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  • Writer's pictureNikki Hynes

What I Learned While Doing 75 Hard

A little over a week ago I wrapped up the 75 Hard program, created by Andy Frisella, founder of 1st Phorm. I was going to write about this last week but it was my first weekend off from the program and I just wanted to become one with my couch and not think about it for a few days, hence no post here. But I'm here and sharing now, so let's discuss what I learned while doing 75 hard!

If you are not familiar with the program you can learn more about here. It's popularity on Instagram has truly grown over the last year or so, and I'd be surprised if you haven't heard of it. In case you haven't and don't feel like clicking on the link, it is a mental toughness program that focuses on a few daily habits that you need to complete for 75 days:

  1. Balanced nutrition

  2. Reading 10 pages from a personal development or business book

  3. Drinking a gallon of water, daily

  4. Taking a progress photo, daily

  5. Two - 45 minute workouts per day - 1 of which must be completed outdoors, no matter what the weather is like

Sounds simple right? It's not... and I am someone who had most of these boxes checked already.

The program, while laid out simply has some rules and if you miss any of the above daily tasks, you have to start over from day 1 as penance.

The toughest part of this program for me, were the 2 daily workouts. What made these tough for me was:

  • They need to be spaced out by at least 2-3 hours.

  • The weather factor.

  • There are no rest days.

The workouts and the nutrition part of this program is what prompted me to give it a go. I have been struggling with both since my divorce. My routine, that I relied on so heavily was disrupted by a new job, working multiple jobs to build up a savings, moving in with my mother temporarily, finding and moving into my own place and getting a promotion at my new job.

Mentally I was all over the place and desperately needed to find my footing in my health and wellness routine again. Quarantine also brought out my love of baking, which kicked my love of sugar into high gear. None of this was good for my well-being or mindset. The old me and the one I fought so hard to create where in a tug of war over my body and I needed to do something about it.

Change was needed and this seemed like a good way to create it. I felt this way because I am extremely stubborn and competitive and I would not want to have to start over because I miss checking off one box during the program. I am a Taurus, after-all. Plus, my boyfriend decided to join me in this, so I had an excellent form of accountability too!

I know this style of challenge doesn't work for everyone and that is 100% okay. It's important that you recognize things like that and walk away from things that will set you up for failure. It's not an excuse or a cop out - it's being realistic and that is a good thing. Just because half of Instagram is doing a program, doesn't mean that you need to too. You all should know how I feel about that by now, if not, check out some of my other posts.

The biggest challenge with this, for me, was that I decided to start it on August 1st. I live on the East Coast, so that means the weather outside is typically humid AF and hot as hell. Did I mention that I don't like heat? This meant that I would have to wake up before the sun in order to get the outdoor workout done before thunderstorms and to avoid the peak heat of the day. Did I mention that I don't like waking up early, either? Me and my bright ideas!

Looking back, this is a key component of the mental toughness challenge with this program. I had to choose which "hard" I was going to endure, because no matter what, I had to face one of them. There is no easy way of doing it. If it was easy it wouldn't be much of a challenge, right?!

I opted for early morning wake-ups and I hated them until I no longer didn't. Like with most things, in time we adjust and quit complaining. I only dealt with rain a few times and while I hated the idea of lacing up and going out in it, I actually ended up enjoying it because it brought relief from the humidity.

The second trick was fitting in the second workout. I work full-time, like many people, and I am typically exhausted by the end of my day - but it had to get done. The trick for me here was finding a workout that I enjoyed, looked forward to and I could do indoors... in my living room... in the air conditioning. I ended up doing a combination of Beachbody On-Demand workouts because they fit what I was looking for. I hadn't used their programs in quite some time and took the opportunity of unlimited access to their library to find things that made me want to get my workout done.

The next struggle was the lack of a rest day. As someone who has been working out for the last decade, I know how important rest days are. Your body needs them in order to repair and prepare to be pushed again. So I knew I had to build "active rest days" into the program if I was going to make it through without injury.

We tend to fall into the trap when starting new workout programs that we need to push push push. That every workout needs to a PR or personal best. While you should push yourself and bring your best to each workout, you also need to be okay with days where you just stretch, move for the sake of moving and knowing that you showed up.

Active rest days ended up being slower paced walks for the outdoor workout. I would either do walking meditation or use a mellow playlist to keep my pace slower. My indoor workout would be either stretching or yoga. Both of these things helped my muscles to rest, but also actively stretch so they could repair. They also both checked off the boxed on the program requirements. It took me a few weeks to realize that I needed to do this. It was a valuable lesson, so please don't make the same mistake I did by trying to push every single workout. You'll burn out or get injured and neither of those will get you to day 75. So listen to your body and adjust where needed.

The next lesson came from nutrition. This program does not lay out a specific nutrition plan. It is up to YOU to decide what you need and then follow it. As you know, there are many many different types and styles of nutrition plans out there. Take some time to be honest about what your current nutrition looks like and what changes you need to make, then pick something that fits those goals - or write out those goals for yourself and stick to them daily.

For myself, I needed to cut the sugary crap, increase my veggies and watch my portion sizes. I didn't pick a plan with a name to it like Keto, Whole 30, macro counting or anything like that. I was honest about where I was struggling and what I needed to do to improve. Again, don't do things just because everyone else is. Think about your goals and what you need to achieve to see the change you are seeking. Write it down and stick to it, daily.

The goal of these 75 days for me was not about perfection - it was about progress. Okay...I needed to be perfect about doing the daily habits, but you know what I mean here.

Long story short, with 75 Hard I learned that you need to make it yours. Like with any other program, it is your journey and you will get out of it what you put into it. There will be days and weeks were you are like "F yeah!... I'm on top of the world" and there will be days and weeks where you like "F this. I'm tired of someone telling me what to do every damn day. I'm tired and need rest." That is the point of this program. It is going to test you and how badly you want to achieve your goals. It's going to test your resolve and it is going to be up to you to navigate the daily habits and ensure that you check each box in a manner that gets you to the goals that you are seeking. There is no cheating the program... you only end up cheating yourself.

My results with this program were not like others I've seen. I did not lose a single pound overall, but I lost 9 inches overall. It's not a weight loss program, but this messed with me because I was pushing myself twice a day with workouts and improving your nutrition. Again... it's about mindset and I while I would be upset, I would then realize that I was being active again and I was moving my body daily and in the grand scheme of things, that is what I was going for.

I reset my mind and forced myself to realize how damn resilient I was and can be. I started putting value into more than just the scale. I put value into myself again. We all know that the scale is just one tool we use to gauge wellness. It's not the end all be all that defines us.

So there you have it. What I learned while doing 75 Hard. It's an easy lesson in that these 75 days are yours and what you put into them. However it will challenge you and it will change you if you allow it to.

Have you complete 75 Hard? Are you currently doing 75 Hard? Leave a comment below or message me on Instagram... I would love to hear your thoughts!

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