Can a Lawyer Do P90X?

Bitter Lawyer is concerned about the health of its readers. Honestly. So as a test study, we semi-randomly picked one of the most out-of-shape Bitter Lawyer writers to give P90X Extreme Home Workout a try. We told him to report back in six months. Here’s what he had to say.

I work at a big firm, so I go through lots of ups and downs when it comes to working out. When work is slow, my gym regimen is pretty consistent—three days a week. When I’m working on a deal around the clock, my gym regimen generally consists of walking an extra two blocks to avoid seeing the gym on the way to the office. My gym is on street-level with plenty of large plate-glass windows facing the street. So I try to avoid walking past it on my “slug days,” as I inevitably see an associate on the treadmill, who gives me an obligatory salute or nod as if to say “hey, not making it today, pal?” I don’t need the guilt.

For those of you who are not in the loop, P90X is the reigning king of home video workout programs. Conversation about working out these days tends to come around to it. Bitter Lawyer sent me the DVD along with the P90X nutrition plan. Both used, I might add, probably remnants of another staffer who tried it and failed. I got them in the mail with the handwritten note “Good luck, Chuck.” I then bought some weights and bars, read through the materials, and made a plan. I also read some testimonials online to get motivated, such as:

Chuck’s goal was to lose weight. After 90 days of the P90X workout and nutrition plan, he dropped 30 pounds, lost 5 inches from his waist, developed great-looking abs, and got into fantastic shape . . . .

I wanted this. And Bitter Lawyer’s editor—a vegetarian who runs marathons in his spare time, or so he thinks— was egging me on. As was a buff twenty-something second-year associate at my firm. I did the math. Twenty-four hours in a day, just one hour a day devoted to P9OX, resulting in dropping 30 pounds and five inches. I could do it. Nothing was going to stop me.

Except a deal. I made it through the first 30 workouts in about 40 days. But then I got caught on a deal that kept me working until ten every night. I worked out about twice in the next month. So I was stuck, and with a dilemma. Do I continue where I left off or do I start the whole thing over? I tried to keep going where I left off, but again after a few solid weeks of working out another deal popped up and got me off track. Now, I can’t keep going, and it’s pretty much too late to start over. So I’m faced with the reality that I’m just not cut out for a regimented workout program like P90X. Basically, I’m admitting to my lack of discipline, at least in the realm of staying in shape. Obviously, everyone at Bitter Lawyer knew I was going fail, and I proved them right. But it was fun while it lasted.

If you are going to do something like P90X, here are some tips I learned from my successful first month of it.

  • Make sure you have the hour completely free. Don’t check emails or try to comment on Facebook. It’s not gonna work.
  • Take a day off if your body is telling you to, but only a day! My feet started to hurt from something called plyometrics, and I ignored that pain until it became an issue. Then I had to take off at least two weeks.
  • Don’t skip the stretching day or yoga day, I was too bored by both of these to commit to them. Mistake.
  • Commit to ninety days of eating right. If the point is to change your body, the 8:00 pm Chinese food in the office is not going to be help. Neither is heavy boozing.
  • Don’t listen to me. I failed.

Who else ends up like Chuck? One deal and the first thing to go is the workout? Bitter Lawyer wants to hear from anyone who has successfully completed P90X. Share you triumphs. Or your failures. While we likely cannot help, we can all be a bit bitter together.


  • P90xSuccess

    I successfully completed the P90x program and continue to use the system today. I’m a litigator and as such oftentimes at the mercy of the Court and opposing counsel when it comes to my schedule. Of course this sometimes leads to workout days being thrown off, delayed, or resulting in odd hour rountines. That said, the cliche that it takes commitment to complete the program is very true. P90x essentially says “work out for about an hour a day, six days a week, and you’ll be in shape.” Do it and it works. I will admit that after completing the first 90 days I tailored the program to my personal physical wants/needs (i.e. bad knee so no plyometrics but run instead). Plan and simple, this program works but only those who are really comitted to it will be sucessful.

  • Jacquie Cattanach

    Good work on your P90X success. I also completed P90X about a year ago and found all those lessons learned to be great advise. I took up P90X when I couldn’t run due to Plantar Fasciitis, but in the end the Plyometrics workout kept me from a speedier recovery from PF. Listen to your body!!

    I still continue with some of the weights and also the ab workout. I love it – it’s a great workout that only takes up 15 minutes of your day.