Beginning September 20, 2022, I began the 75 Hard Program.
For a long while before that, I had been trying to incorporate more regular exercise into my daily routine but had been unsuccessful. A patient told me she was doing 75 Hard, so I looked it up. The rules looked daunting to me but I knew if I wanted to improve my health I needed a plan. Never one to turn away from a challenge, I decided to start.
75 Hard is based on a book by Andy Frisella. If you are not a fan of no-nonsense, profanity-laced dialogue, do not listen to his podcasts. The rules are as follows:
- If you skip a day, you must start over. If you miss a task, you must start over from day one.
- Pick a diet to follow with no alcohol or cheat meals.
- Drink a gallon of water daily.
- Complete two workouts daily. Each workout must be 45 minutes in length and one must be outside.
- Read 10 pages per day of a non-fiction book.
- Take a progress photo every day.
If you skip a day, you must start over. If you miss a task, you must start over from day one.
Since I did not want to start over, I bought a journal to log all my tasks so I would be sure to get them in daily.
Pick a diet to follow with no alcohol or cheat meals.
I chose to follow a no sugar, no wheat, no alcohol, low carbohydrate diet. I was already pretty low carb but I knew complete avoidance of wheat and sugar would decrease inflammation.
I followed this plan during a trip up north, Halloween, and Thanksgiving. The point is – no excuses, you can eat well no matter what the circumstances.
I lost 15 pounds during the 75 days of this challenge. My last official day was December 4, 2022; and as of the end of January 2023, I have kept this weight off because my diet has stayed consistent. I think doing this challenge for 75 full days made it easier to maintain better habits. When the 75 days were over, I didn’t want to go back to less healthy options.
Drink a gallon of water daily.
I thought this would be the hardest part of the program for me. I don’t think I’ve ever really consumed enough water in a day. Surprisingly, this was not as difficult as I imagined. I bought a 32-ounce mason jar and would fill it four times per day to ensure I was getting the required amount. I would add lemon, lime, oranges, or strawberries to the water to give it a little flavor so as to not get bored.
I believe the hydration helped my kidneys, bladder, and bowel work better to detoxify, and made my skin less dry.
Complete two workouts daily. Each workout must be 45 minutes in length and one must be outside.
This was the reason I chose to do the 75 Hard program. I, like many other people, was very good at finding reasons why I couldn’t work out; and I was not very creative with finding solutions to how I could work out. This challenge forced me to figure out ways to fit two workouts into my daily routine. No exceptions. No excuses.
I worked out in the rain, in the cold, in the dark, on a day when I worked 16 hours (one workout at 3:30 a.m. and a walk at lunch). I discovered something with these daily workouts that I had forgotten – when I was young I was always moving. I grew up a dancer who trained at least four days per week. Then, I was teaching dance and Pilates for many years. My body liked to move. I didn’t realize– until I did this challenge– how much movement and exercise help strength, stamina, circulation, body composition, and mental health. For the 75 days, I worked out twice per day- I walked, lifted weights, exercised with YouTube Videos, biked, and rebounded. Since finishing 75 Hard I have maintained at least one workout daily (I skipped one day). Although this has not been easy, I know keeping exercise/movement in my routine is an important part of my physical health.
Read 10 pages per day of a non-fiction book.
This part of the challenge forced me off my phone and computer for some time each day. That, in itself, is a good thing. I chose books that would help me personally and professionally and I read all or part of six different non-fiction books during these 75 days.
Take a progress photo every day.
This was my least favorite part of 75 Hard. I’m not a fan of myself in photos. When my husband and I first talked about doing this program (yes, he did it with me which helped so much!) I told him – “I’m not doing the daily photo part.” But, I am glad that I did this. I didn’t necessarily see the differences in my body day to day, but when I looked back at the photos the progress was visible.
I wrote this article for you as motivation and encouragement. If you are struggling with diet, exercise, or getting on track with your health, DO SOMETHING! First – figure out your WHY. What needs to change and why do you want to change it? I wanted to do this because I wanted to be stronger, healthier, more able to play and keep up with my grandson, and set a good example. It doesn’t have to be 75 Hard – just make a plan, set an amount of time to do that plan, and DO IT! What I did discover during this journey was the importance of being able to adapt to reach the goals I had set. Set your goals and GO!
Yours in health,
Kerry Cradit, B.S. Nutrition and Food Science