People ask about P90X supplements all the time. This article is for those who are new to P90X (or similar programs) and those who are interested in what I use to get me the great results from P90X. Feel free to use it as a guide and incorporate it into your routine.
For those who somehow relate supplements to the illegal performance enhancing drugs, they aren’t the same thing and this ain’t the place for it, either. We’re strictly talking about diet supplements.
Are Supplements Necessary?
Simply put, no. But if you want to maximize your result in the next 60-90 days or in the workout that you are already doing, keep reading.
Understand Our Goals
I took very limited supplements during my first round of P90X and I still don’t take many of them. To answer the question, we first need to understand what our goals are and what our body needs. If our goals are, for example:
- TO LOSE FAT
We need to make sure we reduce our carbohydrate intake and increase protein intake (see the P90X Fat Shredder diet plan for more info). Cardio exercise is highly effective in burning calories so while we increase our protein intake, we must at the same time take in good carbohydrates to fuel our body for the grueling exercise.
- TO GAIN MASS
Same thing here. We’ll need to make sure we have enough protein intake to promote muscle growth and at the same time have enough good carbohydrates in the system to help us endure the workout and to push harder. More importantly, we need to be giving our body the proper “recovery” nutrition immediately after the workout — also known as the Anabolic window. This is so that our body can repair tissues and quickly restore glycogen stores and build muscles.
In most cases, we can’t take in that much protein in form of whole food or not being able to provide the necessary recovery formula and at the right time to give our body the proper nutrition to recover. Supplements come into play and make up the difference here.
What is Happening to our Body?
Our body is changing and have special needs when we workout. Here’s what we expect to happen to our body during/after the weight training and intense cardio exercise.
- Cardio exercise
Our body needs energy to perform cardio exercise which normally continues for a longer period of time than lifting weights. Our body first draws the immediately available energy from glucose and then from glycogen which is stored in our muscles. Once glycogen depletes after the intensive exercise, our body will then burn fat for energy. This is all great but if we’re lifting weights after the cardio, there will be no glycogen left for our muscle to work. (That’s why it’s highly recommended to do weight on a separate day to increase the effectiveness.)
- Weight lifting
Glycogen fuels muscle contractions during exercise and helps stabilize blood glucose levels. If you run out of glycogen, no matter how hard you try, your body will bonk and won’t be able to squeeze out any more reps. If gaining mass is our goal, if we do not provide our body with what it needs, the workouts will cause unnecessary stress and it will not be able to regrow and rebuild the way it would like to.
I achieved results better than I’ve expected because I combined intense exercise with the proper nutrition, the right supplements and the necessary rest (yes, sleep at least 7-8 hours a day). Without these supplements, don’t expect to achieve the same or even better results as I did. It will take much longer and require more effort.
Maximizing the Result of Your Effort
Many people say “I’m already working out and I don’t need supplements” and months later say “how come I don’t see any obvious changes to my body?”. Like I’ve mentioned multiple times, 80% of the success comes from the diet. And supplements is very much needed if we want optimized results.
Some say “I can’t afford supplements” but I ask you to seriously consider what you’re willing to give up for the next 60-90 days to totally change your body and potentially your life. If you’re already willing to work hard and keep pressing play everyday, why not ALSO focus on your diet and body recovery for the next few months? Can you cut back on eating-out, drinking Starbucks, bubble teas (very bad for you, BTW) or other unhealthy snacks and save a few bucks here and there everyday for the healthier replacement like Shakeology? Think of what you’re willing to give up.
If you expect amazing results, it will require sacrifice and change. So, if you can’t afford the supplements, should you just throw up your hands and quit? Of course not! If you can afford a few key supplements that will most positively affect your body’s ability to run at maximum potential, consider adding them.
Remember, you’re already doing the work (P90X, Insanity, Asylum, TurboFire, etc.), why not maximize your results with the right supplements?
My Top 3 Must-have Supplements
- Whey Protein
I use the Cyctosport Whey Protein from Costco. They’re also available from Amazon if you don’t have a Costco membership. It comes in a 6lbs bag and packs with 27g of protein in each serving. For me it lasts for 3 months. There’s also the “Gold Standard” brand (made by Optimum) which is rather popular among my friends. Either one is pretty good and gives you high protein and very low in fat and carbs. I take this around or in between meals so that I can meet my protein requirement for the day.
- Shakeology (Meal replacement or breakfast)
I didn’t start using Shakeology (chocolate flavor is my favorite!) until after I completed my first round of P90X. It gives me a vast array of vitamin rich, nutrient dense foods in my diet every day. I drink it as my breakfast — the most important meal of the day. I simply mix it with water because I don’t like to have added calories form the juice and stuff. To match what you get in a $4 Shakeology you’d spend many times that much to get superfoods to replace it.
Buy from BeachBody
- Result & Recovery Drink (During or post workout)
The new & improved formula doesn’t have fructose and artificial sweeteners. It’s made of 4 parts healthy carbohydrate and 1 part healthy protein. This is essential to replenish the energy back to your muscles after an intense workout. It eliminates about 80% of soreness and gives you energy for the next day’s workout. If you workout hard enough, reward yourself with a scoop of R&R. Take maybe half a scoop if you don’t workout hard enough. You’ve gotta earn it!
Buy from BeachBody
A Few Other Supplements I Use
- Pure Protein Bars
I eat these as snacks in between meals or as meal replacements sometimes especially when I’m on the go. I get these from Costco. It comes with 18 x 50g bars in 3 different flavors in a box. The flavors are Chocolate Deluxe, Peanut Butter and Chewy Chocolate Chips. Peanut Butter and Chewy Chocolate Chips are my favorites! If you don’t have a Costco membership, you could get it from somewhere else but they probably don’t have the combo box like Costco does. Amazon sells them separately.
- Premier Protein Shakes
I drink Shakeology as my first drink in the morning and have the Premier Protein Shake an hour or two after that to fill the gap before lunch time. These taste really good and has a very smooth texture. It not only packs with 30g of protein but also low in fat and carb. I drink these after workout sometimes. I also get these from Costco but again they are also available from Amazon.
- Kirkland Signature Fish Oil
These are good for your heart and vascular health. I take this with and the multivitamin first thing in the morning.
- Men’s Once-a-day Multivitamin
These are for regulating our blood pressure and promoting prostate and heart health. If you’re like me with school age kids, you know how frequently you get sick just because of the kids. I haven’t been sick since the 3rd day of doing P90X (touch wood). Whatever is in this and the fish oil must have been working.
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