My P90X Diet
My P90X DietJun 22nd, 2010 | By Nancy Andrews | Category: Diet Reviews, Nutrition & Weight Loss, P90X Diet, P90X FAQ
I get a lot of questions about diet.
- How many calories should I (you) eat?
- Why the 40/40/20 ratio of carb/protein/fat for calories?
- Can I (you) change the 40/40/20 ratio to something else?
- Do I (you) have to measure & count everything?
- Do you have sample menus?
- How much or what can I eat on a cheat day?
So it’s time to address these issues in a way to enable you to make the correct choice for you. Diet is at least half the battle to getting a great transformation. It’s more than just eating the right number of calories to lose weight. For maximum weight loss you need to eat the right amount of calories with the optimal macronutrient composition between carbs/protein/fat to spark your metabolism and burn the most fat off your body – especially around your waist!
Women: If your goal is to lose weight while you build lean mass then I recommend you set your daily caloric intake at 10x your body weight in pounds. Thus if you weigh 155, you would eat 1550 calories each day.
Now if you are at a weight lower than 130, then keep your calories at 1,300. The reason for this is there is a minimum amount of calories your body will need to complete the very challenging P90X workouts at the right intensity to produce changes in your body. Underfeed your body and you’ll end up lacking the right level of energy to ‘bring it’. Completing the routines without high intensity just won’t give you the dramatic changes I got – the dramatic changes you want. So eat enough calories if you are 140lbs or lighter.
Conversely, there is a maximum amount of calories I recommend. Don’t eat more than 1,700 even if you weigh more than 170lbs. Your body really doesn’t need more than 1,700 even if you weight more. The point is to eat what your body needs for maximum nutrition and energy output. If you weigh over 180, you’ve been eating way too many calories to get that heavy and you need to take proportionately bigger action to get your body to respond.
Finally, if you are breastfeeding, add 300 – 500 calories a day to your calculation from above based on the number of times a day you breastfeed and how much breast milk your body is manufacturing.
[Note: P90X is not an exercise for pregnant women. Also wait at least 6 weeks after delivery before starting P90X.]
Men: If your goal is to lose weight while you build lean mass then I recommend you set your daily caloric intake at 12x your body weight in pounds. If you weigh 190 then your calorie allotment for the day would be 2,280 or roughly 2300 calories.
And as is the case with my recommendations for women, there are minimum and maximum amounts of calories you may have regardless of what the 12x equation calculates. Even if you weigh less than150 lbs, eat at least 1800 calories. And if you weigh more than225 lbs, don’t eat more than 2700 calories.
For men who don’t need to lose weight but want to add mass, start with a diet of 15x your weight and make adjustments from there as need be. You may need to eat more than 15x your weight in pounds.
One day a week, add a cheat day. On cheat day you eat more than your daily allotment. In fact you eat whatever you want! And you may eat as much as you want.
The point of a cheat day is three fold. First it gives you a break so you can eat things you may have been secretly craving during the week. Knowing there is this cheat day that is, at most, only 6 days away, makes staying the course easier.
Next, by the time you are done with cheat day, you will feel fat, bloated, sluggish and wondering why you ate that crappy food. Over time you will come to appreciate that eating clean makes you feel more energetic and have clearer thinking as well as help you lose weight. This is part of committing to a new lifestyle something that is doable over the long run.
Third there is a metabolic advantage to having a cheat day. Your body gets confused on how many calories you are going to be taking in. It actually won’t process them all. So your body won’t get too efficient at living off of the lower calories which can happen for people who don’t have cheat days.
It is true that you’ll gain weight on a cheat day. But most of that will be water weight. The rule is that you don’t weigh yourself more than once a week and do that the day before or the morning of your cheat day before you eat anything. By then the water weight falls off and your body is back to a calorie deficit situation and weight comes off at a slow to modest pace.
What You Eat
With the exception of your cheat days, I always recommend that you eat your calories in a 40/40/20 ratio of carb/protein/fat. The reason for this is to make sure your body has enough protein to repair the micro tears that occur as you lift weights. It is this micro tear process that actually causes your body to add lean mass (muscle). After all the effort you’ll put in during a P90X resistance workout, you want to make sure you get the most out of it by eating properly.
Eating only 20% of your calories from fat is a very low fat diet. Many of you will struggle a bit with this at first. The key will be to cut out all fast food, most prepackaged foods and focus on lean cuts of meat and fish using only very modest amounts of good oils like olive oil for salad dressing and perhaps to rub your meat or fish with before you use a seasoned rub for flavor and grill or broil your meat.
You will also find you’ll have reduce your carbs from what you have been eating. While this is not a low carb diet like Atkins, it is carb managed. If you are over weight, I can almost guarantee that I watched what you ate I’d tell you that you eat too many carbs and, worse yet, the wrong ones.
Eat only 1 serving of starch/grains a day. This will be a huge adjustment for many of you. But the problem with starches (potatos) and grains (breads, cereals, baked goods and more) is that they tend to get converted into sugar too quickly, spiking your blood sugar levels up and causing your body to produce excess insulin just to manage it. Excess insulin causes your body to horde fat, not burn it. And worse yet, you’ll carry a lot of that fat around your gut. I keep a list of the bread products I buy at http://www.pressplayfitness.com/members/forum/#topic/Bread.htm. These products are lower calorie, low carb and high fiber.
Your carbs should be mostly fresh and steamed veggies, fresh fruit and 1 serving each of dairy and starch/grains per day. No fruit juice. I know this is very different from how you eat now. But the way you eat now isn’t working.
Invest in some high quality protein powder. I use Shakeology which is a meal replacement shake and I use Myofusion protein powder for more protein during the day. The reason for the protein powder is that it’s hard to maintain the reduced fat target you have and get enough protein unless you use protein powders.
Can I Change the 40/40/20 Ratio?
If you want to burn fat and add lean mass you want to use the 40/40/20 ratio. This is optimum for losing weight – especially belly fat. Any other combination is less effective.
Once you hit your ideal weight, you may play with the ratio a bit.
Why Measure Everything?
If you are more than 5lbs overweight, you are eating the wrong foods and too much of them. I’ve already addressed what you should eat above. Now consider the fact that you need to retrain you mind on what is proper portions. Reading labels and even using a small food scale is invaluable. Once you do this for a couple weeks, you’ll know what a proper portion is.
I Need Help With Menus
I get a lot of requests to show what I eat. Realize that each of you is likely to have different needs than I do.
If you are stuck on how to set up your eating plan each day, I know of no better source than the menu planner tool that Beachbody has. This is available to all club members along with other benefits like 10% off of all future purchases. If you’ve not joined club membership yet, I strongly recommend it!