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:
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 result 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. 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:
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 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):
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.
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!!
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!
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 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
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 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...
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.
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?
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).
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.
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.
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?
Did you only practice your pull ups on upper body days or did you do them everyday?
Thanks for the help!
I'm starting my second week of my second round of P90X2 and I'm at 8.5% BF and at 2400 Calories at 152 pounds. When can I start bulking I'm looking too little and affraid to drop anymore weight. I'm overall happy with my definition but I know it will look better with more muscle.
Bonkerz, you decide when you want to start bulking. If you are happy with your BF, then start adding calories. Are you still losing weight at 2400? Then slowly add 200 a week until you maintain. Then you can choose to add more if you want to gain weight.
Two weeks ago I was at 1900 calories and finsihed my first P90X2. Last week I went up to 2100 calories and lost 1% BF and 3 pounds. This week I have started 2400 calories. My overall goal is to get to about 175 -180 lbs and cut. I know i have a way to go but when do I switch to higher calories and 30p/50c/20f and what surplus should I do to gain lean muscle?
Bonkerz, see what 2400 for your weight. If you maintain weight, then you can move up 200 calories a week until you are about 500-600 over on calories. That should allow for some lean gains. But it us to you when you want to start going for mass. Your BF will stop decreasing as you move into a deficit.
Am trying to dial into nutrition 100% to get to the next level. Have been doing a hybrid p90x/insanity/body beast to co inside with my 5-a-side football/mountain biking and wanting to start wing chun in the near future. My question is on a fat shredder/calorie deficit, is it better to run with 30/50/20 (Carb/Prot/Fat) or stick with 40/40/20? Is it over the course of the day these macros need to be met or every meal/snack? I could do with some recipes where the calculations are easy for surplus/deficit.... Any input would be much appreciated
peterrogers15 Best is 50P/30C/20F, that is actual Fat Shredder percentages. Now with your extra work, the added carbs of 40/40/20 might not be a bad idea. I think you will run out of steam pretty quickly with the bonus 5-on-5 and mtn biking. You just want to hit those macros by the end of the day, it doesn't have to be balanced on each meal.
I've adjusted my calories and macros and am faced with a choice. I'm doing BodyBeast while I lean down a couple more % points. Should I have my larger carb meal (oatmeal/raisins) for breakfast (approximately 3-4 hours pre-workout) or should I have it for lunch after workout (on top of my R&R)? I will be swapping the meal with egg whites (one for breakfast, one for lunch, weights in between).
Ron McGowan I would try to keep your carbs pre and post workout. They can even be closer than 3 to 4 hours, if that's an option. You'll get plenty from the R&R after your workout. Doing Body Beast on a deficit can get you really lean! Keep it up!
Lee, I pick my macro goals based on my physical goals. If I need to cut, I go back to fat shredder. To maintain, I stick with 40-50% carbs.
Coach, did you stay on fat shredder for your entire first round of P90X? Did you start energy boasted for round 2?
Lee, I was at 1900 for the entire first round. I moved from Fat Shredder to Energy Booster in phase 3, but with the same deficit.
Coach, What is the ideal body fat % for women? Where they begin to show abs and a toned physique? Thanks!
Lee, sub 14-15% is getting lean. Just like for guys, it varies person to person. Some people will have visible abs sooner than others.
I'm 5'5" (male) and weigh 245 lbs. Based on this article I should strive for 1500 calories a day; however the teamRipped Calculator says 2000 calories (based on a 1500 calorie deficit). I know that my height/weight ratio throws off the calculations :) but which one should I follow?
Rafdompa Follow the calculator. You will still need more fuel than 1500. But track your nutrition, use MFP (www.teamripped.com/myfitnesspal-set-up), and BRING IT!
Coach, What are some good books or even mags that you've found on nutrition that I could pick up?...I've read a lot of your material and you've really given me a thirst for more.
Lee, a lot is from research I do online. A good researcher/athlete to look into is Layne Norton. He has a lot on nutrition and is really knowledgeable.
CoachWayne Thanks...Another question.. I've been on the 1700 calorie fat shredder and went from 177 to 171 in about 8 or 9days...then this morning I weighted in a 173...it went up? Weird...I'm doing p90x since I starting tracking (I'm on day 11- and bringin' it!) and there's only two things I can think of that maybe has caused the up in weight: 1. Some days I feel like I'm eating just to crunch in my numbers even if I'm not hungry...is this bad (should I lower my caloric intake)? 2. Everyday, one of my snacks are 2oz of Perky jerky...I'm I retaining some water due to high sodium? Should I still stay with the 1700 and just ignore the slight fluctuation?..do I eat to hit my numbers even when I'm not hungry...I feel like I'm stuffing?
Lee, I would think that is it fluid fluctuations. I wouldn't worry about it. Track BF%. That will tell you the whole story.
I just measured my body fat % with a caliper. It came up to 9%. I thought it would have been more around 10-11% than that. My goal is 8%. I know it is time to switch to energy booster. I just have two questions. My next week is a recovery week, should I wait to go up after that week? Also Myfitnesspal says my maintaining weight is 2160 calories a day for me(31 yr old, 161 lbs). Would 2600 calories be right for me with added exercise? Also is my energy booster phase a long phase or will I see results after a month or two? Thanks coach. God bless you brother!
marc777 Check out: www.teamripped.com/calorie-calculator and use 0 for a deficit. I would switch after your recovery week and only move up 200-300 calories a week. Nice work! Keep it dialed it and smash that goal!
Hi Coach Wayne,
Total newbie here. I'm confused by your women "less than 5’6″ = 1200 – 1400 per day" recommendation. I'm a female at 5'3'', weigh 112 lbs with 30% body fat. I think I'm what's called "skinny fat" (petite, but weak, unfit, jiggly). I want to bring my body fat down to 21-25%, so I know I need to be on Fat Shredder, but I don't want to lose weight. In fact, I'd like to gain lean muscle weight and strength while shedding fat to lose the jiggle.
I did the P90x Nutrition Plan formula (involves resting metabolic rate, daily activity burn numbers) to calculate my "daily energy amount", which tells me I should be at a Level 1 at 1,800 cal/day. Are you calculating something different than "daily energy amount"? I'm also not sure about the calorie deficit piece.
I'm trying to set my goals in MyFitnessPal and your advice would be most appreciated!
peaceEZ I am taking a deficit from those goals. You will still lose weight, but it will be BF. You will gain mass at the same time when you add in weight training, but if you want to get your BF% down... it will involve losing weight. If you try to do both at the same time (lose BF and gain mass) you are in for a long, slow process. I would run a deficit (even a small one, maybe 1400) and do Fat Shredder percentages at least for the first phase. See what happens. I imagine you will lose a couple pounds, but you will gain a lot of strength and see the difference in BF.
Coach, I'm in a bit of a bind here...I started a new job which is very physical but it's something that fits me perfect. I was eating 3200 cals(30p/50c/20f) and was steadily gaining about 1 lb a week. Now with my new job I upped it to 3400 cals at the same percentage and I LOST 1 lb the last 2 weeks. I was thinking jumping to about 3800 but that astronimically shoots my cholesterol up eating lean chicken. Is 25/55/20 a breakdown I'll still gain lean muscle on? It seems like its a lot of cals but I'm really trying to bulk up clean. Sorry for the novel...
zillmerm Definitely, maintain that level of protein (# of grams) and that will create a smaller percentage. Even think about going to 25% fat. You will have plenty of protein.
Coach, I'm in a bit of a bind here...I started a new job which is very physical but it's something that fits me perfect. I was eating 3200 cals(30p/50c/20f) and was steadily gaining about 1 lb a week. Now with my new job I upped it to 3400 cals at the same percentage and I LOST 1 lb the last 2 weeks. I was thinking jumping to about 3800 but that astronimically shoots my cholesterol up eating lean chicken. Is 25/55/20 a breakdown I'll still gain lean muscle on? It seems like its a lot of cals but I'm really trying to bulk up clean. Sorry for the novel.
My Fitness Pal is saying I need 1,640 calories a day to go from 177.4 to 160 lbs (not even sure if I need to be at 160, that what charts say that I should weight according to my height, BUT, I do have body fat to lose, this I know)...Is this correct, it seems really low?
Lee, 1640 being 177 is not too big of deficit. Run Fat Shredder percentages and you should be great!
CoachWayne Doesn't My Fitness Pal already calculate this to..or do I have to customize it to those percentages? It's saying my daily percentages are 226 carbs, 55 fat, 62 protein with the 1640 calories.