P90X2 Nutrition Made Easy

p90x21Hey P90X2 and Beachbody fans, This is a great post from my buddy Dave, This really helps put the whole nutrition thing into prospective. I followed a similar plan for P90X and I advise anyone who is thinking about doing it to review all the plans and follow the one that best fits you! I’m doing the grain free version.

Yes, it’s finally here! P90X2 has arrived and we’ve been through the P90X2 Nutrition Guide to try and provide you with the same resources we did in the Original P90X Nutrition Guide Made Easy post. The good news for those of you that have done the P90X diet is that the P90X2 diet is very similar. We still have a three Phased plan that increases carb intake as your workouts increase in intensity. We still have the same basic “Level” ranges of caloric intake. However, just like the P90X2 workout has evolved, the P90X2 Nutrition Guide has also evolved. There are now three different plans: (1) Standard; (2) Vegan and (3) Grain Free. In addition, the calorie calculator is much more accurate and customizable to the individual doing the P90X2 workout program. We’ve created a spreadsheet (see below) that will help you calculate your calories, customize the Level/Phase to you and provide you with a daily tracker for your intake under the P90X2 Portion Approach. As always, please do not hesitate to send us an email by CLICKING HERE. In addition, check out our Free Fitness Coaching program.

Background Information on the P90X2 Nutrition Guide
Phases, Levels and When to Change

p90x2cookbookThe terms “Level” and “Phase” are important to understand. The term “Level” relates to the amount of calories you’ll be taking in. The term “Phase” describes the ratios of carbs/protein/fat that change during the progression of the P90X2 diet. Levels are categorized as A (1,800 – 2,399 cal/day), B (2,400 – 2,999 cal/day), and C (3,000 + cal/day), while Phases are I (50% protein/25% carbs/25% fat), II (30% protein/40% carbs/30% fat), and III (25% protein/50% carbs/25% fat).

Let’s start with Levels. It’s very important to get this right and to customize the amount of calories you’ll be taking in to your specific needs. The P90X2 calorie calculator we’ve incorporated into our spreadsheet takes into account your Daily Activity Burn (DAB). It also takes into account the average caloric burn for a P90X2 workout. This highlights the importance of having a heart rate monitor that gives you calorie burn. Another very good reason is that so you can evaluate your progress using a Performance Based Assessment (see below). Finally, the calculator allows you to incorporate a calorie deficit to encourage weight loss or add calories to encourage weight gain. Again, it is important that you know your goals from the outset. Contact us for help with your calorie calculations if you want some advice.

As you’ll see the P90X2 diet changes as the intensity of your workouts increases. Why? The answer is related to a substance called glycogen. Glycogen is essentially converted glucose (sugar) and it is the body’s first line of energy at high intensity exercise. It is created when the body takes in carbohydrates, which are a form of sugar (please forgive this gross oversimplification of this essential metabolic process). When you workout at a lower intensity (judged by your heart rate) your body burns more fat, and less glycogen. However, when you workout at a high intensity, particularly at or near your anaerobic threshold, you burn more glycogen. The P90X2 Nutrition Guide acknowledges this fact and anticipates the additional need for glycogen as the P90X2 workout becomes more and more intense. Accordingly, it responds by increasing carb intake. That’s all good and well, but don’t be in too much of a rush to jump into Phase III of the P90X2 diet. Glycogen is stored in the muscles and liver, but they have limited storage capacity. The fat cells are the only other place that the body can store excess glycogen. So, if you are taking in a lot of carbs, but not working out at a high intensity, you are much more likely to gain weight. That’s really why the US is in an obesity crisis. We are taking in too many carbs. It’s sugar that’s making us fat. So, be sure you are using a Performance Based Assessment and, if necessary, consulting with a Team Beachbody Coach that can help you sort this out. Taking in too many carbs can negatively impact your results, so this is important to get right.

Standard, Vegan and Grain Free

The Standard version of the P90X2 diet is just what it sounds like. It’s pretty standard. It includes meat, grains, and dairy. It’s all pretty standard healthy stuff. If you eat everything, this is probably going to be the most manageable one for you.

The Vegan version excludes meat and dairy. You may not think you can do P90X2 as a vegan. Personally, its not my thing either, but Tony Horton was a vegan for over 10 years. He then transitioned into vegetarianism and currently eats very little fish and chicken and the occasional egg. So, it’s very doable and the P90X2 Nutrition Guide provides the road map.

Finally, we have the Grain Free option. This is the closest version to the Paleo (or Primal) nutritional philosophy, which is what I subscribe to (recipes here). The Grain Free option includes dairy, which would be one of my criticisms of the plan (there are others, including the inclusion of Canola Oil and the absence of Coconut Oil and a few other things on the Food Lists). In January of 2009 Tony Horton encouraged me to quit dairy for 30 days and see how I felt. I felt better, so I kept going with it. There are a lot of easy substitutes for dairy and we are working on developing a Grain Free/Dairy Free option of the P90X2 diet.

Along these lines, please feel free to experiment a bit with you nutrition. Try new things and pay close attention to how you feel. For many people, this way of eating will be entirely new. Allow yourself to make mistakes. It’s a learning process, so let it be that. In time you’ll find foods that are healthy, and that you enjoy eating. It might be frustrating, but it will be worth the time and effort.

The Resources

The Spreadsheet
This is very similar to what we put together for P90X, but you’ll see that we’ve changed up a few things. First, we’ve incorporated the P90X2 calorie calculator, which is more accurate than the original P90X calculator. In addition, we’ve incorporated the Standard, Vegan and Grain Free versions of the plan. We’ve also made it easier to adjust your daily portions. Each Level/Phase has the total daily calories added up and then provides you with a spot to enter your Snacks. This was something that people really struggled with and we hope we’ve made it easier. Just click on the link below to download the Excel spreadsheet file.

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE P90X2 Nutrition Guide Spreadsheet

The Shopping Lists
We have made the Shopping Lists (AKA Food Lists) as Word Documents. The idea behind that is to allow you to customize them. We suggest that you download the file that corresponds to the option you’ve selected (Standard, Vegan or Grain Free) and then modify them to your needs. We’ve removed most of the soy items, simply because we believe it is evil (a bit of an overstatement, but really, ick). You may disagree with me on that one, and that’s fine. Just consult the guide and add them back in. I’m just not going to endorse things that I don’t believe in, which is why I’ve also removed Canola oil from the list. Coconut oil is a far superior item, in my opinion. If there are items on the list that you don’t like, remove them. If you have something that you really like that is not on the list, you can add it, unless it is a triple decker cheese burger, of course. Use some common sense here. If your favorite fruit, vegetable or other item with one ingredient (e.g. a “strawberry”) isn’t on the list, it’s probably ok to add that.

Standard Option – CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE P90X2-Nutrition-STANDARD Shopping List
Vegan Option – CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE P90X2-Nutrition-VEGAN Shopping List
Grain Free Option – CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE P90X2-Nutrition-GRAIN FREE Shopping List

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