settled on an average of 1900 calories per day for Phase 1 (first 30 days) and then only ate combinations of these “staple” foods, keeping my ratios and calories in mind throughout the day. As I got closer to the end of the day, if my ratios were off, I would look for a food that would result in a positive adjustment.
By the time Phase 2 (the intervening 30 days) came around, I was having such success that I was hesitant to change the ratios to 40/40/20, as Beachbody recommends. So, I decided to keep the 50/30/20 ratios I had been doing, but added extra calories to further fuel my workouts and help me stay anabolic. I averaged 2,400 calories per day during Phase 2.
Finally, when Phase 3 came around (last 30 days), instead of switching to 20/60/20 ratios, I again kept the Phase 1 ratios and increased my calories. I averaged 3,000 calories per day in Phase 3, always felt strong and energetic, and was still losing weight like crazy.
These are the “staple” foods that I ate and continue to eat today. They are grouped by “category” with corresponding comments below.
Tyson Brand Strip Steak, 6 oz. (280/36/2/12)
Foster Farms Brand Chicken Strips, 6 oz. (240/40/10/4)
Chicken, cold cuts – 8 slices (70/12/3/2)
Turkey, cold cuts – 8 slices (70/13/2/1)
Chicken Burger, 5 oz. Pie (210/21/6/12)
Turkey Burger, 5 oz. Pie (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 other than 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 muscle development.
Shakeology, 1 Pack (140/17/17/1)
P90X Results and Recovery, 2 measures (220/10/39/2)
Supreme Protein Bars (Peanut Butter Pretzel or Cookies & Cream 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 Bottle (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 (Crunchy Granola), 1 Pack (265/34/29/2.5)
Lean Dessert Protein Pudding (Banana or Cinnamon), 1.5 scoops (225/32/12/5.5)
Tri-o-plex Crackers (macadamia nut), 1 Pack (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 will get are worth any monetary price you pay. That’s the truth people.
Apple (Granny Smith), medium
Strawberries, 1 cup
Honestly, if you’re taking supplements, fruits become pretty nutritionally insignificant. It basically had fruits, especially strawberries, as forms of dessert.
Appetizers / Miscellaneous
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, only the white), 1 egg (17/4/1/0)
Yoplait Greek Yogurt, 1 cup (130/12/19/0)
Peanut butter, 2 tablespoons (190/7/7/16)
Low-fat cream cheese, 2 tablespoons (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 place anywhere or mix in with other items (eg, peanut butter on an English muffin, etc.). I can make a good (and healthy!) steak fajita with corn tortillas, strips of steak, 1/8 cup shredded chipotle cheese, and grilled onions.
Vegetables / 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 making the P90X. I tried to eat the more “carb-heavy” items (yams, potatoes, rice) earlier in the day and then cut back on carbs by eating the low-carb items (broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots) later in the day .
Vaca Flaca Ice Cream Bar (Truffle Mint), 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, prepackaged – 1 square (90/1/17/2.5)
Welch’s Lime Fruit Bar, Frozen – 1 Bar (80/1/20/0)
Hey, we all need them! You work hard and you need a little reward. I get it. These are things you would have occasionally that didn’t cause the “engine to run off the tracks”.
McDonald’s Classic Grilled Chicken Sandwich (plain), 1 sandwich (360/31/49/4.5)
Carl’s Jr. Grilled Chicken Sandwich (plain with BBQ sauce), 1 sandwich (380/34/49/7)
Burger King Grilled Tendercrisp Sandwich (regular), 1 sandwich (360/34/48/4.5)
Wendy’s Spicy Chicken Sandwich (plain), 1 sandwich (420/26/51/13)
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 end up in fast food places from time to time. I have young children and they want their Happy Meals! I found that the key to eating healthy at places like Mickey D’s was knowing what you would order ahead of time! I researched the menus of places we might frequent and decided what I would get. If you know what you’re going to get before you get there, you’re much less likely to walk away with a cheeseburger, fries, and milk shake.
Also, watch out for the buns! Buns, especially white flour ones, can be a disaster for a seemingly healthy chicken sandwich. What I would do is take the meat off the sandwich, throw the bun on it, and replace it with a thin Oroweat sandwich. See the difference: Arby’s Large Roast Beef Sandwich as-is: 590 calories, 46 grams of protein, 45 grams of carbs, and 25 grams of fat. Arby’s Roast Beef Sandwich with a Skinny Oroweat Sandwich: 440 calories, 43 grams of protein, 22 grams of carbs, and 21 grams of fat. Big difference!
So feel free to read the P90X Nutrition Guide cover to cover. Deploy as much or as little as you want. The above is what worked for me, and I followed it because I found it to be the easiest way to address my nutrition with a busy lifestyle.
Now press “Play” and “Bring it on!”
Learn more about the P90X.