I did it! I have had this challenge on my brain since last year, and I kept putting it off.
If you haven't heard of 75 Hard, the basic breakdown is the below:
Do two 45-minute workouts a day, one of which must be outside.
Follow a healthy diet with zero alcohol or cheat days.
Take a progress picture every day.
Drink one gallon of water daily.
Read 10 pages a day of a nonfiction book.
If you fail, you must start over again at Day One
I started January 3rd and quickly realized this was going to be a lot more dedication than I even really had mentally prepared for.
Do two 45-minute workouts a day, one of which must be outside
Initially I went into it thinking I was going to do two intense workouts per day and be just fine. That lasted about a week and then I felt extremely fatigued- to the point of just not even wanting to do it and even dreading it a bit.
This is when self talk really came into play. I sat down and evaluated how I was feeling and WHY. I was pushing myself too far physically. Two workouts in a day didn't mean I had to "kill" myself each time! I could still do a lower impact workout later on or even do an evening walk.
So that's what I did! Sometimes on Sundays I even would do yoga for my first workout and then walking for my secondary to keep it still flowing, but also not too much on my body. I really even began to enjoy my late night workouts. There were a few times my days just got super busy and I was out walking at 10pm at night by myself which isn't ideal but dang, it was really relaxing to enjoy that quiet time!!
Since one of the workouts needs to be outside, there were a couple of times I got caught in the rain, super windy days, and even a couple of swirling thunderstorms where I was under our patio but I still got poured on. It definitely made me try to remember to check the weather on a more regular basis.
I even got myself to go join a brand new gym which was really exciting! I hadn't been back inside a gym in almost a year and it's such a huge difference for me personally on how far I push myself. I am so happy I did though because that time there really drives me to stay focused and I come home feeling totally ready to take on anything. Exercise endorphins are no joke!
Follow A Healthy Diet:
This part was really simple for me because I am already low carb. I eat this way and it's what works best for my body to keep my autoimmune at bay and inflammation at it's lowest. I did "Dairy Free February" with a group of incredible ladies for support. I will say towards the end staying dairy free was really difficult. Sometimes I just needed to make a quick meal (due to not being fully prepared) and most "easy" grab and go things for how I eat involve cheese LOL. But I got thru it!
Take A Progress Picture Everyday
I had to set a separate alarm in the morning for this one! It's not easy to remember to take a random photograph of yourself, and some of them were a little wonky because it was so early. But it was great to have the photos to look back and really see the changes happening! I also highly recommend doing beginning measurements and jotting down your weight at the beginning too. Although I lost 6 pounds the first week, I did end up gaining two back which I do think is muscle because it definitely is noticeable in my photos I didn't gain fat. And knowing all of my inches was helpful too, because I lost 8 inches overall between my thighs and stomach areas.
Drink One Gallon Of Water A Day
I bought a gallon water bottle a few months back, and it really came in handy during this challenge. She has a nickname- Big Bertha haha!
I'll include the photo and link below.
Drinking a whole gallon of water was extremely difficult for me at first. Even though I considered myself a "good" water drinker, a gallon felt so hard to do!! I also struggled with excessive urination in the beginning too- my body was just in a weird spot adjusting to it. I will say after 30 days in the water got easier. After day 45 I really even began to crave it. And now it's no problem at all to drink a gallon of water a day plus MORE! And I'm not having the excessive running to the bathroom issues either. It's really mind-blowing to look at what your body needs and how it adjusts...
Big Bertha linked HERE
Read 10 pages of a non-fiction book
I was really happy about this part of the challenge. One of my personal goals this year was to read more books- like actual books in hand, not listening to audio books. I have so many and it's been a new obsession collecting them based off of so many things happening in the world!
Here are the list of books I read:
Earthing- By Clinton Ober, Stephen Sinatra, & Martin Zucker
Be Here Now- By Ram Dass
Weather Warfare- Jerry E Smith
Leadershift- John Maxwell
The Contagion Myth- Thomas Cowan & Sally Morell
My Takeaways, Tips, and What I'm Doing Now:
I definitely hit some hiccups along the way. In my opinion, it is so essential to have your workouts properly planned around your day. There were some days that just ended up being longer working days and I had also woken up late so my first workout wasn't even done by 12 and that really threw a wrench in my plans. I also struggled figuring out when to eat based on not having properly planned workout times.
So even though some days didn't always work out as planned (when do they ever LOL) here's what worked best for me
Getting up at 5/5:30am and completing my first workout immediately. I made this workout my weights/more body intense workout.
Having my secondary workout planned as a walk or light cardio. I enjoyed if I was able to get this done before 12pm in the day, but if not m second favorite time was going at night after the littles were in bed. It was so peaceful and quiet outside, and it even allowed me some time to catch up on phone calls with friends while I walked outside, which is something I RARELY ever get to do!
I also filled my water bottle immediately at my wakeup time. Having it ready and let's be honest- that bottle is a pretty big eyesore so it was hard to avoid LOL. I carried it with me everywhere. If I went to the gym and brought a smaller water bottle or had lunch/dinner out somewhere I made sure I kept track and I deducted it from my drinking requirements if I felt I needed to. After a period of time though, my body adjusted and the more water the better I feel and function!
During 75 hard I stopped any form of intermittent fasting after about 3 weeks in. My body needed more fuel (clean healthy foods) and restricting that made me feel fatigued. I would eat breakfast pretty much within an hour after completing my regular workout. I didn't like the old feelings of "binge" that started to creep into my brain when I thought "well it's not 11am yet so I CANT eat" I decided that was not working for me during this and I adjusted. I also like to incorporate a small bowl of natural greek yogurt with some berries in the evening! As much as I love to bake, I don't really eat the treats much. So having the yogurt as a treat was nice, plus it's full of protein so it kept me satiated.
Picking the "right" time to read was definetly an on going struggle. I have 3 kids at home during the day with one at preschool. There is no "quiet" time. So at first I saved my reading for the evenings, but I would doze off sometimes and my husband would tap me saying "Hey you're not done reading yet are you?" LOL. Some mid afternoons I got to get in my reading, other times I got it in while I was waiting for grocery pickup from Walmart, sometimes while the girls were doing chalk out front I could bring my book and read while they were occupied. I never really found a "right" time for me to implement the reading, and I'm trying to continue reading so I'll keep you updated if I find a good time slot haha!
What I'm doing now:
Prior to 75 hard yes I had been working out but since about September 2020 my workouts had been pretty minimal. Meaning- I was showing up every day but I wasn't putting in my full potential. I would do the 30 minutes, close out my watch exercise ring and then move on. I also failed to continue properly planning my workouts ahead of time. This program really helped me put that time in check. I am sticking with a full 45-60 minute workout daily.
My current goal is the gym 3 days a week and 3 days home workouts. I also want to incorporate 3 days a week with that secondary workout- but doing it as a walk or something not intense.
Sundays I am going to incorporate more of an "active recovery" day- a walk outside or even a guided yoga on youtube. If I don't get a workout in that day, I'm not going to punish myself. I realized rest is so important during this challenge, something I don't give myself enough of!
Overall, I really did enjoy 75 hard. I kept myself out of situations where I would have felt "pressured" to drink or stumble. I did hang out with friends on multiple occasions who were having drinks, but they were GOOD friends, not anyone who would pressure me or say silly remarks in regards to my decision about what to do with my body.
I think the challenge also helped me put some additional perspective on those who I do engage with- and just appreciating that the ones I have been cultivating relationships with understood my personal decisions and were rooting for me.
So do you think you'll give it a try??