How Many Calories Per Workout with P90X for Burning Fat & Building Muscle?

Question: I have just recently purchased the P90X program and love it!

I do have a question though, I’m a runner and usually run 22 to 37 miles a week depending on the weather.

I would like to know how many food calories I should have each day to properly support me since I burn a lot of calories per workout doing both running and the P90X program?

According to the program I’m in the 1800 calorie burn range, but I know calories for a runner combined with workout calories are probably more. I want to get the results from Tony Horton P90X workout program but I also need the energy for my runs, especially on Saturday when I need to sustain my energy and have the correct food calories for a 15 to 20 mile run.

I would appreciate any suggestions or guidelines the Tony’s Horton’s diet plan might have.

Balancing Burn Calories with Fitness Needs

Carol Bardelli, Beachbody Coach: You didn’t give specifics about your height, weight, age, or goals, which are essential to any individualized nutritional advice. You’re on Power 90X and running, so I assume your goals include achieving extreme fitness. You’ll likely want to build muscle and burn body fat. As a veteran P90Xer, I know this is possible.

The Power 90X nutrition guidelines state calorie intake is not an exact science. You’ll have to adjust your food calories up or down to fuel your body and achieve you’re specific goals. Experiment to find your nutritional “sweet spot.”

Monitor your body fat and muscle mass. If you don’t see improvements you can adjust your calorie intake to encourage fat loss. Cut 100 to 200 calories per day and see if your results improve. As a rule, no one should go below 1800 calories on Power 90X. The nutrition guide suggests adding additional calories as you progress to support muscle growth. Your body’s energy demands increase in the latter stages of the program.

Calories for Marathoners

RunningTufts university did a study on normal and overweight marathoners. This study revealed how little energy they expended during a run.

If a 150 pound person runs at 5 MPH for 90 minutes they burn an average of 850 calories. It’s very easy to offset this deficit with a snack. A protein bar and energy drink (a snack averaging 500-700 calories depending on brands) can counter your efforts. Add an extra piece of whole wheat toast with breakfast and you’ve canceled out any calorie deficit from the run. If you’re running with burning calories (and body fat) as you’re goal, choose your snacks carefully.

Optimal Workout Calories Fueled with Protein, Carbohydrates, and Fats

I did Power 90X Doubles two years ago (one hour of P90X and one hour of aerobics every day). This is similar to your situation. The Tony Horton P90X Nutrition guide advises you should fuel your workouts with a combination of protein, carbohydrates, and fats. Your pre-run snack should include a carbohydrate that digests fast. Many runners rely on a pre-run snack of mostly carbs. Others prefer a mix of protein, carbs, and fat.

pic-peanutbutter-wholewheatAbout an hour to three hours before you run, eat a light snack of 150 to 300 calories, depending on your height and weight. Good sources of fast burning carbs include fruit, whole grain bread, cereal, or energy gel. A classic runners pre-run snack is peanut butter and whole fruit on whole wheat bread.

How Much Fat?

A common issue among runners and resistance trainers is a habit to cut too much fat out of their diets. Researchers studied two dozen male and female runners who ran an average of 42 miles per week. The goal was to study the runners’ endurance on different amounts of dietary fat.

The group alternated diets, starting with a low fat diet of 16% fat. After four weeks the runners switched to an average diet of 30% fat. Then they increased fat intake to 44%. All diets had the same number of calories. The endurance of the runners while on the lowest fat diets reduced. And their levels of essential fatty acids and nutrients like zinc were too low.

Healthy Fat in an AvocadoThe authors of the study concluded that a diet too low in fat compromises health and athletic performance. Make sure your diet is balanced, and you eat adequate amounts of healthy fats from foods like nuts, fish, avocados, and healthy oils like flax, walnut, and olive oils.

All of these foods are allowed on the Power 90X nutrition plan.

Best of luck with your goals!