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P90X Week 3: Nutrition Plan and Clarification of My Intentions

P90X Nutrition PlanWe had a couple over for dinner last night, and the husband mentioned that I looked as though I had lost weight. I haven’t. Both my husband and I, however, are noticing very slight changes in my “leanness” quotient. I haven’t taken measurements, so I’m not sure if these are real physical results, or if they are psychosomatic. We will see…

Up until now, I haven’t mentioned the P90X Nutrition Plan. In conjunction with the fitness side, Tony Horton encourages that you follow a “strict” eating regimen. I put strict in quotes because for many people, it will seem strict…especially if you are not eating very healthy today. However, if you are LEGITIMATELY* eating healthy, then it won’t seem so bad.

* I think it’s important to note that “healthy” is relative. I’ve had clients who’ve claimed that they eat healthy or “pretty” healthy and I’ll tell you, there are a lot of delusional people out there. It is human nature to remember your healthier moments more than those that are unhealthy. And so, if you use qualifying phrases like “pretty healthy,” “usually healthy” or “healthy most of the time” to describe your eating habits, there is a good chance that you are eating less healthy than you think.

Tony Horton emphasizes that the importance of the P90X Nutrition Plan is that you are properly fueling your body for optimal performance. I agree: If you eat junk, you’ll feel like crap, the exercises will be more difficult, and you’ll see less results. However, if you eat the right foods to help your body perform optimally, you’ll feel better and more energized, you’ll be able to conduct the exercises more easily, and finally, you’ll see the results that you want to see.

The P90X Nutrition Plan is structured into three phases, depending on your nutritional and fitness levels:

Phase Goal Protein Carbohydrates Fat**
Phase 1: Fat Shredder Strengthen muscle and shed excess body fat 50% 30% 20%
Phase 2: Energy Booster Maintain Phase 1 changes with additional energy for midstream performance 40% 40% 20%
Phase 3: Endurance Maximizer Supports peak physical performance and satisfaction over the long term 20% 60% 20%

** A point about Fat: In the portion approach, Tony Horton specifies that you should have 1 fat. This may sound completely unrealistic, but again, it’s all dependent on what you view as healthy. In the P90X Nutrition Plan, one fat is equal to 3 ounces of Avocado, 4 ounces of olives or 1 Tablespoon of Canola, Flaxseed or Olive oil. This fat portion is specific to WHOLE fats. And 1 Tablespoon of oil for the day is relatively realistic. When you look at other allowed foods, you’ll notice that you can have nuts and a variety of cheeses. These are fats too! So don’t feel as though you are super deprived of fats because you only get “One” fat.

The P90X Nutrition Plan phases don’t follow the workout phases. Instead, you have to pay attention to how your body responds to each phase to know what is best. In short, the more fit you are, the more Phase 3 will be appropriate. Whereas if you need to lose a lot of weight or are out of shape, you’ll probably see best results (at the beginning) if you go on the Fat Shredder. Personally, I’ve always eaten somewhere in the Phase 2 area. My fat intake tends to be around 20% and will rarely go over 30%, and I feel that I do well on a higher protein diet. I think that for most people who are fit and not looking to be elite athletes, Phase 2 is good. However, if you use “healthy” as a loose term to express how you eat, you may very well benefit from following the P90X Nutrition Plan closely.

Tony Horton provides three approaches for the P90X Nutritition Plan:

  1. The Portion Approach: Personally, I find this the easiest. It tells you how many servings of each food type you can consume.
  2. The Meal Approach: This requires that you use a lot of the P90X Nutrition Plan book recipes.
  3. The Quick Approach: This is best for those who don’t want to cook.

For any of these approaches, I highly recommend that you use or to track your food intake and to understand the ratio of protein, carbs and fat you are consuming.

My Personal Intentions with the P90X Nutrition Plan: In my book – “GET REAL” and STOP Dieting! – I discuss my 85% – 15% rule. What this means is that you follow a “strict,” healthy diet 85% of the time and allow yourself to indulge in moderation (15%) of the time. For instance, on the weekends have dessert, have some wine, etc. The ONLY way I can see anyone achieving sustainable results is to follow a diet that is realistic. If you deny yourself too much, you will inevitably fall off the wagon. So, that being said, I am following the P90X Nutrition Plan as much as I would have before.

The real test in doing P90X is to see if the fitness philosophy of muscle confusion works. Prior to P90X, I worked out 6 days a week and did three days of weight training and 3 days of cardio, and ate very healthy (legitimately). So, again, the workout time hasn’t changed…but the workouts have. THAT is the test I’m conducting.

Want to try P90X for yourself? Buy the P90X Extreme Home Fitness Program here.

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