Rss Feed
Tweeter button
Facebook button

Gaining Mass With P90X

Lately on my YouTube channel I have had many people ask me if they can gain mass with P90X. The majority of the people who start this program are looking to tone up and lose weight, but then there are others who are skinny and want to gain mass. Either way, they all have a fitness goal in mind, and reaching those goals are very possible with P90X. It’s frustrating when others get on my YouTube videos and leave comments saying that my advice on how to gain mass is wrong when I’m trying to help someone. I have done a ton of research on gaining mass, and have done it myself with P90X, so instead of opening their mouths, they need to do their own research before they leave comments. I never retaliate because that’s not who I am, but always block them and delete their comments. Believe it or not, I know what I’m talking about! One repeated comment I get is that diet has nothing to do with gaining mass. This is SO FAR from the truth! The other common one is that I do steroids, which is absolutely ridiculous. Anyone who knows me and the hard work I have put in to getting into great shape knows that this is completely false. So, I have decided to list the key factors in gaining mass with P90X.

(1) First I have to start with diet. If you want to gain mass, you have to eat more and take in more carbs. Now, listen carefully. I’m not saying an increase in cals and carbs alone will get you bigger and stronger. In in order to gain mass, you have to work the muscles harder by doing more reps/weights. Carbs fuel your muscles when working out, and when you have more energy, of course you’re going to get in better workouts, which leads to mass gain. An increase in (complex) carbs throughout the day also helps the body stay away from targeting muscle for energy. For example, in the morning when you wake up, you haven’t had anything to eat for a good 7-9 hours, and immediately you will need to put both carbs and protein in your system. If not, your body targets either fat or muscle, but if you have a low body fat % (which most of you do if you’re looking to just gain mass) then of course muscle is the next target. The key here is to always eat a complete, healthy balanced breakfast! To gain mass during my 2nd round of P90X, I took in a little over 3,000 cals and stuck with a fat/carbs/protein % of 20/50/30. Remember, though, I’m just 5’7″, and if you’re taller, then you are more than likely going to need to take in more cals.

(2) Take in the proper supplements. Protein helps repair muscles, so it’s important that you take in a lot of protein throughout the day. A good way to do this is with protein shakes. Whey protein is the single most important supplement that you can purchase, and I believe it’s essential if you’re looking to gain mass! Take 2-3 protein shakes per day: once in the morning, once right after your workout, and once before bed. However, the one before bed should not be whey protein, but instead casein protein. Casein is digested slower than whey, and is good to aid with protein sysnthesis when you sleep. The Recovery Formula is another excellent supplement that should be taken post-workout. I just did a post on the Recovery Formula, so I’m not going to go into detail on this. Check out my P90X Recovery Drink Review. Last, a good pre-workout supplement like Jacked or creatine (or both), will help with energy, pumps, muscle fatigue, and recovery, which all help you gain mass.

(3) Do lower reps using heavier weights. 12-15 reps are used to tone and 8-10 are used for for gaining mass. It’s important that you make sure it’s near impossible to get that last rep!

(4) Don’t give up too early. This is something that way too many people do! Like I mentioned, that last rep should be close to impossible to get. You have to have the ability to push beyond your comfort zone, and once you’re able to figure out how to do that, watch out because you just took your fitness to the next level. For example, when doing push-ups, if I feel that I can only get one more rep, instead of giving up after one more, I always push myself to get 3-5 more. You can’t believe how mental lifting is!

(5) Add in extra lifting and cut back on the cardio. If your main goal is to gain mass, then it would be OK to substitute one of the P90X cardio workouts with a heavy resistance training. Too much cardio hinders your muscle development, so one cardio workout per week should be fine. P90X is designed to help people lose weight/body fat, but can be modified to gain mass. The one thing about the P90X resistance workouts that I love is the variation and uniqueness of the exercises. Because the exercises are very different, it challenges you and helps you develop muscles that you normally can’t with regular workouts at the gym. It helps you get beyond any plateau that you have experienced! However, you need to add in some heavy resistance workouts as well to gain mass. Like I mentioned above, heavy weights/lower reps is key to gaining mass. If you add in a heavy chest workout routine with exercises like bench press and dumbbell flys, you will gain mass in your chest. Add in 1-2 days of heavy resistance training. I have been doing this recently and have noticed great gains.

This is a VERY vague description on how to gain mass with p90x, and I could literally write a whole report on this subject, but I needed to keep this post short and sweet. However, this will get you started in the right direction! Now you know that it’s possible to go about gaining mass with P90X! I gained 15 lbs of muscle without gaining body fat!

Click here to learn more about P90X!


  1. Josh /

    Creatine will help you gain mass if that’s your main goal. You might have some water weight gain associated with it though. Also, in order to gain mass you have to increase the cals and carbs, and take in the proper pre and post workout supplements and nutrition as well. Also, have you made me your coach? If not, click on this link to do so:

  2. Josh /

    I don’t recommend creatine until your main goal is to gain mass. Since you still have some body fat to lose, stay away from creatine for now.

  3. Jack /

    Hi Josh,
    I’m a very skinny 16 year old, and I just started p90x a week ago. I’m not very weak, just very skinny and looking to gain weight. After reading some of the comments, I’ve decided that I want to substitute kenpo with a weight exercise. What exercises should i replace it with during which weeks? Also, for the recovery week, since I’m looking to gain weight should I still do the entire planned recovery week or maybe put a lifting exercise in there?

  4. Alec /

    I am 15 years old and have a BF% of about 8%, and want to gain some definition and muscle mass, what should I do?

    Also, do I really need to take all of the supplements on recovery weeks? (week 4 and 8)

    Thanks, Alec. You inspired me to get started when you answer these few questions.

  5. Alec /

    Sorry, I meant 8 where that smiley face is, lol.

  6. Josh /

    @Alec. Just follow the program how it’s set up man, including the Nutrition Guide. Also, I always take my supplements on the Recovery Weeks.

  7. Josh /

    @Jack. There are some posts on this site in the “Workouts” section about some additional chest exercises that you can do. Also, Recovery Weeks are very important, so make sure you complete them.

  8. Travis /

    do u take creatine, whey, and glutamine on ur rest day?

  9. @Travis. No, I don’t take creatine or glutamine on my rest day. I have actually stopped taking glutamine for some time now.

  10. Travis /

    O ok. Do u still take the whey though?


  11. @Travis. Yeah, I blend it with either Shakeology or take it an hour after the Recovery Formula.

  12. Jason /

    Whats up Josh,

    Very incitefull website; Personally, I am looking to ADD size and muscle while keeping my stomach flat and having a six pack. I currently am 6’4 193, slim, with a minor fat layer on my stomach… ideally, I would like to be about 210, solid with low body fat….(I know that will be hard)

    What would be your best recommendation for me to reach my specific goal?

    Thanks in advance for the help, keep up the good work!*

  13. @Jason. Hey man! OK, it’s very tough to lose body fat and gain mass at the same time because it involves two separate diets. What I did was focus on the fat loss first and then on gaining mass. You can do so by following the Nutrition Guide how it’s set up at first. Once you lose the fat, then you can begin to make some adjustments to put on some size.

    Also, am I your coach? If not, you can make me your coach by going to this link:

  14. Travis /

    and what do u take your recovery formula with? and how much?


  15. @Travis. I just blend it with water and ice.

  16. Travis /

    and how much water u use with how many scoops usually? and i heard u tried milk with it before?

  17. @Travis. I don’t even know man. I just fill up my glass.

  18. Travis /

    ok, and how much glutamine did u use to take?


  19. @Travis. I used to take 5g of glutamine per day. 2.5g with each of my protein shakes.

  20. Travis /

    ok thanks. and how come u dont take it anymore?

  21. @Travis. I ran out and haven’t bought anymore.

  22. Travis /

    ahh ok, gotch yeah. and do u usually shake or stir ur creatine?

  23. @Travis. I usually stir it.

  24. Travis /

    and what do u do about the creatine that gets left at the bottom of the glass?

  25. @Travis. I just put in more water and drink it.

  26. Travis /

    ok thanks. ill start doing that then cause i dont wanna waste it and i didnt know what to do. and do u shake or stir ur pre-workout?

  27. @Travis. I stir it.

  28. Hey Josh,

    Big fan here. I currently started P90X and im real skinny but with a little bit of belly fat. Im looking forward to removing it but since Im skinny and want to gain mass I dont know if I should cut out the carbs.

    Im currently drinking ON’s Serious Mass protein shake twice a day (once on cardio days) – replaced Legs & Back with Back & Biceps (I have good legs and Pylo seems enough) and Kenpo with Chest, Shoulders & Arms.

    What do you think?

  29. @John. If you’re looking to only gain mass, then its’ important that you eat carbs. If you have no body fat to lose, move to Phase 3 Level 3 in the Nutrition Guide. Keep getting those calories into you!

    Also, have you made me your coach yet? If not, here’s the link to do so:

  30. Thank you coach.

    Also, Im currently doing the following:

    3-Shoulders & Arms
    5-Back & Biceps
    6-Chest, Shoulders & Triceps

    So between Shoulders & Arms and Back & Biceps I only have 48 hours rest for the biceps. Is that OK? Ive been thinking on taking Creatine for faster muscle recovery…

  31. @John. 48 hours rest is the proper amount of time. For muscle recovery, look into the P90X Recovery Drink, which is what I use.

  32. David /

    What exercises do you do when you do heavy resistants training. I’m trying to gain around 15lbs. of muscle in my next round of p90x and I wanted to replace kenpoX with some sort of heavy lifting.

  33. Josh /

    @David. I do a number of different things like barbell press, dumbbell press, dumbbell flys, decline press, incline press, incline flys, tricep extensions with the bar, etc.

  34. Hey Josh. I was wondering, how many sets should you do per week of each muscle group? I am trying to make a mass gaining hybrid with P90x and the One on Ones and I don’t want to overtrain.


  35. @Rick. I only work each muscle group twice a week.

  36. Okay, thanks.

  37. Matt /

    What BF% would you recommend to drop to before trying to gain mass?

  38. Josh /

    @Matt. Probably around 7-8%.

  39. Ryan /

    Josh, amazing results, your an inspiration. Was wondering, on the bulking phase you did, what workouts in p90x did you not do? And what types of workouts did you replace them with? Chest, arms etc.?

  40. Josh /

    @Ryan. I didn’t do Kenpo and Plyo and replaced them with heavy resistance training. I just made sure I wasn’t working the same muscle group 2 days in a row! Also, have you made me your coach yet? If not, make sure you do, and here’s the link!

Leave a Reply