Ah yes, the question I always get, “How do you go about gaining mass with P90X?” Sometimes there are people that want to do P90X that don’t want to lose weight, but rather gain mass. Normally these are people that have a very fast metabolism and have a hard time putting on muscle, and they are afraid that they will just lose weight with the program, which they obviously don’t want. I’ve got some good news, it’s possible to gain weight with P90X. I’m confident when I say that because not only did I do it myself, I also helped one of my best friends do it, and have helped many of the people I coach (I’m an online fitness coach) do it as well. I ended up gaining about 15 lbs in 2 rounds (picture above) and my best friend (picture below) ended up putting on about 12 lbs in 90 days. However, in order to do so I had to make some modifications to the program, changing up the diet some and adding in some additional weight training. Here are the things that I did to gain mass with P90X.
(1) I had to increase the calories. When I went through the program the first time, I was taking in about 1,800 calories because I was looking to lose weight and tone up. It worked and I lost 25 lbs and 10% body fat, but by the time round 2 rolled around, my goals had shifted. I wanted to gain mass. I knew that in order to do so, I had to take in around 3,000 calories a day. I still stuck with the foods listed in the Nutrition Guide, though, and followed the Phase 3 diet pretty closely. In Phase 3 of P90X, you take in a fat/carb/protein ratio of 20/50/30. Because of my body type, 3,000 calories per day was enough for me to gain mass, but for those who have a crazy fast metabolism, sometimes it requires 4,000 – 5,000+ calories. I have a mesomorph body, meaning it’s easy for me to put on muscle, but it’s also pretty easy for me to put on fat. Remember, when trying to gain mass, you need a calorie surplus each day, not a deficit.
(2) Protein shakes were my best friend. I was taking about 3 whey protein shakes per day, once in the morning, once after my workout, and once before bed. Taking in enough protein is very important for muscle recovery and rebuild. If you do decide to take whey protein, make sure you do your research and find yourself a high quality protein that doesn’t have a lot of added crap to it. Usually the cheaper it is, the lower the quality.
(3) Don’t skip your post workout supplement. This is very important. You have an hour after your workout to consume a recovery drink or meal. I like to make it easy and use the P90X Recovery Formula mixed with whey protein. The reason I use it is because it has a great combination of simple carbs and protein, both important for recovery. When you work out, especially if you have an intense workout, your body goes through and uses your glycogen stores. If you don’t replenish those stores after your workout, your body might burn some muscle for energy. Obviously you don’t want to burn muscle when you’re trying to gain mass with P90X.
(4) I had to add in some heavy resistance training. Push-ups and pull-ups just wont cut it if you’re trying to go about gaining mass with P90X. The great thing with P90X, though, is that the shoulders, arms, and legs workouts all incorporate some weight training, so you won’t have to make many adjustments there other than go with shorter reps (8-10 range). For the chest I added in some dumbbell bench press, dumbbell flys, incline dumbbell press, incline dumbbell flys, and even some weighted push-ups with a weighted vest. For the back I added in more sets of lawnmowers, back flys, and even some weighted pull-ups as well. If you don’t have weights at home, look into taking your P90X Fitness Guide to the gym or even getting Powerblocks, which is what I use. I’ve been using these things for years now and they have been great.
(5) Cut back on the cardio. If you want to gain mass, skip the cardio because all it does is burn calories. I only did one cardio workout per week when I was looking to put on weight.
(6) Mass gainers. If you’re one of those people with an insanely fast metabolism, with the amount of calories that you need to take in you might feel like you can’t put another piece of food into your body all day long. If that’s the case, you might want to look into a good mass gainer, which can pack sometimes around 1,200 calories. Again, though, you want to make sure you et yourself a good quality mass gainer, not a cheap piece of crap one. In Mike’s case, the guy above, he had to take a mass gainer every day because of how fast his metabolism was.
Hopefully you now understand what I did to go about gaining mass with P90X. Everything that I listed above is everything that I did, and if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. If you are going through P90X and want me to coach you, just click here! It’s free.
My name is Josh Spencer and I'm a husband, father, online fitness Coach (since 2008), soon to be author, and holistic healing advocate. Since 2008 I've helped thousands and thousands of people make a change in their health! I believe that in order to make incredible changes you have to have the right mindset, nutrition, and workout plan.