So I talked to my dad last night and he seems to think I am eating the same thing every day, well maybe but that is not a requirement for the program so I thought I would explain the nutrition plan a bit more because I really think that this is the key to the program. You can work out all day long and unless you are eating right you will not see results. There are 3 levels (relates to how many calories you need on a daily basis) and 3 phases (relates to the percentage of Protein to Carbs to Fat) in the plan. First we will discuss the Level and then the Phases.
Your Level is determined by taking your body weight and multiplying it by ten and then adjusting that up by 20% and add in 600 for minimum required to keep you alive. So I started the program at 160 lbs so (160 * 10) * 1.2 + 600 = 2520 calories of intake daily which puts me as a level 2 as shown below.
- Level I - 1,800 to 2,399 calories per day
- Level II - 2,400 to 2,999 calories per day
- Level III - 3,000 + calories per day
Based on what I was eating prior to this program that is a lot of calories, I was probably around 1800 a day before and I thought that was a good bit. Keep in mind that this is just a starting point and you may need slightly more or less and will have to judge that based on your results. If you are not losing weight that you wanted to the first thing you should try is add more calories, maybe 200 to 250 a day, because too few is usually the reason people don't lose. The body goes into a conservation mode and tries to store energy it thinks it will need later. This calorie thing is tricky because there is really a very narrow range in which you will get the results you want and the hard part is finding that range and staying there.
Now you know where to start off with your daily caloric intake but what do you eat? Well that is where the 3 Phases come in. Each Phase gives a diet that has different percentages of the three things you are concerned with:
- Phase I – Protein 50%, Carbs 30%, Fat 20%
- Phase II – Protein 40%, Carbs 40%, Fat 20%
- Phase III – Protein 20%, Carbs 60%, Fat 20%
As you can see each Phase increases the carbohydrate intake to help you maintain performance. Keep in mind that real athletes are not on Atkins they eat lots of carbs because you need them to give you the energy needed to do intense workouts and you burn them quickly. Also keep in mind though that they should be complex carbs not just sugar. Phase I is basically a cut Phase to help build some lean muscle and drop some extra fat. They also talk about this being a good diet to get you to learn what carbs do for your body. Now there is no one size fits all solution to what Phases you will do and when to switch. The Phases can be run along with the 3 Phases of the workouts but that is not required. If you do Phase 1 for 2 weeks and feel you need more carbs to get what you need out of the workouts you can switch to Phase 2 then. Some people may never get to Phase 3 which is a lot of carbs to allow for really intense workouts so if you are not really pushing it with the workouts you may not need to go there.
Within each Phase the plan provides 3 options you can follow Meal Plan, Portion Plan, and Quick Plan. The Quick Plan tells you what kinds of things you can eat if you have to eat out or travel a lot or something. I am basically skipping this because I think it is more to be used if needed in an emergency and other than that you should use one of the other 2. The Meal Plan provides a one week meal schedule for each Level and Phase that tells you exactly what and how much to eat for each meal and snack with the idea that you just repeat the weekly menu every week. The recipes for the meals are in the book and so far everything I have had has been good. What I am doing is the Portion Plan which defines how many servings of each type of food you can eat as well as what a serving of each is. For example I am Level 2 Phase 1 and my daily intake is as follows:
- Proteins – 7
- Dairy – 3
- Fruit – 1
- Vegetables – 4
- Fats – 1
- Carbs – 1
- Condiments – 2
- Snacks – 1
- Double Snack or P90X Recovery Drink – 1
- Double Snack or P90X Protein Bar – 1
Examples of each type of food are:
- Proteins – 3 oz. chicken or turkey breast, 6 egg whites, 3 oz. lean red meat
- Dairy – 1.5 oz. low fat cheese, 3 oz. Parmesan cheese, 8 oz. skim milk
- Fruit – 1 medium apple, medium banana, 1 oz. dried fruit
- Vegetables – 1 cup of cooked veggies, 2 cups of leafy greens
- Fats – 1 tbsp or 1 serving avocado, canola oil, olive oil
- Carbs – 1 cup brown or wild rice, 3 3.6 oz. pancakes, 1 cup oatmeal, 2 slices bread (whole wheat, rye, pumpernickel)
- Condiments – 2 tbsp lowfat sauces and marinades, fat free dressings, mustard, honey, pure fruit jams
- Snacks – Single - 1 oz. lowfat cheese, 1/2 Protein Bar,1.5 oz. string cheese, 1 tbsp peanut butter w/celery sticks - Double - 1 oz. nuts, 1 Protein Bar, 3 oz. string cheese
Now these are just examples and if you are following the Portion Plan you can eat exactly the foods they suggest or the equivalent but you just limit your consumption to the number of servings given in the guide, I say limit but trust me this is a lot of food just try eating 12 oz of cottage cheese and see what you think. So basically I can go out to a restaurant and eat as long as I know what I am getting and eat what I am supposed to and in the right amounts. The other thing with the plan is you should be eating 5-6 times a day (Breakfast, Snack, Lunch, Snack, Dinner, maybe another Snack). This helps your body to feel like there is plenty of food available which helps increase your metabolism. For drinks you are doing water and that is it, I do have coffee every morning but black. I drink a ton of water all throughout the day, like they used to tell us in the Marine Corps "if you don't have to pee you are not drinking enough water." I cut out most other drinks long ago when I started working out and I can't really drink sodas any more. After going without them for so long they are just too sweet for me. I had been drinking a couple of beers from time to time but I have thus far cut that out completely and plan to continue with that although I may have one at the next football game I go to around day 30, not sure yet.
This may all seem like a lot of work but after the first few days it is pretty straight forward. I tend to eat the same things over and over but that is just me and I did that before as well, like I have Oatmeal and a banana for breakfast almost every day which right now means no more carbs or fruit for me for the rest of the day. I did have egg whites one morning so I could have pasta for dinner but that was just once. After I move on to Phase 2 I will drop 2 servings of protein and 1 veggie a day and add in 2 servings of carbs so that will be a little more reasonable diet along the lines of what I was doing before. Well that is the nutrition plan in a nutshell and if you ask me this is like 75% of what will get you results in this program. You have to work hard during the workouts but cheating on the nutrition part will just kill your results. By the end of 90 days of this you will likely never go back to eating junk, you might have a few chips here or a soda there but I doubt you will want to eat that stuff all the time and there really is no need to.
- Creatine (5 grams in water)
- Whey protein
- Oatmeal 1 cup
- 1 banana
- 1 oz Dried Blueberries
- Chicken Salad (Chicken, Lettuce, Cabbage, Carrots, Broccoli, Cucumber, and Cheese w/Red Wine Vinaigrette)
- Flank Steak 6 oz
- Roasted Red Pepper Soup
- 1 Protein Bar