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Where Do I Start?




Maybe you just started a fitness program and don’t know where to begin.  Or maybe you have been doing one for a while but not getting the results you want.  Then, this article is a good starting point for you.  In my case, I started P90x in December of 2010.  My first round I lost 22 lbs., but I knew I could do better.  I got a coach and really followed his advice and then lost a whopping 55lbs. in my second round.

What was my secret?  What was the difference between my 2 rounds?   I’ll highlight the key differences for you as follows and keep updating the links on this page as time goes on:


1. 80% of Results is Nutrition, 20% is the Workouts:

Too many people neglect the larger piece of the puzzle which is nutrition (the 80%) and spend all their time focusing on the workouts (the 20%).  I did that on my first round of P90x and my results demonstrated that.  They were only average.  For the people that show up and push play and do not follow a rigorous nutrition plan, they might get results, but they will not be the kind of extreme results that you see on TV or the kind I got for my 2nd round.  There is a reason why there is a popular saying in the fitness world that “abs are made in the kitchen”!


2. “Portion Approach” vs. Counting Calories:

If you have seen any dramatic transformation videos online or on TV, I guarantee those people had their nutrition figured out.  For Round 1, I followed the “Portion Approach” as outlined in the P90x nutrition guide.  I read the book cover to cover and tried hard to follow the plan, but my results did not seem to match my effort.  The problem is that the “Portion Approach” can be misleading and you can be eating a lot more than you think.  For Round 2, I learned to count calories.  It seemed like a foreign language to me at first.  What is a carb vs. protein vs. fat?  What are grams?  Not to worry.  I have some posts on how to count calories.  If you are serious about getting above average results, then you need to be serious about learning to count calories!


3. Determine Your Target Caloric Intake:

The P90x Nutrtion Guide has a nice table to calculate your “target” calories.  The problem is that it is unclear how much you should deviate from that number.  What should you do?  The answer is that it depends.  If you are overweight or you are not at your bodyfat % target, then you should be running a calorie deficit.  If you are already in great shape and have no more bodyfat to lose, then your goal is probably to gain muscle, so you should be running a calorie surplus.  The problem is that you can’t do both easily at the same time.  If you are running a calorie deficit, then it is hard to put on a lot of muscle.  If you are running a calorie surplus then it is hard to lose fat.


4. Should I Lose Fat First or Try to Put on Muscle First?

My quick answer is that you should be following a program like the “Fat Shredder” as outlined in the P90x guide until you are at your target bodyfat percentage.  You should not have a target weight.  You should instead have a target bodyfat percentage.  If want to see abs, then you won’t see them until you get below 10% bodyfat if you are male.  If you have more than that, then you will have a nice layer of cushion that will hide all that definition.   In my transformation video, I went from 275 lbs. to 198 lbs. in 6 months.  I was ecstatic because my “target” weight was 200 lbs. and I beat that.  However, I was disappointed because I was sure that I would have more defined abs by 200 lbs.  The problem is that at 200 lbs. I was still at 20% bodyfat.  So, for the next 6 months my goal was no longer a target weight but a target bodyfat percentage.  In my case, it was to get below 10%.  At the end of my video you will see I hit my target.  I weighed 177lbs. and had 8.2% bodyfat.  That is why you are able to see the definition of my abs because I was able to get that final layer of fat off my body.


5. Lose Bodyfat vs. Lose Muscle:

If you are overweight and want to lose weight, your goal is to lose bodyfat and not muscle.  There is a difference.  Your goal should never be to lose muscle. We need muscle and muscle actually helps us burn more calories which gets us to our target of being leaner and better in shape.  The goal is to lose bodyfat.  The more bodyfat you have, the more health risks you will have.


6. Eating Clean:

What is eating “clean”?  This is a term used to describe healthy foods and not the “dirty” junk food that many Americans eat on a daily basis.  Prior to P90x, I did not eat clean at all.   My favorite foods were pizza, fried chicken, and hot wings.   I could easily polish off an entire large pizza by myself and a gallon of soda.  If you were to look at my diet before P90x, you would think that I was trying to get to 300 lbs. because I was working so hard at it!  LOL!  If you are on limited calories, then it is critical to make every single calorie count towards your goal.  That is why I started drinking Shakeology during Round 2 and have been drinking it every single day since!


7. To Cheat Or Not To Cheat…. That is the Question:

On my 2nd Round of P90x, I did not have a single “cheat” meal the entire round.  What is a cheat meal?  For Round 2, I was on the Fat Shredder diet.  It was a high protein and low carb and low fat diet.  A cheat meal is eating foods that sabotage your diet.  For example, deep fried foods, such as french fries, fried chicken, etc.  High sugary snacks like birthday cakes.  High in fat foods like croissants and biscuits which are prepared with lots of butter.  You get the idea.  For Round 2, I ate a clean and healthy diet and had ZERO cheat meals.  Was it hard?  You bet.  Harder than any of the P90x workouts.  In fact, I celebrated my 41st birthday in Round 2.  I had tons of pressure to just “have one little bite of cake, it won’t hurt you…”  The problem is that it does. When you follow a strict fat shredding plan, one little cheat meal can halt your progress for 2 to 3 days.  Have another cheat meal in the next couple days then your progress is stalled an entire week.  And so on and so on.  In a 90 day program, who has time for that?  (Just so you know, for my birthday, I passed on the chocolate cake and instead had a healthy glass of chocolate Shakeology that I brought with me to the party!)  A friend once told me “nothing TASTES as good as being fit FEELS!”  You know what?  My friend was right!


8. Pick The Right Program:

Beachbody has almost every program to match your fitness goals.  For example, P90x is Beachbody’s flagship program created by Tony Horton and is the one I personally used for over a year and a half.  It covers resistance training, cardio, and nutrition.  It is the full package.  Also, there are other great programs like Shaun T’s Insanity program, which is one of the toughest cardio programs I have ever completed.  The great thing is that on my fitness journey I have collected a series of programs that I can now mix and match to get the best of all worlds.


9.  Accountibility & Support is Critical To Your Success:

I am a lucky man.  I have a wonderful wife who wanted nothing more for me than to get healthy.  I told her that I bought P90x and I would stick to it this time and get in shape.  She tried hard not to roll her eyes at me because she had heard that promise many times before over the last 20 years.  However, this time it was different. I took it one step further.  I not only told my wife, but I also announced it to my coworkers and even to my regular customers who came in to my restaurant.  All of a sudden, I had a larger accountability crew rooting for me.  It is amazing the kind of support you can get from those around you if you announce that you are undertaking this program and also ask for their help.  Many would come in to my restaurant and say, “Hey Fred, did you work out today?”  I explained to my wife early on that I would need time and her support to make my workouts everyday.  She supported me and even helped distract the kids, while I did my workouts in the morning.

Accountability is key so be sure to make me your coach and consider joining one of my challenge groups!


10. Write It Down & Track It!

There is an old saying that “what gets measured, gets done”.  Be sure to take your Day 1, Day 30, Day 60 and Day 90 photos.  Take the time to take the fit test and measure your body dimensions.  Write it all down.  Your body will make some tremendous changes that you can’t tell from the scale.  There were times that I lost no weight at all but my pants were fitting looser and I had to buy a smaller belt.  I was making progress but if I had not written down where I started I would not have known.  Also, whenever I had a desire to pig out on pizza, I would just pull out my Day 1 photo and that would be all the incentive I would need to drive past all the fast food restaurants without stopping.


11. Never Missed A Workout, No Excuses!

For my entire Round 2, I never missed a single workout.  I pushed play every single day.  No matter what life threw at me, I kept my promise to myself that I would follow the excercise program.  I have 3 little kids and a full time job.  It was not easy.  I had many sleepless nights with 3 sick little children.  Still, it did not matter, I made no excuses and completed every workout.  The key is that I figured out my personal “why” for working out.  Once you figure out your “why”, it ignites a fire within yourself and nothing can get in your way.


I hope this helps shed some light on the differences I experienced going from just “average” results to “extreme” results.  It might sound difficult to do many of these things, but with sacrifice and hard work, comes great reward.  The great news is that I am no one special.  I am just an ordinary guy who had extraordinary results with these amazing programs.  And you can too!

My goal for many of you is to do my best to get your learning curve up quickly so we can help you start getting extreme results.  Stay tuned for more posts that I have coming. I will do my best to help provide some basics on nutrition, calorie counting, and checking bodyfat.

Here’s to your health!  Keep brining it!








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  1. Tuesday Talk – Upping Your Carbs | Team Dragon Fit - Free Fitness Coaching - [...] not see results, then it may be a good time to start upping your carbs.   See my post…

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