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Back in October 2010 I was looking to mix things up. I was already playing team sports 6 nights a week, and obviously was leading an active lifestyle, but I never felt like I was in shape. Throughout many years of basketball and other activities, the only way I knew how to get back in shape was to run. Unfortunately, after having run several half marathons and a triathlon, I knew that running alone is not a great way to improve overall fitness.

A friend of mine decided to give P90X a try. He was looking to bulk up, while I was definitely looking to lean out. Everything I’d heard about the program said it built muscle mass, was extremely difficult, and was very male-oriented (meaning it was predominately upper body and chest exercises). With nothing to lose but weight and or inches, I chose to follow the Lean Program, and I gave it a shot! (FYI- I never took before photos, otherwise I would post them.)

It worked!

Look at what the program is: it’s a combination of weight, strength, flexibility, and cardio exercises. Combine that with a healthy, protein-rich diet and of course it will show results! The DVDs were about an hour in length, warm up to cool down, with the yoga DVD being an hour and a half. While they did get your heart going, I never felt like death completing the exercises. There were some moves I didn’t have the strength for, but as the weeks passed I definitely was able to see improvement.

All this being said, I never completed the 90 days. For about 5 weeks I was really disciplined in completing the hour-long session 6 days a week. Then it dropped from 6 days to where I was completing 4 a week. It wasn’t that they were too hard, but my schedule was busy and fitting them in became more difficult. I was still seeing results though, so I didn’t fret too much about it. Then a few weeks later I broke my finger playing softball, and my workouts dropped down to 2-3. My finger has since healed, but after that second recovery week I have yet to pick the program back up. 90 days is quite the commitment and I applaud anyone who can keep it going that long as it definitely started to wear on me!

The diet was interesting. While it preached the same things you hear from other diets (mostly lean meats and veggies, fruit, a little dairy and a little carbs), it did have a certain calorie amount you were supposed to hit each day. I quickly realized I was getting nowhere near that number and upped my eating accordingly. Unfortunately, that never worked for me. I constantly felt full and uncomfortable. So after the first phase, I went to a more intuitive approach. While still lean meat and veggie heavy, I didn’t force myself to eat more than my body wanted. I actually think it was a great exercise to learn to listen to what my body was asking for. As soon as I switched, several pounds came off the scale and all around I felt healthier.

Would I recommend it? Absolutely. It was definitely working for me, and for the most part I did enjoy the workouts. I felt in better shape than I have in a long time and have plans to resume a 3x per week plan after the start of the new year. To anyone considering it I would say to be patient with it, as it took 3-4 weeks to really see any tangible results. I would say to follow the diet as much as feels good for your body. And I would say to drink plenty of water. Give it a go and see what happens!

Here are my results through Phase II:

  • Lost 3 pounds from the scale
  • Lost 2 inches in my chest
  • Lost 2.5 inches in my waist
  • Lost 1.5 inches in my abdomen
  • Lost 1 inch in my hips
  • Lost 2 inches in my thighs (total circumference, not in each leg) 


I posted weekly results and how I was feeling at the time throughout my experience with the program.

Phase I

1 down, 89 to go
7 down, 83 to go
14 down, 76 to go
21 down, 69 to go
28 down, 62 to go

Phase II

35 down, 55 to go
44 down, 46 to go
50 down, 40 to go
57 down, 33 to go

Phase III

63 down, 27 to go