Chances are if you spend much time on social media you've been hearing the buzz about the whole "75 Hard Challenge". In a nutshell, the 75 Hard challenge consists of 5 simple, yet not easy, rules.
- Drink a Gallon of water a day
- Follow a diet (of your choice) - ABSOLUTELY NO ALCOHOL
- Two 45 minute workouts a day- one MUST be outside
- Progress pic
- Read 10 pages of self-development (non-fiction book)
You MUST complete all these tasks EVERY SINGLE DAY or you must start from day one. NO ifs ands or buts about it! Andy Frisella, the creator of 75 Hard makes it VERY clear you cannot make an excuse on any of these. Sound intense? Yes, because it is.
Initially, when I started hearing rumblings of the challenge I thought the same thing as many of you are thinking right now- "I could do it if I wanted to, but where is the moderation?" Valid point. No way would I give up chocolate and wine for 75 days, I mean we only live once, but for some reason, I kept coming back to the challenge.
The past 9 months I have been on an endeavor to transform my mind. Through faith, business, community I have been working to cultivate the life I have always wanted. Yet, every Monday I would feel a little discouraged from the weekend before that alcohol still had a grip on my life. I knew over-indulging every week was still holding me back from a spiritual life I desired.
While sipping on pina coladas on the beach in Mexico, my sister-in-law and I briefly discussed 75 Hard Challenge. Contemplating taking on the challenge, we both decided we were not ready to commit 75 days without pina coladas or margaritas. As I returned from the trip I started researching it again. One moment telling myself I was going to start, 5 minutes later saying I just need to live in moderation. Instead of starting it on a whim and failing once again I decided to pray about it. I felt convicted about drinking too much every single week and I asked God to open my eyes in this area.
A week later my sister-in-law texted me "Would you want to do 75 Hard?". That was my sign.
We began on the coldest week of the year. This is important to note because my first week of outdoor "workouts" consisted of walks in windchill of -17 degrees. WHAT A BLAST!
I think enduring these rough days trudging in the snow helped to motivate me on days I did not want to keep going. I pushed myself through that. It had to be for something!
DRINK A GALLON OF WATER A DAY
I have to say I slightly disagree with this rule. SURE...128oz might be good for a 200+ pound man, but is that the right amount for a woman? I'll be the first to admit how incredibly important water is to your overall health and metabolism. Before the challenge I probably drank around 90oz a day. Adding in the extra 30 ounces of water definitely took its toll on me for a period of time. There were several days that I would finish drinking my water and then suddenly my mouth would become completely dry like I was very dehydrated. I also had other symptoms of an electrolyte imbalance. I started adding in electrolytes which definitely helped relieve me of these symptoms.
Also, for the first month I was RIDICULOUSLY bloated with terrible stomach pains from drinking so much water. Eventually it leveled out. All in all, water is VITAL to health, but listening to your body is not a bad thing either.
FOLLOW A DIET OF YOUR CHOICE
One thing I do like about this particular rule is that it is not a specific diet, but instead it is your choice. I am huge believer that there is no specific foods or eating plans that work for everyone. Every body is so unique and different, it is our responsibility to figure out what foods fuel us to optimal levels.
I've done keto, paleo, Whole30, grain free, dairy free, you name it! I knew I wanted to do something sustainable that would help me make better choices. I chose a "gluten-free" diet. I completely understand gluten-free does not mean "healthy", but it did keep me from going for the cookies and sweet treats at the numerous events I attended. I also chose not to have added sugar- so no chocolate for 75 days. I am still shocked I completed that one!
COMPLETE TWO 45 MINUTE WORKOUTS- ONE MUST BE OUTDOORS
Now this is probably the most challenging part. Coming from an avid worker-outer, the workouts were not the hard part for me, the time management was the HARD part. Walking in the snow and rain was the HARD part.
While there were days I had obligations from 7am to 10pm, I would drag my butt out of bed at 4am and get my workouts done. One of the rules is that there must be 2-3 hours in between workouts. In my opinion, that is the most arbitrary ridiculous rule of the whole challenge. I understand they must be two SEPARATE workouts, but if I am getting my butt out of bed at 4am to get them both done then please tell me how that isn't discipline?
I have to admit that I am in a very flexible time in my life and my ability to complete these workouts is much easier than it is for other people. I work from home, make my own schedule and do not have children yet. BUT, my sister-in-law has 3 young children and a full time job and completed because she made it a priority, more on that later!
Simple, take a mirror pic every morning before getting dressed. This is just for your own benefit of seeing progress. I found it annoying that my phone was full of ugly mirror pics of me half awake, but I will say there were a few days I felt discouraged- I would look back and realize how much progress I made!
READ 10 PAGES OF A SELF-DEVELOPMENT BOOK
I loved this part of the challenge. I had been devoting time to reading before the challenge, but this just made me more consistent.
I completed several books including- "Atomic Habits" by James Clear, "It's Not Supposed to Be This Way" by Lysa TurKeurst "In the Presence of my Enemies" by Gracia Burnham and "Shoe Dog" by Phil Knight.
I began the challenge as a mental and spiritual challenge more than a physical one so this task really helped me take the time I needed to do this.
I believe life should be enjoyed, but I also know that stepping out of your comfort zone, practicing discipline and pushing your limits is where the biggest growth happens. I do not want to go through life feeling like every year that passes I am the same as I was the year before. The biggest regret I could ever have is never persisting to change for the better.
I thrive from challenge. I am learning how to channel that never-ending need to be challenged into productive ways such as business, workouts and things like 75 hard. I believe so many people thrive from challenges too, but instead of using it for their benefit we tend to get stuck in the chaotic cycles of life that leave us exactly where we were before.
If 75 hard is something you want to commit to then do it full-heartedly, there are NO shortcuts or excuses. Many people say they do not have time. As I mentioned earlier, I watched Rachel complete the challenge while taking care of 3 young children, working full time, getting her masters degree, and coaching volleyball. You think you don't have time? Last time I checked, you had the same 24 hours in a day that she has. The difference is she utilized time management and prioritized. This meant some days she did not check social media or watch Netflix. Imagine that.
I do not mean to come of uncompassionate to the roadblocks life brings, but health is important. Stop making excuses or cutting corners. Do what's best for you in this season of your life for both your mental and physical health. This looks different for everyone! What is important is that you show up for yourself, not tomorrow, not starting on Monday. RIGHT NOW.