P90X – Nutrition

A whole lotta chopped veggies
Creative Commons Licensephoto credit: Martin Cathrae

So, you’ve read the general Q&A post, you’re intrigued about the P90X program and what it might be able to offer. And now you’re curious about the nutrition component that goes with it….

This post is going to cover the following topics:

  1. What’s in the nutrition guide
  2. Things to know about before starting on the nutrition plan
  3. Tailoring your nutrition plan
  4. Supplements
  5. Going through Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the plan so far

What’s in the Nutrition Guide?

  • Instructions help you calculate your nutrition level (basically your daily caloric intake)
  • Guide to portion sizes and what is typically considered a single serving for protein, fat, fruit, etc.
  • How much of each portion type (i.e. carbs, protein, fats, etc.) you need to have based on your nutrition level on a daily basis
  • Meal plans for every day of the week for each of the 3 phases, by nutrition level
  • Recipes for some of the meals, also broken down by nutrition level

Things to Know About Before Starting on the Nutrition Plan

  • A scale is a must-have. It teaches you what your recommended portion size for your nutrition level is. You may be initially dismayed at how little your recommended portion size might be, lol. 10 weeks in and now I’m pretty good at eyeballing before putting on the scale what 6 oz. of chicken breast should be.
  • Preparing your meals ahead of time or in batches really helps. This is especially so in Phase 1 when there is a lot of proteins and grains (i.e. wild rice, quinoa) being prepped. We’d go out and buy packs of chicken breasts for the week and grill them as-is on the BBQ in one go. If making vegetable soup, we’d make sure to freeze extra servings to use for the upcoming weeks.
  • If you are the type of person who eats out more than eat in, you will need to set aside anywhere from a half hour to an hour every day to prepare your meals. You’ll find this more so in Phase 1 as a lot of meals are based from the recipes in the nutrition guide but once you are past this phase, Phase 2 (and 3 from what I’ve seen) require a lot fewer recipes to follow.
  • You will need to spend a little bit of time compiling a grocery list for the week–this will be influenced by how much you: a) plan to tailor the nutrition plan (more on that in the next section) and b) if you are not the only one in your household planning to do P90X. You can Google around to find various P90X blogs and sites that have compiled basic grocery lists depending on phase and nutrition level…you can copy them and then modify/add/substitute as needed.
  • As always, if you have questions, the teambeachbody.com site has message boards where you can find answers to commonly asked questions about the nutrition plan.

Tailoring the Nutrition Plan

The P90x nutrition plan isn’t set in stone. If you:

  • have food allergies
  • have an alternative diet that you follow such as veganism
  • have an intense dislike for some foods (ahem cottage cheese)
  • are not able to find some of the ingredients that some recipes call for…

…now is the time to plan out your substitutions before starting the nutrition plan in earnest.

To help you find out the nutritional content of the foods you want to substitute in, check out websites such as caloriecount.about.com , fitday.com (you need to sign up to use this site), they have a pretty comprehensive database of foods to look up.

Also, the teambeachbody.com site has a page called Michi’s Ladder that helps you find smart and healthy substitutes for the food you are currently eating.

For those of us who have been on the nutrition plan for a while and are looking for variety in recipes, there are a ton of P90X blogs out there with recipes to try out but my favorite go-to site is myp90xnutritionplan.com.

The lady that runs the site, CJ, has some food journal PDF files you can download and print out so you can write out your own plans. On top of that she’s got a great collection of recipes to pick and choose from as well as some posts on P90X nutrition basics.


As I mentioned in my previous P90X FAQs post, you can certainly purchase the recovery drink, recovery/protein bar and/or supplements from beachbody.com or from a Beachbody coach.

Personally, since we are up in Canada, we buy our protein bars and protein powder from Costco and our recovery drink mix (with L-glutamine for protein metabolism) and daily multi-vitamins from a local vitamin/supplement store. Maybe with future rounds of P90X we will delve a bit and research some more on supplements but for now we are just keeping it simple.

Going through Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the Plan So Far

As the P90X Nutrition Plan page describes, Phase 1 is the Fat Shredder portion of the nutrition plan. Protein takes front and center stage here in larger proportion versus what you eat for carbs and fat. Me and my husband were on this for 5 weeks and it was a bit of a tough slog the first 2 weeks shifting over to eating things we normally would not eat so much of (hello egg whites!) or stopping eating things we normally would eat more of (pastas and bread, sob!).

Once we got into the routine of the meal plan schedule and finding efficiencies (mentioned previously above) in meal prep time, it wasn’t so hard. Because we took in more protein and less carbs, we did find our energy levels a bit sluggish those first 2 weeks as well, but also we were still trying to figure out how to really put in a solid effort into the workouts without hobbling ourselves, lol.

Phase 2, the Energy Booster portion is where we are at now. This phase now shifts towards more carbs and less protein and it definitely has helped us gain more energy so that we can really work out with more intensity without gassing out. The majority of the carb intake is at breakfast and lunch, and the protein intake is at primarily lunch and dinner. Prep time for meals has definitely gone down compared to Phase 1 as there are not so many recipes to have to follow.

Phase 3, the Endurance Maximizer–we have not started yet…we are thinking of giving it a go in the next 2 or 3 weeks or so to see what it is like. This is supposedly considered an athlete’s diet (never been on one so I don’t know :)) where there’s a lot of complex carbs as part of the plan. If we do give it a whirl I will be sure to do up a post in the future with my impressions on it.

I hope this post helped answer some questions some of you might have about the P90X nutrition plan and give you an idea of what it’s like for someone still going through it. 🙂 Still working on getting Facebook comments added so for now, feel free to send me a tweet, DM me or send me a message on Facebook with your feedback–it’s always welcome…

1 Comment

Add Yours →

Leave a Reply