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Secrets To Fat-Shredding Nutrition: The Body-Changing Blueprint

When it comes to carving the body you’ve always wanted (and maybe at some point already had)– the great divider is a 9 letter word called NUTRITION. It’s the fine line between those with awesome success, decent success and “it didn’t work”. And nothing could be more true in P90X or any Beachbody program of choice. But while P90X (and most other Beachbody programs) comes with its own nutrition guide that holds your hand virtually every step of the way, there’s still a bunch of common questions in regard to the P90X nutrition phases, how many calories to take in and what to eat.

Good news is these are awesome questions and asking them is part of the learning curve. Getting your arms around all of it will go a long way toward understanding what you’re doing and why. For me, this was critical in getting buy-on when I first started P90X and getting toned up and knowing how/why allows you to be better equipped for success and making the right decisions at the grocery store and out on the town.

So here’s the deal– there’s not ONE WAY for everyone as everyone is different, has different needs, different intensity levels, different starting points and different body types. But there are not-so-secret ballpark rules you CAN start from and whittle/adjust as necessary that (with consistency and dedication) WILL get you to your goals.

I’m going to reference the P90X nutrition guide throughout this breakdown mostly because it’s so comprehensive and adaptable. The guidelines below can be used for virtually any program you’re tackling and with a few tweaks and customizations to get you fine-tuned, you can’t lose.

Before we get started, a couple definitions:

Calories: Measurement of energy contained in a food as used by your body.

Macronutrients: The cornerstone of nutrition tracking. This term refers to the breakdown of nutrients beyond a simple calorie count– IE, what makes up that calorie count in terms of Fats, Carbs and Proteins played out in percentages.

 FAT SHREDDER (IE-How I Learned To Make My Muscles Show)

Pretty self-explanatory. This is the “shredding diet” and fat loss avenue to take if you’re looking at torching flab relatively quickly and efficiently. Higher protein, lower carbs, standard fats.

Macronutrients: 50/30/20 (50% Protein/30% Carbohydrates/20% Fats)

If you know your body fat percentage and are pushing more than roughly 2% of your body fat goal, Fat Shredder is the approach you’ll want to take until you get there. In this phase, you’re taking in LOWER calories (running a deficit– IE, eating less than you’re using but enough to give your body what it needs). This reprograms your body to stop using readily available energy and storing what you don’t use and start using the stuff it’s already stored. Bye, bye fat. This is a shorter term phase– it’s not sustainable long-term and is intended to get you jump-started on losing fat until you’re close to your body fat goals.

Of course, with a calorie deficit at the root of this phase, how many calories should you be taking in? Here’s a general rule of thumb for men (Dudes) and women (Ladies):

GUYS: (Pick a calorie level in the ranges below and adjust from there, don’t “drift” between the amounts)

  • 6 foot +: 1800-2200 daily calories.
  • 5’6 – 5’11″: 1700-1900 daily calories.
  • Sub 5’6″: Less than 1500 calories daily but NO FEWER than 1200.

LADIES: (Pick a calorie level in the ranges below and adjust from there, don’t “drift” between the amounts)

  • 5’6 and above = 1200-1400 daily calories .
  • less than 5’6″ = 1000-1200 daily calories .

Employing the Fat Shredder phase at these deficits will jump-start your fat loss and keep it going but it’s important to keep a finger on the pulse of your energy levels and adjust as needed within these guidelines.

ENERGY BOOSTER (Refining and Transition)

Named because you’ll adding more carbohydrates back into your diet– carbs that will give you more energy and carbs your body will happily use for fuel after its run low on fat. This is a phase that can be employed longer term for both maintenance and refining fat loss.

Macronutrients: 40/40/20 (40% Protein/40% Carbohydrates/20% Fats)

As a rule of thumb, you should adjust to this phase when you’re within the 2% range of your body fat goals. As a note, you can dabble here with a calorie deficit but overall, you’ll want to increase you calories a bit. You won’t torch fat like you may have been used to in the Fat Shredder phase but if you’re within 2% of your body fat goals, you wont’ really care, either. This is the refinement period and allows your body to ease off it’s go for broke metabolism siege into something more sustainable. Energy Booster and your muscle building will become good friends in this Phase.

GUYS:(Pick a calorie level in the ranges below and adjust from there, don’t “drift” between the amounts)

  • 6′ +: 2900- 3,100 daily calories.
  • 5’6″ – 5’11″ = 2600-2800 daily calories.
  • less than 5’6″ = 2200 – 2400 daily calories .

LADIES: (Pick a calorie level in the ranges below and adjust from there, don’t “drift” between the amounts)

  • 5’6 and above = 1400 – 1600 daily calories .
  • less than 5’6″ = 1200 – 1400 daily calories .

ENDURANCE MAXIMIZER (Mass Building And High Performance)

Here it is…the pinnacle: the EARNED/REWARD phase of the fat loss/fitness program.

Macronutrients: 30/50/20 (30% Protein/50% Carbohydrates/20% Fats)

At this point, if you’ve nailed your body fat % (and you’ll know because you’ll be admiring muscles you never knew you had– whether that’s toned, ripped or just plain shredded) your body is a furnace that’s craving more energy… and you’re going to deliver. For guys looking to gain mass (after having lost their body fat, of course), this is the magic phase where muscles grow on a 30-20/50-60/20  nutrition ratio. Shortcuts to this Phase are NOT allowed if you haven’t hit your body fat %.

Where the guys will really get after this phase in building mass, I’ll tailor this more in that direction… but it doesn’t mean the ladies can’t join in. Remember, if you’re going hard, your body will gobble this energy right up. Just remember to keep your calories and nutrition in check and monitored. They’re the key to everything. You’ll be taking in more carbs here but the game doesn’t change– your carbs need to be clean (limited whole grains, oats, quinoa, fruit, vegetables) , not crap (refined white junk). In this “growth phase” you’ll want to go higher in calories. A scary proposition at first after all your limited calorie intake but one your body needs if gaining mass is your goal.

If you want to keep fat gain to a minimum, you’ll really have to dial it in here and take weekly fat/weight measurements. You’re targeting roughly one pound in weight gain per week– which, if you’re eating clean, should be all muscle as your body fat stays pretty static.  When it’s all said and done, that’s about 12 pounds of mass you’re going to be flexing if you go the P90X mass route. If you’re looking to bulk after nailing your other goals, here’s a good rule of thumb to start with and then refine (keeping tabs on your weight gain) as you move forward:


  • 6′+ :  3,600 daily calories .
  • 5’6″ – 5’11″ = 3000 – 3200 daily calories .
  • Sub 5’6″ = 2800 – 3000 daily calories .


  • 5’6+: 1800 – 2000 daily calories .
  • Sub 5’6″: 1600 – 1800 daily calories .


As part of getting hold of your diet, you’ve got to learn to track what you eat.  Not only does this keep you on track, you begin to understand what your body needs. I know, I know… this seems complicated but it’s not, it can be fun and in the end tracking is a short-term commitment for focus in long term gains. You’ll be surprised. Fact is, once you track you can really have fun with your nutrition. As long as you reach the correct macronutrient percentages for YOU, within the goal of total calories and eating CLEAN foods (for a list, click here), you WILL see the results you’re looking for.

And here’s a BONUS: Getting into eating right gets you in the cycle of progress. You won’t want to waste a good day of eating by skipping a workout and you won’t want to eat like crap to ruin that workout. You’ll gain MOMENTUM and motivation and that’s what will keep those fires lit!

As I mentioned before, these are ballpark figures– you may need to tweak your numbers here and there but this is THE starting line. It’ll take a little more attention than you’re used to but combined with the effort you put into your workouts, you’ll “firing on all six cylinders”.

Since no man/woman is a fitness island and success grows like a weed with support, stay on track and receive personal tips and advice by adding me as your free coach and mentor right here


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