How to Conquer P90X as a Group (Even When Your Schedules Are Crazy)


We’ve all heard that it’s easier to stick to your fitness goals when you work out with others, but maintaining a routine that works for everyone’s schedules—and keep up a nutrition plan when you’re constantly on-the-go—can be a whole new level of challenging. Michelle Joy shows how she makes it work for her and her friends. Check back for parts 2 and 3, where she’ll share her go-to protein shake recipe, as well as an irresistible (and totally guilt-free) dinner.

We just passed the halfway point of P90X3, a 90-day fitness plan that whips you into shape, one 30-minute workout at a time. The time has flown by and the results are pretty awesome thus far. But we’ve all heard that adage, abs are made in the kitchen, not the gym. It’s definitely a joint effort, and the point I like to take from that is that just because you’re working out 6-7 days a week doesn’t mean you can just eat whatever and not worry.  So I’m here to tell you about some of my (and my group’s) favorite things to eat before and after working out—and how we fit in time to exercise each day.

Let me start off by saying that fitting in workouts, even though they’re only 30 minutes each, around 6 different people’s schedules is HARD.  I’ll give you a breakdown of our group:
Michelle (that’s me!) – part time Librarian at 2 colleges, out of the house from 8am-830pm M-Th
Sean – Medical School student. Enough said.
Suzanne – Waitress and Air Force Reservist. Waitress schedule changes constantly and 1 weekend a month she’s gone.
Rebekah – work-from-home web programmer who works 9-5(ish) M-F
Lauren – Digital Media Producer 8-5 M-F
David – Last semester Undergrad and National Guard Reservist. Class times are varied and 1 weekend a month he’s on duty.

Michelle on Day 1 and on Day 28
Michelle on Day 1 and on Day 28

As a result, on weekdays we work out around 9 p.m., and we’ve found that even harder than finding time to exercise is figuring out when to eat. You don’t want to eat too much right before, but you also don’t want to pass out mid-workout. (Pretty sure the program’s creator, Tony, would show up and mock us.) And four of us are eating dinners together on a meal plan (Sean, Suzanne, Rebekah, and myself). So what do we do?

Since we work out so late, everyone tries to do their best during the day. Those in the group not on my meal plan eat dinner, we work out, have protein shakes post-workout, and I cook dinner for the meal plan group. Yes, this means we’re eating really late; unfortunately, with my current schedule it’s the only way it will work. If you can eat dinner long enough before, or work out earlier, go ahead. I’ll come back to dinners and the shakes in a bit.  On weekends, we work out around 2 p.m., so we try to eat something before (again, to avoid the whole passing out thing) and, depending on the day’s plans, the “dinner” I cook is either that meal or a meal later in the day. We also put Creatine in the water we drink before and during the workout.

Broccoli Stir Fry from Phase 1 of the P90X3 Workout Plan
Broccoli Stir Fry from Phase 1 of the P90X3 Workout Plan

What the Meal Plan Looks Like:

Breakfast: On a normal weekday, I start off with my coffee — yes, with non-dairy creamer and sugar because I want to enjoy my coffee — and I have a Special K protein meal bar. It’s something decently healthy that I can eat while driving.

Lunch: I make do with some leftovers or try to not eat too poorly from Publix or the occasional fast food place. I log everything on MyFitnessPal (you can find me as USFJoyGirl) and work to make sure I’m “behaving.”

Dinner: Varies. For instance, right now we’re in Phase 2 of P90X3, and since there isn’t really a meal plan for it, we’re following the meal plan for the original P90X, with some edits made (like removing fish, since some of us don’t care for it). Here is what we are currently eating for dinners:

  • Monday: 1 burger, 3oz cheese, 1 baked potato, 1c salad greens, 3tbsp dressing, 1/2c fresh berries
  • Tuesday: 1 chicken breast with 3tbsp sauce (choose), 1c veggies, 1c rice
  • Wednesday: 9oz pork tenderloin, 3tbsp green apple salsa,1c veggies, 1 potato, 1c salad greens, 3tbsp dressing (or Island Pork Tenderloin salad)
  • Thursday: Fend for self*
  • Friday: 1 chicken breast, 3tbsp lime vinaigrette (or other sauce), 1c veggies, 1 c rice
  • Saturday: 9oz Italian meatloaf, 1 potato, 1c salad greens. 3tbsp dressing
  • Sunday: 9oz steak 3tbsp sauce, 1c veggies, 1c rice


Island Pork Tenderloin Salad (Come back for part 3 of this series to get the recipe!)
Island Pork Tenderloin Salad (Come back for part 3 of this series to get the recipe!)

*Thursdays is a fend-for-yourself day due to a large portion of the group playing tabletop that night, and we switched around the workout schedule so Thursday is our rest day, where we don’t have to work out.

If you have to work out late at night and find your motivation dragging towards the end of the day, try creating a playlist of some pumped-up songs for your commute home, or poke around on Pinterest for motivation.

Now that you have a feel for our workout schedule and meal plan, check back tomorrow for our favorite post-workout protein shake. Plus, in part three of our series, we’ll share the recipe for Wednesday’s dinner: Island Pork Tenderloin.


Michelle is a librarian at Polk State College and Hillsborough Community College. She loves cooking and baking (even if baking has been pushed to the back burner for now) as well as working out, making things, and making her friends smile. You can follow her on Fitocracy (can use this link ) and myfitnesspal where her username is USFJoyGirl. She has a tuxedo cat named Sayuri and around 50 stories she’s started but never finished, though someday you might find one of those on the shelf in the bookstore. Don’t be afraid to follow her on Fitocracy and ask questions, she’ll happily answer, and mention that these articles are how you found the site and her. #bringit

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