P90x Nutrition Basics

Getting Started with P90x – Tips for Success with P90x Nutrition

How to choose your P90x Level:

  •  If you are moderately fit (which I interpret as not overweight but not super active, which is what the program was designed for) – choose your Level as indicated by the P90x nutrition guide.
  • If you are significantly overweight – the #s are probably off, since the calorie consumption for P90x is based on a person who is already moderately fit. (After all, the program was designed for the graduates of the P90 program, so it assumes a foundation of muscle built during Tony’s first 90-day workout program.) A moderately fit 250 lb person, for example, would be designated a Level III because he/she would have to eat that many calories to feed the muscle that the plan is assuming that a moderately fit 250 lb person would have. Muscle needs to be “fed,” fat doesn’t!My hubby started P90x significantly overweight, and while the nutrition plan told him to start at Level III 3000 calories, he started at Level II 2400 and it worked out great. If you are starting overweight, I’d suggest that you choose your level based on your goal weight, and then see how you feel and if you have enough energy to complete your workouts. If you don’t, add 100 calories per day until you have enough energy and are not hungry. Keep in mind that you probably will feel hungry for the first week while your body adjusts to the lack of processed sugar. After a week or so, you should be able to trust your body’s hunger mechanism, and can safely add calories until you are at the right number. Once you find it, stick to that number of calories throughout the program. If you are wondering how to go about adding portions, I’d start with protein, vegis, dairy, snack. Save adding carbs and fruits to the end.

Keep track of your portions:

This is the only way to know that you are eating the right thing. Also, note that a normal “healthy” diet will not include the amount of protein that the first phase of P90x calls for. Try using my P90x nutrition plan food journal. [Also, shameless plug, if you’d rather not bother with the portion tracking aspect at all, you can check out my P90x menu and shopping list eBook where I have done all of the meal and portion planning for you. ;-)]

Keep in mind that each food in the P90x nutrition plan only counts for ONE portion.

For example, cottage cheese appears on the portion lists for both dairy and snack servings. You can eat it for one or the other, but NOT BOTH. So you could theoretically eat cottage cheese once in the morning for your dairy serving, and then again later in the day for your snack serving. If you start counting foods as more than one portion, you won’t be getting enough calories.


Choose foods that fit the calorie guidelines in the portion plan, not just the portions themselves.

For example, in the “single” column of the snack section, the P90x nutrition guide says you can have 8 0z. of fruit sorbet as a snack. Awesome, right? But single snack servings are only supposed to have 100 calories. Make sure that the fruit sorbet you choose really has only 100 calories per 8 oz!! This is important, because if you don’t pay attention to the specific calorie content of the brands you buy, you could accidentally eat way more calories than the P90x nutrition plan accounts for.

Use Calorie Confusion, the nutrition version of Tony Horton’s muscle confusion.

I don’t have any science to back this up, just anecdotal evidence and common sense. As I was researching the stories of people who were very successful with this program on the P90x forums, a common theme stood out to me – they didn’t just vary their exercises, they varied their diet too. It stands to reason that if your body can become used to certain exercises and start plateauing, the same goes for foods. So my philosophy is one of calorie confusion – give your body different types of calories at different times of day – keep it guessing! This plays out in my cooking. I try to vary when I give my husband his carb and fruit servings. Sometimes for breakfast, sometimes for lunch, and sometimes for dinner. Likewise, I try to vary the types of fruits, vegetables, and proteins that I give him.

Buy a scale and measure everything – you’d be surprised at how often your eyeball estimates are off.

Especially with things like meat – we are conditioned to eat MUCH LARGER servings than are typical in a healthy diet. But sometimes you’ll be pleasantly surprised, too – 2 Tb. of dressing doesn’t sound like that much, but can go a long way!

  • Pasta and rice are measured AFTER they are cooked.
  • Meat is measured raw.
  • Veggies are measured cooked, except for leafy greens, which are measured raw.

Don’t tell anyone that you are doing P90x!

Just don’t do it. Read my article to find out why.

Leave your perfectionism at the door!

P90x attracts black and white thinkers – read my article where I kick your butt about that a lil’ bit! =)

Supplies you’ll need for your P90x nutrition plan:

  • Food scale and measuring cups – It’s not really necessary to have an ultra-high-tech food scale, but this one was pretty and well rated, so I thought I’d link to it.
  • Recovery drink – You’ll need to choose what you’re going to use for this. Either buy the official P90x one, or check out my article on P90x Recovery Drink Alternatives (also read this article if you’re not sure about the difference between a recovery drink and a protein drink – they are different).
  • Protein Powder– Not technically necessary, but can make packing in the protein easier.
  • Protein bars – Once again, not technically necessary, but can be handy for snacks. Either buy the official P90x one, use Atkins Advantage bars like my hubby did, or check out the recipe on this site for Homemade P90x Protein Bars.
  • 3-ring binder – Helpful if you’re using my P90x food journal pages.

Supplies for the exercise portion of the P90x fitness program:

Critical P90x Equipment (can’t really do P90x without them):

Optional P90x Equipment (you can do without them, but can be nice to have):

  • Adjustable Weight Set  My hubby purchased a set like this and loved it. I loved that his weights didn’t take up the whole room! Check out the reviews of this particular set on Amazon – one of the reviewers provides a very detailed review of all of the adjustable weight sets out there.
  • Heart Rate Monitor – To help make sure you’re in the zone during Cardio X.
  • Pullup Assistance Bands – Can help until you build up strength to do pullups. This company also makes a “pro” version that includes push-up assistance bands too.
  • Pushup Stands – So your nose isn’t in the carpet during pushups. Tony uses these in the videos.
  • Yoga Mat  So you don’t slip around.
  • Yoga Block To help you if you are very flexible or not flexible enough.
  • Yoga Strap To help if you aren’t very flexible.
  • Yoga grip socks Another way not to slip around during Yoga X.
  • Tape measure – For before/after measurements.
  • Body Weight Scale Ideally this would measure body fat % as well. Alternately, if you already have a scale, you could try a Body Fat Percentage Reader, or a Caliper. I would recommend getting something to measure progress other than just your weight, since this program focuses on fitness, not weight loss. You can know that academically, but it REALLY helps to have some tangible, objective feedback that it is working, and often in the beginning the scale doesn’t give you that. You’ll want to go by measurements, clothing fit, and body fat % at first.
  • Camera  For before and 30/60/90 day photos. I know you probably already have a camera, but I was excited to show you the camera that I use for all of my photos on this site, the Canon Rebel Xti. I seriously couldn’t recommend this camera enough. I use this with a 50mm lense. The quality of my family photos went through the roof after my hubby purchased this camera for me!!

If you’d like to read up a bit more, I’ve also written a few P90x Nutrition Articles:

One more shameless plug – if you’d like to take the guesswork out of the nutrition side of things, do check out my P90x Shopping List and Menus ebook for Phase 1. You can sample the first 30% free, and I also have a few recommendations in there about how to do P90x on a budget.

I hope this is helpful to you!
– CJ =)


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  1. Lee Ann Guiette

    Thank you for providing this information. I purchased P90X, got all my stuff organized, started the program, then had to move. I cannot find my journal. I found my exercise equipment and disks. The print outs are much appreciated. Thank you.

    1. CJ =)

      You’re so welcome Lee Ann!

  2. Anne

    Hi CJ – thank you for all your hard word on this site – I love it – have gone over it daily lately and bought your ebook in prep of kicking of this Sunday with my hubby. 🙂 My question for you is – we also have shakeology… and that says to sub it for one meal a day. I don’t want to screw up by adding calories etc – but don’t want to be cutting myself short either. Has your hubby used the shakeology too? Any thoughts/feedback on this – esp. in phase 1?

    Thanks so much!!

    1. CJ =)

      Hey Ann!
      Great question. Check out my FAQ article about how to add Shakeology to your P90x nutrition plan!
      -CJ =)

  3. Patience

    Hi CJ! I love all the work you have put into your awesome site, thank you! I turn 30 at the end of the year and want to do the program as my birthday present :). I am a nursing mom though and will be until 2013. I am planning on buying your e book for meal planning and am wondering how much more I should eat while nursing. And, how to eat those extra calories. Thanks SO much!

  4. Jenny

    Hi CJ!
    Just want to thank you again for theis great site it has helped so much! We are coming up on week four and need to make the switch to Phase II any easy advise on how to switch using your Phase I recipes? Also made the protein bars with the PB2 powder as given on the message boards and they were outstanding – so much better than store bought ones, healthier, and cheaper!!! Thanks in advance!


    1. CJ =)

      Hey Jenny!
      Regarding the switch from Phase 1 to Phase 2, at this point I’d recommend that you start using my P90x food journal pages for Phase 2. Then you can just plug in the recipes from the site to fulfill the correct portions.
      So glad that you’re liking the site and that the protein bars worked out for you!!
      – CJ =)

  5. saurie

    Hi C.J
    Tomorrow my fiance and I will be doing our fourth day of P90x, we are very excited and motivated. We have teamed up to keep each other in check. The problem we are encountering is the fact that we both work away from home and only have one set of DVDs. Tomorrow we are both suppose to do the YOGA x but will not be in the same place. How can one of us substitute this work out? We would love to get another copy from maybe someone who is done with it but don’t know anyone who does. Please help I don’t want to loose the momentum. Thanks in advance.

    1. Xmas

      Hey Saurie, I know this is weeks late, but in a situation like yours, I would suggest one of you taking the manual and doing the excercise that way. It’s easiest if you’ve done the excercises already. Another great option is the P90X app. It’s really good for tracking your workouts and guiding you through them. Best of luck…

      1. CJ =)

        Great idea, Xmas!!

      2. saurie

        Hi Xmas thank you for your input.

  6. Jenny

    Yes thank you!!! Still trying to figure all this out!!

  7. jenny

    a huge thank you for doing this! I have purchased your ebook and am in the same boat you are – hubby is doing the program and I’m doing the cooking! Please forgive me if it is on your site but do you have recommendations for vegetarians? Since I am veg and hubby isn’t I really don’t want to cook the P90x program for him and seperate for me as well. But I will if need be! 🙂


    1. CJ =)

      Hey Jenny! I haven’t worked out vegetarian substitutions for the ebook meal plan specifically, however check out the vegan p90x food list and journal I put together based on Beachbody’s guidelines. Perhaps you can substitute in vegetarian foods as needed.
      Does that help?
      – CJ =)

  8. Chris Adams

    I stumbled upon this site and I love what I see so far. I got p90x from a friend that just gave up but they didn’t have the nutrition guide. I hopefully will be starting the workouts in about 2 months as I will be going under the knife for an umbilical hernia. I completely changed my diet after my last birthday and almost tipping the scales at 3 spins. I am 5’10” and I used to be a good athlete, but years and lack of motivation have landed me in 3x shirts and 44″ pants. Can you suggest a starting point diet wise so I can get used to eating more often. I work 2 jobs and have a 2yr old and a 4yr old so not so much time. Also my wife is a “lazy” eater and I fear for her health so I want to get in shape for when my kids get older so I can be there for them, but I want my wife to be around too. I know she has to make the decision to eat better, but o want to help if I can. Thank you so mich! Keep up the great work on the site and you will be seeing more of my posts here in the coming months. Thanks,
    Lancaster, PA

    1. CJ =)

      Hey Chris!
      Welcome and thanks for your comment! Good for you for deciding to make a change – you won’t regret it!!
      Many people have commented to me who are waiting to start the program for one reason or another, or are between cycles of P90x. A lot of them just start eating the recipes off of the site without tracking the portions to start out with. This helps them get used to doing the cooking, and helps them identify the foods they like, without the stress of the exercise at first. Then when you are ready to start the exercise, it’ll only be one learning curve at a time! I think that’s what I’d do if I were in your shoes.
      Hope that helps, and God bless during your surgery. =)
      – CJ =)

  9. Nikki

    Hi CJ, first of all thanks for this website, it helps a lot. I was just wondering if you had a suggestion for a good protien mix thats at a fair price. The stuff I usually get can get expensive and I’ve seen generic brands in stores, but idk if the generic brands would be as beneifical…

    1. CJ =)

      Hey Nikki!
      My hubby used GNC Pro Performance 100% Whey Protein. It seems to be well-reviewed, and reasonably priced (as far as protein powders go). It worked well for him, so I’d recommend it. Hope that helps!
      – CJ =)

  10. Audra Gerleman

    Love this site so much & it motivates me to want to actually do the eating plan. But, now that I have done it for 5 days using “my diet diary” app, I find every day my carbs double the protein. How can I get in the 1 carb portion (oatmeal in the morning!) with protein bars, protein drinks that have plenty of carbs or does it matter?


    1. CJ =)

      Hey Audra – In P90x one food counts for a single portion at a time. So when you eat your oatmeal, that is your carb serving. When you eat your protein bar, it counts as either a Bar or Snack serving, even though it has protein and carbs in it. My favorite example of this is cottage cheese – it can count as either a Dairy serving or a Snack serving. So theoretically, you could eat 1 cup of cottage cheese for breakfast as your Dairy serving, then another cup at snacktime for your Snack serving. One food never counts for two different servings at once. Does that make sense?
      – CJ =)

  11. Serena

    Hey! LOVE your site… its a HUGE help!

    My question is…. how can two slices of turkey bacon with only 4 total grams of protein when compared to 6oz of ground turkey with like 30g of protein?

    It just doesn’t make sense to me. Is there some method to the madness that I haven’t figured out?


    1. CJ =)

      Hey Serena!
      3 oz. of meat is a single protein serving, not 6 oz. I think that might be the source of your confusion.
      Does that help??
      – CJ =)

  12. Travis

    Re : ^^^^^^

    I did forget the double snack, the recovery drink and the protein bar. , maybe when I calculate all these onto my original 1800 cal’s it will hit the 2400 cal. I just have to make the double snack a protein source. Think I might have just solved my own problem.

    1. CJ =)

      Haha, yep Travis! You figured it out. Also keep in mind that with P90x, one food only counts for ONE portion at a time. So you could eat cottage cheese for your dairy, then eat another serving of cottage cheese for your snack on the same day. Usually if people are eating all of their portions but are coming up short on their calories, the problem is they are counting one food as more than one portion, which is not how the P90x nutrition plan works.
      – CJ =)

  13. Travis

    G’day.got one for you. I’m fat shredder on2400 cal. When I add up all the portions, eg – 7 proteins, 1 carb, 1 fruit, and so on, the daily total for calories, according to fitday is about 1700 to 1800 calories. Is this 1800 calories I should be consuming or should I increase my intake of everything to bring it up to 2400 cals.
    Example – 3oz serving of chicken multiply by 7 portions = 93g of protein, 24g of fat with a total of 609 cal. If I’m on 2400 fat shredder, 50% of my cal should be from protein. That would equal 1200 cal. Should I be consuming 3oz multiply by 14 portions instead of 7 portions?

    Thank you.

    1. CJ =)

      Hey Travis –
      One of the problems with these apps is that they are not very complimentary with the portion approach. With the portion approach, a single food counts for one category of serving (protein, dairy, carb, etc.), but never more than one at the same time. So your protein bar counts as a snack serving and NOT a protein serving, even though it has lots of protein in it. Make sense?
      – CJ =)

  14. Wende

    Thank you so much for providing so much information on this website, I find myself referring to it time and again!
    I was wondering about the different types of protein powders. I live in a small rural area and when I went to our “local” health food store the only protein powder they had was soy. On your site I have seen repetitively “whey” I noticed that the one I got has 180 calories per serving! I am thinking this is not going to work. I only wish that I had looked before I had bought it, oops….Is this from the brand or because it is soy? Should I be only looking for whey? I plan on making the trip to the city later in the week so I will be going to a real store and I will look at labels better 🙂
    When I go to town I can’t wait to get some chicken kielbasa so I can try your Schizophrenic Potato and Kielbasa recipe, it sounds soooo yummy!

    1. CJ =)

      Hey Wende!
      Beachbody says that you can choose any kind of protein powder you want – whey, soy, pea, rice, etc. They do recommend against using hemp protein, because the fiber in it slows absorption. Hope that helps!
      – CJ =)

  15. Michael

    Hi CJ,

    I really enjoy your site. I am just starting p90x and not really looking to lose weight, but rather to get back in shape, build muscle and in general tone up. I understand the reasoning behind drinking a recovery drink (chocolate milk for myself) instead of a protein shake post workout. However, I still want to build muscle by drinking a postworkout protein shake. Do I need to drink both then? How long after the recovery drink can I drink my shake? I plan to drink a protein shake for breakfast also.

    1. CJ =)

      Hey Michael!
      I definitely would drink them both, because they serve different functions. That’s fine that you want to drink a protein shake too, just make sure that you wait half an hour after drinking your recovery drink before you drink the other shake – otherwise you’ll mess up the 4:1 carb to protein ratio that is necessary for a recovery drink. Check out my P90x When to Eat post for the other rules regarding timing.
      Hope that helps!
      – CJ =)

  16. Mike

    Great site CJ. My question is; if I am just pouring a glass of chocolate milk for recovery how much do I consume?

    1. CJ =)

      Hey Mike!
      It will depend on how many calories your particular brand of chocolate milk has in it. The Beachbody recovery drink has 220 calories in it, so drink 220 calories worth!
      Check out my article on P90x recovery drink alternatives for some pointers on how to use chocolate milk as a recovery drink and other ideas for homemade recovery drinks.
      Hope that helps! =)
      – CJ=)

  17. Jacob

    @NH It’s most likely just in your head. Make sure you follow the nutritional plan to a T. Measuring everything etc. Spread out your carbs, I recommend loading most of them into the first half of your day if you can saving only a few left for night. Make sure they are good carbs as well, like shredded wheat / oatmeal / whole wheat bread etc. Also keep up on your protein. Measure that recovery drink! If you’re not feeling too wasted go for 1 scoop instead of two! The most successful muscle building / fat reducing diets involve more carbs =D

  18. NH

    Hey CJ. I have another question. I just started phase 2 of both the workout and the nutrition plan. I might be crazy, but it seems like I have gotten a little chubbier. Is this possible? I follow the plan pretty precisely. The only thing I can think of is the added carbs. What do you think?


  19. Josh

    I have a few questions about portions and stuff. First off, are we supposed to go by calories for a portion or just the portion itself? The chicken I get has 180 calories in 3 ounces but the portion guide says a serving a protein should have 200. This also makes me wonder about the actual nutrition information. I’ve noticed that most servings are about 25g of protein. I bought some turkey ham that’s only 13g of protein for every 3 ounces. Would that still count as a protein serving?

    The last couple days I’ve been having peanut butter on mini whole wheat bagels. Peanut butter has a lot of fat in it, but from what I understand it’s good fat. So would I be able to count peanut butter as a fat or just a snack? The same question goes to yogurt. The stuff I buy has 26g of carbs, that seems a little much to me for a snack.

    I was looking at buying Italian turkey sausage. It has 180 calories, 20g of protein, and 10g of fat. Would I be able to count that as a protein and a fat serving? If I can’t count it as a fat can you give some examples of things I could use? I don’t like olives or avocados, and putting olive oil on something doesn’t sound too good to me, and those are pretty much the only things I’ve found to count for the p90x plan since I don’t have a nutrition guide.

    Sorry for the multiple questions, this is all just a little confusing lol.

  20. Gil

    Again great content. You answered the question i had about the calorie intake. Im 6′ tall 255 pounds and that was something that i was very unsure about. I think I’ll drop down to level 2 because after doing my calculations the program was telling me to consume 3200 calories daily. Which would be hard and expensive to keep up with. Again thank you and where can i donate!

    1. CJ =)

      Hey Gil – So glad that the site has helped you!
      You can donate using the Paypal button on the right-hand side of the page, right above the Google ads! Thanks for asking. =)
      – CJ =)

  21. victoria

    Now there is something I was wondering…I hope I dont seem dumb for asking this. But in the recipies for p90x some call for egg ehites and others for WHOLE egg WHITES?? I am trying to do this right…so please tell me..what is the difference??

    1. CJ =)

      No worries, Victoria! No dumb questions here. =)
      There is no difference (that I am aware of, anyway) between “egg whites” and “whole egg whites!”
      I hope that helps – and feel free to ask any other questions as they come up. =)
      – CJ =)

  22. bruisedweasel

    Recently I started working at Subway. I figured it’s best to eat my meals in store because the place is so tiny, there isn’t much room to put a lunch bag anywhere.

    We’re allowed a 6 inch sub and one side at break. Fountain drinks are free all day (I choose water). My concern lies with the bread. I’m starting out on fat shredder, level 1. Not many bread servings. The Subway site does not provide nutrition for the components of the sandwich, but the sandwich as a whole. Eating half the bread might work, if be a little messy. I think salads are off limits because the portions are for footlong subs, and would fall outside employee serving sizes.

    I eat my subs without sauce when I get them, and load on pungent things like jalapenos, banana peppers, olives, pickles- and use tomatoes to make up for the lack of sauce. I also stick to turkey and pepperjack. So, it seems bread is the only issue.

    Not much of a question i guess. more of me seeking your experienced opinion, since you don’t have access to the bread’s nutrition info.

    as for sides… i’ll skip them. With only 15 minutes to eat, and customers always coming in, it’s hard enough to wolf down one sandwich alone.

    1. CJ =)

      Hey Bruised!
      This is a tricky one. I really can’t give you a blank check to eat more than one Subway sandwich a day, because you’re right, the bread is problematic. ONE 6 inch sandwich on whole wheat is going to use up your one carb serving, and there’s not much I can think of to change that. If you’re there for more than one meal, my best recommendation would be to do a 6 inch sub for one meal, and then for the second meal ask if you can do the salad option instead – perhaps offer to stick to a 6 inch portion’s worth, so you’re not exceeding your allowed employee serving size?

      Just a comment that you could get the oil and vinegar on it, and count it as your fat serving. It’s actually good to eat a little bit of good fat with your vegis because it helps you absorb all of the nutrients.
      You could also drink the unsweetened iced tea if you get tired of water.

      Also, if you get tired of your sandwich and/or salad, you could make yourself a little pizza. Use the whole wheat bread, the marinara sauce from the meatball marinara (which counts as a vegi serving, by the way!), provolone, and throw any of the other vegis on top that you like (if you use olives, it counts as your fat serving), then bake it in the oven! =)
      Hope this helps.
      – CJ =)

  23. NH

    Hey CJ. I’ve read it a bunch, so I know you know, but this blog is awesome!! I have a weird question. Is it necessary to meet the “Condiment” requirements each day. I just don’t eat that many condiments, and I don’t want to start putting mustard on things just to meet the seemingly unnecessary requirement 🙂


    1. CJ =)

      Hey NH!
      Lucky you – I WISH we didn’t care for condiments! =)
      I’d say that the only potential problem with not eating them would be that then you’d be short the planned-for calories (50 calories per condiment serving). If you wanted, you could replace them with a vegi serving, which is also 50 calories. If you’re at a level that requires more than one condiment serving, you could add in a protein, dairy, or single snack, all of which are 100 calories each. Or you could just let it slide.
      I tend to let it slide myself (on the RARE occasions that this happens to us!!), since my hubby’s goal is weight loss, so I figure that 50 fewer calories won’t hurt. Especially since condiments are by definition rather empty calories anyway, so it’s not like your body is relying on them for fuel.
      That’s my reasoning anyway.
      Does this help?
      – CJ =)

      1. NH

        Definitely helps! I will probably skip them or add more protein for sure.

        Thanks a lot!!!

      2. NH

        Hey CJ. I have a couple more questions for you!!

        1.) do you think it’s feasible to supplement 12 oz. of coffee in the morning in place of 2 condiment servings? and,

        2.) when waiting 30 minutes to consume anything after you take the recovery drink can you drink water during this time? I’m sure you can, but I just want to make sure.


        1. CJ =)

          Hey NH!! =)

          1. As long as you are not exceeding the calories you get from the condiments, I think that replacing them with coffee would probably not be the end of the world. (Empty calories are empty calories, in my opinion.) However, you might want to take into account Tony Horton’s blog post on the subject, which leads me to think that you might make Tony cry! 😉

          2. Yes, you definitely can (and should!!) drink water. Since water doesn’t have either carbs or proteins, it won’t change the carb to protein ratio that you are concerned with in that post-workout time window.
          – CJ =)

  24. bree

    Thank you SO much, CJ! I just have one other question. Looking at the P90X plan I am supposed to eat a protein bar everyday…so I could eat 1 1/2 to count for my bar and my single snack serving? I LOVE the protein bar link, by the way- they are DELICIOUS!
    Thanks again for your response!

    1. CJ =)

      You’re so welcome, Bree! So glad to help clarify. Yep, you’ve got it right – you could eat 1 1/2 protein bars to count for your Bar and single snack serving. =)
      Keep pressing play (and don’t smash your head)! 😉
      – CJ =)

      1. bree

        thank you again so, so much! we are in our 3rd week and seeing good results and your website has been a MAJOR factor! thanks for being here!

  25. Natalie Bautista

    Hey CJ,

    First off, thanks so much for doing all of this work!

    I have a quick question though! I’m level 1 of the nutrition phase, so I should be eating 1800 calories and I can’t quite follow the nutrition plan they provide exactly, so i am having a hard time eating the the correct quantity of each serving and reaching that 1800 calories. I printed out your meal diary and did a sample one to make sure I could check all of my dairy, veggies, protein, etc off and ;Im under my required calories. I’m not sure how to increase my calories without eating too much of a certain portion. I don’t want eating too less or eating too much to hinder my results :/
    Any advice would be awesome!

    1. CJ =)

      Hey Natalie!
      Thanks for commenting. I’m having a bit of trouble understanding your question, though. First I want to make sure that you are only counting each food as ONE portion. In the P90x nutrition plan, items like cottage cheese or string cheese appear on both the snack portion list and the dairy portion list, and you can eat them to count for either portion, but not both. So theoretically you could eat cottage cheese for your snack, then again later in the day for a dairy serving. Does that make sense? A lot of time when people aren’t getting up to the right number of calories but they are eating the right number of portions, that is a sign that they might be double-counting things.
      Is that what is going on here? If not, let me know and we’ll try to figure out what is going on.
      – CJ =)

      1. Natalie Bautista

        Ohh, yes that most definitely makes sense! So your snack could be a serving of anything, even a fruit or carb? And I have also been counting my protein bar as protein but I should be counting it as a snack correct? I also got the fake nutrition plan because I borrowed it from a friend so I am doing my best to put all the pieces together, and this website has been tremendous help!
        Thank you for taking the time to respond! 🙂

        1. CJ =)

          Hey Natalie!
          You’re correct about the protein bar – it is a snack only. (Counter-intuitive, I know!) Regarding snacks, the general guideline that I typically give people is that they should be low-carb, low-fat. Going by the list in the nutrition guide, it does list dried fruit, frozen fruit bar, and fruit sorbet as options, along with rice cakes. Everything else is low carb. Protein bars, celery and peanut butter, nuts, rice cakes, string cheese, cottage cheese, turkey jerky, etc.
          Hope that helps!
          – CJ =)

      2. Natalie Bautista

        Oh and I just aw your article on figuring out calories based on the portions which made me realize I was configuring my portions wrong! Gah! So now it should be a lot easier (since I know for sure what to do) and I should be able to reach my calorie goal!

        Thank you!

  26. bree

    Hi, my husband and I just started P90X last week and we are kind of confused about the food aspect. I was hoping you could help, I searched the Beach Body website, but yours has been the most helpful thus far. We are both moderately fit and know from what we read that we should have 5 proteins servings, 2 vegetable, 2 dairy, 1 fruit, 1 carb, 1 fat and 1 condiment. Where we get confused is when we factor in the protein bars and snacks. Do they count as the servings lilsted above ie., protein bar= 1 of the 5 proteins, pm snack 8oz cottage cheese = 1 of 2 dairy, or are they seperate from the servings required? So confused about the snack part of it because the single and double snack looks like it’s listed seperately from the other daily requirements. On a side note, this site has been a lifesave for us, thank you for all you’ve done!

    1. CJ =)

      Hey Bree!
      In the P90x nutrition plan, each food only counts for ONE portion. So items like cottage cheese or string cheese appear on both the snack portion list and the dairy portion list, and you can eat them to count for either portion, but not both at the same time. So theoretically you could eat cottage cheese for your snack, then again later in the day for a dairy serving. Does that make sense?
      Regarding protein bars, the name is misleading, because a protein bar DOES NOT count as a protein serving. Just a Single snack serving if you eat 1/2 of one, or a Double snack serving if you eat a whole one.
      Does this answer your questions? =)
      – CJ =)

  27. Lura

    Sorry I didn’t paste that, it didnt even occour to me…

    1. CJ =)

      Hey Lura!
      So where do I find the information you are referring to? You’re not talking about a link on my page, right? You’re talking about some other link?

      1. CJ =)

        OH!! OK, I’ve just seen what you were referring to. That was an ad on my site. I don’t personally choose the ads on my site – they are provided by Google through their Adsense program. So in answer to your question, no, I haven’t researched the content on the pages linked-to from ads. I hope that makes sense.
        – CJ =)

  28. Lura

    “5 foods to never eat” link

    Hi CJ,

    I’m curious about the link that’s on this page… Is the information in there something you’ve looked into?

    “Behind every Good Man… is a Good Woman”

    You ROCK (plain and simple)


    1. CJ =)

      Hey Lura!
      I’m not sure the link you’re referring to – can you provide the URL again?
      – CJ =)

  29. ann

    You asked if there were ways you could simplify recipes that would help, I was thinking if you simply them by Phase 1, 2, or 3 respectively, people can just follow that and cook.
    Thanks soo much for posting up all these recipes!

    1. CJ =)

      Hey Ann!!
      Thanks for your comment!
      Regarding what recipes fit into what phase, I’ve always been a little surprised when people talk about that. The fact is that with the portion approach, it’s just a matter of plugging the recipes into your allowed portions. The only thing that changes from phase to phase is how many portions are allowed of each thing. So the only time that a recipe totally won’t fit into a particular phase is when the servings exceed the total allowed portions for that particular category…but even then you could just alter the recipe slightly or eat less of it to make it fit. I guess my thought is that as long as you are keeping track of your portions, almost every recipe on the site fits into every phase.

      It’s not that I’m not willing to take the time to categorize it by phase, I totally would, however I am frankly a bit confused by what that would entail, since as far as I can tell almost all of the recipes would work if they are used as part of the portion approach. Likewise, if you’re not keeping track of your portions, you could easily eat too much of these recipes and break your diet as a result. Does that make sense?

      If I’m missing something here, please tell me, because everyone on the web talks about recipes as “Phase 1 recipes” or “Phase 2 recipes,” and I really don’t understand how they get that! LOL
      – CJ =)

  30. Chris

    Thank you so much for posting this website. You make the hard part of the program much easier! The recipes are great and helpful. I think something that would help a lot would be a list of foods that are popular and what they account for in calories such as how much an avocado would be in calories? or how much a bowl of strawberries? etc. It’s so tedious to look at every label and then those that don’t have labels I need to google on another site to find the nutrition facts. Just an idea! But seriously, this website is phenomenal! Thanks again.


  31. meg

    CJ–Thank you SO much for posting this site! It has been such a grat resource. My husband has been doing P90X for a couple weeks now and I think that we’ve used your recipes for every dinner. I’m not doing the workouts but I am following a diet plan that works with the P90X nutrition plan.

    His favorite so far is the chicken caesar wrap–he raved about that one! You’re the best!

    1. CJ =)

      Hey Meg – That is awesome!! The cool thing about the P90x nutrition plan is that it is really just consistent with good nutrition. I haven’t been doing the exercises either, but have lost around 5 lbs just because I’m eating P90x food. =D Thanks for taking the time to comment, it makes my day!
      – CJ =)

  32. Crystal

    Mine too says that a single snack is 100 calories. So this is quite nice. I love your cite. We just started today and I am more overwhelmed with the Nutri guide than anything. My hubby is a level 2 and I am a level one. I am having a hard time planning our meals out. He works and I stay home so I am struggling coming up with things he can take for breakfast and lunch and snacks and still try to fit with mine so we can sit down and eat together without me having to cook three different dinners. I have three kiddo’s too so this will be a task that is for sure. Do you have any suggested menu plans for a level 2. My difficulty is when looking at the menu plan in the book it will show the meals for a day (which often have things not on the portion list such as cashews) and knowing what that meal accounted for. Meaning how many protein (other than the main dish) I am hoping this all gets a bit easier. Any ideas for on the go breakfast. My hubby doesn’t usually eat at home he usually eats at work when he gets there.

  33. Paulette

    Hi CJ,

    This website is amazing! I am so excited to have recipes to try out. My husband will be excited to eat them as well 🙂 The planning sheets are fantastic. I was going to make one up and you already did it for me. Thank you!

    I wanted to touch base about your Tips for Success with P90x Nutrition

    “>> Choose foods that fit the calorie guidelines in the portion plan, not just the portions themselves.”
    You mention that a single serving snack is 50 calories and the difficulty finding snacks that fall in that range. I checked the nutrition guide that I have and it says that a single serving is 100 calories and a double serving is 200 calories. I do agree that it is important to check the nutrition labels because I have been finding they do not always match the P90x recommendations. For example the plain fat free yogurt I bought has 130 calories for one 8 oz serving which would be one snack serving.

    Please let me know if I am mistaken. I am going to follow the guide and am counting calories, so it should all work out I hope!

    I know that you are away for a while and I forward my condolences. Again thank you for this fantastic website.

    1. CJ =)

      Hi Paulette! Thanks so much for commenting. I’m so glad that the website is helping you out!! =)
      That is really odd about the calorie guidelines. I’ve double checked my journal, and mine says (on page 17, beside the Snack section) single serving = 50 cal. and double serving = 200 cal. I wonder if we are dealing with different versions? Although I did a quick search online and couldn’t find any info about there being different version.
      On the back mine says copyright 2008, and also says “P90x Rev. 07/01/08.” Does yours say the same?
      – CJ =)

  34. Jennifer Wantland

    Thanks so much. I am a bit overwhelmed at the whole diet concept. I have been lethargic and hungry all week. After seeing your site and getting some great food ideas, I am ready to go another week since I am way more excited about the food! Thanks again!

  35. lala

    i just wanted to thank you for this site. its really helpful.

  36. Elaine

    Hi CJ,

    Did you complete the P90X program?

    1. CJ =)

      Hi Elaine! No I have not – at this point I am simply managing the nutrition side of things while my hubby completes the program. I have, however, been eating the P90x food that I’ve been fixing for him, and have lost some weight as a result. After seeing the results that he is getting so far, I’m seriously considering joining him in his next round! – CJ =)

  37. Emily

    Thank you for posting your recipes! My sister and I are both beginning P90x today. We were intimidated by the nutrition plan and this will help out so much. Thank you!

  38. Caroline

    Thank you so much for putting this website up it is going to help me and my husband greatly. He has been doing P90x for a short while and Im about to start it (have been doing chalean extreme) but we havent got our heads round all the nutrition etc properly yet (we eat really well anyway but not enough while doing P90x). Your recipes are great and I will definately be cooking away now. Even my kids will eat most of these which is a great help in itself.

    Thanks alot it is great that you are willing to share your recipes and you do not realise how helpful this is to me.

  1. My P90x Nutrition Plan

    […] P90x Nutrition Basics […]

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