Updated - May 2014
The P90X diet plan can seem overwhelming. Take it piece by piece. Start with the videos below and then move through the post, including the comments. It will take a while, but it will be worth it. You’ll finish this post with a complete understanding of why the P90X meal plan works the way it does, and how to make the most of it. One of the major developments since we first posted this information is the inclusion of Shakeology in the P90X diet plan. You can find information about how to incorporate Shakeology and how to obtain a sample at the bottom of this post.
P90X Diet Plan Explained
This is really step one. Start with this video where I explain how the P90X diet works. The P90X nutrition plan is designed to teach your body its relationship with carbohydrates and how to fuel for performance over the long haul that is life.
P90X Nutrition Plan - Steps to Success
The P90X nutrition plan can be an overwhelming document, as a P90X coaches and graduates of the program, we have created a simpler system to help you with the P90X diet portion approach. We hope that you can benefit and maximize your results by using these documents to support all your hard work and sacrifice during the program.
Step 1 – Get a P90X Certified Team Beachbody Coach
Having a good Coach that has completed the program is important to your success. It gives you someone to bounce ideas off of and a source of motivation. We are both P90X Certified Coaches and offer free Coaching for P90X. You can find the details on that program HERE, or simply Contact Us and we’ll discuss the information with you. We use a performance based assessment system that goes beyond what the number on the scale says and digs into your goals. We regularly put together groups of people that do P90X at the same time and stay accountable using private groups on Facebook. Contact Us for more info and to see if there is a group forming now.
Dave is a surfer and cyclist so he uses the programs to increase athletic performance. Monica is a busy business owner and mom that loves being in the best shape of her life. We both know a lot about nutrition and can help you navigate the seemingly endless sea of conflicting nutrition information. Our job is to help you overcome challenges and make sure you get the most out of your program.
Step 2 – Download P90X Diet Plan Spreadsheet to Calculate your Daily Calorie Needs and Determine your “Level”.
Start by downloading the P90X Nutrition Plan Excel file below. The document contains several steps at the top. These will help you determine how many calories you will need on a daily basis and what “Level” of the program you will be on. There are “Levels” and “Phases”. The “Level” relates to how many calories you need on a daily basis. As explained in the video above, the P90X diet plan progresses from a high protein/low carb diet, to a more balanced, but slightly higher carb diet. Each progress is a “Phase”.
P90X-Nutrition-Guide-2-16-2011 (Click to Download Excel file).
This video One key issue to note is that the daily trackers on the spreadsheet below represent a mid-range in the various “Levels” of the program. You will need to customize the spreadsheet to your needs. This is one reason why we decided to make it an excel document, rather than a PDF. Please watch the video first and then use the resources. You can always Contact Us with questions, but it helps if they are focused. Here’s a video explaining the spreadsheet (can you tell this was filmed in 2009 when we first did this post?)
It’s important to understand why the plan changes. One word: glycogen. Glycogen is your primary fuel source. You burn more of it (and therefore need more of it) when you are working at high intensity. P90X is hard! In the beginning, you’ll likely be struggling to keep up. You most likely won’t be elevating your heart rate to an anaerobic state during Chest & Back. However, as you progress through P90X, you’ll get stronger and you will work harder. You’ll also burn more glycogen, so you’ll need to replace it. That happens when you intake carbs. Carbs are converted into glycogen, which is stored in the muscles and liver. However, the muscles and liver have limited storage capacity. When that bucket is full, the rest goes into the fat cells, and that’s why we need to limit carb intake early on. You’ll get your carbs back, but you are going to have to earn them.
The Excel file also has a daily tracker you can use. If you can print this up and laminate if then you can keep track of your portions each 6 days. If not, just print a new page every six days. The daily tracker also has boxes for water and supplements to help remind you to DRINK WATER. This will help you to stay accountable and on target to the outrageously fit YOU!
When you download the P90X menu plan files below you will see that each section tells you how much a “Serving” is. For example, a 3 oz. chicken breast is one serving of protein. If you eat a large (9 oz.) chicken breast, then that is 3 servings of protein, and you would check 3 boxes in the protein category in your daily tracker.
Gaining an understanding of your caloric needs is very important. Many people comment that the calories required for the plan appear very high. This video explains why the calories are calculated the way they are calculated.
In the post I reference the Power 90 Master Series. You can find information about that program HERE.
Step 3 – Prepare your P90X Meal Plan.
Below you will find three different P90X meal plans for each Phase of the P90X diet. Download these documents, starting with Phase I – Fat Shredder, and take a good look at the foods in the food plan. This was especially important for us because Dave and I have two kids to feed and we wanted healthy, kid friendly meals. Although, our kids’ taste palate expand all the time, eliminating items off the list make the list more realistic. This is a good shopping list for us.
Once you have an understanding of how many calories per day you get and the portions of each food group, you’ll want to consider how to break those up in your day. Monica shot this video describing how she uses the Phase I, Level I of the P90X meal plan during her day.
P90X-Nutrition-Phase I Shopping List (Click to download Word file)
In proteins for example, I removed ham slices, soy burgers, soy cheese, tofu, turkey bacon, veggie burgers, and veggie dogs. The simplified list was AWESOME for menu planning and for food shopping at the store. Family dinners have always been my biggest concern.
Obviously, our children are not restricted to portions like one carb and 2 proteins and 1 veggie.
A delicious Turkey meatball or Lean ground Beef meatball with a home made marinara and a cup of whole grain pasta. Makes a delicious meal for the whole family.
Corn tortillas and shredded chicken is another delicious meal for the family. Depending on your specific level and phase, you can add black beans and brown rice.
Stay tuned to get more menu ideas that are both completely P90X menu planner compliant as well as YUMMY!
P90X-Nutrition- Phase II Shopping List (Click to download Word file)
This is just the second phase of nutrition in the P90X meal plan.
P90X-Nutrition-Phase III Shopping List (Click to download Word file)
This is the last phase of nutrition in the P90X meal plan.
The P90X Meal Plan and Shakeology
One major development since we originally wrote this post was the introduction of Shakeology to the Beachbody line of supplements. Shakeology was not originally included in the P90X diet plan, because the diet plan predates Shakeology. Shakeology is hard to define in the P90X nutrition plan. At 140 calories with 15g of protein and 19g of carbs (Greenberry) or 17g of protein and 17g of carbs (Chocolate) it is not really a full serving of either. With Beachbody’s advice, we have characterized Shakeology as a snack. Note that if you add items into the shake and increase the calories, it can easily be a double snack, rather than a single snack. Most people like to add fruit to the greenberry and things like almond butter and bananas to the chocolate. If you do that, take a minute and look up the caloric and macronutrient (protein/fat/carb) values of your additions and track them accordingly. It’s really easy to change the macronutrient profile of Shakeology and make it a higher carb, higher glycemic index food if you add a bunch of orange juice, for example. We typically use almond butter and almond milk with the chocolate, which keeps the carb count down while adding extra healthy fats that keep the body satisfied longer. We have updated the Excel document below to reflect this change. If you have questions about how to track things in the P90X Nutrition Plan, please Contact Us.
If you are interested in giving Shakeology a try, check out our Shakeology Review and Free Samples post.
If you ever need any peer support or coaching with your P90X, please contact me HERE.
GRRRRR LET’S BRING IT!