Will P90X Exercise work for me?

I wonder if P90X is considered an acceptable form of exercise with respect to the 4HB.

Any thoughts?


The Best Answer

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In Lyle McDonald's wonderful book "The Ketogenic Diet" (which was recommended briefly in the 4HB he talks about the targeted ketogenic diet. Which basically say's this:

1. Individuals following the cyclical ketogenic diet (Tim's slow-carb diet) who want to perform high intensity activity will absolutely have to consume carbs at some point around exercise. The only difference is that calories must be adjusted to account for the carbohydrates being consumed around training.

2. The safest time to consume carbs, in terms of maintaining ketosis, is before a workout and ketosis should be reestablished soon after training. Depending on total training volume, 25-50 grams of carbohydrates taken 30-60 minutes prior to training seems to be a good amount. The type of carbohydrate is less critical for pre-workout carbs but quickly digested, high GI carbs seem to work best to avoid stomach upset.

3. If more than 50 grams of carbohydrates must be consumed around training, it may be

beneficial to split the total amount, consuming half 30 minutes before training and the other half at the beginning (or during) of the workout.

4. If post-workout carbohydrates are consumed, an additional 25-50 grams of glucose or glucose polymers are recommended. Fructose and sucrose should be avoided as they can refill liver glycogen and interrupt ketosis. Additionally protein can be added to the post-workout meal to help with recovery. Dietary fat should be avoided since it will slow digestion and could lead to fat storage when insulin levels are high.

5. If post-workout carbohydrates are not consumed, taking in protein only can still enhance

recovery as blood glucose and insulin should be slightly elevated from the consumption of pre-workout carbohydrates.

In my opinion (as an avid runner) this is the only way to successfully use the 4HB slow-carb diet and continue to train without "bonking". The P90X workout is no different. High intensity training requires glucose be readily available to be used for fuel. While "slow carbing" you are quickly burning your muscle and liver stores of glycogen and then you must convert fat to energy. This will not keep pace with your workout routine. I would highly recommend using targeted carbohydrate consumption as described above for the best success. You will still be able to maintain ketosis and burn fat (which is the goal)!

  • sharrison commented Jun 1st 2011:

    Great answer. I know I wasn't consuming enough carbs and spent many days feeling drained. I'm going to adjust the diet to half carbs before and half after the workout.

  • Alexandra buta commented Oct 3rd 2012:

    I've been reading a lot about this since I'm on a ketogenic diet and unwilling to cut the workouts. But what exactly is a source of glucose or glucose polymers? Having a few berries would have been ideal, but those are fructose based.

All Answers


It depends. Are you trying to lose weight or gain muscle mass? If you are trying to lose weight then yes P90X in combination with the slow carb diet would be appropriate. If you are trying to gain muscle mass then no. P90X is not designed to build muscle rather to work your entire body in both an aerobic/anaerobic manner. Basically to make you lean and defined.

Word of warning if you are trying to lose weight and begin both P90X and the slow carb diet at the same time you should take measurements. Especially if you are a beginner. As you will likely build muscle in the beginning which will off set the fat loss on the scale. Only reason I mention it is that it can be discouraging at first but don't worry especially if you do P90X your muscle gain should plateau in the first week or so and you'll definitely notice the results after that period.

I would also, if possible, schedule your workout so you can eat a meal directly afterwards. The P90X program is notorious for burning a lot of calories which means you will be very hungry and probably in pretty short order following your workout. Eating a scheduled meal will offset this hunger in a predictable manner.

Hope this helps and good luck Frank!


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Its a good combo but sometimes you run out of energy and need some carbs, I get the extra carbs from my protein shake. I lost 10 lbs using only the 4 hour body on a 28 day cycle. I am in week 10 of P90X and have lost a total of 9 more pounds......but.....I lost a lot of inches and have much more muscle tone. I did not do measurements before I started. Starting weight 227...217 after four hour body only. 208 using 4 hour body and P90X. My goal was 205 but I might try and get down to 200. Good luck.


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What is p90x? I know its a home based workout.

How can it be any better than working myass off in the gym every day for 90mins?

  • Thurnski21 commented May 12th 2011:
    It's a home work out program that focuses on doing a ton of different exercises with body weight or dumbbell resistance, with minimal rest in between sets. I've done it and it gets you in great shape (lost around 25 lbs).
  • Thurnski21 commented May 12th 2011:
    However, I've had better returns with 20 percent of the effort working out 2-3 times a week (30-40 mins a time), (lost 26-27 lbs) lifting heavy and eating SCD. Can't really compare the two accurately (diets were not consistent), but p90 is a commitment.
  • Thurnski21 commented May 12th 2011:
    However, I've had better returns with 20 percent of the effort working out 2-3 times a week (30-40 mins a time), (lost 26-27 lbs) lifting heavy and eating SCD. Can't really compare the two accurately (diets were not consistent), but p90 is a commitment.
  • Jeff Aw commented Sep 1st 2012:

    I'm trying 4hb diet with P90X too. I'm on my 4th day and today is Yoga. I can really see some huge difference esp after the abs ripper. My friend commented that if I've slimmed down. Today is my first cheat day and I'm having a great time satisfying my cravings... noodles noodles and more noodles. Hehehe...


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I lasted two weeks during P90X and it seems excessive. It works, but unless you're in top, top shape, it will destroy you.

I think it falls into the category of stuff that Tim would say, "Yes, it works, but you can get 90 percent of the same results with much less of an effort."

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