I completed 75 Hard. Here is what I learned.
What is 75 Hard?
It’s a challenge designed and created by Andy Frisella that is meant to “win the war on yourself” and is geared to be a mental toughness challenge over and above anything else (including any physical changes like weight loss)
*I believe Andy created a kick-ass challenge. I don’t believe in everything he stands for.
75 Hard Rules:
Here is what I stuck with for 75 days.
From October 1 to Dec 14th I did the following every day:
- 2 x 45-minute minimum workouts. 1 of which had to be outside
- Low carb and no sugar diet (zero cheat meals)
- No alcohol
- Read 10 pages minimum of non-fiction books (no audiobooks)
- 1 gallon of water
- Took a progress picture
My friend, Alexis asked me to do it. Honestly, it was that simple. I’m the type of person who rises to a challenge and would regret not doing it.
I had no excuses and I knew I could do it!
Plus I knew I would be pretty jealous and disappointed in myself when Alexis completed it and I wasn’t alongside her.
Alexis also brought up a great point. End 2020 on a high note of accomplishing something great.
Going into it:
The 2 x “workouts”: *I put workouts in quotes because walking and yoga can be included as a workout. It doesn’t have to be a super hardcore activity. I think I’d break if that was the case!
To be clear, I didn’t go into #75Hard from the couch. I had been running and just recently did a 30-day yoga challenge in September.
So I knew going in what it’s like to do two workouts a day and that scared me. It’s a big-time suck doing 2 x 45 min workouts a day and with the darker days and the feeling of wanting to hibernate vs getting enough energy to be motivated, I knew it was going to be hard.
I’ve done keto in the past so I had the right tools to help me cook/make and stick with low carb (I didn’t want to do full keto as I didn’t think it was smart to do with the amount of exercise I would be doing and with how much body fat I had) and no sugar.
The no alcohol:
This was a challenge at first since I work in the alcohol industry and have access to all kinds of tasty beverages! I’ve done a month and a half before but not 75 days. Being in a pandemic has its stressors which would be great for indulging in an alcoholic beverage but events and social gatherings aren’t happening either!
Luckily my partner isn’t a big drinker and I find the further along you go the less likely you are to feel a need to drink. It’s like a video game and every day you’re at a new level and having a drink (or sugar) isn’t worth going back to the start!
The read 10 pages:
I’ve never been a big reader and when I do it is at night in bed which puts me to sleep. I knew I had to set my mind to this task in order to get it done daily. It was helpful having lots of great books on the shelf that I’d been meaning to read for years.
The 1 gallon of water (3.78L):
This was easy for me since I drink a lot of water to start and usually have easily over 4L per day without thinking about it.
The take a progress picture:
I was pretty paranoid of slipping up on this as it’s something I didn’t really care about and it can be easily missed.
Not feeling motivated to do my early morning run. Especially in bad weather
Dark cold early Monday mornings
Rain, snow and wind making it a miserable walk!
The struggle is real even with a few days left
Finish line in sight with final workout!
How my day worked and my ultimate routine:
- 5:30 am wake up. I started with waking up at 6:45 am and worked my way to getting up at 5:30 am every day.
- Drank water when I first woke up. I did 2 litres before work. Especially since I was on the road driving and I didn’t want to be finding somewhere to pee all the time!
- Read 10 pages with my coffee first thing. Originally I read at night and it wasn’t working. I hated having to read and do a workout after my workday.
- An outdoor workout (run or walk usually with stairs) before work (but after my reading). I stuck with the morning outdoor workout pattern the entire time and am very thankful for that! I can’t imagine having two workouts to do after work or at night!
- Worked 9 am-6 pm-ish
- Found it best to do my second workout right after work to get it over with and while I still had energy but that wasn’t always possible.
- Took my progress photo after my shower every day (showered after my most intense workout of the day)
- In my last 25 days I stepped it up and decided to only do yoga on my running days (I was in the middle of a Garmin running plan. My watch breaks it down which is another great accountability partner to have!) and on my walking days, I did strength building.
What I learned from #75Hard?
- Get into a routine from the start! Find the best plan for you and if it’s not working change it.
- Get the things you find the most challenging over with first! Everyone finds different aspects more challenging. My friend Alexis always had a hard time getting the water in but that’s something I was fine with since I drink a lot a day to start. Get a gallon water bottle if you find the water hard. Then you know how much you’ve had. It’s also helpful trying to drink at least a litre or two in the morning!
- Get 1 workout done first thing. You don’t want the feeling of them both hanging over you at the end of the day after work.
- If you aren’t a morning person, set your alarm 15 mins earlier each time, working your way to an earlier wake-up time.
- Find some way to be accountable to others. Announce that you’re doing it on social media or tell your friends.
- Don’t forget to take the picture! I created a folder on my phone and double-checked I took my photo every night. I also found it helpful habit stacking the photo. Meaning taking the photo with another habit. Mine was after I showered.
- You will change physically but that’s not what it’s about. This is important to keep that in mind. I lost weight and toned up a bit but not to the extent that I thought I would. I felt disappointed. Especially when you hear or see other people’s changes when they are doing it. This is a great reminder that everyone is different and comparison is not healthy!
- It’s still nice to measure physical changes. Measure yourself at the start for a better understanding of how your body changes. The scale isn’t the best tool since your water weight fluctuates and fat weights differently than muscle.
- If you have a smartwatch, take time to capture the metrics. My stats below are mind-blowing to me. I spent almost 6 days on my workouts!
- The days start to get a little confusing and it was helpful starting on the first of the month. I also printed off a sheet to check off each item everyday. Alexis downloaded and paid for the app which oddly did not keep track of the days properly.
- You feel accomplished every day.
- You will do a lot more laundry.
- It was amazing getting outside for fresh air; even in the crappy weather. When it was bad weather no one was out which is a big bonus in the middle of a pandemic.
- Finally finished unread books on my bookshelf.
- I got a better sleep but I also made sure I was done drinking water well before bed!
- There are really tough days where you need to dig deep – stress, weather, mental fatigue, tiredness, etc. I took videos of myself at really challenging times. There was one walk where I was not in a great place and I cried almost the entire time but you look back on it and know that if you were that low/exhausted/taxed whatever then you can do whatever else is in front of you!
- By the end of it you’re tired and a rest day is needed! Mentally taking a rest day after 75 days is hard but physically my body needed it!
- You’ll kick start new habits and goals but it’s difficult changing gears after the same 75 day routine!
- Looking back I think I could have gone harder on the workouts by doing more strength but it’s always easier looking back than when you’re in it! And when you’re in it you just can’t do every workout at 100%
- Starting from scratch would be difficult. I can’t speak to this as I was already in decent physical shape and already had a routine of running and yoga, just not as intense as 75 Hard.
- You get out of it what you put in but take time to be kind to yourself!
- Anyone can do it!
Before and After Shots:
I thought hard about including these or not as it’s not about the physical changes and everyone has different bodies and so on, but I thought it was important to show the realistic expectation to what you may think the physical changes will be. Plus illustrate that I’m not some magical fitness unicorn; it really was all about the mental grit!
Before doing 75 Hard I saw a lot of Day 1 to Day 75 comparison shots that showed great physical results thus giving me false expectations. Yes, it’s not about that but you need to remind yourself of this since you are putting overall effort into your health and who wouldn’t want some awesome physical results?
You can tell I slimmed a little and have a bit more tone to my muscles but I didn’t see any mind-blowing results!
- Yes, it wasn’t so bad and I completed the next part, Phase 1 in February 2021.
- Make your own challenge up and stick with it long-term! Find a blend of #75Hard and a routine that works for you consistently. Versus going in hard and not being able to maintain it as a healthy ongoing lifestyle after 75 days. #75Hard takes a lot of your time!
- Simple journaling would have been interesting to look back on.
- Doing more strength training. This wasn’t in my routine going into it so it was harder to add-in. It was useful pairing X type of workout with Y type of workout. For example, yoga on days I would run and strength building on walking days.
- Less expectation on what the outcome will bring.
- Finding the best diet for my workout goals/routines. I think I ate too low of carbs or not enough food with the volume of physical activity as I lost my period for two months and am working with a dietician to get it back.