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Can the P90X Work If I Don't Stick to the Meal Plan?

By Chris Sherwood ; Updated November 20, 2017

Spearheaded by fitness celebrity Tony Horton, P90X is an extreme workout routine aimed at burning fat and building muscle. The system incudes 12 DVD workouts ranging from 60 to 90 minutes, which are performed five to seven days a week depending on the schedule you choose.

The P90X system also includes a diet plan, which is recommended to help increase results. You can choose to follow this diet or create a healthy diet plan of your own. You can still see results with P90X if you choose not to use the meal plan, but it's important to understand that you still need to follow a healthy, calorie-controlled eating plan of your own.

P90X Diet Plan Basics

Three phases comprise the official P90X diet plan: Phase 1, Fat Shredder; Phase 2, Energy Booster; and Phase 3, Endurance Maximizer. The first phase focuses on protein, while the second plans a balanced mix of carbs and protein with a lower amount of fat. The final phase mimics the diet of an athlete, with an emphasis on complex carbs, lean proteins and a low amount of fat.

The benefit of using the official BeachBody plan is that it lays out the meals and grocery lists for you, so the thought process is minimal. Following the plan exactly means that you'll get the proper number of calories and breakdown of nutrients. Therefore, if you're following the exercise plan and avoiding extra snacking outside the meal plan, you're likely to see results from P90X.

Foods to Consider on Your Own

If the meal plan for P90X seems too intense or is full of meals that you don't like, you can take the basic concepts and create your own meal plan. However, when doing this, it's important to choose a wide range of foods that meet each of the different macronutrient needs your body requires.

Protein is an essential macronutrients on the P90X system due to the sheer amount of work your muscles perform during the program. You need protein to heal damaged muscle tissue and build up the strength of muscle fibers. Choose lean proteins like poultry or fish, as well as plant-based proteins like soy.

Carbohydrates are also essential as they provide your body's main source of energy. Choose complex carbohydrates that are packed with fiber and vitamins, such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables.

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Fats are also important for cell health and to help your body absorb certain vitamins. Choose foods higher in unsaturated fats like olive oil, and avoid foods with saturated fat, such as fatty meats, or trans fats, which are in many processed foods.

Determining Calories

Even if you're not doing the official meal plan for P90X, use the available calculations from the program to determine how much you should eat during on the program.

  1. Calculate your resting metabolic rate by multiplying your body weight in pounds by 10. 
  2. Calculate your daily activity burn by multiplying your RMR by 20%, or .20. 
  3. Add your RMR to your daily activity burn and add 600 to get your energy amount. 

If your energy amount is 1,800 to 2,399, aim for 1,800 calories a day. If it's 2,400 to 2,999, eat 2,400 calories each day, and if it's above 3,000, consume 3,000 calories per day.

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