How to Maximize Muscle Mass Gain and Get Ripped with P90X

by on August 8, 2011

What is Mass Gain?

It’s the process of adding more muscle and/or size than your typical body frame. Mass gainis different than “lean mass.” Everybody that has tried P90X knows that it works to lose weight, burn fat, get ripped, etc because P90X is a highly effective weight loss and lean mass muscle builder. By following the program you will see gains in strength leading to more reps and weight each week, resulting in trading fat for lean muscle.

How to Maximize Muscle Mass Gain and Get Ripped with P90XYou can get great results from P90X and continue to build more muscle, but there comes a point where adding more muscle mass begins to be difficult. Or you may be an ‘ectomorph’ body type, skinny with a high metabolism and have extreme difficulty adding more size.

How does P90X work?

So what’s different about this schedule? Most importantly, we should focus on hypertrophy, which is the term for gaining muscle. This can be maximized by controlling the amount of weight and sets we use for the exercises. The correct hypertrophy range is reaching failure in the 8-12 rep range. However, it is very important to use slow, controlled movements. Most people are in the habit of going fast with their reps, or worse—they swing, jerk, or cheat with their reps. We MUST focus on quality while staying within our target range. Besides, studies show that the eccentric (reverse) motion can be just as effective, if not more, than the concentric (forward) motion. This is why a lot of bodybuilders often load up heavier weights than their max, cheat to start, then do negative reps to build more muscle.

P90X is a well rounded program meant to boost power, strength, endurance and to lose weight while gaining lean muscle. But we want to maximize our muscle mass gains so we need to make some adjustments to the standard program. Since maximizing muscle is our primary goal, we need to tone down the cardio to both lessen the stress on our bodies and to lighten the calorie burn. Keeping some cardio in the program keeps the body conditioned so it’s better than simply skipping the cardio. This will purposely reduce our calorie burn so you must take that into consideration when gauging your calorie goal.

If you are looking to gain muscle bulk/size, then you need to eat more calories than you burn. I would suggest starting with 300 but you could go as high as 500. However, you don’t want to heavily outpace your fat gain over your muscle gain. Gaining muscle takes hard work, especially if you aren’t a beginner. Please note you will ALWAYS gain fat with a bulk feeding schedule!! There is no way around that, but it is much easier to burn the fat off later, than it is to try for muscle mass gain. Besides, any muscle you gain will help burn the fat.

I will boost your P90X muscle mass gains from my FREE Personal Coaching!


Another way to maximize the hypertrophy is to use less recovery weeks during the program. As a result of this change, we will rest more during the normal weeks by adding an additional rest day to prevent over training, but have less Recovery Weeks in the program.

VERY IMPORTANT: Don’t even think about doing this program without the P90X Recovery Drink!!

The P90X nutrition plans are very easy to follow for new people, but they are too general and we want something more specific for our mass gain schedule. Forget about % when it comes to protein. Instead, shoot for 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight. The average person shouldn’t need much more than that. You MUST spread out your protein intake with each meal to give your body a constant flow of protein nourishment and to prevent unnecessary fat storage.

Then choose your Fat %, which should be around 15-25% of your daily calories. Remember, protein and carbs is 4 calories per gram, but fat is 9! Healthy fats are so important in body/muscle repair and general health, so don’t fear the good fats! If you can, make as most fat sources as possible from healthy foods such as fish oil, olive oil, almonds, avocados, flaxseed, etc. I highly recommend supplementing with Omega 3 too. Then the rest of your calories/grams should be carbs. You should be able to go thru the whole program with this nutrition program, but feel free to tweak it as necessary.

Shakeology Cleanse. Every P90X Recovery Week I ALWAYS use Shakeology for the last 3 days, if not more. It makes perfect sense during the P90X Recovery Week because the workout intensity is lower. Shakeology helps me shed a little extra weight, but more importantly, re-energizes me for the next Phase. This works even better with a mass gain schedule, since we are bulking up so much in the main phase.


I hope this article has been helpful as I often see people struggle with their muscle gains. Once you get lean, you simply can’t follow the normal P90X schedule. So use these tips and gain some serious X muscle! Please comment on this post and LIKE on Facebook!


{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

Ron August 26, 2011 at 1:50 am

wonderful publish, very informative. You should continue your writing. I am confident, you’ve a huge readers’ base already!


Marc September 26, 2011 at 12:33 am

Awesome stuff and this is exactly what I’ve been looking for. I need to gain more muscle so I’m going to use this schedule. Thanks Superdave.


Devon Ashford October 11, 2011 at 8:25 am

I do love what you have on your site. This is a great article but short. Any chance you can right longer ones? Thanks for the post.


Trenton Harres October 13, 2011 at 4:12 am

You go over a number of good points there, thanks.


Max G. October 13, 2011 at 5:05 pm

Rather challenging thanks, I believe your readers would certainly want far more writing similar to this continue the good work.


Rocky Bukowiecki November 7, 2011 at 10:38 pm

hey, great blog! love it 🙂


Sebastian S December 3, 2011 at 5:51 am

Good info once again. Thanks=)


Timothy Llewlyn December 9, 2011 at 7:37 am

Awesome stuff! I’m going to plan out my new schedule right now. Thanks man!


Brent December 9, 2011 at 5:30 pm

Its like you read my thoughts! You appear to understand so much about this, like you wrote the ebook in it or something.


shane sikes May 8, 2012 at 12:04 pm

Hi, i am 15, 5’6 and 128 pounds… i currently do p90x and completed my first round acouple days ago, and i didnt get the results i was looking for. i wanted size and abs. i sort of got the abs.. not very well though. i follow when im suppose to eat according to p90x but dont really follow what im suppose to eat to much, however i still eat very good. lean meats and good calories and what not. i was told to “modify” to gain mass but i was wondering what do they mean “modify’? what work outs do i modify? also i take whey protein after every work out. 1 scoop sometimes 2. any suggestions to getting big?


superdave May 9, 2012 at 1:22 pm

Shane, my article above talks about limiting your cardio to make it easier to gain weight. You also need to make sure you are eating enough calories and mastering your reps to see results. If gaining muscle is your goal, you gotta start using the P90X Recovery Drink, protein alone doesn’t work nearly as well!


Nate July 25, 2012 at 4:02 pm

I know this post is about P90X, but is the Body Beast Fuel better than the P90X?


superdave July 27, 2012 at 11:05 am

The Body Beast Fuel Shot is basically a higher carbohydrate version of the P90X Recovery Drink. Body Beast thrashes you much more than P90X, so the demand for proper postworkout nutrition is even greater. I would say many guys will do just fine with the P90X Results and Recovery Formula, but if you have already have a lot of muscle mass, hit the workouts hard, and/or are a hard gainer, then the Fuel would be better.


Eric July 26, 2012 at 7:42 am

Yo Superdave! What do you think of the new Body Beast? Should I stick with your P90X mass gainer schedule or go bulk up with the Beast?


superdave July 26, 2012 at 8:52 am

You could stick with P90X, but the new Body Beast focuses on gaining muscle size and hypertrophy (muscle growth). Everyone is loving it and with your P90X experience, I would definitely jump in on the action. But with a program this demanding, you gotta pay extra attention to nutrition. I would order the BEAST Stack to get everything you need to gain some serious muscle!


Nate July 28, 2012 at 10:43 pm

I started Body Beast a few days ago and I have never been this sore before. These workouts are exactly what I needed.Thanks Coach for recommending this for me.


superdave July 30, 2012 at 9:19 am

lol, I told you that you would love Body Beast and be super sore! You have been doing P90X and P90X2 for so long it was time you BEAST up! Just be sure to stay on track with your calorie goal and your nutrition like we talked about.


Mitch July 29, 2012 at 6:34 pm

I’m in Phase 2 of P90X and can’t gain muscle so I searched the internet and found this. So should I stop all cardio?


superdave August 3, 2012 at 11:01 am

I’m glad you found my site because it sounds like your current coach isn’t helping you at all which sucks. Nobody should be half way thru P90X and not be happy! Stopping cardio depends on your situation so I would need details like your current goals, weight, height, etc. I’ll message you now and help you out.


Sonja August 9, 2012 at 8:37 pm

After a motorcycle accident in 1999 (many broken bones) I gained a lot of weight and became sedentary. My weight has since fluctuated from 140 to 172 (I am just 5ft 2) and it really should be closer to the low teens even with a good bit of muscle mass.
I really need to know if I might be one of you “5′ you mentioned in the recent email you sent out. I was in the Navy and know how to work hard!!!!


superdave August 17, 2012 at 9:57 am

Awesome Sonja! The “5” you are referring to is my Facebook Accountability Challenge Groups that are limited to only 5 people per month. These people get my top priority and I work with them daily on their goals. I’ll message you the details.


Jason September 10, 2012 at 1:57 am

Coach I’m in Phase 3 of P90X using your mass gainer schedule but just ordered the body beast. Can I go straight into the Beast or should I finish the X first? Thanks for everything you do Coach. You are the man!


superdave September 12, 2012 at 2:35 pm

Phase 3 is where you see some really good results from P90X, but I can understand why you would want to jump right into Body Beast. I’ll message you with full details, but basically you can take a week off and start a new program or modify the Beast to reduce the first phase.


Rajesh March 30, 2013 at 3:32 am

At 37 can I still gain muscle using P90X????


superdave March 30, 2013 at 2:56 pm

Of course you can! I’ve had clients in their 50’s do P90X with great results. Sign up for your free membership and lets get started!


jesse July 29, 2013 at 8:45 pm

hi superdave,
I am a 23 year old male and i’m 6’1, 260 pounds. Last year I was 320 pounds but thanks to p90x i lost 60 pounds. I obviously want to lose more, about 50-60 pounds. My problem is that I have plateaued at the 260 mark and occasionally dipping to 254. I want to do P90x again but I’d like to see at least 50 pounds gone. Or I’d be really happy with being 220-230 but with a lot of muscle. I have weights so i have no problem lifting… Do you have any advice? I live by the beach and it sucks not taking my shirt off at the water haha. thank you


superdave July 30, 2013 at 12:09 pm

First off, WOW Jesse! 60 pounds down is amazing! I would love to help as plateaus are a major bummer. I’ll message you and let’s find out what’s going on.


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