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P90X Nutrition: What Foods Do I Eat?

The key to success with any fitness program is nutrition.  P90X Nutrition isn’t as complicated as you might think.  Knowing what to eat, how much and when are questions I get almost everyday.  My belief is that extreme results come from 80% nutrition and 20% intense workout.  Fortunately, for those of you looking for a guide to your long lost abs, P90X does indeed mark the spot.

I decided to write about food that I eat and the foods that everyone should include in their diet and their P90X Nutrition.  These foods won’t just help you look your best, they will help you feel your best.  America seems to lack the willpower to make good decisions when it comes to food.  Processed foods are the thorn in America’s side…cut them from your diet.  Instead look to these healthy whole foods to add variety and help you get the best results using P90X and the P90X Nutrition Plan.

Proteins:

(Should Consist of 30-50% of your calories per day, depending on your goals.)


Chicken: Protein quality and versatility ranks up there with any other protein.  Chicken is high protein with little fat and also rich in Niacin.   Suggested:  Buy Organic white meat (the more pure the chicken, the more pure the protein).

  • 60z = 186 cal, 36g protein, 0g carbs, 2g fat, 1g sat fat, 0g fiber

Eggs: Considered by many to be the “golden standard” of protein.  Rich in Vitamins A, B12 and D, selenium.  Eating eggs for breakfast can satisfy hunger and prevent overeating.  Research now shows that eating 2 eggs per day doesn’t raise cholesterol levels.  Suggested:  Buy Organic, Separate the egg whites for extra protein without the fat.

  • 1 Large egg:  70 calories, 6g protein, 0g carbs, 5g fat, 2g sat fat, 0g fiber

Grass Fed Beef: We all know beef is considered a “mass” building protein source for its fat and creatine content but grass fed beef contains more Linolic Acid and Omega 3 fatty acids than they “corn fed” counterpart.  Plus it just tastes better.  Suggested:  Look for the Fillet, Loin and Round cuts since they tend to be leaner. Keep your red meat intake lower than 3 times per week.

  • 60z tenderloin:  258 calories, 36g protein, 0g carbs, 12g fat, 6g sat fat, 0g fiber.

Whey Protein: This fast digesting protein is a great way to get branched chain amino acids to your muscle as quickly as possible.  Great for both pre and post workout.  Suggested:  Buy in bulk to save money.  Protein blends can also be beneficial.

  • 1 scoop:  120 calories, 23g protein, 2g carbs, 1g fat, 0g fiber

Wild Salmon: Extremely high in omega 3 fatty acids, Wild salmon is the true king of fish protein.  Healthy fats from salmon can help fight belly fat by improving insulin sensitivity and reducing fat storage.  Atlantic “farmed” salmon don’t pack the nutritional value of the wild fish and are fed red dye in order to turn them pink (yuck).  Suggested:  Try Canned Wild Salmon for a convenient and protein packed snack.

  • 4oz canned salmon:  152 calories, 24g protein, 0g carbs, 4g fat, 1g sat, 0g fiber

Shrimp: An excellent source of selenium and vitamin D, shrimp contains a ton of protein and very little fat.  A quick and easy to cook protein that can be tossed on any salad.  Suggested: Buy Frozen pre cook shrimp, thaw and use.

  • 16 Large Shrimp:  120 calories, 24g protein, 0g carbs, 1g fat, 0g sat fat, 0g fiber

Greek Yogurt:  One of my personal favorite snacks due to the amount of protein compared to regular yogurt.  Contains probiotics and calcium that hep burn fat.  Suggested:  Stick to the Plain flavor and add fruit to sweeten.  Yogurt is notorious for hidden sugars.

  • 8oz Fat Free:  120 calories, 22g protein, 6g carbs, 0g fat, 0g sat fat, 0g fiber

Cottage Cheese: Packed full of Casein protein that digests slowly, making it optimal for a before bed snack.  Suggested:  Stick to 1%

  • 1 cup:  163 calories, 28g protein, 6g carbs, 2g fat, 1g sat fat, 0g fiber

Carbohydrates:

(Should consist of 20-30% of your calories, depending on your nutrition ideals.  Some diets call for High Fat, Low Carbs, Med Protein)

Quinoa: One of the best and complete whole grains around.  Contains all the essential amino acids and has been used for centuries.  Contains Iron, Magnesium and fiber.  Suggested:  TRY IT!

  • 1 cup:  222 calories, 8g protein, 39 g carbs, 4g fat, 0g sat fat, 5g fiber

Oats: A great slow digesting carb.  If you eat this at breakfast it will help you curb our appetite.  Contains fiber and beta-glucan, both help control blood-sugar levels.  Suggested:  Try Steel Cut Oats if you have the time to cook

  • 1/2 Cup dry:  154 calories, 6g protein, 28g carbs, 3g fat, 1g sat fat, 4g fiber

Sprouted Whole Grain Bread: Sprouted bread has more protein than regular whole wheat and has a lower glycemic index.  Contains fiber, minerals and vitamins.  Suggested:  Try Ezekiel brand or “Low Carb” bread from La Jolla Bakery

  • 2 slices:  160 calories, 10g protein, 28 g carbs, 1g fat, 0g sat fat, 6g fiber.

Beans: Known for their fiber, beans also contain iron, magnesium, and zinc.  A good amount of protein is also a plus.  Suggested:  Opt for black beans instead of re-fried beans at your local Mexican restaurant.

  • 1 Cup Black Beans:  225 calories, 15 g protein, 40g carbs, 1g fat, 0g sat fat, 15g fiber

Fat:

(Should consist of 20-50% of your calories depending on your nutrition ideals)

Olive Oil:  Contains a ton of monounsaturated fat.  Olive oil has been shown to be good for your heart, and overall health.  Considered by some to be an anti-inflammatory.  Suggested:  Stick to Extra-Virgin Olive Oil which is superior in flavor and polyphenols

  • 1 Tbsp:  120 calories, 0g protein, 0g carbs, 14 g fat, 2 g sat fat, 0g fiber

Avocado: One of my favorites, contains monounsaturated fat as well as folate, and vitamin B and twice the potassium of a banana.  Suggested:  Use as a substitute of mayo on any sandwich.

  • 1/2 avocado:  113 calories, 1.5g protein, 6g carbs, 10.5 g fat, 2g sat fat, 5g fiber

Nuts: Contain Protein, monounsaturated fats, vitamin E, folate (in peanuts), fiber, magnesium and phosphorus.  A great way to get a quick snack.   Suggested:  My favorite nuts include, Almonds and Walnuts.  Try Natural Peanut Butter or Raw Almond Butter, just watch the serving size.

  • 1 oz : 185 calories, 4 g protein, 4g carbs, 18g fat, 2g sat fat, 2g fiber.

Canola Oil: Considered healthy due to the monounsaturated fat and the amount of Omega 3s, canola oil is a great cooking oil.  Suggested:  some say that canola oil is too processed to be health, do your research and decide on your own.

  • 1 Tbsp:  120 calories, 0g protein, 0g carbs, 14 g fat, 1 g sat fat, 0g fiber

Fruits and Vegetables:

(Try to get as many servings as you can, aim for 6-8 servings per day)

Apples:  As they say, they keep the doctor away.  Apples have anti-inflammatory properties that help improve exercise endurance and health.  Suggested:  Buy in season, and buy Organic.  Make sure you eat the skin.

  • 1 Medium Apple:  95 calories, 0g protein, 25g carbs, 0g fat, 0g sat fat, 4g fiber.

Blueberries: Full of antioxidants and vitamins, blueberries are one of my favorite topping on Greek yogurt.  Suggested:  Wild Blueberries pack the most antioxidants, try buying them when in season.  Frozen is also a good way to buy them cheaply.

  • 1 cup:  84 calories, 1g protein, 21 g carbs, 0g fat, 0g sat fat, 4g fiber.

Broccoli: You can’t go wrong with this vegetable.  Considered by some to be the ultimate food.  Fiber, flate, vitamin C and K are all part of its nutritional arsenal.  Also contains antioxidants known to help fight cancer.  Suggested:  Try not to lather with butter, instead use some olive oil and roast in the oven.

  • 1 cup:  31 calories, 3g protein, 6g carbs, 0g fat, 2g fiber

Red Bell Pepper: Colorful food from nature is almost always the healthiest.  Once again, this veggie contains antioxidants and vitamin C.  Suggested:  Roasted pepper are just as good as fresh.  Try grilling them!

  • 1 cup:  46 calories, 1g protein, 9g carbs, 0g fat, 0g sat fat, 3g fiber.

Sweet Potatoes: This is a great post workout veggie.  High in natural sugar, sweet potatoes spike insulin levels which helps your muscles absorb protein, amino acids and creatine.  Loaded with fiber, potassium and iron.  Great recovery food.  Suggested:  Try making your own sweet potato roasted “fries”.  Slice long and thin, add some olive oil and salt,throw in the oven.

  • 1 large potato:  278 calories, 7g protein, 63g carbs, 0g fat, 0g sat fat, 7g fiber

Spinach: Most leafy greens are healthy but Popeye had the edge because of his affinity for this green plant.  Vitamins including A, C, and K, folate, beta-carotene, and minerals including calcium and magnesium, and fiber.  Suggested:  Just as good frozen as fresh, use in a salad or cooked.

  • 2 cups raw:  14 calories, 2g protein, 2g carbs, 0g fat, 0g sat fat, 2g fiber

In conclusion, eat foods that you would find in the edge of the supermarket.  The further you venture into the aisle the more processed the foods get.  P90X nutrition is more than just getting ripped.  It’s about creating a healthy lifestyle that you can take beyond the 90 days.  Obviously there are many more foods that are good for you but I hope this list helps give you an idea about what healthy choices are all about.  Good Whole Foods.

Looking to Lose Fat and Gain Muscle?  Sign up for ME as your Free Fitness Coach Today!


 

65 comments
TonyLeBlanc
TonyLeBlanc

Hi Sean

 

Im midway through week 2, I can do push up that match the pace and volume Tony does in the DVD yet I can barely knock out 2 pull ups for each pull up segment.   I do my 2 then use the chair.  What gives?

Coach Sean
Coach Sean moderator

 @TonyLeBlanc We all have our strengths and weaknesses.  My suggestion would be to go ahead and buy the Chin UP assist.  This thing is awesome and it is WAY better than using a chair.  This will help you get better with pull ups so that you can make sure that you are balancing out your body.  Also make sure you are going as deep as tony and the crew are on the push ups.  You are using the proper form and engagement.  

 

Here is a link to the chin up assist. http://getrippedathome.com/gear/chin-up-max-assist-band/

Hamilton
Hamilton

Hi! Thank you for your informative post. I ended up here because I wasn't sure if I should count my greek yogurt as protein or dairy. I just started P90x2 yesterday (got a cramp hip flexor but great workout nonetheless :D) and I wanted to know do I have to consume like all the portions the program recommends. Like I can get all my protein, fruits, veggies, fat, carb, portions but I'm just never hungry enough to include the snacks. I just keep them for like if I'm at work and I am nowhere near break. I'm a nutrition level 3 person. 4 snacks in total.

Coach Sean
Coach Sean

@Hamilton: I count Greek Yogurt as Protein myself. It depends on your current weight, and what your goals are...are you trying to lose weight?

Nikki
Nikki

I just started p90x and this whole thing really confuses me! But one question I have is if I should use Whey protein powder sometime in my nutrition routine? If I'm a woman trying to lose weight instead of just get fit, should I still use it? If so when? And just in water or with milk???? It is also the "super advanced" type of whey, because walmart didn't have anything else.... :)

Coach Sean
Coach Sean

@Nikki: Yes, I believe you should. Whey protein is a fast digesting protein that is important for helping to build lean muscle that you are looking for, repair your body after your workout and help burn fat. Take it post workout with water, or almond milk. You want to look for a high quality whey protein ISOLATE, not concentrate. You can tell by looking on the ingredient list, it will be the FIRST ingredient listed

Allegra
Allegra

Hi! I just started the program yesterday and am wondering if i'm having ~1 cup of non fat, plain greek yogurt should I count this as a protein or dairy or both? I'm given 2 servings of dairy/day and 6 servings of protein. thanks!

Coach Sean
Coach Sean

@Allegra: Congrats! I count greek yogurt as a protein myself. You can do both but I would keep it as a protein.

Irwan
Irwan

Sean! How can you be my coach if i live outside US?

Mark Brown
Mark Brown

Hey Sean. Great stuff! Helps me a lot. I'm finding the dietary issues tougher than the workouts. Thanks for all the info.

Coach Sean
Coach Sean

@Mark Brown: Glad you like it dude!

AJA
AJA

Hey Sean, Just wondering how do you measure your foods? Do you measure them cooked or uncooked? I follow the P90X nutrition guide and I use the portions indicated by it. The way i've been doing is: meat and fish i measure them, 3 or 6 oz, uncooked. Rice, quinoa I pour 1 cup after cooking. Regarding oatmeal a pour 1/2 cup dry and then I cook it with water and that makes 1 cup.

Coach Sean
Coach Sean

@AJA: I typically do uncooked measurements. You are doing it correctly :)

Troy
Troy

Hey Sean, I'm wondering about starting P90x classic program cuz im trying to get into shape for Air Force ROTC if you know what that is. I have about 6 months before i get into college (im a senior in high school). is it really worth it? and how long do the workout sessions last because i always have a ton of homework and im worried about the nutrition part (not being able to keep up with it time-wise). any advice/answers please?

Coach Sean
Coach Sean

@Troy: Yes man, it's definitely worth it. If you follow the workouts all the way through 90 days, you will get in amazing shape. Everything you need for the military. Pull ups, endurance, cardio conditioning, etc. Each workout is around 1 hour. The nutrition really isn't that hard, I can help you with that. If you buy it through my site, you will get assigned me as your coach so I can help you all the way through to make sure you get the best results. It's under "programs" sections. Hit me up if you have more questions.

Courtney
Courtney

I need to do the p90x workouts early in the morning and don't want to stray from the eating plan they have but would like suggestions of what to eat before working out so I don't pass out and keep my strength ;) cooking a big meal before will not work with the amount of time I have before work!

Coach Sean
Coach Sean

@Courtney: A whey protein shake is the best thing for a quick meal before your workout. An apple with that will also help if you want some carbs.

Nate T.
Nate T.

Hey. I weigh around 160 bout 6 foot. i always work out have no problem with pull ups or push ups. eat heathly and all tht. but still not gettin any mass as i want. i just orderd p90x and lookin forward to it. My question is, how much protien would i need to increase mass and mucle growth?

Coach Sean
Coach Sean

@Nate T.: I would shoot for 1-1.5 grams of protein per your body weight. You need to also consider total calories/day though. You need a surplus of calories in order to gain muscle mass. Do you know how many calories/day you are currently eating?

Oliver
Oliver

I guess I would rather just stick with the better stuff. Thanks!

Oliver
Oliver

So how would the organic coconut oil compare to the olive oil? Is either one of them better than the other?

Coach Sean
Coach Sean

@Oliver: Organic Coconut oil is high in saturated fat, where Olive Oil is all monounsaturated fats. Which most people say is way healthier for you. Having said that, recent studies are showing that not all saturated fats are created equal and the fat found in Coconut oil actually raises both HDL and LDL Cholesterol, so you get an increase of good cholesterol as well.

Kyle Stov
Kyle Stov

Thanks for such a quick response, and my parents said it would be fine :D Does it say excactly what workout to do and how long to do it for on certain days? And is there a way to altar it so I can not lose more weight from cardio but actually gain it with abs, legs, back, and arms?

Coach Sean
Coach Sean

@Kyle: Yes it tells you exactly which workout to do each day. There is no need to alter it. Do the "classic" schedule. Trust me, just follow the program and you will get great results. Make sure you purchase it through my site under "programs", and you will get 2 extra workouts that you can only get from ordering through a coach. It will also sign you up for me as your coach.

Kyle Stov
Kyle Stov

I am 14 and I am 6 foot and weigh about 140 pounds, I am skinny but I have a tiny stomach growing on me, would it be hard to gain a 6 pack from the p90x? And do you think it would be right for me? Also is there a schedule for the p90x that would work for abs? Like is there a way to dumb down the scehdule and how does it work?

Coach Sean
Coach Sean

@Kyle: You could definitely do P90X but I would check with your parents and/or physician first before starting a weight training program like P90X. I would stick with P90X classic schedule

Chris
Chris

I currently weigh 140, I don't know my body fat % but I would like to gain some weight with your revised 90 days. the question I have is I want to reach a weight of 165-170 lbs. Is a 2600 calorie diet good enough in 3 months or do I need to increase calories after each phase? Any tips?

Coach Sean
Coach Sean

@Chris: You may need to increase more...it depends on how many calories your currently eating per day. I would shoot for 2600+, increase your calories by 200 every week after the first 2 weeks. Feel free to contact me as well, I can help you further.

Leo
Leo

Hey Man, Is it bad to eat red meat a lot? Like even round of steak?

Coach Sean
Coach Sean

@Leo: I am not a huge red meat guy. There has been health problems associated with red meat but honestly If you buy good quality meat then you can definitely incorporate it into your diet. I would try for lean cuts. Try to make sure that it is Grass Fed. Grass Fed beef has been shown to have higher Omega 3 fatty acids as well as contain less fat than their corn fed counterparts. Hope that helps.

hasan
hasan

i am just starting to do p90x but i dont like to eat vegtables or fish can u give me list of foods i can eat answer asap

Coach Sean
Coach Sean

@Hasan: Not sure what to tell ya man. Veggies are kinda a must in some form. If you HATE veggies then I would recommend Shakeology because you can get all the nutrition from veggies from it. As far as fish goes, just stick to chicken, turkey and very lean cuts of meat.

Phil
Phil

Sean, Great information on the site. I have been doing Weight Watchers for a few months and have had steady weight loss (about 2 pounds a week) during that period of time. I figured I would do P90x to get ripped. Can I continue doing the Weight Watchers nutrition plan and still expect great results? Or should I switch over to the P90x nutrition plan?

Coach Sean
Coach Sean

@Phil: You can definitely still do weight watchers while doing P90X and get great results. Just make sure your consuming enough protein. Shoot for 1-1.5 grams per your desired body weight. So, for example: If you want to weigh 180 lbs, you need to get 180-240 grams of protein per day.

Ryan
Ryan

hey sean, thanks for the protein information! the only other question i have is regarding yoga. will exchanging x stretch with yoga negatively effect results?

Coach Sean
Coach Sean

@Ryan: No problem! I get this questions A LOT. And my short answer is, try to stick with Yoga. I know, I know, you think it's boring and don't get it. But trust me, it's in the program for a reason. It helps with strength, flexibility, endurance and mental focus. There are a couple of options that I want you to try before switching out Yoga with Stretch X. First, Do the first 45 or so mins, until Tony says "Last Vinaysa", then skip ahead to the "Yoga Belly 7". That will make the Yoga around 60 mins instead of the 90 min regular. The other option is to buy Tony's One on One DVD called "Fountain of Youth" Yoga. This is a 45 min yoga routine that I use a lot when I don't have time for Yoga X. Must more "action packed", Here is the link http://teambeachbody.com/shop/-/shopping/MDTHDVDSINGLE?referringRepId=22975 , just find it in the scroll menu on that page. Does that help? Let me know!

Peter
Peter

i started p90x and struggle with yoga. i loose focus and cannot take the slow paced hour and a half torture. did you do yoga? do you think i could replace x stretch or any other workout with yoga and get the same results? i am not really concerned with the balance aspect of p90x that yoga gives you, i am simply doing p90x to get ripped!

Coach Sean
Coach Sean

@Peter: We all struggled with Yoga at first. It is a tough routine. The 90 mins can be grueling and a little slow if your not used to Yoga. Personally I did the yoga. I also really started to enjoy it once I was able to do the moves with better form and was able to clear my mind. Just like what I said to Ryan, I wouldn't want you to replace Yoga X for stretch X just yet. There are benefits to doing yoga. There is a reason why it is in the program. Believe it or not, it is an essential about to P90X and getting ripped. So, that being said Do what I just told Ryan to do: Do the first 45 or so mins, until Tony says “Last Vinaysa”, then skip ahead to the “Yoga Belly 7″. That will make the Yoga around 60 mins instead of the 90 min regular. The other option is to buy Tony’s One on One DVD called “Fountain of Youth” Yoga. This is a 45 min yoga routine that I use a lot when I don’t have time for Yoga X. Must more “action packed”, Here is the link http://teambeachbody.com/shop/-/shopping/MDTHDVDSINGLE?referringRepId=22975 , just find it in the scroll menu on that page. Let me know what you think of that idea.

Ryan
Ryan

hey sean, i have recently started p90x and want to know your reccomendation on how much protein should be consumed per day. how many grams did you eat per day? i weigh about 160 if that helps

Coach Sean
Coach Sean

@Ryan: I recommend you eat 1 - 1.5 grams of protein per your desired body weight. The P90X nutrition guide has a way for you to calculate your calories/day and ratios of protein/carbs/fat but this is general good amount of protein. So for you, you should eat 160-240 grams of protein, depending on your personal goals. Feel free to message me with any other questions.

Kenny
Kenny

I have one main question. I do not have the money to follow the p90x diet. If I eat healthy plenty of veggies and fruits and stay away from bad fats will I still get great results? Also, what are good carbs and bad carbs and where can I find them to help me?

Coach Sean
Coach Sean

@Kenny: The simple answer is yes, you can. If you eat healthy foods like Lean Proteins, Complex Carbs (whole grains, brown rice, black beans, etc), and healthy fats, than you can still get great results with P90X. Try to limit your calorie intake to 2000-2400 depending on your height/weight and make sure you get at least 1 gram of protein per your body weight to help promote muscle growth. Have you purchased P90X yet? IF you buy it through my site you will receive 2 extra workouts and will be assigned me as your coach automatically so I can help ya with your goals.

T.J
T.J

My bad that question is for coach sean plz answer ASAP

T.J
T.J

I am allergic to milk eggs etc what could I uSe as a substitute because I just payed 350 doller for the p90x but I got the hole packeg including the push up bar. 3 dume bells etc cud u answer my question which is what can I use for substitute I eat rice, fruits , spaghetti ,chicken is this ok ps I'm 5,8 160 I have a small belly dats about it my arms are good and legs to just a lil belly

Coach Sean
Coach Sean

@T.J.: So does that mean you can't eat any dairy? If that is the case then you need to focus on lean proteins like Chicken, turkey, and lean cuts of beef, in order for you to get protein. A great substitute for milk is Almond Milk . Almond milk doesn't quite have the same amount of protein but it is still great. Pages 16-17 in the P90X nutrition guide is also a good list of foods. Did you purchase P90X through me? I didn't see that I am your coach...

Denise
Denise

I'm happy to learn that most of my food selection are in your recommended list. Thank you! :)

Coach Sean
Coach Sean

@Denise: I am glad to hear as well. Good job!

Nelson
Nelson

Hei, Im starting P90x now. I tried a few things, and it turns out i cant even make 10 push-ups without getting tired and from 10-20 i can hardly make it. What do you advise?

Coach Sean
Coach Sean

@Nelson: Keep at it. The more you do it the better/stronger you will get. It takes some time but you will see great results if you keep trying to improve and modify the moves that you can't do.

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  1. [...] and as many veggies as you want.  You know what these are, and if you don’t then look on my P90X nutrition post to see what I’m talking about.  Chicken, Fish, Turkey are all great lean proteins.  Brown [...]