Every year seems to see its fair share of diet crazes, and for the most part, these crazes are not sustainable and do not contribute to long-term success for your health. Whether you want to work with your body towards a healthy weight, buckle down on your career, or just be more consistent with your schedule and personal goals, it can be hard to find guidance that will lead you to develop habits to ensure success on your journey. This is why the 75 Hard Challenge works.
The 75 Hard Challenge is not a diet. It’s not a fad, a craze, a subscription, or even a weight loss program. 75 Hard is a mental toughness challenge created by Andy Frisella that is geared toward helping people fortify their discipline and mental toughness. It’s not a long-term lifestyle choice, this is a tool. This tool, when used properly, can change you forever and can always be revisited if you ever find yourself off-course again in life.
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The key to success with this program is DOING IT. You must follow the program with ZERO compromises. My experience with this challenge showed me that compromise always landed me 2 steps back after taking one step forward. That’s why this particular challenge allows no compromise. It’s incredible to see what you can do when you give something your all.
There are 5 simple rules to this challenge.
- Stick to a diet. No cheat meals, no cheat days, and zero alcohol.
- Work out twice a day for 45 minutes. One of these must be outside.
- Drink a gallon of water every day.
- Read 10 pages of a non-fiction/entrepreneur book every day.
- Take a progress picture every day.
While the rules are simple, overcoming your own obstacles to achieve them is anything but. However, in this gritty challenge, you’ll come face to face with your strength and be able to achieve the discipline you’ve always wanted.
Why I Decided To Complete The 75 Hard Challenge
It’s important to note that I did not decide to try the 75 Hard challenge. I decided to complete it. It’s not hard to lose weight. It’s not hard to eat clean, to stop drinking, or to stop unhealthy habits. There are plenty of resources, free or low-cost, that will help you do that. The hardest part is making the decision to do it-not to try, not to just see what happens, but to really and truly achieve it. Your decision fuels your progress.
Like many people, the pandemic-induced social distancing saw a decrease in our household income and an increase in our grocery bills, including unhealthy “comfort foods” and alcohol. We saw funny memes about the “Quarantine 15”, but when we saw the scale reflect these poor choices, we weren’t laughing. My husband and I had developed an unhealthy lifestyle that seeped into our marriage, and our children were watching. When we realized this, we knew that we had to do something, and whatever we did had to have a lasting effect on us.
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My brother was several weeks into the 75 Hard challenge and sent me almost daily updates on his struggles and victories. With 5 simple rules to the challenge, he was feeling healthy, strong, and capable. He had something to work toward every single day, and by the end of the day he had achieved something. This challenge seemed like just the thing we needed. It was swift, deliberate, and delivered the mental and physical results we craved. So, on June 8, 2020, my husband and I decided to go for it, and we embarked on the 75 Hard challenge that would shape our minds, bodies, and most importantly, our relationship.
What Changed For Us During 75 Hard
Anything worth having takes work, and while we wanted a stronger marriage, a better handle on our budget, and healthier bodies, what we longed for the most was setting a good example for our young children. We want to be better parents for our children. Our children have always been our “why”, but now, that “why” had a road map.
To succeed at anything, your motivation has to be at your core, because on your hardest days, your “why” needs to motivate you to get it done.
The major benefit of this challenge was that our children began to engage with us during these tasks. They would see us reading and exercising and begin to encourage us on these tasks. We would take long walks, bike rides, and even do yoga together. Our activities became our own and each of us participated on this journey.
Our meal planning became easier and our food budget decreased by 15%. We decided to track our macros using a free app on our phones, so we knew immediately what we could and could not eat. By doing this challenge with my husband, it was easy to stay accountable. If I had not had an accountability partner, I would not have made it half way through this challenge.
We became physically stronger and more fit. Our first workout included holding a plank. During the first 15 seconds of holding this plank, I became shaky, sad, and discouraged. How would I ever be able to do this for 75 days straight? On the last day of 75 Hard, I held a plank for 2 minutes. My husband became a faster runner, I became more flexible than I was even as a teenager, and both of us lost weight.
We lost the desire to consume alcohol on a regular basis. There were definitely hard days during 75 Hard. There were days I’d watch the minutes tick by on the clock just begging for the day to end so I’d be one day closer to finishing this challenge. The kids would run wild, work would be hard, and I’d let exhaustion run the day. All I wanted was a glass of wine, a piece of chocolate, and a night off from exercising. However, the commitment I made to my husband, our children, and most importantly, to myself, was greater than my need for a break. Instead, I’d make myself a cup of tea, damn the torpedos and full-steam ahead.
Now that the challenge is over, it’s nice to sit back with a glass of wine, but more often than not, we’d rather just have a tea. This saves our health, our minds, and our money.
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We planned our “76 Meal” every chance we got. If we were feeling frustrated and hungry, we talked about what we would eat on our 76th day. We began calling it our “76 Meal”. We wanted a bacon cheeseburger more than anything else in the world, and I threw in the idea of eating grits for breakfast with REAL coffee creamer.
Once we got to day 76, we weren’t feeling the liberation we thought we would. We were excited but very cautious. We liked how we felt, how we looked, and the progress we had made in our relationship. This was a very unexpected result, especially for me. I thought I wanted a big finale with grits on the side, not a gentle slide off of this huge accomplishment.
It’s Over. Now What?
Now that we have completed one round of 75 Hard, we know that we want to continue this journey of health for our bodies, minds, and hearts. We have noticed growth not only between us, but in our parenting styles as well. Our dedication to this challenge mirrored our dedication to our family and we all became stronger for it.
I would like to complete this challenge again, after some time off, of course. This challenge is a tool to help you achieve some serious goals. Like all tools, when it is used properly, it works. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not a weight loss program, and maybe this isn’t noticeable until you complete the challenge. 75 Hard helped me to like myself more, and to realize how worthy I am of receiving everything good in this life. I know that nothing in this life worth having comes easy, and that the most worthwhile things require long and dedicated work.
I know that our children have learned this lesson and I know they see the benefit of our journey. We took the first step for them and crossed that finish line with just as much intention.
We stuck to the rules and we held white-knuckled to our “why”. We completed the 75 Hard challenge and learned that while the road to “Day 76” may be a long one, whatever that looks like for you, there’s nothing as sweet as a bacon cheeseburger, a renewed dedication to your “why”, and stronger, healthier relationships.
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