Updated: Dec 27, 2020
75Hard is not for everybody, but I believe that anybody can do it! It is a challenge that comprises of simple tasks that must be completed exactly as is, every single day, for 75 days straight. IT. IS. HARD. But I did it. I did it during a pandemic. I did it while I stayed home with two very small children. I did it while running a business and an Airbnb. And I did it while I continued to support other parents on their sleep training journey. And to be honest, I will probably do it again!
They say that it takes 21 days to create a habit. I have tested this theory and 21 days isn't enough for me personally. It takes time, repetition, intention and focused energy to truly change/create a habit. My goal starting this program was to create a positive lifestyle change, and to FINISH something I set out to do. In the past, I have given up on goals that I thought were going to be interesting to me, but they always fell short, and so did I. I wanted to prove to myself that I could keep a promise to me. I wanted to follow through on something that would truly make me a better person. I wanted to be a better person.
I would be lying if I said that weight loss wasn’t also a WHY for me. Over the last 3 years I have been pregnant twice. My body has gained and lost and gained and lost. At my lowest, I was a very unhealthy 136lbs and struggling with depression. My heaviest was when I was 39 weeks pregnant with my second baby, I was 215lbs. It’s been hard on me, harder than I’d like to admit. I want to be clear that my goal was never to "get my pre-baby body back." I simply wanted to feel like myself again, and recognize myself when I looked in the mirror. So, I was definitely interested to see what how my body would evolve throughout this program and what it was capable of. It did not disappoint me.
Drink 1 Gallon of Water
This was hard for me because I don’t drink nearly enough water. I think I am perpetually dehydrated. I was glad it was part of the program because it would force me create a habit of drinking more water. I am confident that it has instilled a habit for me now, but it was difficult for a while. I really had to be mindful of drinking throughout the day. Too often I would forget and then end up having to drink half a gallon of water right before bed, which of course lead to getting up multiple times at night. It also probably goes without saying that I peed 1000 times a day, which got a bit inconvenient at times! I literally had to time my outdoor workouts around my peeing schedule!
I definitely noticed some amazing benefits of drinking so much water. Within a couple of weeks my skin looked better. And since I was working out so much, my body really needed the extra hydration. Surprisingly, I still felt dehydrated some mornings.
Also, more water equals more weight loss. (aka the mantra I said to myself as I forced myself to keep chugging).
Take a Progress Picture
I worked this task into my morning routine, so it was the easiest of all the tasks for me to complete. It became a habit fairly quickly, probably because I enjoyed looking back on the progression. It’s truly a remarkable evolution to see and it became a great motivator for me on the days where I needed it. There were a lot of those days! If you start a fitness or weight loss journey, I highly recommend taking a “before” photo to show your progression. I would actually add taking measurements too, I wish I knew how many inches I lost. The scale isn’t always the best indicator of change.
Read 10 Pages of Non-fiction
I already read quite a bit, but I usually read thrillers and then throw in some personal development every now and then. I was craving a change in my mindset and books are a great place to find knowledge and guidance. Since having started my Sleep Consulting business, my focus has been on growth and improvement. So, this was a clear opportunity to learn and I was excited about it.
I read 8 books in the 75 days. There were some days where I only read the required 10 pages, usually because of lack of time, or disinterest in the particular book or chapter. Most days, I read much more than 10 pages which is how I managed to read so many books! Here are the books I read, in order or my most favorite to my least:
1. The Compound Effect (Fantastic book about how small efforts and actions can make a big impact over time)
2. 5 Love Languages (this was my third time reading this book, but my first time since having kids. I think everyone should read it)
3. Grit (Grit is basically the goal of 75Hard and this book was incredibly interesting)
4. The Year of Yes (funny, well written and motivating)
5. The Montessori Toddler (very helpful if you have a toddler!)
6. You Are a Badass (not my favourite, I wouldn’t recommend tbh)
7. 75Hard (I suggest reading this before doing the program. Not because it is a great book (I found several typos), but because it explains the program. If you are not going to do the program, I wouldn't read it)
8. 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (too dry for my liking, I read 10 pages at a time and struggled to finish!)
I also listened to 45 minutes of podcasts every day, while I did my outdoor workout. I stuck to personal development podcasts and I loved it. I thought I would miss music, since it keeps your rhythm for running, but I didn’t miss it at all. The podcasts kept me interested and motivated, because of the nature of the conversations. I started to feel like music was a waste of time. I had 45 minutes to myself where I was pushing myself physically, I wanted to push myself mentally too.
Follow A Diet
I started doing a Keto Diet for the first 10 days. Then I switched to carb cycling, which meant I would do one day with little-to-no carbs, then a medium carb day, then a high carb day. The high carb day would be on a day where I trained more intensely or did a farther run. I carb cycled for about a month or so and then I decided that I was making it more complicated than it needed to be. I stopped tracking everything to such an extreme and just focused on clean eating. Once I made that change, it started to feel more natural and sustainable.
I also choose to do intermittent fasting on weekdays. I followed a 16/8 fasting schedule, which means I fasted for 16 hours, and only ate during an 8 hour window. I feel really good when I fast and I have been doing it for a long time, not just during 75Hard.
I feel so much better eating strictly “real” food and cutting out the processed crap. I eat pretty healthy normally, but I tend to overindulge on the weekends. I would work hard over the week and then throw it all away when the weekend hit. I will definitely be more mindful about what goes in my body going forward.
No Cheat Meals or Alcohol
Okay so like I just mentioned, this one became difficult on the weekends. I love my wine! I feel so much better and clear headed when I cut alcohol though. I have more energy and a more positive mindset (which is really from ALL of the tasks). I also know that the liquid calories, and the empty calories from crappy foods and treats, that I was consuming was holding me back from seeing physical progress.
I have to admit though, it was tough not eating Halloween candy or having stuffing at Thanksgiving dinner! Other than those few holidays, it was really a lot easier than I thought it was going to be. It helped that my husband decide not to drink either (solidarity!).
Complete Two Workouts, One MUST Be Outdoors
This was no joke. 150 work outs in 75 days. I live in Calgary Alberta, it is damn cold this time of year! I got fairly lucky, this winter has been a little more tame than usual, but it was still a challenge some days. There were several days I had to run in snowstorms, rain, heaps of snow and lots of ice. The coldest run I did was in -26 degree Celsius. You know what though, there is something special about pushing yourself in extreme environments, and being the only one brave enough to do so. I honestly started to crave the less ideal weather because I felt so proud of myself when I was done.
For my indoor workouts, I did at home workout videos from Beachbody (in no way affiliated!). When I started 75Hard, I was already part way through a boxing program called “10 Rounds," so I completed that. Then I completed a program called Lift4, which is an 8-week weightlifting program that I completed in 5.5 weeks (I didn’t take the rest days.) Lastly, I completed a program called “21 Day Fix Extreme.” I typically did the indoor workouts in the morning, after I fed my girls breakfast.
For my outdoor workout, I ran, 49/75 days. On weekdays, I would run in the dark, after we put the girls to bed. On weekends, I would go while the girls napped and the sun was still out! In 75 days, I ran 325 kms (WOAH!), averaging 6.6kms per run. I felt my cardio and my body get immensely stronger. My first 7km run took my 51 mins, my last 7km run took me 39 mins. Talk about PROGRESS!
At the completion of my 75Hard, I lost 19.2bs. I finally feel like myself again, after so many years. Most importantly though, I am so happy with how my mindset has shifted. I have never felt this proud, confident and unstoppable, in my entire life. My perseverance and determination to finish this incredible challenge has far exceeded my expectations of myself. I have grown so mentally tough over the last 75 days, and I wouldn't change that experience for anything.
*For reference, I am just under 5'11.
This information is coming from a smart scale, not from a professional assessment.*
What did I learn?
🐑 I learned that there is so much value in doing things that you don’t want to do. You may even learn to enjoy them!
🐑 The self-discipline it takes to get off the couch and keep a promise to yourself, is invaluable. I look back on the times I was sick, tired, sore, and I still did it. That is the kind of perseverance that makes you stronger and builds confidence.
🐑 Everyone has the same 24 hours in a day. Lack of time is not an excuse. If something is important to you, you will make the time! There are always things to keep you busy and stress you out, but it’s up to you to prioritize what is important. Your health and wellbeing should be at the top of the list. If it means you wake up at 5am, or run at night (like me), then that’s what you do. Decide what is important, believe in yourself and DO THE DAMN THING!
🐑 I am in control. I decide what goes into my body. I choose whether or not I get up and move. I can say no when something isn’t best for me, and I can yes to the things I am afraid of.
While I didn’t have anyone doing the program with me, I was very lucky to have people in my life that were like my accountability partners. My good friend, Lerae, was working through the same fitness videos and dropping off Keto meals at my doorstep. We walked together several times on my rest days and talked every day about our successes and challenges. My partner Matt was also a huge support and motivator for me. He helped me stay on track with my diet, gave me daily affirmations and motivation (sometimes even the boot out the door when I needed it), and helped with the girls so I could have the time I needed to complete my tasks. I could not have done it without the support of those around me. If you can, find someone to be your accountability partner!
Is 75Hard for Everyone?
The short answer is YES! I believe that anyone can do this program, as long as you are prepared to commit. The tasks need to be non-negotiable. If you are, or you want to become, the type of person that always strives to be the best version of yourself, then this is the program for you. Be prepared to make sacrifices and push yourself more than you ever have, both physically and mentally. You will not regret it.
I feel obligated to tell you that it is recommended that you speak with your doctor first. I also highly suggest you read the 75Hard book and listen to Andy Frisella’s podcast about the program. Not only does he explain how the program came to be, how to approach and succeed at the challenge, he also talks about the WHY. It’s hard to do anything without knowing WHY, and having your own personal purpose attached.
What do you think? Are you up for the challenge?