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Can the P90X Work If I Don't Stick to the Meal Plan?

author image Chris Sherwood
Chris Sherwood is a professional journalist who after years in the health administration field and writing health and wellness articles turned towards organic sustainable gardening and food education. He now owns and operates an organic-method small farm focusing his research and writing on both organic gardening methods and hydroponics.
Can the P90X Work If I Don't Stick to the Meal Plan?
A woman is exercising to a DVD. Photo Credit: kzenon/iStock/Getty Images

P90X is an extreme workout routine, spearheaded by fitness celebrity Tony Horton, and used throughout the world to burn fat and build muscle tone. The system is primarily made up of 12 DVD workouts ranging from 60 to 90 minutes, which are performed five to seven days a week depending on the schedule you choose. The P90X system also includes a diet plan, which is recommended to help increase results. You can choose to follow this diet or create a healthy diet plan of your own.

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Strength Training

Much of the beneficial results you see from P90X come not from the diet, but from the strength training exercises in the DVDs. P90X is designed to target each of the main muscle groups in your body, with each DVD focusing on a different area. The exercises in the DVDs are performed back to back to help promote muscle growth and utilize muscle confusion. Some of the strength training DVDs within the program include "Chest, Shoulders and Triceps," "Back and Biceps," "Legs and Back," "Ab Ripper," "Shoulders and Arms" and "Chest and Back."

Aerobic Exercise

P90X also works through the addition of aerobic exercise to help burn the calories necessary for reducing the levels of fat on your body. Each DVD provides some form of aerobic exercise, including the warm-up activities performed before getting into the primary exercises of the video. P90X also provides several DVDs which are more specific to aerobics, including "Aerobic X," "Plyometrics" and "Kenpo X."

Diet Basics

You can still see results with P90X if you choose not to use the meal plan, but it's important to understand that to see results, you still need to follow a healthy eating plan of your own. If you are performing P90X for weight loss, this means ensuring that you are burning more calories than you take in through your diet, creating a calorie deficit. When using P90X more for muscle gains, it's important to ensure you include a healthy amount of protein, while controlling your calorie intake to prevent weight gain from fat instead of muscle.

Foods to Consider

When substituting the P90X meal plan with a plan of your own, it's important to choose a wide range of foods that meet each of the different macronutrient needs your body requires. Protein is one of the most essential macronutrients on the P90X system due to the sheer amount of work your muscles perform during the program. You need protein to heal damaged muscle tissue and build up the strength of muscle fibers. Choose lean proteins like poultry or fish, as well as plant-based proteins like soy. Carbohydrates are also essential as they provide your body's main source of energy. Choose complex carbohydrates that are packed with fiber and vitamins, such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Fats are also important for cell health and to help your body absorb certain vitamins. Choose foods higher in unsaturated fats like olive oil, and avoid foods with saturated fat, such as fatty meats, or trans fats, which are in many processed foods.

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