Monday, November 5, 2012

Whether or Not To Follow the Nutrition Guide When Doing P90X

I'm getting ready to start up a new round of P90X along with the Come Back Kids Challenge group (see this post). The start date is Monday Nov. 12 and I'm starting to get psyched about it. I've already got the workouts scheduled in my calendar on

Next, I need to think about diet and my potential shopping list. The first question is whether I will follow the P90X nutrition guide or stick to my usual clean eating plan. I'm leaning toward following the P90X nutrition plan. Although there are some pros and cons.

The Cons
Following the P90X plan means eating more calories than I've become accustomed to the last few months. I know they say you need the extra calories because of the intense workouts but, I've continued to workout pretty intensely since my last round of P90X. I'm concerned that more calories could mean weight gain. Since I'm within 10 pounds of my goal weight, I really hate to lose ground.

The P90X plan includes a fair amount of dairy. I've been mostly off dairy the last few months. I do still eat Greek yogurt but, that's about it for dairy in my diet. I'm not sure I want to add it back in. I've read so much about controversy over diary that even though I don't have a bad reaction to it, it seemed better to keep it to a minimum.

I've been really into cutting processed foods out of my diet. Going with the P90X nutrition plan actually means eating more processed foods than I have been the last few months.

The Pros
It's nice to be on a plan that I don't have to think about. I don't care for the recipes in the nutrition guide. Not that they don't result in tasty food just that they all seem to use a lot of ingredients which makes them seem more complicated than I like (the recipes at Seriously Simple Cooking are a good example of the level of complexity I find sustainable). All those ingredients also add up to an expensive and inefficient grocery list. So, I always use the portion approach. Search this blog for "sample menu" and you'll see examples of what to eat in each of the three phases. Once I settle into the routine of the meals for each phase it's just a matter of keeping the kitchen stocked with the foods I need.

It will be fun to see how the program goes when I'm following it 100% with the workouts and the nutrition. I've done this before but, it's been a while. I'd be interested to see what if any difference it makes in my results this time around.

I actually enjoy the phase one menu I've put together. I like the veggie patties at breakfast, the protein milk shakes and have kind of been missing cheese.

The Conclusion
I'm going to go ahead and follow the P90X nutrition plan. I'll use the portion approach for level 2.  I guess it's time to put together that shopping list! As the program goes on I'll keep an eye on the scale. It usually takes a while for me to start losing weight but, I have NEVER gained weight doing P90X. So, if the number on the scale goes up then I'm going to scale back on my calories. The obvious way to cut calories, if it comes to that, will be to cut out the dairy since I'm not that psyched to add it back in anyway. Since this is a temporary change to my diet I'm not going to worry too much about it. In 90 days when I'm done with the program I can go back to my usual clean eating plan.

Regardless of whether you decide to follow one of the plans in the nutrition guide or you just want to clean up the diet you're already eating, the key is to pick a solid plan and stick with it. In general you want to keep sugar, baked goods, white rice, pasta, fried and processed foods to a minimum. Eat plenty of vegetables, whole grains, fruit, healthy fats and lean proteins. Know your caloric needs and don't exceed them. Last but not least, drink plenty of water.

If you're doing P90X for the first time then I highly recommend following the nutrition guide. It's definitely worth the effort. You'll learn a lot and you'll probably see better results.

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