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Dialing it in!

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 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 dialed in 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 dial it in?  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’s my rules of thumb:

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FAT SHREDDER

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:

MEN=

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.

WOMEN =

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 result in rapid body fat loss, which is what we are after in this stage.

**************************

ENERGY BOOSTER

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.  I was 8% body fat at the end of round 1 and 5.5% at the end of round 2 while staying the same weight.  My recommendations for those needing a phase 2 energy booster diet are:

MEN =

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.

WOMEN =

5’6 and above = 1400 – 1600 per day.

less than 5’6″ = 1200 – 1400 per day.

*****************************

ENDURANCE MAXIMIZER

If you are already shredded (whether that’s muscular and shredded, or just plain skinny LOL), 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 the X, 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):

MEN =

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.

WOMEN =

5’6 and above = 1800 – 2000 per day.

less than 5’6″ = 1600 – 1800 per day.

*******************************

NUTRITION TRACKING =

As part of dialing in the diet, it’s important to learn to track what you eat.  I’ve written about Nutrition Tracking several times (how to determine the % of protein / carbs/ fat you are eating each day).  I’ve also got my sample diets in the “nutrition zone” tab for each of the above phases of the diet.  Feel free to follow them exactly, make substitutions that still get you to the proper %, or make your own diet.  As long as you are hitting the correct %, with the correct total calories, and eating HEALTHY foods, you will see AWESOME results!

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

“The Nutrition Guide” = http://teamripped.com/p90x-nutrition-guide

“Nutrition Tracking” = http://teamripped.com/nutrition-tracking

“Round 1 Diet” = http://teamripped.com/p90x-round-1-nutrition

“1900 Cal Fat Shredder Diet” = http://teamripped.com/my-nutritionsupplements/my-sample-diet

“3000 Cal Phase 2 Energy Booster Diet” = http://teamripped.com/my-nutritionsupplements/my-3200-calorie-diet

“Bulking Phase 3 Diet” = http://teamripped.com/my-nutritionsupplements/my-bulking-diet

Some ideas for “Fat Shredder Foods” = http://teamripped.com/fat-shredder-foods

Some ideas for “Healthy Snacks” = http://teamripped.com/snacking-well

Tips for “Eating Out” = http://teamripped.com/how-to-eat-out

How to eat often by “Timing Meals” = http://teamripped.com/timing-meals

Why “Cheat Meals” will kill your progress = http://teamripped.com/cheat-meal-or-not-p90x

**********************

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!!

Related Posts:

315 comments
Alan
Alan

Hi coach!!! What happens if i eat 3000-3500 calories with 50p/30c/20f; and "Perfect Storm" round????? build muscle and lose fat at the same time??? low energy???

Thanks ;)

hesham45
hesham45

Hi CoachWayne, I am currently doing body beast, I've finished many rounds of P90X and asylum volume 2 and i am quite shredded (probably below 8% BF) so I am happy with my BF results.

Here is the problem, you know how hard it is to drop to below 8% so I am quite afraid that I'd mess up this BF results. I want to gain muscle mass but I don't know if going to my calorie surpass (3000 cals) would increase BF or just pure muscles.

The problem also lies that I can't eat all those cals of just clean tier 1 and 2 foods. That would be a very expensive strategy in my country. 

So the question is: do you suggest that I hit my surpass goals even with 50% "super clean food", 40% "semi-clean" and 10% "well, almost junk food (tier 4)", or just stick to my current intake of 2100 cals but getting clean as possible? remember my goal is to get as much muscle mass without getting higher in BF than 8%. Thanks coach!

agua_asimo
agua_asimo

also coach im just getting started on p90x i dont have alot of fat body to shreed but instead i want to gain muscle especially on my legs is it ok to star on the energy booster plan on the calculator it says i must be eating  1325 cal per day with a 600 cal deficit would that be ok im 5.5 and weight 110.04

agua_asimo
agua_asimo

hi coach i got my mom into doing p 90x she weights 185 and shes like 5.3 height , i have a real big question on this article it says she should be on a 1000-1200 calorie diet but when i dial in her wait at the calorie calculator with a 1100 deficit it says she must be eating 1720 calories wich one would work the best thanks coach

RichieSt
RichieSt

Hi Coach, I am dong a p90x/insanity hybrid. It is pretty intense. I am 5'5 140 not sure about body fast percentage but not as low as i want but not fat either.

I am taking in 1700 calories which i got from you calculator and running a 50p/30c/20f proportion for fat burning. 

  the schedule is pretty intense i took in off of the beach body website which recently posted the hybrid. I love it, lots of cardio , keeps the training days, yoga and the hardest insanity days basically.

   My issue is, that im cutting all my caffeine intake cause it causes me anxiety which is a good thing to cut anyway. But with the diet im running and the workout i feel like im anxious and my metabolism is flying and im light headed and getting anxious and its making it difficult for me to stick to it. I wake up at 3:30 AM and workout at 4AM. Then work 8-3:30 as plumber for the city.

  I would like your help so i can figure this out and stop messing up my eating, eliminate the caffeine and be healthy not just try and look good. 

  I really like the lean ripped look, that's my goal, but with some bulk if possible. 

brittlesnc
brittlesnc

Hi Coach Wayne,


Real quick question...


On the fat shredder plan is it okay to have the macros be 45p/40c/15f with a 1000-calorie deficit?


I'm a woman 5'6" woman whose been on a 1200-calorie diet using the 50p/30c/20f for 4 months (although for the last 1 month it's been closer to 50p/35c/15f ratio)...I've gotten good results thus far but I would really like to reduce my protein intake and increase my carb intake and still get the same good results...


Would 45p/40c/15f allow me to still get the same good and fast results or do I really need to keep protein closer to 50%?

mschlafer
mschlafer

Hello Coach Wayne!  I'm starting p90x3 later this week and while researching the program, I came across this website.  I'm wanting to loose body fat.  I'm 5'9'' and female and according to your chart, I should consume between 1200 and 1400 calories.  On top of the p90x3 program, I will be doing an hour a day of cardio at the gym during spin class.  Should I consume more calories since I'll be doing more than the p90x3 workouts?  I want the best results I can get, but don't want to hinder them by not eating enough.  Thank you so much for your input!

skjay68
skjay68

Hey coach, so I just finished Beast with no Cardio and have some fat to lose without losing too much muscle, happy to run fat shredder but probably not a huge deficit,  I dropped down from 3200 to 2300 with not great fat loss during the Beast phase. I weigh 195 now with 14% BF @ 5ft 10 and my aim is to be cira 10% in a month. What would you recommend, my maintenance is 2944.


Thanks

KenBrennan
KenBrennan

Coach,

I have finished BODY BEAST and bulked up to 177 lbs with 12% bf. I ready to start P90X3 to cut back down but I don't want to lose my weight that I have gained. What kind of marcos do yo think I should  use. It has taken me two rounds of the BEAST to get this big. I don't sleep more than 5 hours a day and have to eat more because of it.

RichieSt
RichieSt

Thanks Coach, I watch your you tube video once a month at least. Your great Inspiration!

RichieSt
RichieSt

Hey Coach, I have been on a 1200 calorie diet at 50,30,20. I am 5'6 132 pnds. I also do manual labor. I am starting you p90x/Insanity hybrid. That diet has me feeling very tired and fatigued even mentally . I know i should be bringing in 1500 calories but hate that bloated feeling from the extra calories and water I have been adding to be healthy as opposed to being lean. It is bringing me down a little but I know its the right decision. I lost 70 ponds over the last 6 years and like to be extremely lean so i am having difficulty with what I know is the correct water and increase calories for the day causes that bigger bloated feeling. 

 I have a issue quitting my one cup of coffee a day but I load it with the fattening french vanilla coffee mate creamer which is horrible. any suggestions on how to come of coffee with out the energy crash also. Thank you . Sorry for the numerous questions, just trying to do it properly as opposed to rushing it and crash dieting unhealthily which I have been doing which has been leading to a lot of binging on crappy food. 

May
May

Hey coach . 

Is there any way to track down exactly how many calories you burn a day ? like, wearing a garmin watch all day long or something ? I seriously doubt i burn the amount of calories the calculator says, and im afraid im going for a big deficit ..

Thx, May.

StevenW
StevenW

Coach I hope I made sense below any advice for starting my diet would be greatly appreciated.

StevenW
StevenW

Hi Coach,

First off I'm glad I found your website you have such great information that has helped me a lot. My question is with my starting point. I will be starting p90x this Monday and I want to bulk but I really don't wanna start out eating over 3000 calories. I would like to start building strength and increase my calories gradually another words learn where my calorie maintenance is then gradually increase my calorie intake. Should I start with fat shredder with small deficit for a couple weeks then move to energy booster and take in my maintenance then transition to endurance maximizer

NicoleF
NicoleF

Hey Coach Wayne!

I am female, 5'0", and weigh 150lb.  My goal weight is 125lb.  I am currently in week 4 of Insanity.  I have not had any weight loss yet on the scale.  I feel like my clothes are a bit looser though.  I have been following 1200-1400 cals on the fat shredder and my macors have been on target with 50p/30c/20f.  I am really wanting to see some weight loss though.  Do you think I should drop my calorie intake to more of a deficit and try 1000cals/day?  What do you think?  Thank you for your help.

Nicole F.

playtowin
playtowin

Hi Wayne! I know someone who did P90x that lost a ton of fat and got ripped but said they ate 3000 calories a day. He's about 6'0 like me and had a good amount of fat. Is this possible?

Also, any tips on accelerating fat loss so I can see definition? Thanks!

brannonws
brannonws

Hey Coach Wayne! Question from a "skinny guy." I am 5'11, 172, and have 6-7% BF. I am in my 2nd week of P90X, and in my research have found all kinds of information on how to lose weight when you start the program. But my goal with P90X is not weight loss. I'd like to get a more muscular/lean look (I am already skinny as it is), not necessarily a mass gain/bulk look, if that makes sense. Any recommendations specifically on where to begin as far as nutrition goes? In this article, I am guessing I am somewhere between energy booster/endurance maximizer, but am not sure if I should be eating around maintenance, eating a surplus, eating more protein or more carbs, etc. Any help appreciated! 

skjay68
skjay68

 @CoachWayne Hey Coach, I have returned to this post as I seem to have messed up this week in my quest to reach my caloric numbers, BF up by 2% (11.2) but I know what to do (at least I think I do).  I've just finished week 3 of Round 2 P90x/1 on1/Insanity hybrid and I've noticed that I'm not burning anywhere near what I used to burn during Round 1 (less fat to burn I get that).  Should I be basing my caloric need on 600 calories burned therefore 2400 plus or should I adjust as required.  I am dialing back to 2490 from 2796 from today to see where I am this time next week.  I was going to Beast up but I can see this won't be a good idea (as advised by you) until I find my maintenance (peer pressure, apparently I'm too skinny).  Sadly I'm going to have to park Beast until I have truly found maintenance.  As an aside, I'm actually still losing weight but gained BF which I didn't think was possible..

 

I'd really appreciate your advise on this pls although I believe the info is all here,it would help to get confirmation I'm on the right track though .

 

Have a blessed Sunday

Rhysb
Rhysb

Hey coach! Quick question about my diet here. I noticed in a lot of your sample diets there are quite a few protein and other supplements that you used to reach your macro goals.  Is it ok if I use whole food to reach mine?  For instance is 27 oz of chicken too much per day?

Garzao
Garzao

Coach Wayne. I am a 5' 11" male weighing at around 198 I'm doing fat shredder but I can barely eat over 1200 calories. Is that too little? I also have almost no upper body strength going into my third week of p90x. I struggle with pulls ups and such. What should I do?

CoachWayne
CoachWayne moderator

@hesham45 You can totally mix in foods you wouldn't normally eat when you are on a surplus. If you are maintaining on 2100, then 3000 would be a huge jump. I would add 100 a week until you hit 2600 to start. Then hold at 2600 and see what you weight does. You will add some BF but you can lose it again too. If you worry too much about doing it super lean, then you will really hurt your muscle gains. Just aim for about 1 lb a week and lift heavy!

CoachWayne
CoachWayne moderator

@agua_asimo I think 1700 is a great target to start at. Dial that in with Fat Shredder and you will be good to go! Even 1600 is fine too. She just needs to stay consistent and the lbs will drop off!

CoachWayne
CoachWayne moderator

@RichieSt If you are already leaner and feeling light headed, I would up your calories. Start by going to 1900 and stay there for 1-2 weeks. Record your starting BF and weight and see what changes. I bet you can get your calories up and still cut BF. Nice work man! That is a tough hybrid!

CoachWayne
CoachWayne moderator

That is a fine plan. You will still have great results. Even 40/40/20 is a good option. Stay dialed in and congrats on the results so far!

CoachWayne
CoachWayne moderator

Honestly, I would drop the spin class and just focus on X3. It's plenty for amazing results. You don't need tons of cardio. If you are going to keep doing the class, I would start at 1600 and fat shredder. Track everything! Glad to have you and make sure you officially join the team to get fully plugged in!

CoachWayne
CoachWayne moderator

@skjay68  I think 2400 would be good then. 4 weeks of Beast phase will start some fat loss, but you really need more to keep it coming off. I would just keep locked in at 2300-2400 and chip it away. Track everything and make it count. Great work!!!

CoachWayne
CoachWayne moderator

@KenBrennan Run a small deficit to slowly lose BF while maintaining mass. Your overall weight may go down a bit, but you will save all your muscle. Do you have a good feel for your maintenance needs?


Macro-wise, I would shoot for 40/40/20 if you are at a small deficit. Any bigger, I would bump protein to help save muscle (45/35/20). Just track it well and go slowly (1/2# a week loss).

CoachWayne
CoachWayne moderator

@RichieSt I would just go to black coffee. Suck it up for a few days and you will still get your coffee and it will actually be good for you then (www.teamripped.com/coffee).

As for your calorie goal, move to 1500 and give it a few weeks. Any bloating will go down and you should have a good bit more energy. It is well worth the week of feeling bloated to be able to make it through work better. 

CoachWayne
CoachWayne moderator

@StevenW If you are starting with maintenance and then above, you won't lose BF, or in other words, get ripped. You have to lose BF to get ripped. Whatever you pick is fine. Just know your goals. (See: www.teamripped.com/big-ripped-or-small-ripped/ )

Otherwise to find your maintenance need, check out: www.teamripped.com/finding-your-maintenance-calorie-needs/ 

CoachWayne
CoachWayne moderator

@NicoleF No I would stay on it. That is plenty of a deficit and you are having results. Having your clothes fit better is a metric. I would stick to 1200 and try not to deviate at all. But you are doing great!  Keep it up!

NicoleF
NicoleF

I do use MFP and I have shakeology once a day as well!

CoachWayne
CoachWayne moderator

@playtowin If they have a high metabolic rate, they could lose at 3000. Depends on a lot of personal factors (weight, intensity, metabolic rate, etc). Check out: www.teamripped.com/calorie-calculator and use at least a 600 calorie deficit. Track all your food! No cheating. And stick with Fat Shredder.

CoachWayne
CoachWayne moderator

 @brannonws I would start by finding your maintenance. It's may take a few weeks, but then you can add calories to build at any rate you wish. Check out: www.teamripped.com/finding-your-maintenance-calorie-needs 

CoachWayne
CoachWayne moderator

 @skjay68 Those measurements seem a little off to me. I would track it closely this week. Finding maintenance is a lot of trial and error and does take time. But I wouldn't suspect that you'd lose lean mass from that hybrid. Keep working at it and lifting heavy when you lift. Check out (if you haven't): www.teamripped.com/finding-your-maintenance-calorie-needs

CoachWayne
CoachWayne moderator

 @Rhysb If you can eat it all and afford it, go for it! That is a lot of chicken though. I might try to vary your protein source (turkey, lean pork, ham, eggs, fish, lean beef, etc). 

brittlesnc
brittlesnc

@CoachWayne Thanks for your quick response Coach :)


So as long as I stay at my calorie deficit of 1200-calorie I could actually switch to 40/40/20 and still lose about 1.5 - 2 pounds per week like I have thus far or would my rate of weight loss slow down?


If it turns out that I'd still lose at the same rate I'd even like to go 40p/45c/15f since I really like carbs and would rather use a little of my fat budget for more carb....

mschlafer
mschlafer

@CoachWayne  Wow!  You are amazing.  I honestly didn't expect you to reply so soon.  I love spin so I'd like to continue it.  So, I will take your advise and do 1600 calories fat shredder on the days I add spin and do 1400 calorie and fat shredder on the days I only do X3.  How does that sound?

skjay68
skjay68

@CoachWayne @skjay68  I'm actually running 2100 at 45/35/20, started on Monday so we'll see. I'm just not going to do too much Cardio, Beast Total Body and perhaps Insanity Cardio power & resistance. What are your thoughts on those and my macros, I expect to be about 189 by the time I'm done just not gaunt

skjay68
skjay68

 @CoachWayne Hey coach, thanks for the advice, the numbers shocked me as well but I'm not stressed since I know what to do, really looking forward to block 2 of your round 2 hybrid, some of my favs in there.  I did go back to the post you referenced and left you a post there in fact, that's why I came back to "dialing it in" to make sure I was on track.  I now appreciate how much diligence is required to truly find my maintenance calories

Thanks for your continued support and this wonderful site, not sure I have found a better resource yet and I use loads.

 

PS:  What do you think of L-Carnitine, I was going to use it as well as DAA, I guess a little test boost won't hurt...

Rhysb
Rhysb

 @CoachWayneAlright awesome!  Also, is there any chance you could take a look at my food diary on mfp?  I think Im on point with my macros and im getting my cals as low as I can without crashing during my workouts.  just wondering if you had any other advice on my diet like whether I should spread my nutrients out differently or anything. In the snacks portion i wasnt sure how to divide them between am snacks and pm snacks so I just put down everything I will eat for my whole day.

Garzao
Garzao

Did you only practice your pull ups on upper body days or did you do them everyday?

 

Thanks for the help!

CoachWayne
CoachWayne moderator

@brittlesnc And sorry for the slow reply. Camp was not letting me see comments.

CoachWayne
CoachWayne moderator

@brittlesnc You should still lose close to the same amount. The adding protein is there to maintain and build muscle on a deficit. Even 45/40/15 would be better and still give you more carbs. 

CoachWayne
CoachWayne moderator

Sounds like a great plan. Even keeping the spinning class to 3x a week would help. You just want to make sure you have time to recover from the X3 workouts. Bring it!

CoachWayne
CoachWayne moderator

 @skjay68 I don't have much experience with L-Carnitine but DAA has work well for me. Just research it. A great source is www.examine.com for supp data and research.

CoachWayne
CoachWayne moderator

 @Rhysb Sure thing. Send me an email with you screenname and make sure your diary is set to public. I can gladly take a look. 

CoachWayne
CoachWayne moderator

 @Garzao Only on back days as called for by the program. 

brittlesnc
brittlesnc

@CoachWayne @brittlesnc Thanks so much for your response Coach!


And no need to apologize...even though it was a technical issue I know you have a very full life outside of Team Ripped ;)


Again thanks for your response and everything you do for me and everyone else who comes to teamripped.com for great info :)