I gotta tell ya, the creators of the workouts in P90X3 are geniuses. Tony Horton and his crew really hit the nail on the head with this one. But let’s be honest, you are not going to find a lot of information and guidance regarding macronutrients in P90X3 Nutrition Plan. Much of the nutrition information we learned in P90X and P90X2 are not touched on in P90X3 Nutrition Plan. This is probably the only drawback I have found with this program so far, so I created a P90X3 Calculator. But I get to that in a minute.
In P90X, there was a great deal of information about macronutrients and the different “phases”, as well as a pretty robust “portion plan” that you could follow as an alternative. Frankly, I am not a fan of the portion plan in P90X, as there was too large a margin of error regarding how you could calculate some of the portions if you use nutrition tracking as the baseline of how you eat.
P90X2 seemed to shift away from the portion plan with focus on meals and tracking our calories and macros. That really seemed to work best for me and a lot of folks.
However, P90X3 seemed to revert back to the portion plan, though they have improved on it quite a bit. This is a pleasant surprise. If you think about it, it does make sense. P90X3 is geared to help you save time. Let’s face it, there is a lot crammed into that 30 minute window which is perfect for the person on the go. With that same mindset, the portion plan is more beneficial for the person on the go as well. Typically, a busy person who can barely fit 30 minutes of working out in a day probably doesn’t have time to prepare meals and track their eating. Spacing out individual portions based on the P90X3 Nutrition Plan is the perfect complement, and answers the question: How do I prepare my meals and what should I eat? Just spend few bucks on a cheap food scale and some Tupperware containers, divvy out your portions and you are good to go. One of my team members drives a truck for 14 hours a day, so the way this portion plan is laid out, just might be perfect for him. With a little equipment to heat some food up (convenience stores have microwave ovens and the “Lunch Box Oven” would be great for this too) the nutrition plan in P90X3 would be perfect, as it takes out so much of the guess work.
This new portion plan is great for the busy bodies, frequent travelers, or those who just don’t have the time and resources for proper meal planning. At the same time it kind of leaves those of us who like to “dial it in” more accurately…a little out in the cold. But realistically, you can’t make everybody happy. One of the things I love most about Beachbody is the fact that they do not take the cookie-cutter approach to their programs. They are specific, built for their respective target audience and are set up to deliver results.
That said, have no fear…we have a solution. There is a proven method that has been around for years, and is the gold standard for cutting fat and building muscle. It is the tried and true formula that helped put Beachbody on the map. The original P90X nutrition guideline is the best, hands down. I recommend it with P90X2, TurboFire, FocusT25, INSANITY and the others. No matter what program you are using (Body Beast MIGHT be the only real exception), if you follow the three nutrition phases of P90X, you will maximize your results.
My recommendation, as old as it may sound, is still to start off with the Fat Shredder until you get close to your body fat goal. My coach still recommends it, and I am with him 100%.
Depending on your size, you could start with anywhere from a 500 calorie deficit, to a 1500 calorie deficit. Keep in mind, for every 500 calorie deficit a day, you stand to lose one pound per week. So, a 1000 calorie deficit a day equals a realistic potential for losing 2lbs a week. But the key is take make sure we optimze the fat loss, and minimze the muscles loss, which is why the ratios are so important. We don’t want to be counterproductive.
This begs the question “how much of a deficit should I run?” Well, that is the million dollar question. A person who is 250lbs could easily do well with a 1000 or even a 1500 calorie deficit and still have plenty of energy to give it all during his workout. However, if you are a smaller/shorting person weighing around 130 lbs and running a 1500 calorie deficit, you would be hard pressed having enough energy to tie your shoes, and your body is probably burning a lot of muscle for energy,
which is counterproductive for our goals.
When running a calorie deficit, my suggestion is to START based on this:
Under 150lbs – 500 calorie deficit
150 to 225lbs – 1000 calorie deficit
Over 225lbs – 1500 calorie deficit
NOTE: Keep in mind, this is a BASELINE to START with and only a suggestion to gage your starting point. More than likely you will need to modify as you go, until you find what is right for you. This is also not something you will do for maintenance. Your maintenance calculations would essentially be your calorie levels to maintain your current weight. In other words, a 0 deficit/surplus.
Give these recommendations a chance for at least a week, and make small adjustments as necessary. For example, if you find you are lacking energy during your workouts and/or throughout the day, you might want to lower your deficit a bit. Keep in mind, you are probably going to feel tired, just from adjusting to the workouts and the way you eat, but you still should have enough energy to give it your best during your workouts. On the flip side, if you find you still have plenty of energy through the day, go ahead and increase your deficit a bit. You will know if you are going to low if you start to bonk while you are pushing play.
Keep this in mind. No matter what I or anyone else tell you, there is only one YOU. What works for me or anyone else, may not be the best for you. These are guidelines to help you get on the right path, they are not the “rules!” Use them to get started, make your adjustments and listen to your body. Pay attention to how you feel. If you do that, then you will be able to “dial in” and maximize your gains.
And remember, you will not be taking all the steps for the rest of your life. But stay focused and stay committed during your 90 day program, and you will see awesome results. And, if you pay attention to how your body responds, you will learn how to feed it what it needs for the rest of you life.