pages bg right
Posted by Barry on Feb 23, 2012

Getting Nutrition Right

What phase of the nutrition should I start with?  When should I switch to the next phase?  At 30 days?  After 1 round?  How many calories should I aim for?

There are so many questions that come to a person’s mind when going through P90X or any of the Beachbody programs about the nutrition, and they are GREAT questions.  As you know, nutrition is 80% of the results.  When you are busting your tail on these workouts, you need to have a nutrition plan that is dialed in to help your body produce the results you are working to achieve.  Workouts alone won’t do it.  You need a focused nutrition plan!  And it will be different for every one of us because at any point, we are different people with different goals and our bodies are different.

So is it hopeless to figure out how to get a successful nutrition plan?  Of course not!  I’m going to give you the basic rules of thumb for where you want to be on your nutrition based on your height, your gender, and your goals (shed body fat, maintain weight but get stronger, or build mass).  These rules of thumb will need to be experimented with and tweaked for each of you based on how your body responds, but this will get you very close to where you need to be.

Here are the rules of thumb:



If you are MORE than 2% away from your body fat goal, you need to be on a fat shredder diet.  That means 50% protein, 30% carbs, 20% fat.  Let’s say your goal is 8% body fat — as long as you are over 10% body fat you will stay on fat shredder (whether that takes 1 month or 6 months).  We want to shed fat fast until we get very close to our goal before switching to an energy booster phase 2 diet.  You also need to be running a good deficit of calories (taking in less than you burn in a day).  As for the total number of calories, these are my recommendations:


6′ and above = 1900-2200 cals per day.

5’6 – 5’11″ = 1700-1900 cals per day.

less than 5’6″ = 1500 cals per day.


5’6 and above = 1200-1400 per day.

less than 5’6″ = 1000-1200 per day.

Running the fat shredder at these calorie totals will results in rapid body fat loss, which is what we are after in this stage.



If you are within 2% of your ideal body fat, you need to be on a phase 2 diet (40/40/20) that is close to your maintenance calorie level.  During this type of diet, the main goal is a slow reduction of body fat but a lot of energy for getting stronger and building muscle.  This is where you see fine tuning of your results like I did in my round 2. My recommendations for those needing a phase 2 energy booster diet are:


6′ and above = 3,000 cals per day.

5’6″ – 5’11″ = 2600-2800 cals per day.

less than 5’6″ = 2200 – 2400 cals per day.


5’6 and above = 1400 – 1600 per day.

less than 5’6″ = 1200 – 1400 per day.



If you are already shredded (whether that’s muscular and shredded, or just plain skinny), then it’s time to build MUSCLE!!  (But NO, you can’t start bulking if you still have body fat to lose!  You must first get the body fat where you want it using the fat shredder diet or energy booster diet before you start bulking up).  For a muscle building diet, you need a lot of carbs to give you tons of energy and fuel the muscles to the max.  You should shoot for 50-60% carbs, 20-30% protein, and 20% fat.  But make sure those carbs are GOOD carbs!  Fruits, veggies, grains, wheats, oats, etc.  And you need to take in a calorie SURPLUS to help you gain weight, but you want to monitor your weight closely to be sure you are at a steady pace of about 1 lb per week.  If you are gaining more than that, it will be body fat which you don’t want.  In a round of P90X, you should be able to put on 13 lbs of muscle without increasing your body fat much at all if you do it 1 lb per week.  Here’s my guidelines for total calories on a bulking diet (but you’ll need to adjust based on how fast you are / aren’t gaining weight each week):


6′ and above = 3,600 cals per day.

5’6″ – 5’11″ = 3000 – 3200 cals per day.

less than 5’6″ = 2800 – 3000 cals per day.


5’6 and above = 1800 – 2000 per day.

less than 5’6″ = 1600 – 1800 per day.



As part of “getting it right” in the diet, it’s important to learn to track what you eat.  As long as you are hitting the correct %, with the correct total calories, and eating HEALTHY foods, you will see AWESOME results!  I personally use MyFitnessPal on my android phone to track my nutrition.  It is quick and easy and lets you build a great data base.  It also lets me just scan the nutrition labels in.  You can also just use their website

Here’s some links to articles I’ve written about my diets and how to track:

“P90X Nutrition” =

“The Transition Diet” =

“Questions and Answers” =

“Dishes for P90X Meals” =

“What I Ate Round 1” =

“Revisiting Nutrition” =


These are the guidelines.  Everyone will need to fine tune it for their own bodies a bit, but this will give you a GREAT place to start.  It takes effort, but hey, so do the workouts.  And you would be foolish to work so hard on the workouts and then neglect proper nutrition to allow your body to transform!!

 Want to Transform Your Body?

Click Here

Post a Comment