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Women: Not Losing Weight on P90X?

After seeing all the discussion on our previous thread P90X: What Can a Woman Expect?, I thought it would be useful to pull some of the tips out into a separate thread.

The number one complaint seems to be that women aren’t losing significant amounts of weight on P90X.

Let’s be clear: P90X is not a weightloss program.

It is marketed as “Extreme Home Fitness,” not “Extreme Home Weightloss.”  The people in the ads are going from “a little loose in the cage” to supremely ripped, not from “overweight” to “ripped” so step one is:

BE HONEST WITH YOURSELF: Are you already in pretty good shape?  Have you been working out a few times per week for a while?  If you already have the program, were you able to pass the fitness test?  Are you in this to put the final finishing tweaks on your physique and get fitter than you’ve ever been? Do you have fewer than 20 lbs to lose/convert/tighten up? Yes? Great! Skip below to my tips for maximizing burning through that weight while on the P90X program.

However, if you have MORE than 20 pounds of fat to lose, I suggest you work on getting the fat off BEFORE fine-tuning your physique with P90X. Beachbody makes some great programs that ARE intended for significant weightloss, including Slim in 6 and even P90X’s precursor, Power 90.  Here’s the thing to remember: Your body has two “modes”- Build Mode (anabolic) and Burn Mode (catabolic).  P90X workouts and the eating program are geared towards putting you in Build mode.  If you have a few pounds of flab to burn, sure, you’ll hit a tipping point where you can burn through that as your metabolism gets revved by the additional muscle, but it is not going to be enough to burn through more than a little fat. Men have an easier time burning and building simultaneously, probably because they have enough testosterone to build enough muscle to make a significant impact on their metabolism.

Look at it this way, as well: Why kick your ass for 90 days building muscle when nobody will see it until you get the layer of fat off?

Let me take a step back here and tell you my story: I started my P90X journey in January/February of last year at 145 pounds.  I was quite active, going to the gym several times a week for most of my adult life. I already ate really well- lots of healthy foods- so Rob and I decided to start the program and see how far we could get on workouts alone. Two months later, he was definitely starting to show some definition and was stoked on his results. Me? I was still 145 and lumpier than ever because whatever fat I had was just getting smooshed by new muscle.

After another month, I hit a point where I knew that I needed to get the fat off before I should even concern myself with muscle, so I started swapping out some P90X workouts with running and cut back to 1300 calories a day. I was able to lose 5 pounds on my own, but then simultaneously fell in love with running and decided that “more workouts will help me lose MORE weight!” so I started training for a marathon, my weightloss stalled, and I developed a stress injury from too much running and not getting proper nutrition. At that point, I went to a nutritionist who explained to me the concept of Build Mode and Burn Mode, and that I can’t BOTH be training for a marathon, pushing my body for improvements AND be denying it calories to try and burn fat.

Thankfully, I landed at the nutritionist at a time where I was restricted on my activities anyhow because of the stress fracture, so he put me on a twofold diet: I was to limit my calories to 1500/day, a sensible mix of carbs, protein and fat, AND I wasn’t to burn more than 400 calories per day through exercise. This “easy does it” approach let me go from 142 lbs in July of last year to 127lbs in December. Once I stopped pummeling my body with too-low calories and too-intense workouts, the weight really started to come off nice and easy.

Fast forward through the Holidays, more running, another stress fracture (ugh!) and I am starting another modified cycle of P90X at about 130 pounds with a goal of getting down to about 125 lbs. This time, we are following the eating plan, though I am following my own advice (which, I swear, I am getting to in a moment) and modifying Level one to about 1500 cals. (Of course, just to highlight that this really is a MUCH different process for men than women, we are a week and a half in and I can already see the difference in Rob and he has already dropped several pounds. Me? Bah, not so much.)

What’s the lesson I learned over the past year? If you have a significant amount of weight to lose, you need to gently coerce it out of your body, not try to slam it out with a program like P90X or a super low-cal, high-calorie burn program. Look for a program like Slim in 6 that combines some resistance training with cardio, keep your calories balanced and around 1500 (for most people, check out some of the online Resting Metabolic Rate calculators to get a good sense for what your daily burn is.) In other words- if you need to get the fat off, do it gently, responsibly, consistently, and come back to P90X when you are ready to ice your cake.

If you DO fall in the category of “already in good shape, just want to use P90X to convert a few vanity pounds and get in the best shape of your life,” GREAT! Welcome, here are the rest of my tips:

Eating Plan Tips: 1800-2000 calories (level 1) is a fine level for maintaining weight and BUILDING muscle, but too high for BURNING fat (for most people- calculate your resting metabolic rate online if you aren’t sure.) I suggest 1500 calories as a pretty good generic calorie level for fat loss. Certainly don’t go below 1400 or you won’t be able to fuel your workouts and may do more harm than good. Don’t just track portions as the book suggests, but actually track your calories on a site like The Daily Plate.

Workouts: Buy a heartrate monitor and try to keep your heartrate in the 130s for weight workouts and above 150 for cardio workouts. If you’ve already done the workouts, you know that Tony talks A LOT. There is a lot of downtime in workouts and, if you use too high a weight, you might spend most of your workout resting between sets. Use a weight heavy enough to feel the burn, but light enough that you are moving for most of the workout. With Kenpo X and (shudder) Cardio X… Kenpo X, I found that you really NEED to force yourself to get your heartrate up there. It is all on you to make sure your heartrate is up. Cardio X? I suggest just throwing that one out and going for a run or some other cardio you enjoy. Plyo is a great interval workout, though!

I hope some people will find those tips useful, I’ll add to them if I come up with more during this cycle.

270 thoughts on “Women: Not Losing Weight on P90X?

  1. First off, WOW- you are SUPER helpful!

    My husband and I started P90X 3 1/2 weeks ago (on Valentine’s Day, actually!) and decided to go with the ‘lean’ program. I am 26 years old, 5’9 and 135lbs : just interested in toning up. My husband, however, is 31 y/o, 5’8 and 295 lbs: interested in losing weight, most of which is in the belly. We are both vegetarian, and have been primarily focusing on raising our protein, and lowering the carbs (which are a typical danger spot for most vegetarians as many soy products are high in carbohydrate). Really though, we have always enjoyed a pretty healthy diet consisting of many fresh fruits and veg, raw nuts, whole wheat products, etc…

    We are both enjoying P90X very much. We both feel stronger and more capable every day 🙂 However neither of us have lost any weight. As I mentioned before, I am not so much interested in weight loss, as I have already lost 100lbs after having 2 crazy kiddos.. But I don’t want my husband to be discouraged, as many men doing the program often see almost instant results on the scale.

    I read your previous comments to many suggesting the use of a heart rate monitor, and will definitely follow that advice. But what do you think his typical caloric intake should be to start to see better weight loss results? I think I generally am around 1400-1600, which I think is about right for me?? We both work up a huge sweat during the exercises, and are committed to sticking with it no matter what the scale says! But I just want to make sure, for especially my husband, we are making the most of it 😉

    Thank you so much for any input you have!

    1. Thanks for writing! Yeah, you are in a great place– and a big CONGRATS for your success!!! I’d say for you, settle into the 1600-1700 range and just weigh weekly to see how your weight reacts. For him, I’d have him at about 2600. Carbs aren’t the devil, but it is important that he gets between .7 and .9 grams per pound of bodyweight, which, for him at his weight, and especially being veggie, can feel like a whole lot. He is almost certainly going to need to do some supplementing with bars or powders to get to where he needs to be– it does get better, I promise! Especially as his weight comes down and that protein goal comes down with it. (Incidentally, he should re-assess his calories every 20 lbs lost or so.)

      The thing with some/many men is that they say “I am kicking my butt in this workout, I can eat whatever I want!” Even with a healthy diet, in a weightloss situation, calories are calories– men hate to pay attention to them, but once he spends a few week weighting and measuring, I bet he’ll fall into a rut (again, men are great at this!) where he’ll be maintaining the calorie deficit without needing to be as fastidious on counting/weighing/measuring portions.

      Hope this helps, keep me up to date on your and hubby’s success!

    2. It takes 40 days for your body chemistry to change and to begin weight loss. The advice in this article is so wrong I don’t know where to begin!

  2. wow, great website and great info!
    i have done two full rounds of p90x, the first i went from 165-135lbs- i did this by only eating about 700 calories a day and doing p90x while working a 12 hour a day job(dumb i know) my second round i had gained back a bit of weight( about 140-145lbs) and i ate whatever i wanted while doing p90x and didnt see much result- i still had a flabby tummy-but more toned arms- this second round was around the time i was breaking up with a boyfriend of 6 years and moving back accross the counrty to go home.
    i worked out a bit, ran, random p90x workouts, but my weight dropped to 130lbs mostly because i was so stressed my body just shit out all the food i gave it. i wasnt eating enough again and i knew this wasnt healthy
    i joined a hot yoga class and went almost everyday for a month and found a new self love
    i started insanity with a good healthy diet of 12-1500 calories a day-but hated the program and went back into my old ways of eating too few calories
    i have most recently done another month of hot yoga and i am feeling very good about life, i am feeling energized and i know i must eat well and workout to be a healthy person.
    i am currently at 145lbs 5’8 and i starting to train for a half marathon, i want to incorporate some of the p90x arms,shoulders,chest and cardio workouts into my workout sched. as well as running
    i guess my question is what the heck should i be eating. and how much??
    im so confused about food and calories and working out and net calories and everything i dont know what to do. i want to do this the healthy way this time
    i want to be able to have diner with my boyfriend on friday night and not feel like an awful person for eating mashed potatoes. i want to be healthy and workout and eat well. any ideas?
    sorry for poring my heart out to you, i just havnt found many blogs that talk about under eating very often although it seems like you did it in a healthier way then i did, i thought you may be able to help

    1. Ashley,

      First off, congrats on your commitment to being healthy this time around! 1400-1500 is a great place for you to be at calorie-wise (you’ll want to get some quick carbs in before runs of longer than an hour and will also want to supplement mid-run with a gu or a gel on runs of 90 minutes or more, which means your calorie intake will be more than 1500 on those days, but your burn will be higher, too.) I advocate for a nice blend of carbs, protein and healthy fats, especially for runners. 50% carbs, 30% protein, 20% healthy fats or so… tending more towards proteins on weight days and carbs on run days. There is absolutely room for mashed potatoes in a balanced eating plan–there is nothing that is “off limits” so long as you plan for it (this means tracking and weighing/measuring your food so that you know where you’re at.)

      I, too, do hot yoga, especially when I am focused on my running. My only warning (HA! I typed “warming” initially) is that you don’t burn a whole lot of calories in a hot yoga class, so take that into account when tracking your deficit. I know that they will tell you that you burn loads, but no study supports this and I’ve used a few tests (heartrate monotor, BodyBugg) to know that I burn only about 295 cals for 90 minutes (this is of traditional Bikram.) It’s great for lots of things, it’s just not a calorie-burning powerhouse.

      Best of luck on your journey!

    2. If I only ate 700 calories a day u starved your body and did Not follow p 90x protocol. Your calories should have been at least 1700 per day. When you starve you lose muscle and therfore fat loss and weight loss shuts down your metabolism and can cause u to gain it all back. If you feed your machine while you work it you will change your body chemistry into a fat burning machine. Lookup up how electron transport chains work if u want to research further.

  3. Hey Heather,
    I’m in week 9 of P90X and I’m having the same problem. I haven’t lost a pound but I think I’m losing fat in general since my measurements have gone down (1.5″ on my waist and some on my hips) and based on caliper readings so has my BF%. So I guess I’m building muscle and losing fat since my strength is increasing but am I actually breaking even in fat lbs. vs. muscle lbs. or is my diet keeping me stuck at my current weight? I’m 5″ and currently hovering around 133 lbs. so the 1800 calories is hard to get to but I do my best and try to eat balanced, whole foods and avoid the fried stuff.

    Should I just keep doing what I’m doing and hope that the muscle/fat balance will tip over and I’ll start losing weight? At my height, my weight gives me a BMI in the overweight range which just seems ridiculous to me, am I missing something?

    1. Hi Lina,

      For your height, weight and goals, 1800 calories is a little high. But, the ultimate “proof is in the pudding”– you’ve been eating at that rate for 9 weeks now with no scale movement, so you clearly need to be lower. I’d bring it down to 1500 and that should do the trick. It’s metabolically impossible for your rate of muscle gain to obscure scale movement if you are, indeed, eating at a deficit to lose fat. (I address this and other strength training myths for women over on the Yahoo! blog:

      Best of success on your journey!

  4. I’m also experiencing the same thing.

    I’m only on my first week of the program, am 5’3 and in the 140s so could stand to lose 10 lbs. but am already pretty muscular because I teach group fitness classes 4 times a week. The 1800 calories is hard to get to and having to eat so much protein is a nightmare because I don’t care for meat most days. I am semi-vegetarian….just because I love veggies so Phase I is killing me. 🙂

    I’ve gained 6 lbs. in 3 days from following the eating plan in the book, doing the DVDs at full intensity AND have taught 1 of my 3 classes so far (3 more are at the end of the week).

    At this rate, I’m going to be 250 lbs. and barely able to fit through a door by the end of P90x…..

    1. Again, 1800 is too high for your goals– ESPECIALLY since you already have that kind of background and are not already nearer the weight you want to be. I always quote 1500 as the kind of “generic starting point” for women within an average range of height, weight and age, so I would bring your calories down to there and see where you go. Also, veggies are not limited on Phase 1– you can eat as many as you want! You probably just don’t have room for them with all that protein. 🙂

      Incidentally, I can’t eat that much protein– it throws water weight on me like crazy. I tried a scaled-down-for-calories version of the P90X plan and my body just went haywire and I, too, put on about 3 lbs of water in a week. If you’ve put on 6 lbs in 3 days, it could be one of two things– vegetarian sources of protein (non-fat dairy, mostly) are hugely high in sodium, and/or your body just doesn’t love that much protein.

  5. Thanks for offering your insightful info!

    I’m also struggling with the nutrition plan. I’m 5’5.5″, 132lbs, and trying to get down to 120lbs. I’m also a marathon runner, and am running the Georgia Marathon in a week and the Paris Marathon in 4 weeks. I decided that this week would be a good week to start P90X, since I’m tapering, and could replace all those extra miles with the program. However, I was trying to stick with eating only up to 1300 calories a day, unsuccessfully, and haven’t been able to make the 50/20/20 Phase I suggested eating plan. Moreover, 50/20/20 doesn’t sound right for a runner, anyhow.

    What do you recommended in terms of a better ratio? Perhaps I’ll also increase my caloric intake to 1500 as well?


    1. Hi Stephanie,

      I am SO GLAD that you wrote in, because what you are talking about is potentially catastrophic to your marathon training and I’d hate to see that happen for you after all the hard work you’ve put in. First, you absolutely do not want to start P90X during your taper. The taper is meant to give your muscles time to recover, rest and store glycogen. I know it is so tempting to fill in that time with another activity, but for your marathon training to be effective, that activity cannot be a physical pursuit, Read a book, knit, take up scrapbooking…. do not fill the time with P90X. Also, the weeks leading up to a marathon is not the time to be focussed on weight loss. No, you don’t want to be eating so much that you put on weight, but you do want to be at or just under maintenance. For your height and weight, I’d say no lower than 1500 calories. And, finally, you absolutely do not want to switch to a high-protein eating plan leading up to your marathon. 50-20-20 is a great ratio.. so long as it’s 50 carbs, 20 protein, 20 healthy fats. 🙂 And, in the three days leading up to the marathon, you want to make that more like 60/70 percent carbs.

      My training partner is running Paris… I even threw my hair in a French braid for our long run the other day. I hope you have a great time and best of luck on both your marathons. Please do come back and chat after your marathons are over and I’d be happy to give you more advice specific to P90X, but, please heed the warning, this is NOT the time to start.

      1. Thanks so much for your in-depth and helpful response!! You’re right. I should know better than to try to pick up P90X 1 week and 4 weeks before my next two marathons. It’s crazy enough that I’ll be running them 3 weeks apart as it is! I’ll definitely be back with questions after the races are over! 😀

  6. I am just about to start the p90x workout and am torn which schedule to do, the classic or the lean. I was a collegiate athlete, and am curretnly 5’9″ and 150 but have a lean muscular body. I want to lose weight and tone up and not really build more muscle mass. I was planning on doing the lean but a friend of mine who has the same build did the classic and lost 25 lbs. I just don’t want to start a schedule and be a couple weeks into it and realize I should have been doing the other. I was wondering anyone with my body type, what schedule you did. Thanks so much!

    1. Honestly, the workouts are not that different. You can start doing the Lean workout, and if you want more, ramp it up to Classic. If you were an athlete, I suspect you will make the move to Classic at some point. Also, if you are going for the max rep range, (12-15 per set) you should not come close to bulking up. (And if you read the posts below that Smurf wrote, you will see that you should not really worry about “bulking up” at this point. You should be good as long as you maintain your diet, and stay consistent. )

      Be sure to read other comments down the thread. The P90X Diet plan is a bit calorie heavy for women. you will probably need to adjust.


    2. I don’t think I’ve ever proactively proposed Lean to someone, as I find some of the workouts the Lean program relies on to be really boring and quite easy to half-ass/not get as much out of as you need. So long as you are really lifting an appropriate amount of weight to juice every last calorie out of the Classic rotation (ideally using a heartrate montor to identify ways to get the biggest burn) you’ll see great results. Your weight loss is going to be about calories in/calories out, so it’s going to come down to how much food you are putting into your body and how much effort you are putting into your workout to get as many calories “out” as possible. If “Person A” is doing Classic and “Person B” is doing Lean, the one who has better results will be the one who put more into it. The two programs aren’t substantially different enough to be the deciding factor in success.

      Hope that helps!

  7. Hey Smurf! It’s Annie again from a ‘March 4th’ post, just updating you on our progress and to say thanks again for your helpful guidance!

    Day 39 of P90X: So far my husband has lost about 10lbs, and is feeling great. His clothes are fitting better, he’s on a different belt notch, and has tons more energy throughout the day 🙂

    I am still 135 lbs right on the money, but definitely feel stronger and more capable with every exercise. I’m a little surprised that I haven’t seen any weight loss, but as I mentioned before I am not looking for that as a ‘goal’.. Just focusing on toning and tightening up, and hopefully feeling great in the process! As long as my body continues to get stronger and leaner, I guess it doesn’t really matter what the scale says 😉

    Anywhoooo, just thought I’d check in with you! I’ll let you know where our progress is in another couple weeks 🙂

    1. Hey Annie, thanks for checking in, and congrats to you and hubby both for sticking to it.

      Your situation is not at all uncommon (adding exercise and keeping all else the same and your weight remaining stable.) Our bodies are a wonderful ecosystem that strives for stasis, so when you add the exercise you subconsciously do other things, like adding a few more calories without knowing it or moving a little less throughout the day, that puts you back at a balance. If you decide that you would like to see a couple pounds come off just for kicks (even though I know it’s not a primary goal), you’d need to lock down a little bit on the food side of things. Easiest way to do this for you, since you know you are at a calorie balance, would be to track everything you eat for a few days, specific portions included, and then remove a few items totaling 300 or so calories per day- If you have a sugared coffee drink or soda, cheese and mayo on your sandwich at lunch, bowl of ice cream every night, etc., it’s relatively simple to identify one or two things to go without for the remainder of the program to see the scale move (again, only if you want to.) The key, though, is that you need to know the quantities of everything you are eating currently and make sure you keep those the same, otherwise you will make up for it without even knowing it– pouring your cereal for a second longer, reaching for the larger piece of fruit or underestimating the size of a meat portion, etc.

      Please pass on my congrats, and keep up the great work!

  8. Hi Smurf,

    I want to start doing p90x and have a few questions. I am basically getting burned out what is it that I need and how much. I have been trying to look all over the web but I am just getting overwhelmed with info. I just need basic OK so here are my questions:
    1. Do I really need a recovery drink? if so, can I just drink a shake made from milk and fruits?
    2. I have been reading that a lot of bands break, I am now really paranoid if it does. Which ones do you suggest? Any brands or should I get it from Walmart or Amazon?
    I will be using it to subst. a chin up bar and maybe dumbells (should I stick to dumbells)..what do you think? I am 5′ and 138lbs, not looking to bulk up.

    Thank you in advance…this would help me a lot and I can finally start my journey. (I am anxious but I want to get prepared and have everything ready).

    1. Hi Meg,
      Recovery Drink- It’s definitely a “nice to have” not a “need to have.” I drink it after really hard workouts and do notice it keeps me from bonking out later in the day and I feel like I feel a little more recovered the next day. But, really, I only take it once a week, if that. Lots of people swear by good ol’ fashioned chocolate milk- NF milk with regular chocolate syrup (it’s important that it have something really fast-acting in the sugar department, so don’t opt for sugarfree or some hippy-dippy low-GI syrup. Make it the real thing. Oh, and strawberry milk would work, too– nothing magical in the chocolate. Someone asked me that once.) Basically, the “magic” is in the protein and carb ratio (1:4) the taken in the 45 minutes after working out, the spike in insulin from the fast-acting carbs helps refuel the muscles with glycogen and deliver the protein to repair/reduce muscle breakdown.
      2) We got our bands from… I wanna say Sports Authority? I think they are Harbinger brand. We’ve not had one break yet. You do need to make sure you get ones with an attachment that can be closed in a door for your pull-downs (in lieu of pull-ups) and I like ones that have webbing coming off of the handle, not a full-plastic D-shaped handle that attaches directly to the tubing. The full-plastic ones rub on my wrist bone sometimes and can be irksome. Also, the bands they sell through Beachbody are very nice and well-priced (if you shop through this link, we get credit for it: )

      Personally, I prefer using dumbells for most exercises. Sports Authority is another great resource for those because they have the no-nonsense cast iron ones for pretty cheap. I started with a 5, 7 and 10 and now I use 10, 20 and 25 for most things. Getting the cheaper ones means you don’t feel bad when you need to move up a weight class– and you should need to do at least once in the 90 days.

      Hope that helps, let me know if you have more questions once you get started!

  9. Thank you for this article. I am on week 8 and have actually gained. I am stronger, but not thinner. Lumpier, like you mentionedbecause the new musce is smushing everything around.
    Awhile back, I lost 60 lbs with a medical program and was at 135 in March of 2010. But body fat was still high, still in the low thirties according to the Tanita scale I have at home. I took grad courses all summer and was in marriage therapy… went up to 142. In October my husband and I split and I wasn’t doing much fo anything. I went up to 145 by Jan so I started the p90x. I am stronger but have been very discouraged about the weight loss progress. I am beginning to understand why thanks to your article. What I want to do is drop the BF percentage and am still perplexed as to how to do it. Perhaps I should just continue with p90x and drop my calorie count like someone did above. Any ideas of where to go next? I am appearing in NYC at Carnegie Hall in May and want to look my best!

  10. This is the smartest online conversation I’ve come across for my p90x questions. Since my comment yesterday, I ‘ve been back here several times reading and re-reading all the info, trying to sort out what would help me as best as I can. Sounds like you know a lot. If you can think of anything that might help, I’d appreciated hearing from you…any of you.

    Here is my situation in a nutshell:
    37% BF
    Lost 60 lbs last year. Went down to 135 but crept up to 145 by Jan 2011
    Began p90x Lean Jan 17-didn’t lose anything
    Switched to the Classic for weeks 5-8 ( have gained a few pounds and BF % re: my Tanita home scale)
    Am 52- almost 53
    Started some serious hotflashes and insomia a few weeks ago.(maybe set off by doing the program?)

    I use a Heart monitor and try to stay in my range.

    I have the recovery drink and a shake or a bar once a day. I usually have a Lean Cuisine for dinner
    ( following the guidelines of 300 cals or less, 6 grams of fat or less,e tc). I usually have nf greek yogurt, super low sodium turkey, and some sort of vegetable soup or salad daily, and no salt chips with salsa. And coffee with some sort of soy cream or milk and sweetner.

    Anyway, after a year of serious dieting, I think I am doing pretty well, but you may be right, I may be adding unconsiously and will look into the Dailey Plate.

    So, I am not in need of losing 20 pounds, but could lose some major BF%. I am stronger than I can every remember which that feels great and I am showing some shapliness. But basically am where I started weight wise.

    I have 5 weeks to go. Any suggestions? Or can you direct me to a woman my age who has done it?

    Thanks much for your info and insight.

    1. Hi Pam,
      Thanks so much for the kind words, and congrats on getting this far with P90X! For your goals, it is all going to come down to calories in vs calories out. You need to be tracking what’s going in calorie-wise in order to know where you stand on creating the deficit necessary to get those pounds off. (Incidentally, in order to bring your bodyfat down to normal you will see the scale move. I also wouldn’t put too much faith in your bodyfat scale. I used to think they were OK for measuring upwards and downwards trends, but not for giving an exact percentage. Mine always had me in the 19-21% range at 5’6″ 125 lbs. I recently was hydrostatically weighed and I’m actually at 15.1%. I’d go by how you look and how your clothes fit. But, again, you are going to need to see scale weight come off in order to move your body composition in favor of muscle.)

      So Step One is definitely to get set up with Daily Plate or MyFitnessPal or a similar free tracking program, then get to weighing and measuring your food. For most women within a range of “normal” (you fit the bill) 1500 calories per day is a great place to start. See if that gets the scale moving after two weeks. If not, go over everything you are eating to make sure nothing is slipping in unmeasured or incorrectly accounted for and bring it down another 100 calories per day. By then, you’ll surely start to see the body fat coming off to reveal that muscle you’ve worked so hard on the program to build.

      But, the bottom line for any woman– if you have fat to lose, you will not see those body composition changes happen without tackling the bodyfat, which is 99% reliant on diet.

        1. Actually, one last question, smurf. As you know , the p90x has 3 food plan levels to go with each intensity level. At this point I am in the 3rd intensity level which is week 9-13. since I am going for fat loss, which food plan level would be best to follow in your opinion; Level 1 High protein low carb, Level 2 equal protein to carb, or Level 3 wihich is Low protien high carb? again , thank you for your thoughtful input.

          1. Calories matter more than proportions, so don’t get too caught up in the details there. Go for whatever is easier for you to maintain at the 1500 calorie level (and, whichever plan you choose, obviously scale down the portions in the eating guide to hit the 1500 calories.) I generally give people a goal of hitting at least .7-.9 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight, which works out to the 30-35% of calories from protein range for most people. If you like low carb diets for whatever reason, you can certainly eat more than that, but don’t eat less. (None of the eating plans in the P90X guide have you eating less than that.)

  11. I ordered P90X before I saw this thread for women. I am 5″1′ 170 lbs. I have a significant amount of weight to lose. After reading this thread I am wondering if I made the wrong decision to purchase the workout DVDs. I have a treadmill at home. But starting out what should I do. You said to lose the weight first then do P90X. How exactly do I get the weight off? Cardio, weight training, workout DVDs, less calories. I am lost. I don’t want to start anything, not see any results and get discouraged.

    1. The first and foremost thing, and I mean 99% of your success, is going to be getting into a deficit by controlling your calories in. That means getting on a free program like the Daily Plate or MyFitnessPal, setting a calorie limit, and sticking to it every day. For you, 1500 is a great starting point.

      The second priority will be to make that deficit greater by burning calories through exercise. I advise people to get a heartrate monitor and shoot for burning 500 calories at least 6 days per week however you prefer. Dancing, biking, walking, running… Find something you enjoy. Doesn’t matter what it is so much as that you hit that 500 calorie goal. The reason P90X might not be the best way to that goal is that strength training isn’t a hugely efficient burner of calories, especially not the way most people are likely to do follow the program. So, if you do a P90X workout every day with your heartrate monitor on, you might notice that you then need to go hop on the treadmill for a while to hit your burn, whereas you might have been able to get to that burn quicker by doing treadmill intervals from the get-go.

      The third priority has less to do with weight loss and more to do with creating a healthy body composition to keep your metabolism high after you lose the weight, and that is to incorporate weight workouts/strength training two days a week. Since you already have the programs, this could mean doing Core Synergistics (one of my favorites and a great full-body strength workout) or another one of the workouts (Legs and Back is another great full-body strength workout) or some other kind of strength training to make sure you are getting some strength work in at least two days per week.

      Now, if you told me that you really love P90X and want to rock the program because you really crave this type of working out, then I’d say absolutely you can get the weight off using this program IF you tweak it as I talk about in the article– using the heaviest weights you can while still moving non-stop, using a heartrate monitor to know your burn and making sure you hit the 500 mark most days of the week. And, most importantly, controlling the calories you are consuming.

      The reason I advocate for getting a little closer to your weight goal before starting P90X is not so much because you CAN’T get to where you want to be using this program, it’s because (in no particular order):
      – It might be difficult- P90X is really intended for people with a base of fitness. Going from “pretty fit” to “super fit.” You don’t mention what your workout regimen looks like currently, but it doubtful someone with a good bit of weight to lose has been doing plyometrics (jump drills), lifting, push-ups, pull ups, etc. on a regular basis, so the workout can be like drinking from a firehose if you are not already fit.

      – Many women don’t “love” this kind of workout. Many women come here with an attitude of “I will do it if it will make me look like the women in the ads” but they really don’t love this kind of workout. When your goal is just to get that burn in to get those calories out, it doesn’t matter much how you do it (with the exception that you do want to get a few strength training sessions in per week to retain lean muscle mass.) Why not do something you enjoy and will stick to?

      – It’s not a super efficient burner of calories. I burn in the 300 range per workout (and I really kill it with high weights and intensity) where if I go sweat my butt off doing an interval workout on the treadmill or elliptical, I can get through that in a half hour. Coupled with the “enjoyment factor” I mentioned above, if your main goal right now is weight loss, not “extreme fitness,” why not do something that you will both enjoy and get you closer to your main goal, and then move on to the “extreme fitness” piece once it’s in range? Which brings me to my final reason…

      – I want women to have that “wow” moment at the end of the 90 days. P90X really fine-tunes loads of glamour muscles and you can work all those glamor muscles as much as you want, but they aren’t going to show if you are just starting your fatloss process. In other words, if you go from 170 to 144– stellar results at 2 lbs per week- you are still going to have a ways to go to really show off the fruits of all your labor. If you do something fun and easy to get the weight off and then start at 150, kick your own butt through the 90 days, and end in the 120’s, that “wow” is more likely to be there for you.

      It’s really just a matter of preference, but I hope that helped give you some info to go on.

  12. I just started p90x yesterday, and now after reading this I’m a bit concerned. I admit that I do want to lose about 10 lbs, but mostly I want to drop 2 dress sizes and could care less about the scale. Fitting in the skinny jeans is my goal.

    Background: I adore working out and I plan bring it (sorry I had to say it). I’m also doing planning on doing doubles b/c I love to run and that way I can incorporate it. I’m using myfitnesspal to track my calories, of which I’m doing a base of 1300 (plus exercise) b/c I’m 5’1. I passed the fitness test except the pull up b/c I’ve an avid exerciser and just finished a 10 mile race last week. I wanted to do 90x to get ripped and lose the 10 lbs of newlywed weight that I’ve put on this past year b/c my portion sizes have been larger + moved away from my Bikram yoga studio. Basically, now 140lbs and hope to be 130 OR fit into my size 6 jeans.

    I’m following a scaled down version of the meal plan with 1300 calories(+exercise) focusing on lots of protein + lots of veggies. Basically – from this article are you saying do you think it won’t work in helping me get ripped and drop 2 dress sizes?

    1. I think you’ll do great! You are exactly the kind of person this program is designed for and you have completely realistic goals.

      With the doubles and the fact that you aren’t really looking to drop lots of poundage, you may find 1300 calories a little low. If you find you are having trouble getting through your workouts, make sure you are getting a nice, carby snack before your workouts, consider bringing your calories up a little on harder workout days, and/or cut back the second workout. (Or some combination thereof.) That’s the only red flag I potentially see, but even that is a “cross that bridge if/when you come to it” situation.

      Looking forward to hearing all about your success!

  13. I’m waiting for p90x to come and I’m a little concerned reading this. I want to lose 15 pounds, but mainly I want to turn my flab into muscle. I’m 5’6 and 150 pounds. I carry most weight in stomach and hips. I’m a yoga teacher, but have been gaining weight since I stopped going to the gym and doing cardio a few months ago.
    I’m also a vegetarian… but am willing to eat fish to help lose weight and hopefulyl get my energy levels back up.
    I have a vacation in Aruba in 6 weeks and I’m really hoping to look better and feel better by then. Do you think this is possible or I will just get look bigger with muscles under fat?

    1. With your measurements, your greatest improvement is going to come through calorie control to get some weight off. You don’t need to add meat if you don’t want to, you just need to get enough protein in to make sure you aren’t being detrimental to your lean muscle mass. I recommend at least .7-.9 grams per pound of bodyweight. Which, I will admit, is tough with a veggie diet, but not un-doable. It just takes commitment (and, really, cutting sodium from anything but the most protein-dense of your foods.)

      You won’t put on enough muscle in 6 weeks for it to make you look bigger, certainly. Just focus on the diet first and foremost (you also fall in that 1500-calorie sweet-spot), hit the workouts hard, and I think you’ll be pleased with your results.

      1. Also, as a former 6-day-a-week crazy yogini, I can tell you that this is about balance. yoga is awesome, it’s great, it does so much for you… what it does not do well is burn calories or keep on lean body mass. If you’ve noticed your body comp changing towards the unhealthy since cutting out the gym and cardio, that means something. Incidentally, I was on a yoga-only regimen for a while and was so peeved when people would tell me I should add in other things. My yoga was TOUGH, it was HARDCORE, I stood on my hands, I sweated balls, I could do the splits all three ways while holding my legs off the ground… But, I was still 20 pounds heavier than I am now and generally unhappy with my body.

        I love yoga. I still do it as a treat, like I still eat apple pie as a treat. But, I know that if I want to be where I want to be physique-wise, I need to either control my diet to such an extent that it hurts, or do something else I love that scratches the same itch and burns more calories, which is why I am so glad I found running!

        And, incidentally, skip the Yoga X disk and just go to your old class on that day. Trust me. 🙂

  14. Thank you! I started P90X and am finishing week 3. I started at 139.5 lbs and at one point was down to 136.5 but keep fluctuating up to as much as 140.5. I’m frustrated because I already worked out and ate well, but now I feel like I’m eating less and still not losing! I love the work outs and am proud of myself for “bringing it” so far. After reading your post, I’m going to start logging my food at the daily plate (Thx!). The website selected my daily calorie goal of 1203 which I am wondering if it’s too low. I chose light activity because I’m a stay at home mom, mostly playing with my 11 month old. But I do the P90X once a day, housecleaning, laundry, and computer stuff. My recovery drink post workout is 250 calories alone… What do you think? I’m 5’5″ (139.5) and wanting to lose 10 lbs by the end of P90X. Should I manually select my caloric intake or choose moderate activity? Thanks so much for your post… very helpful! Oh… and do you think I should stick to calories in more so than number of protein servings and carb servings etc? I’m still in Phase 1 of the program, but getting bored with all this meat!

    1. First off, I’d suggest you take only one scoop of recovery formula and only take it after the workouts that really kick your butt. The Results and Recovery formula is another place where they failed to take into account the lower calorie needs of a woman trying to lose weight– the serving suggested is the same for a 5″1′ woman trying to lose weight and eating 1200 calories as it is for a 6’4″ 215 lb man trying to pack on muscle and eating near 3000 calories!

      Second, as for the protein and carb servings– so long as you are getting about .7-.9 grams per pound of bodyweight in protein- which works out to be around the 30% mark for most women- I don’t advocate for forcing even more protein down. Here’s the thing, though, it is is incredibly difficult to overeat on protein, so if you bring your protein down and introduce other foods and find those foods tempt you to overeat or spark cravings and binges, you are better off keeping the protein higher.

      Lastly, I am betting they set your calories so low because they were expecting you to “eat back” your activity calories. I find that guestimating your calories burned and adding them in, then eating some of those back gets too confusing and I like to just tell people to shoot for a 500 calorie deficit from food and a 500 calorie deficit from working out to get near that two pound per week range. For you, this would mean eating 1375 calories per day, really keeping the intensity high on the workouts, and then probably making a few lifestyle changes to keep your burn high throughout the day, like taking the baby out for a walk as the weather gets nicer or bouncing around to videos– getting your heartrate up a few times a day in addition to the workouts.

      Hope that helps!

      1. My recovery drink is not the P90X recovery drink. I’m doing a combo of apple juice and vanilla protein powder which I read is somewhat “equal.” So maybe 4oz juice and half a scoop of protein vs what I do now which is 8oz juice and one whole scoop?
        If my protein is 30%, how should I divide up the carbs/fat? 40, 30 respectively?
        And yes, you were right about the “eating back my calories.” When I logged my YogaX for today my remaining calories for the day increased.
        I hesitate to start a calorie deficiet diet when the P90X Nutrition guide says to trust it and stick with it. (at 1800 calories/day) But we all know the key to weight loss is calories burned over calories in. Will I be “starving” my body by under eating? Or am I already undereating?
        Eat more? Or Eat less?

        1. It’s fine to make your own recovery drink, you just don’t want to be getting so many calories in that drink that you end up not having enough real-food calories to feel satisfied the rest of the day.

          I like to see people get somewhere around 25% of calories from healthy fats, so, yeah, somewhere around 30% carbs, 45% carbs, 25% fat is a nice balance.

          I guarantee you are not starving your body at anything near 1300-1400 calories per day. You simply aren’t. I know everyone is hopping on this “I need to be eating more” bandwagon, but I have yet to see anyone who has been honestly in starvation mode. Even me, when I wrote this post and talked about “eating too few calories and working out too much,” what I was doing is something I now see every day in people I coach– trying to eat too little (below 1200-1300 calories), piling heavy workouts on top, and then breaking down, getting injured or ill, eating it all back on the weekends, and any number of things that simply meant I wasn’t CONSISTENTLY at a calorie deficit. Over time, I was at a net wash despite those days where I was “eating too little.”

          Also, there are loads of things you can do to keep your metabolism going strong and make your body willing to give up the fat that can be read as “eating more to lose weight”– not skipping meals, eating more often, eating foods with a high water content or high in fiber, etc. However, I guarantee your numbers need to have you at a net calorie deficit at the end of the week for that scale to show a lower number. Of all the research done on weight loss, one simple fact remains– your calories out MUST be more than your calories in. And good ol’ fashioned “eat less, exercise more” is shown time and again to be the most effective “diet” of them all– both short term in pounds off and long term in keeping them off.

          If you’d like to stick with the P90X Nutrition Guide as written, certainly you will be on a healthy eating plan that will fuel your workouts wonderfully and not do you any damage. It’s my opinion, though, that you will have a really hard time seeing the fat loss you are looking for, especially in the timeframe you are wanting to see it. Granted, my training is in traditional Nutrition/Sports Nutrition, and I make no apologies that I advocate for keeping things simple and quite traditional. Hit your deficit and you will see the results.

          Incidentally, as a certified trainer as well, I know the kind of workout they wrote the nutrition guide to accompany. And I know that P90X *can* be that kind of workout, but I also don’t believe 90% of the people using the workout– ironically, especially the women who want to lose weight and not bulk up– are using the workout in the way you need to in order to support those kinds of calories. They intended for you to be lifting, literally, the heaviest weight possible until you were at complete muscle failure at the end of every single set, grunting, groaning, panting, barely able to get to the rest breaks. Throwing yourself into the Plyo workouts so hard you are begging for your life and hitting at least 85-90% of your max HR during each interval… And I know even I as a trained professional don’t do the workouts in that way in a home setting, so certainly someone newer to exercise isn’t going to dive in at that level, or even know they need to go there because the people in the video often aren’t working anywhere near their max. So, if you do decide to follow the recommendations of the eating guide, at least put yourself in the best position for success by making sure that you are, quite literally, cleaning the floor with yourself each and every workout. If they feel at all “fun” in the moment, throw on another five pounds or jump a little higher. If you don’t want to barf at some point in every workout, you probably could have gone harder. That kind of thing. 😉

          Whatever you decide, I really do want to see you succeed, so please keep me up to date on your progress!

          1. Your comments are SO VERY helpful! Thank you… I’m going to up my dumbell weight, count my calories, and stick with the calorie deficit model. So glad to have found this blog. I’ll let you know how I’m doing in a few weeks.

  15. Do you know of any best bodybugg type product out there to track the calories burned during an exercise? How do these devices work? I hear that heartrate alone is not a good way to determine how many calories are burned during strength training, is this true? And how accurate is a bodybugg or other device?

  16. Hi,

    I have enjoyed reading everyone’s comments.
    I am 24, 5’3, and weigh 178. For now I am trying to get to 150 which is about 28lbs off.
    Right now, I’m in the beginning phases of tracking my calories.

    I really enjoy the P90x workout. However, because I am trying to lose so much weight, is it effective for me to do the P90x program right now?

    Any advice would be helpful.


  17. hi I posted in Week 6 and thought I would do an update. I have finished the 12 week program and lost a total of 25 lbs!! So happy I am beginning my next set of 12 weeks!!! I love P90X! I haven’t starved myself, usually eating 1200-1400 calories. Mainly, I have tried to watch the things I eat and consciously think of everything that goes into my mouth. Sometimes we think we are eating healthy, but in reality we are not! Some things that we think are ‘diet’ are really worse for us than just eating the junk! I eat a lot of WW Smart Ones as I have a way busy schedule and actually like them! Even my daughter (age 10) has started doing some workouts with me! As Tony says in the AbRipperX workout – my daughter concurs tha “it is a Love/Hate relationship”. Her favorite workout is the Kenpo!
    If you are trying this workout – give it your all and keep doing it – it does work. Remember, you didn’t gain the weight in a day, you won’t lose it in a day. I averaged about 2lbs per week and hope to continue it with the next 12 weeks! I will let you know how it goes!

  18. Hello,
    I am female, aged 30,5.4` and currently weigh 170lbs. I am in the last week of Phase 1 of P90X. I absolutely enjoy the workouts and in addition to the P90X, walk on the treadmill for 45 mins everyday. I am a vegetarian and so I find it tough following the diet plan. I calculate my intake to be 1500 calories. I just weighed myself and my weight has increased by 4 lbs. Please advice on how I could both lose weight and gain muscle for a toned look.
    Thank you.

  19. Hey ladies!
    I just wanted to drop in a leave an encouraging remark to some of your discouraged p90x users. I first found this thread when I too was frustrated about my lack of results on p90x (even through the article was REALLY discouraging, the comments were quite the opposite). I was ready to quit. Then I remembered, that’s why I’m overweight in the first place, I quit everything that didn’t work fabulously, right away. This time, through tears and anger, I continued praying that it would start to work. And it did! I didn’t see a single pound lost during the entire first block of P90x Lean (almost 1 month, that sucked). Then the weight started sporadically trickling off -1lb here, +1lb there, -2.5lbs, etc. Then, just about the end of the second block, the weight started pouring off. I hadn’t changed anything in my routine, but now the results were showing. I was doing p90x Lean every day, using the Zone Diet (1 serving carb, fat, and protein each meal. 6 times a day. With one cheat DAY), taking supplementation (including amino acids A-AKG, Glutamine, BCAA. Daily vits including fiber and thyroid energy, and lean/low carb protein shakes and bars for recovery) and consistently reminding myself that this is a marathon, not a sprint (this is a big one). And I’m happy to report back to the thread that kept me going! I’m just about finished the 90 day program and have lost 23lbs (so far!). My goal for the program was 20, and I’m pretty sure I’ll hit 25 by the end.

    My main point is that I’m not a professional nutritionist or trainer. What I had on my side to reach success was determination. I researched for many, many hours about nutrition and weight loss. Then it was merely a trial and error process of weight loss diet plans and fitness plans, until I found what works for me (there will be no other time that you will question yourself and want to quit more than this step of the process, but hang in there, it’s temporary). And sometimes, what works, is not what you’re going to like (at first!) I’ve given up ALL processed foods and get my Zone servings through wholesome, organic foods. This may be a drastic step for some of you, but, without a doubt, it works. At first, this was a struggle (I’m from New Orleans where ALL food is GREAT food) but I’ve learned to appreciate what these wholesome foods do for me, like crazy energy, great skin, FAST growing hair and nails, and of course smaller clothes. Plus, I chose all of my favorite fruits and veggies so nothing was “nasty diet food” that I didn’t want to eat. And I savored my cheat meals.

    My advice:

    -stay consistent
    -count/record everything that goes in your mouth
    -make a meal plan once a week so there are no tempting surprises (also takes away daily counting)
    -track calories out (heart rate monitor is a MUST) and daily deficit
    -try to keep your cheat meals reasonable so you don’t blow a week’s worth of work
    -if you can’t keep up with measuring your body then find your biggest pair of jeans and watch how much bigger they look as you get smaller (SO encouraging)
    -find a buddy if possible
    -put some pictures on the refrigerator (they can be your worst picture that you never want to go back to, your best picture that you’d like to go back to, or pictures of gorgeous models on a fabulous beach-your future)
    -get junk food out of your house entirely so there’s no tempation
    -save your cheat meals for when you’re friends/family try to sway you away from your diet (my cheat day is really 3 cheat meals that I save for unexpected occasions, and sometimes the week will go by with nothing unexpected and you’ve accidentally made it through the week with no cheating)
    -find a FUN activity that you can do (hopefully in addition to p90x for max results) and do it as much as possible. Dancing, activity with pets/kids, swimming, etc.
    -walk as much as possible. Park in the back of the parking lot, take the stairs, etc.
    -PLAN, PLAN, PLAN. When everything is planned out, it takes surprises out of play.
    -don’t beat yourself up. We all stumble and make mistakes, the true test is if you get back up on the horse.

    No one said it was going to be easy. It’s not easy. But victory is SO sweet!

    1. I forgot one more thing! Thank you Smurf, for your infinite wisdom!

      Some of these readers are already doing to first step of researching, but remember, Smurf isn’t giving away any new information. Each of her replies are essentially the same information, tailored to that individual. It is REALLY nice that she’s choosing to do that for each of you, in her spare time.

      This goes to my point of researching, on your own. All of the information she’s offered is out there on countless weight loss websites/forums/plans. You guys don’t need someone do answer a few quick questions for you, because that means you haven’t even done basic reading! Calorie intake for your height and weight is Weight Loss 101. If you haven’t taken the time to figure out this first step, you might not be ready for the massive amount of work that weight loss requires. There will be other questions and other bumps in the road and being self-informed really helps self-motivation. And in the end, You are the only one who makes the decisions, and who can have success. It’s wonderful to have professional advice, but do yourself a favor, and do some thorough research so you can answer your own questions. After all, it’s your body. Everyone’s different, and what works for some, won’t work for others. There is no “magic diet/exercise plan” there’s only the time and effort that you put into changing, from the ground up.

      1. Wow! AGM, thank you SO MUCH for the kind words, and for sharing your experiences in such an insightful and incredibly helpful way. Yes, sometimes it does seem that I am saying the same thing over and over, but if it helps it “click” for even one person, it’s worth it– and, the lesson is one that goes far beyond whether P90X specifically will “work” for someone. It’s a lesson that you get to keep and apply to your health and wellbeing for the rest of your life.

        So, thanks for backing me up and providing another piece of evidence that there’s really no “secret” here– just a lot of hard work and determination.

        I wish you continued success and all the best!

      2. Hey AGM,
        Awesome advice! Thank you 🙂 . I have been trying to “get healthy” for as long as I remember and it has been a very long journey. Its the staying motivated part that really get me everytime,as you said”its a marathon”. This is the last week of Phase 1 of the P90X and will soon start Phase 2. Looking forward to the weight dropping off soon!

  20. When you say 1500 calories, is that 1500 net calories (as in 1500 calories + whatever amount you burned in your workouts) or 1500 calories, regardless of how much you’ve worked out? Thanks!

  21. Hello. On Monday I will be starting P90x. It suggests that at 5’7 219lbs I should be eating 3000 calories!! That is way too many calories!! So far I’ve lost 10lbs using myfitnesspal which suggestS I eat 1700 calories a day. My question is should I stick with the 1700 calories I’m currently eating or should a bump up the calories for the best results for P90x??

    1. Stick with what’s currently working. If you find you don’t have the energy to get through the workouts, check back in and we can look at moving some nutrients around (eg: having a nice, carby snack a few hours before your workout, etc.) or potentially increasing some as a last resort, but if 1700 is manageable for you, stick with it!

  22. Hello Smurf!! I’m on my 2nd round of P90X and have lost inches but no pounds. My first round was going ok until I go sick and gained 30 extra pounds! After having surgery and healing time, I’m back into it harder than ever now. I’m at a sickening 185 and its not coming off at all. I knew it wasnt a weight loss program, it sure would be nice if I could lose a couple pounds at least! LOL Well, with that I’ve added an extra hour of cardio! Last week I was calculating 3500-4600 calories that I was burning through out the day…still now loss!!! At this point, I’m frustrated!! and angry that I’ve put on all this extra weight. I exercise every day sometimes twice a day and eat about 1200-1400 calorie….sometimes more if I’m super hungry!! Ugh…so frustrated.

    1. Hi Diana,

      First- ugh, I feel your frustration! I know how hard it is to feel like you are doing everything right and still not seeing results. First thing’s first– I don’t know if you took algebra in highschool, but the best way to test an equation is to look at what comes after the equals sign, if the two sides don’t match up, there’s a number wrong in there somewhere. In other words, if your equation involves burning 3500-4600 calories per day and eating 1200-1400, and the other side of the equation doesn’t involve a whole lot of weight loss, then one or both of your numbers are off.

      How did you arrive at the 3500-4600 calories burned per day equation? As a marathoner, I can do a 20-mile training run and know my cals burned per day are not more than about 3600. If you are using something like Daily Plate or Spark People and logging every time you vacuum, climb a flight of stairs, weed the garden, or walk around the mall, stop. Those activities are already accounted for in the “activities of daily life” multiplier for calculating your “daily burn” off your BMR. Also, if you put “active” since you are working out as your activity setting and then also track your calories burned in workouts on top of that, stop. I set everyone as “sedentary” unless they are a construction worker or lumberjack. Our modern lives are such that nearly everyone fits in the sedentary range. If you then track your calories burned in a workout on top of that you are double-counting those calories.

      Now, as for your calories in– when you say you are eating “about” 1200-1400 calories, “sometimes more if I am super hungry,” what I am hearing is that your daily calories-in is really kind of a crapshoot. Set a limit and stay there. And don’t have it be “about,” have it be “I know I am eating 1500 calories per day, and the scale is doing…” Back to the algebra example, how would you ever test an equation if the variable “x” is “about 1200-1400, but sometimes more”? You wouldn’t be able to. Remember, all these calculations for calories burned and metabolic rate and calories-consumed are, at the end of the day, estimates. The best way to get a handle on it is to remove as much variance and estimation as possible.

      Of course, you do have one more option– even if your calculations are off, they probably do scale in relation to what you are actually doing. So, even if you are double-counting calories burned, you will have burned more calories on a day your calculation says you’ve burned 4600 than you have on a day it says you’ve burned 3600, and you’ve probably eaten fewer calories, even if your tracking isn’t exact, on days you’ve eaten “about” 1200 than you have on a day you’ve eaten “about” 1400. So, you could stick with your current tracking methodology and up your burn number to 5100 and stick with the way you are currently doing your food and bring those “abouts” down to 900-1100* and that should get the scale moving.

      * Let’s be clear– I am not advocating a 900-1100 calorie diet in any way (though it does work like gangbusters on The Biggest Loser!), I am saying that it doesn’t look like your food reporting is likely to be spot-on (use of the word “about” is a huge clue for me in most cases, but the margin for error even among meticulous trackers/weighers/measurers is up to 20%). So, if your “about 1200-1400, sometimes more” nets out to a true value of, say, 1800 per day over the course of a week, then your “about 900-1100, sometimes more” would net out to a true value of somewhere around 1500. Make sense?

      As with most people, your exercise is fine. It all comes down to hitting that calorie equation right. If you are having issues with hunger, there are things I can suggest to get you feeling fuller if you’d like to send me several days’ food logs, including the time you are eating things and where your workout falls in there. And, it would be helpful to see at least a couple of pairs of days where you eat “more” from being very hungry (send me the day before and the day you felt you needed to eat more.) You can send them to “smurf (at) fitlifesf (dot) com”

  23. Hi, I have in my round 2 of P90X and trying to lose weight at the same time. I have around 40lbs to lose and it is getting impossible to lose. I am averaging around 1600 calories. I am doing 5K training too averaging around 10-12KPW.

    It is getting quiet frustrating… According to your blog, would you suggest i quit P90x and do something else? Should I follow the same idea that your nutritionist suggested?

    1. You’re fine to stick with the P90X so long as you enjoy the workouts and really putting your all into it- lifting nice and heavy and keeping track of your heartrate to make sure you are getting the most out of the workouts. As with most people who coma across this blog, your workouts are more than sufficient for you goal– the thing that will get things moving for you is your diet.

      Not knowing your height, weight and age, I’d assume the issue is just that your calories aren’t lower than your daily burn– either because 1600 is just cutting it too close, or because your tracking isn’t as exact as it could be and you are consuming more than you realize. Bring your calories down to 1500 impeccably-tracked, weighed, measured calories (no “about” or “around” or “average” about it– set the 1500 limit and stick to it with laser focus.) If the scale doesn’t start to budge in two weeks, bring it down to 1400 and it should start moving most certainly (again, so long as you are really tracking and not just guestimating.)

  24. Wow, that was a lot of great information. I am 5’7″, 230 lbs, 39 yo and I love the P90X workouts. P90X reminds me of practicing sports in HS and College. I have been mixing the workouts with Zumba (LOL, go Beto!) and jogging/walking. I was serious for two weeks, took a week off, and now have been serious again for the last week. I try to do something each day. I was doubling workouts (morning/nite), but it was kicking my butt too much. I have mainly been doing CardioX, KenpoX, Plyometrics, and AbRipperX. I have bad knees so I have to watch how I land and cut back on the jogging. Today is a good example. I jogged 1 mile and speed walked 2.5 miles because my joints were toast! One of my problems is the I really, really like jogging and P90X. When I was lighter, I was jogging 5-6 miles, 3x week.

    The scale has moved very little this past month but I have lost an 1″ at the waist, 1.5″ hips, and 3″ chest. Today I ate around 1700 calories and I know this only because what I ate had the calorie count on it. My dumb question is, how do I count calories? And how much should I be intaking? I am seriously comfortable at 160 lbs, which puts me at about 70 lbs overweight. I have been lower than 160, but never felt healthy below that weight. I work outside (archaeologist) and will start a pedestrian survey in about three weeks (read: walking 10-12 miles/day). Part of all this is getting in better shape for work. I have let myself go the past three years and it shows.

    If you could help me with the whole calorie thing, I think it would help. I feel like such a dork! I am also allergic to: milk, eggs, and soy! I have been using Nature’s Choice Pea Protein shake because I can’t find any other shake-like product that doesn’t have lactose or soy in it. It doesn’t have enough protein in it and I would like a recovery drink. Suggestions?

    What a mess! LOL


    1. Dee,

      As a first step to getting started on calorie counting, sign up for a free site like MyFitnessPal or’s Daily Plate. Then, get yourself a set of measuring cups and spoons and a scale (you can get all these items for about $15 at Walgreens.) Everything you eat, you weight and measure and gets entered into the website. The website will want you to be messing around with entering your calories burned and using that number to give you more calories to eat- I recommend against doing that. Set a limit and stay there. For your height and weight, 1700 calories is a good place to start. (You will want to bring this down a little with every 20 lbs you lose, but that’s a topic for another day.)

      Another resource I really do highly recommend for someone in your shoes who just really doesn’t even know where to start– Weight Watchers. They are probably the #1 resource I can recommend for really teaching you how to count and how to work around things and making you smarter about the choices. I did a stint in Weight Watchers back in college, so I can tell you without reservation that it’s worth every penny (and it’s actually quite inexpensive as compared to seeing a nutritionist.)

      Best of luck on your journey!

  25. Hi! This was very helpful! I’m a 29 year old female, 5’6 and weigh 130’ish…I’m normally pretty active but the past 5 months I haven’t done a thing because I’ve been working full time, going to school, and completing a practicum. I was planning on starting P90X in about a week but am wondering if it’s the right fit for me? I want to shed 5 lbs and tone quite a bit…any feedback would be great?!

  26. Hi Ladies– I know I am behind on responses. I’ve been pulling 10.5 hour days at work and nursing a possible stress fracture (ouch!), so my time has been limited. This weekend, I plan to spend some quality time going through y’all’s questions and giving them the attention they deserve. So, hang tight! (And, in the meantime, get set up with a food tracking program and start tracking your food. 🙂 )

  27. I am so happy I found this web site and conversation. I thought I was the only one going through this and it’s nice to know I’m not. I’m an avid runner having completed the Chicago marathon last year and the Boston marathon this year. I wanted to do P90X as a way to get some good cross training in as well as improve my strength while I let some of my running injuries (peronial tendonitis) heal. I’m at about day 18 with P90X and have gained about 3 lbs since I started. As with most of the other people commenting, this was/is very disconcerting. I’m used to maintaining my weight well through running and logging my daily calorie consumption. I’m 5’0″ and am usually anywhere between 118-120 lbs. Usually leading up to a marathon I gain a few pounds as was the case for my most recent marathon in Boston. I ran the marathon at around 122lbs. Since then I’ve gone up to 125lbs which as you know starts to wear on the athletic mind. In reading your article, as well as the various comments, I don’t feel like I’m living in the twilight zone anymore. Thank you!

    Prior to starting P90X I already tracked my food intake and calorie consumption and felt comfortable with eating around 1300-1400 calories per day. I tried to follow the P90X diet but I think all the protein is definitely making me retain water (as someone previously commented). I think I might go back to my usual food intake and on days where I’m burning a lot of calories like from a run or from an intense workout I will eat a little more so I don’t throw my body into starvation mode. I do admit there are days when I will run in the AM and then do a P90X workout in the evening so I’m sure I really need to be aware of how many calories I’m eating that day so I know I’m eating enough and not starving my body. It’s a difficult mental process. All said and done, I do feel stronger and even though the scale keeps going up my cloths fit about the same so I must be losing something somewhere. As women I think we tend to get too focused on the number on the scale (myself included) and we beat ourselves up over the tiniest of increases. It’s a mental battle and is tough to get through alone so I’m grateful that there are so many of you out there who are willing to share your stories and your struggles so we can all feel less alone on this journey. I’m still hopeful that I will find a happy balance and be able to return to my comfortable weight even while going through P90X. Any pointers on how to obtain this balance given my story would be very helpful.

    1. I would suggest going to back to the diet you had before– P90X really doesn’t go through the number of calories they say, and it’s a shame they have people thinking you need to vastly crank up your diet to account for it. It’s a great workout, no doubt, but not a calorie-torcher (certainly not burning anywhere near the cals you were marathon training.)

      If you go back to your previous calorie count and keep up the hard work, I think you’ll see the results. You shouldn’t need to change your diet much on hard days– just throw in a recovery drink right after your run (I take in about 160 worth) in addition to your usual fueling during the run, which should be about 40g of carbs per hour of running for runs lasting more than an hour.

      And, yeah, I think I’m probably the one who commented on protein just really making my engine run like crap, throwing on water, etc. I’m an endurance athlete (marathoner), too, and I just run a lot cleaner on a “normal carb” diet (in this day and age, people might call it “high carb,” but it’s really not. I feel great somewhere around 60/20/20 Carbs, protein, healthy fats.)

  28. Wow! This site is a gift. I have read every comment, and I have been researching weight loss forever. Sometimes I think I have it all figured out, but then I don’t get anywhere with my weight loss. My husband and I are in the third week of p90x… and I am feeling it! The scale on the other hand is making me SO depressed. I keep blaming it on “water weight”, or the fact that my muscles are sore. I try to walk on the sunny days, I chase my two boys around 24/7, and I try to eat as much protein as possible. Is this even the right thing for me? I keep thinking that “muscle burns fat”, and so if I try and eat right and build this muscle that eventually the scale with drop.

    I need help. I am 133lbs. 5’4″ and I have been using MyFitnessPal for awhile. I NET about 1300-1400 calories. Should I be eating 1500 with or without workouts? Why do I not seem to be losing? Maybe I need to just be patient. If I am on the right path.. .then I will keep working. If I am doing something wrong I would SURE like to know before I really get frustrated and mentally end up broken.
    Any advice?

    1. When I tell people that 1500 cals is a great place to start, that’s 1500 calories hard-limit, no matter how much credit your tracking program gives you for working out. In other words, 1500 TOTAL calories, not net.

      The true test of any calorie intake equation is the scale. If it’s not going down week over week, you aren’t at a deficit. (Ignore the day-to-day fluctuations and really look week over week– even if you threw on a little water when you started weight training, if you are at a deficit you’ll be losing fat underneath that. So, if you throw on 2 lbs of water in week one, and loose a pound of fat in week two, the scale will go down.) There are loads of reasons why the numbers might look like they should be leaving you at a deficit, and that part can be frustrating, but most often it’s just a frustrating side effect of all calorie counts really being nothing more than fancy estimations- You are estimating how many calories you burn in a day, estimating what your burn from a workout is, estimating (no matter how fastidious you are) what was REALLY in that sandwich you got for lunch, estimating if that apple is really one-apples-worth or one-point-seven-five apples worth…

      These numbers are no kind of exact science. I once described it as “trying to toss a wet cat through a basketball hoop from twenty feet out on a rocking boat.” There are so many moving parts, the only “proof of the equation” is whether that scale moves. If it doesn’t, you aren’t at a deficit. Plain and simple. (And, no, it’s NOT muscle that’s keeping the scale from moving– the rate at which you can put on muscle is so vastly dwarfed by the rate at which you can lose fat that it’s just not going to be the case.)

      How’s that for a long-winded response?

      Anyhow, for you as a first step, I’d move to a 1500 calorie hard limit and give it a week or two to get things moving.

  29. Thank you so much! I will take your advice and stick to 1500! I really appreciate having a real answer! I can’t wait to be a success story… and I can’t wait to feel better in the clothes that I have. Thanks again… and I’ll keep working things off to p90x and my walks/biking/chasing kids routine. 😀

  30. Hello, I am 100% a newbie at this. I am 5’6″ and weigh 119/120lbs. My husband is 6’4″ and weighs 168/170. So, as you can see, we are not overweight by any means, BUT we do not work out or eat healthful food whatsoever. We are both 29 and we have a 13-month-old daughter… NOW IS THE TIME to get healthy. We’ve always relied on our genes to stay thin… but now we are both ready to feel good and have a little more control with our eating and activity level.

    Having said that… We are starting P90X on Monday (June 6) and I am nervous. I am planning to take it slow and just do what I can do (and build up my ability). I would like to weigh around 110/112 (loosing 8-10lbs… that’s my really happy weight), but mostly I want so badly to be toned and tight for the first time in my life. Even at 119lbs I am SO uncomfortable in a bikini. I’m ready to be more confident and MUCH more toned. I would LOVE some eating and working out advise from you, if you have any for me! Thank you in advance!

    1. I wouldn’t advise you to focus at all on dropping pounds– where you are now is on the low end of normal, 110-112 is firmly in the “underweight” category, and I think you’ll see the results you want if you just focus on cleaning up your eating and hit the workouts hard. Some tips:
      – Clean up your diet- if it’s in a box or a bag or purchased through a window, don’t eat it. The one exception I make to this is that I have a high-fiber/high-protein cereal every morning (I’ve been eating Kashi Go Lean- regular NOT Crunch!- for the past 6-7 years. It’s quick and easy and no hassle and gives me everything I need and nothing I don’t.)
      – Make sure to get your 4-5 servings of veggies and a serving of fruit every day. Even without focusing on much else, adding these high fiber and non-calorie-dense foods to your diet will elbow out the junk. They are also going to help make sure you get all the good stuff that’s going to have you feeling energetic.
      – Focus on “clean and lean” sources of protein, like chicken breast, egg whites and non-fat or low-fat dairy (yogurt, cottage cheese.) Again, these things are going to be super-filling and tough to overeat on. They will also help you recover from the workouts.
      – Lift as heavy as you can manage and still move briskly through the workout with few breaks. You should be really tired by rep 10 and really not able to do an 11th and 12th rep with good form. That said…
      – Don’t be afraid to modify. I still can’t do more than one pull-up without a whole lot of flailing about, so I use a chair. Sometimes I use bands for my pull-ups and really focus on holding the rep for a second to work the muscles differently. Whatever you do, don’t just do two reps and then sit around for two minutes waiting for the next thing– keep moving. Also, don’t stagnate. Every 4 weeks (after each recovery week) you should reassess your weights on everything. Can you up the weight or up the reps? If you do 3 regular pushups and 10 “girlie pushups,” can you do 5 and 5 or more?

      And, the biggest advice of them all, remember that this is a journey and your goal is to find a path to fitness that will last you all the way through seeing your graduate from college and beyond. Don’t think short-term. Make the healthy changes that you will stick with, but don’t do anything that doesn’t feel sustainable- you are lucky that you don’t have to “suffer” to get to a place of being at a normal weight. Just making easy changes will work for you. Also, during the 90 days, I encourage you to do some thinking about what kinds of activities you will feel excited about for years to come (in other words, activities that will not feel like a chore or a “workout” at all.) Remember, the journey doesn’t end in 90 days, it’s barely begun at that point!

      Congrats on making this choice- I know it’s so easy to stay stagnant when you’ve not got an obvious health issue or “weight problem” breathing down your neck. I wish you all the greatest of health on your journey!

      1. I wanted check in… I am nearing the end of my 5th week of p90x and I am really enjoying it! I sweat like crazy, my heart rate gets way up, and I feel great after I do it…

        However (and I know you told me I don’t need to lose any weight), I am slightly disappointed that I haven’t lost even an ounce. I just feel like I have this layer of fat that is sticking around. Am I expecting too much too soon? I can tell my muscles are building up for sure… but they’re under a layer (through my mid-section mostly). Again, I feel good… I just HOPE to see the muscle definition on the outside! 🙂

        Here’s the thing… I am SO hungry during the day and I am eating! But, it’s not always healthy and I find myself snacking because my stomach is growling. I have ALWAYS been an eater. I love food (not so healthy food always). I just don’t want my p90x experience to be pointless because I can’t seem to cut the calories and get that layer off. I’m tall and thin but mushy… Thanks for passing that down mom.

        Ok, please tell me I’m expecting too much too soon! My husband says I need to be patient.

        Thanks for everything! I LOVE this blog, thank you for doing it and being so attentive.

  31. I have to agree with everyone else – this site is an absolute gem. Thanks for all the insightful info!

    This is my second time doing p90x. I did my first round in the fall of 08′ and felt as though I toned up but didn’t lose much weight. I’m one of those odd people that hasn’t weighed myself in years and solely go off how I feel and look, and of course, how my jeans fit. I generally eat fairly healthy but still indulged that time around.

    Today was my first day doing my second round. I’m a soccer player (but taking this summer off) so I’m really trying to incorporate running this time around. I felt like last time I was bored with the lack of cardio. I currently run between 4-7 miles 4-6 times a week but was thinking of bringing it down to max 3 miles daily while doing p90x. As far as my nutrition goes, I’m cutting out all junk food (which isn’t a stretch from my normal diet by much) and am also trying to cut out wheat (as a cracker/sandwich fanatic, I thought this may be wise during the first phase).

    I’m 23, 5’8 and if I had to guess, I’d put myself around 140, which is what I was the last time I weighed myself (I haven’t gained weight since..I don’t think). I really am not a calorie counter/fan of the scale but would love a bit of direction. My goal is to lose 1-2 dress sizes by the end of the program. I don’t have much of an issue with my core, but would love to tone up my arms/legs.

    Is it alright to run 5-6 days a week while doing p90x?

    How can I feel full and not fatigued during phase 1?

    Any insight would be MUCH appreciated. Thanks so much for your time! 🙂

  32. In Sept of 2009 I weighed 230 pounds and was absolutely miserable. I went on a diet and started working out and I lost 90 pounds. (I’m a 41 year old woman, 5’7″ tall) Two months ago I started working out with a personal trainer and she measured me, at that time I weighed 166 pounds and had a BMI of 36. Two weeks ago she measured me and I weighed 140 lbs and my BMI was at 28 and I had lost 4 inches off my waist and 3.5 off my hips. I was excited!! I started P90X 3 weeks ago and I have gained 8 pounds in the last week in a half. I was freaking out about this until I found this website and realized that it is normal. I am excited and hopeful that in the phase II I will see this weight gain go back down, but if it doesn’t I guess that is okay too. I can already see a difference, especially in my arms and butt and my abs are starting to look pretty good too. I love the P90X workout and recommend it to all of my friends. I will keep you all posted in the weeks to follow as to my progress. Best of luck to everyone!!

  33. Hello! This site seems very helpful to so many ladies! I am a 21 year old that is getting married in 120 days. I am 5 foot 2 in and I weigh 155 lbs. I am very busty but I am wanting to weigh about 120-130. Is that possible by Oct. 15th? If so what can I do specifically? My fiance and I have the discs to the p90x program and I am wondering what I can do? I already try to eat somewhat healthy and understand the concept of counting calories for the most part. I am just not the best at sticking to diets and regimens. I have already lost about 5 pounds in the last 2 months I am just needing better results as our most important day is coming up soon and our honeymoon is in Jamaica. Please help!!

    1. Hi Emily,

      Absolutely your goal is do-able! It sounds like you are already on the right path, you just need to lock it down. Do the program as it’s written and track towards a calorie limit. For you, as with many ladies, 1500 is a great place to start. Weight, measure and track what you are eating, hit your workouts, and see what happens on the scale. If you aren’t hitting 1-1.5ish pounds lost per week (don’t freak out over day-to-day variance, looks at multiple weeks on average), you’ll need to go over diet with a fine-toothed comb to be sure no calories are slipping in untracked. If you don’t find something that’s getting mistracked, you can step back another 100 calories per day, but really the scale should keep moving nicely for you in that 1400-1500 calorie range.

      If you really want this, you’ll stick to it. It’s really not tough at all once you get the habits developed (usually in a month things become second nature.)

  34. I finally figured out what I was doing wrong. When my weight started climbing up I dropped my calorie intake to 500 a day. I have since started eating anywhere between 1600-1900 calories a day and I have dropped 6 of the 8 pounds I had gained. I also started drinking a gallon of water a day.

  35. Hi! I’m 135 lb and I want to lose 25 pounds (I’m 5’2). My calorie intake is between 1100-1200. Should I continue with the p90x or switch to insanity to get the weight off? The last time I did p90x, I only got through phase 1 and lost 5.5 pounds. I wasn’t counting calories and I was highly disappointed. I didn’t know what my calorie intake was so I don’t know why my weight loss was so low because I was doing the workouts completely. I also cut out a lot of sugar. (I love sweets!) I started out doing the lean and felt that I wasn’t getting enough cardio so I switched to the classic version about 2 weeks in. If I switch to insanity, after completing it should I do p90x to tone up? Thanks!

  36. Frustrated!
    I have finished the first 4 weeks of P90x and I am not only gaining weight, but inches too! I am 5’8″ and started at 124lbs. What is going on? I was in good shape before doing this program and maintained my weight with 4 workouts a week and not really being (or needing to be) overly concerned about my food consumption. I know this cannot be explained away with gaining muscle. I may buy into the idea that I may be consuming more then I need too, but why the inches? I KNOW I AM NOT EATING MUCH MORE THAN I DID WHEN I WAS ONLY WORKING OUT 4-5 hours a week. Any thoughts out there?

  37. Hi Smurf-

    I have been following your blog posts and they are great. Now I find myself asking you for advice. A little background- I am 32 years old, 5’9 and weigh 148. I am trying to get back down to 135 (which I used to weigh when I was a little younger). I have been doing Weight Watchers for a while and went from 168 to 148 without much exercise after the birth of my second child. I noticed a platuea and decided to incorporate P90X Classic version. I am now on week 6. I have not lossed or gained any weight. I really work my rear off everyday with P90X and am getting frustrated to see the scale remain the same. I have lost some inches- but I am really wanting to lose ten pounds by September! Can you help me?? I would greatly appreciate it! PS I used calorie counter to figure out my exact calories and I eat about 1600-1900 per day total. Thanks for your awesome advice in advance!!

    1. Mary- Thanks for the kind words! I would suggest following the Weight Watchers plan that was working for you vs trying to change to something new for P90X. Weight Watchers is by far a sounder program for loss than the P90X eating program (too many variables.) I’m not surprised that you aren’t losing if some days are in the 1900 range– I assume Weight Watchers had you closer to that “magic number” 1500, give or take based on activity points? Also, when working out your activity points, it’s important to have a handle on how much you are actually burning each workout. For me, tracked when I was about 140lbs (5’6″ and 35ish y/o at the time), I was burning in the mid 200’s for the weight workouts, sometimes touching 300 if I really kept things moving the whole time. And in the low-to-mid 300’s for Plyo. Kenpo for me was in the low 200’s, so nowhere near the 700+ calories per workout that is claimed in the literature. I bet this is a simple case of overestimating on the burn side and overcompensating on the food side. If you get on the Weight Watchers program, I think you’ll love your results.

  38. Hi,
    I am 5’6 weighing 125. I will be starting the p90x in June and I am looking to add a few pounds. Yes I know that this is uncommon for a woman to want. I have no problem eating, I just don’t gain any weight doing so. I am a vegetarian transitioning to the vegan lifestyle. Any ideas or suggestions for weight gain would be great.

    1. Hi RDub-

      In a nutshell, you’ll want to be sure that you are lifting nice and heavy (8-10 reps max) and eating a few hundred calories more than would have you at calorie balance, plus make sure you are getting at least .7-.9 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight.

      Which, of course, is where it gets tricky. 🙂

      I am not going to be the best at guiding you towards quality sources of protein to hit that large of a number on a vegan diet. I tried it myself for a month and failed miserably.

      I’d suggest looking around the web, I know there are a few sites dedicated to vegan bodybuilders. You might feel a little bit out of your depth, but that would be the best place to start. Also, you might want to search on (especially in the forums) to find others who have had success putting on muscle on a vegan diet.

      Best of luck, and please do let me know what resources you uncover so that I can keep them in my arsenal if I get asked again.

      1. Thanks for all the info…So, if my wife is at 1500 calories a day and doing the Lean P90 X scheudule, should she eat back the calories burned to stay at 1500 calories, to have weight lose?

        1. Stay at 1500 calories, track it for a few weeks. If she is losing weight, then stay there and continue the program. If not, then dial it back 100 Calories and keep tracking.


  39. Hello, I am on week 2 of P90X and have made a few adjustments after research/reading but was considering a few additional changes and was hoping to get your opinion. I am 145lbs and 5’7. I started the program at 1800 calories but bumped that down to 1500 while trying to maintain the 50% protein, 30% carbs, and 20% fat ratio on a modified version of the P90X meal plan. I’m finding this a bit difficult because 112g of carbs goes really quick if you have a fruit or grain. I keep track of all calories, protein, carbs and fat for the day and will undoubtedly have a nice chunk of calories and protein unmet even though I’m using protein powder and bar supplements. So, I am wondering if changing my ratios to 40/40/20 would be more ideal?

    I’m also considering the nutrition ratio change because I too love running. I haven’t had the desire to run marathons yet:) but I consistently ran about 4-5miles 5xs a week prior to P90X. Needless to say, I miss running…and I feel like I should be running not only because it is my “therapy” but because I feel like my hips and inner thighs need that high level cardio. Those are my trouble spots and so I naturally worry that P90X will not improve those areas and may actually make them worse if I don’t do some running/biking in addition to the program. I was a gymnast growing up and have never lost that “gymnast looking” body with muscles that respond quickly to strength training.

    That being said, would you recommend the increased carbs and added running? And if so, how much? Ideally, I would like to lose about 10lbs which would put me around 135lbs which I believe would leave me lean enough to show toned/defined muscles. I appreciate any feedback you can offer~

    P.S. And thanks for your knowledge and willingness to share;)

  40. Sorry I was using my new Smartphone and my last message was sent before I was finished (not so smart)! I was saying that I joined Weight Watchers 2 weeks ago and will start Power 90 tomorrow after UPS delivers it. Is shooting for a 4-5 pound weight loss per week unreasonable? I am 5’5 and weigh 209. I had my body analyzed at the gym and was told that my target weight is 167 lbs. I currently have 136 lbs of lean muscle. I know that 1-2 lbs per week is ideal, but since I’m very overweight I thought I might lose more in the beginning. Am I reaching too far? Thanks for your help!

  41. GREAT information!!! I hope you can help me. I am 5’4″ and currently 139 pounds and am 37 years old. My body fat last time it was checked back in March was 40 percent which I was shocked by. My goals are to get down to between 125 and 130 range but I’m having great difficulty getting there. I joined Weight Watchers back in March and have lost 7 pounds so far but the scale has pretty much stayed the same for 2 months. I do 45 minutes of cardio which is usually exercise bike, elliptical, and some stair climbing. I can’t run due to my TMJ problem. I’m currently not doing any strength training. Should I change my diet, add in weights, do more cardio? I’m so confused and want to get this weight off so that I can then start to strength train and tone my body. Thanks so much for your help in advance.

  42. I am about 185lbs and I am 3 days into p90x I am trying to loose about 30 to 40 lbs.. p90x was given to me by a friend but she didnt give me the diet plain. any suggestions.

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