Okay, there are two aspects to the P90X program that are critical towards achieving success, and they really go hand-in-hand:
- The Workouts
- The Nutrition
I get asked all the time "Can I just do the workouts and still get results?" or "Can I just do the workouts and 'sort-of' watch what I eat and still get results?"
Well, yes – any type of exercise program will have positive impact(s) upon your health, no doubt. But, it's the people who really take their diet and supplements seriously and "nail it" that get those "wow!" results. That's just the truth.
How did I drop 35.5 pounds and 20.5 percent body fat in 90 days? I took my diet very, very seriously. How seriously? During my first round of P90X I logged everything I ate – even 2-calorie sticks of bubble gum (sugarless, of course). Think I'm kidding? I'm not – I can account for every single calorie I put into my body for that entire 90-day period! Yes, I'm dead serious.
Was it hard? Yes, it was, but honestly, after about 15 days or so my body pretty much acclimated and the "urges" and the "cravings" were gone. What I was doing, tracking everything I ate, became second nature – part of my daily routine.
While I didn't follow the P90X Nutrition Guide's recipes or "portion plan," I did follow the recommended ratios for the percentages of calories coming from protein, carbs and fat very, very closely. Beachbody recommends that for the first phase, Phase 1, your ratios should break down to 50 percent of your calories coming from protein, 30 percent from carbs and 20 percent from fat (aka the "Fat Shredder" phase).
To help me do this, I found a terrific, free program called Fitday (www.fitday.com). Fitday is a program where you can input the nutritional values from the labels on what you eat and the program will store it for you and add it to list of your "Custom Foods." Then, as your day goes by, you can add these items to your food list for the day and the program will add up your calories and grams of protein, carbohydrates and fat. To take it even one further, the program will also compute the percentage of your calories that come from each category, which again, is something I tracked very closely. There's even a pie chart that displays the breakdown for you as you go, constantly updating as you input new foods throughout the day. That way, if I saw I was starting to lag in my percentage of protein at the expense of carbs, I could make adjustments in the following meals.
The only real drawback about Fitday was that it had to be accessed from a desktop or laptop computer, which could be a real pain-in-the-butt if I was "out and about." However, Fitday recently came out with a smart-phone app which is terrific – I just access my account from my iPhone and I'm able to have all the functionality of the full program right there with me – outstanding!
As you get deeper into the P90X program and input more and more foods regularly, you'll be able to instinctively anticipate how each food you eat will affect your ratios – I know I could. I tended to be more "carb-heavy" before midday and then made "corrections" (i.e. – tapered off the carbs) as the day went on.
Using a program such as Fitday, Livestrong, MyFitnessPal or any of the many others available will really help you stay on track! I found knowing that I'd have to input what I was eating into a program really helped me stay accountable towards what I was eating.
So, in conclusion, track those calories! Knowing how many calories you're ingesting each day goes a long way towards getting the results you desire. If you're able to regularly know what your calorie balance is (positive or negative) and can compare that to the results you're getting, you can make the adjustments as you go that will have in peak shape by Day 90!