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I’ve really enjoyed going through the new P90X2 Fitness Guide and Nutrition Guide.

They approach the workouts and nutrition from a different angle than what you might be familiar with after going through P90X or Insanity.  With both of those programs, you were put into a very rigid “boot camp” with a very specific workout schedule and a very specific meal plan.

With P90X2, Beachbody assumes you’ve learned a healthy perspective on exercise and nutrition, and they give you more liberty in how you want to “fuel your performance” (the nutrition guide) and “power your performance” (the fitness guide).  And I really LOVE it!

Let’s start with the Fitness Guide:

First, you can download the Beachbody P90X2 Worksheets in the “Download” tab at the top of the screen (or just click here for the direct link).  However, like I said last week, I find them a little lacking, and they have advertising along the bottom that takes up a bunch of room.  Our own Michael Roberts, the expert on worksheets, is in the process of compiling the ULTIMATE set of P90X2 worksheets, so check out his link at TeamRightNow P90X2 Ultimate Worksheets if you want the BETTER ones!!  Thanks Mike!

You will see 3 phases that constitute the program — Phase 1 is “Foundation”, Phase 2 is “Strength”, and Phase 3 is “Performance”.  The phases aren’t a set time (4 weeks each), but rather are a range (3-6 weeks each).  I think this is fantastic because you can tailor the amount of time you spend in each phase depending on your own strengths, weaknesses, and goals.  X2 gives you some flexibility to customize your experience and outcomes.  If you want to spend more time on strength building, you can do that.  If you want to spend more time on peak athletic performance, you can do that.

There are also Advanced Strength workouts (V Sculpt and X2 Chest / Shoulders / Tris) for those who wish to extend the “Strength” phase and do an additional 3-4 weeks of Phase 2 with different workouts.  I’m all over that!

There is a set “Recovery Week”, but you get to decide when you need it.  It’s not automatically included every 4th week.  Again, BB knows we’ve learned how to listen to our bodies and we can use the recovery when we need it.

There is less traditional cardio with P90X2.  Plyocide, which is on the schedule once per week, is the only true cardio routine.  There is still yoga every week, and TWO days that are “X2 Recovery & Mobility or Rest”.  This means that 3 days per week are “light” (yoga plus 2 rest/stretch days).  But that doesn’t mean you should just take it totally easy.  The idea is that with those light days you’ll have the energy to be active and enjoy your healthy fit bodies.  Get out and do something fun!  Mountain bike, ski, play basketball, go on a run, whatever.  If you are not into that stuff, you might want to get the heart rate up on Day 7 with a cardio workout of your choice (like an Insanity or an Asylum workout).  The beauty of this, though, is that we have earned the right to have some choice and flexibility.  Take advantage of it and enjoy your options!

And when you get to Phase 3 – “Performance” – you’ll find some insane workouts (PAP Lower and PAP Upper) that are a complete package of strength, cardio, core, and explosive power.  This final phase puts the foundation and strength together and helps you become an elite athlete.

Remember, you can make P90X2 what YOU want it to be, but here’s how I’m designing my first round of the Deuce (notice I’m spending longer in the Strength phase to take advantage of the Advanced workouts) =

Wayne’s P90X2 Calendar (Excel)

Wayne’s P90X2 Calendar (PDF)

A couple other cool things about the fitness guide is that in the back you’ll see some suggestions for creating a P90X2 / Asylum hybrid (oh momma!!).  My advice though — don’t do this first.  Do P90X2.  Save the hybrid for the next round.

Oh, and check out page 71.  Yeah, that’s Coach Wayne LOL!  You’ll also see some other familiar folks – Josh Spencer, Monica Parodi, and Sean Callahan.  Those before and after pics are important!  Be sure you document your progress!

Now let’s look at the Nutrition Guide:

The Nutrition Guide, much like the Fitness Guide, gives you more flexibility to fuel your body the way you want.  You’ll still find the calculations for determining your caloric needs (page 13).  You’ll still see 3 phases (page 7).  But you’ll also see more flexibility in how you eat and what you eat.  Again, it is assumed that by now you’ve learned not to eat junk food, you’ve learned what foods are and aren’t healthy, and you’ve developed good habits.  With this guide, you have options that are geared toward long-term, life-long nutritional approaches that coincide with an active, fit lifestyle.

The guide has a fat shredder plan but it is assumed that you might only use this at times that you need to cut some body fat, and not for more than 6 weeks.  It has an energy booster plan that is balanced in protein, carbs, and fats.  And it also has the endurance maximizer plan, which most people at the P90X2 level will want to be on long term. But like they say in the guide, if you are on higher carbs, you have to earn it by staying active to burn them.

You’ll also notice that the fat % is slightly higher, but the fats are all “healthy fats”.  Some bodies run better on higher fats (like 30%) and others run better on the carbs.  BB is allowing us to find out for ourselves what our body prefers best to fuel our performance.  Time to use our brains and dial it in for ourselves rather than just do what someone tells us to do!

There is an entire Vegan section, full of great food options.  There are also tons of great recipes.  You won’t see a set “meal plan” like you did in the P90X2 guide.  The basis is still the “portion plan” which has it’s limitations to be sure, but it provides a guideline for people at each phase and at each calorie level.  It even allows substitutions for the portion plan if someone is on a vegan or grain-free diet.

And then, for the real anal people (like me LOL!) they acknowledge the benefit of all-out nutrition tracking (they’ve probably been noticing that our results are better than everyone else’s because we have put in the effort to track our nutrition).  Page 114-115 outline the conversion of their phases into exact grams of each macro-nutrient.  :-).

In conclusion, I think the freedom that the Fitness Guide and Nutrition Guide allow us is AWESOME!  However, it might be confusing to a newbie because they need more structure.  For those needing the structure, stick to a more regimented nutrition plan like the original P90X guide or follow one of my sample diets.  But for those who already know how to fuel their bodies, enjoy the fact that you have more options.

And for those who don’t know how to approach the exact workout schedule since it’s not set in stone, either follow mine (linked above) or make your own of equal length phases (you can do 3 weeks of foundation followed by a recovery week, 3 weeks of strength followed by a recovery week, and 4 weeks of performance followed by a recovery week).

Hope these insights help!  Enjoy taking your fitness to new levels, while having more flexibility to enjoy an active, healthy lifestyle!

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