Undoubtedly, the part of P90X that we are fearfully anticipating most is the nutrition plan. Although Mike and I typically eat healthy, our meals tend to be pretty carb-heavy, as we mostly eat for endurance. A typical home cooked dinner for us would be whole wheat pasta covered with marinara sauce mixed with onions, mushrooms, peppers, and lean chicken sausage, oftentimes served with a salad. Another favorite, “chicken rice” is basically grilled chicken, a large quantity of stir fry veggies, brown rice, and some sort of sauce. For lunches, we eat sandwiches or salads (well I eat salads) and for breakfast, usually oatmeal or cereal with a half or whole banana. I mostly snack on fruit, almonds, string cheese, or carrots & hummus throughout the day.
Overall, we’re healthy. But, like normal people, we make exceptions. We love pad thai, pizza, and massive pollo asada burritos, which we probably enjoy two or more times a week. We both drink coffee daily and we have wine or beer 1-3 nights per week, but rarely more than 3 glasses. I’d say my main nutrition downfall is my addiction to sweets – namely, frozen yogurt, chocolate and 100-calorie pack cookies. Although I don’t have massive quantities of dessert daily, I have to have something sweet after most meals. For Mike, giving up coffee will be the hardest part. For me, it’s cutting back on dessert!Each of the three workout phases is accompanied by its own nutrition plan. Phase 1: Fat Shredder, is made up of primarily protein, a small amount of dairy and veggies, and a very, very small quantity of fruit, refined (whole wheat) carbohydrates, fats, and condiments. Each Phase has three levels and the level you fall under is dependent on your weight. Level 1 can eat 1,800-2,399 calories per day, Level 2 2,400-2,999, and Level 3 3,000 + calories per day.
Theplan assumes that you are a fairly fit person (ie you can pass the fit test), so the weight assumption is based on the fact that you have a good amount of muscle already. I read that if you don’t have a lot of muscle and your weight is mostly made of fat, you may want to cut back on the calories. I ended up in the upper end of Level 1 and Mike is in Level 3.
We decided to begin our P90X shopping at Costco so that we could get all the big things out of the way, and then tackle the regular grocery store for the add ons. Since Mike will be eating 9 servings of meat and I’ll be eating 5 servings per day, we needed 2.63 POUNDS of meat for each of us EACH DAY, 18.38 lbs per week! Based on the approved food lists, we purchased the following meat:
- 8 lbs of organic chicken
- 2 2.5 lb pork loins
- 1 large pre-cooked turkey breast
- 3 large, round slices of pre-cooked ham
- 12 cans of tuna
- 6 3oz frozen, seasoned salmon filets
We purchased two huge packages of egg whites, a massive frozen veggie package, a couple pounds of fresh asparagus, mustard, a block of cheddar cheese, two huge containers of cottage cheese (they only had 2% so we’ll only eat ¾ cup instead of 1 cup), and huge box of lettuce. Ultimately, we were surprised to have only spent $220. Hopefully all this meat lasts us a couple of weeks. We froze at least half of the meat.
Following the Costco run, I made a separate trip to the store to pick up things like fruit (since we only get 1 and 2 pieces a day, we didn’t want to buy in bulk), cashews, almonds, string cheese, low fat salad dressings, assorted fresh veggies for salads and omelets, feta cheese, sweet potatoes, and frozen fruit bars (one of the approved single-portion snacks to help satisfy the aforementioned sweet tooth!) We already had things at home like brown rice and whole wheat couscous which we plan to use as our lone carb of the day.
The plan is to chop up the precooked chicken and ham and store 6 and 3 oz servings in Tupperware for easy use. We’ll also put one ounce servings of almonds and cashews in plastic baggies. Ideally, we’ll shop each week on Sunday and get a lot of the food prepared in advance so that we’re not spending so much time during the week.
Phase one is undoubtedly the beast that will be most difficult to conquer. Mike and I are both physically fit and we are used to working out five or even six times a week, but we are not used to being on such a restrictive diet. Thankfully, the second phase incorporates more carbohydrates and less protein so it should be more affordable and more enjoyable. For now, I’m enjoying the idea of the challenge of cutting out some of my vices (ok all of them – caffeine, diet soda, sweets AND alcohol). I’ve given up diet coke for lent twice and survived…but the rest, never! Ask me in a week and I may be singing a different tune!
We did the fit test last night and did the first video (and ab ripper) this morning. More blogs to come soon!
Update: My P90X Nutrition Tracking Worksheet
I created an Excel spreadsheet to track our nutrition. Download the attachment below for an easy way to track portions and calories on the P90X Nutrition Plan! Calculate your daily caloric needs and use the tab labeled according to your level. The worksheet is made to track calories and portions for all 3 Phases and all 3 Levels.
Instructions: Download the file below and save it to your hard drive.
Next, open it in Excel (be sure to make sure you are viewing “all files” not just Excel files when looking for it). Directions inside.