Wednesday, October 12, 2011

P90X Nutrition Plans

So, I gave everyone a heads up on things to consider prior to starting this program, but what about nutrition? How is the nutrition program different than anything else out there?

Just as there are three "blocks" in the P90X training, there are also three phases to the nutrition plan. Most important to the plans is the macronutrient content, rather than specific food choices. One needs to find foods that fit into the macronutrient ratios that one loves to eat, rather than have a specific diet dictated. The plan encompasses the following three phases:

Phase 1
Fat Shredder is a higher-protein diet that jump-starts your fat loss as you begin building muscle. Meals in this first 4 weeks should proportionally be: 50% protein, 30% carbohydrates and 20% fat.

Now, just by reading this, for me personally, the first phase will be the hardest. This is basically an atkins/south beach diet as carbs are severely restricted. The biggest concern I have with this is how to keep up my energy for this phase. While I know restricting carbs will seriously get me in ketosis so I utilize my fat stores for energy rather than my glycogen-muscle-carb stores, it does drain you. I just need to remind myself that its only for a month.

Phase 2
Energy Booster gives your body the energy it needs with a balanced mix of carbs and protein. Now, the Energy Booster is very balanced clean eating with lower levels of fat and extra carbs for extra energy during those Plyometrics workouts. Simple to follow.

Meals in this phase are 40% protein, 40% carbohydrates and 20% fat. Eat three serves of complex carbohydrates daily (e.g. whole wheat bread, pasta or oatmeal as well as one piece of low glycemic index fruit daily). Protein remains high so as to aid in muscle recovery.

Stay with this program for the duration of P90X, or progress to Phase 3 if muscular endurance is your goal and/or gain more muscle.

Phase 3
Endurance Maximizer is a serious athletic diet with more complex carbs and lean protein for ultimate performance.

This phase, if chosen, kicks in near the tail end of the program to avoid plateaus. It’s heavier on the carbs, but hte potential to push your endurance will follow.

20% protein, 60% carbohydrates and 20% fat. The extra carbs will allow you to work out heavier and harder, thereby pushing you farther than you thought possible. Of the three phases, elite athletes eat most similarly to Phase 3 (especially long distance runners). When you’re at your peak/plateau, your body needs this extra easily-absorbed fuel to break through ceilings.

So, the Endurance Maximizer is basically a carb-laden, prepping for major endurance exercise type of eating...perfect when you are piling on the miles late in a half marathon training plan :) so I'm sure I'll be following this late in my training schedule when I slowly enter the highest mileage and taper and then the actual run.

In all of the phases eating frequent small meals and drinking lots of water are emphasized.

Also, you can follow the meal plan or the portion plan (many serves of each food type you are allowed), whichever suits you....or you can simply create a sound nutritional plan of you own based on the information above.

Before you start the program you will also need to calculate your recommended calorie intake (and maybe readjust it with each plan), which is based on your activity level and resting metabolic rate.

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