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I recently completed a mental toughness program called 75 Hard. I had some incredible results with the program and have never felt better.
In my post, I share the things that helped me, the challenges, the accomplishments, and how I overcame something incredibly hard.
I’m totally going to have a vulnerability hangover after this, but here it goes!
WHAT IS 75 HARD?
75 Hard is a mental toughness program designed by Andy Frisella. The best way to really understand the program is by listening to this podcast episode where Andy describes the “why” behind the program and each tenant.
The 5 daily tasks of 75 Hard are:
- 2, 45 minute workouts (one must be outdoors and they cannot be done consecutively)
- Drink one gallon of water (nothing added)
- Pick a diet to achieve your goals, and stick to it. No cheats, no alcohol
- Read 10 pages of a non-fiction book
- Take a daily progress picture
These tasks must be done every single day for 75 days. If you don’t do any single thing, you must start over on day 1.
It sounds too hard, right? That’s what I thought. But here was my experience with each of these requirements.
WHY DID I CHOOSE TO DO 75 HARD?
I’d heard of the 75 hard program through a couple of friends and family members and it sounded SO HARD (and a little crazy, to be honest).
However, I loved that it was not a weight loss or diet challenge, and the focus is not necessarily to lose weight.
The intention of the program is to become mentally fit and strong through a series of daily difficult/easy tasks.
The founder says that there is not a “weight loss guarantee,” but that on day one, you’ll look one way; on day 30, you’ll look another way; and on day 75, you’ll definitely look and feel different than on day one.
The end of 2021 and the beginning of 2022 were really difficult for me. Unfortunately, our family went through a devastating adoption scam that spanned about 6 months.
Everything in our life was put on hold while we planned a life for another beautiful child to enter our family forever. I’ll leave it at that, but it left me mentally and emotionally destroyed.
I was really depressed, overwhelmed, and I struggled trying to keep things normal and comfortable for everyone else in our lives who didn’t understand what happened to us.
During this time, I gained over 10 pounds and felt horrible in every way (while still running my business, home, and regular life).
I really needed a hard reset, and I thought this would be just the thing.
ENERGY HEALING WITH JENNIE WHITING
Before I began 75 Hard, I did an energy healing session with my friend Jennie Whiting. She’s been a dear friend of mine for years (we “met” virtually while we were both sharing Instant Pot recipes on Instagram).
Jennie is extremely gifted and talented in many ways. She intuitively designs energetically healing spaces to help women create their own beautiful life and home.
You can read her guest post in my front porch makeover post where she wrote about front porch chi.
Jennie recently started offering energy healing sessions, and since she knew that I was going through a hard time, she offered to do a session for me. I couldn’t believe how accurately she read my energies, and it really helped me kick off my mental and physical transformation.
Jennie was able to unveil some specific traumas and insecurities that I’d never mentioned to her before. She cleared emotional blockages that were keeping me stuck.
Jennie gave me information on crystals, words, and affirmations that were beneficial for my current situation to help amplify my healing.
It was very surprising and healing to have this energy healing session before I began my 75 Hard journey.
It helped me focus on the things that needed my attention and gave me the confidence and grounding I needed to stay strong on my journey.
Wherever you are in your life, if you’re feeling stuck, traumatized, or weak like I was, I’d definitely recommend her healing session! While I didn’t intentionally seek her services out, it really ended up being a great way to start 75 Hard.
I was most intimidated by the workouts.
Never in my life have I stuck with any kind of routine exercise, so to do TWO workouts a day was a huge stretch for me.
However, the workouts weren’t as bad as I thought they would be. For my first workout, I would do a Peloton cycling workout (or multiple, to get my 45 minutes).
About halfway through the program, I realized I was getting stronger!
Wow, that’s a cool feeling!
My max resistance before would end up in the high 80’s or low 90’s, but I was consistently starting my climbs in the 80’s and I would always end up with my resistance at 100 on my bike.
As I got stronger, I felt the craving to give my body a little more.
I bought a Peloton bike attachment so I could swivel my screen, and started doing strength exercises that are included in the Peloton app.
Peloton Bike and App
This attachment is a HUGE asset to the original bike. The updated bike has this built in, but it’s like $1000 more. I bought it on Amazon for about $20, and unlocked so many more features I could do through my screen.
I started by doing simple Flash 15 workouts with my new favorite instructor, Jess Sims. She made the workouts SO fun, and they were really done in a flash.
I eventually started doing 30 and 45 minute strength sessions with her because they were amazing and made me feel strong! I am now the world’s biggest Jess Sims fan!
Weight training is truly so good for your body in building strength and burning calories! I’m never going back!
My Peloton bike is my best friend/biggest contributor to success, and I’ll die on that hill! I have a referral code that you can use for $100 off accessories like the cycling shoes, mat, weights, etc.
You can use the code SGKEDU, but it’s only good for the first 6 people to use it this year!
If you use my code, the only thing I get is a credit to buy their own merch (genius advertising, but I do love their stuff lol).
have the original bike which is way less than the updated one. I really think that there’s no reason to buy the updated one if you buy the swivel mount.
The outdoor workout was definitely my “easier” workout. Unless I had something like a hike planned, I would do an outdoor walk every day.
When I first started in May, it was super cold sometimes! It was raining several times, and I would be wearing a beanie, coat, gloves, and fleece leggings!
I really loved the addition of the outdoor workout because it really made me mentally tough. It didn’t matter what the weather was, I just knew I had to do it.
In life, we make so many excuses for ourselves and don’t keep our promises when things are inconvenient or uncomfortable.
Andy said in his podcast the reason for the required outdoor workout is because conditions are never perfect. You just have to start.
As I grew stronger, I started to run a little bit. Those first couple of runs were painful because I am NOT a runner. In fact, I HATE running and avoid it at all costs.
I was able to grow into running for over a mile straight, and it felt amazing! That really isn’t a huge accomplishment for most people, but I’m telling you, it was HUGE for me.
As it got hotter into the summer, I especially loved taking my walks at night. Things had cooled off, and I got to see everyone’s homes blossom from late May to early August with different flowers and summer projects.
It really made me appreciate nature and the work people in my neighborhood and surrounding areas took to make their homes beautiful.
I also got to meet a lot of people in surrounding areas that I would have never had the chance to meet otherwise! I loved it!
OVERALL THOUGHTS ON THE WORKOUTS
Yes, they were hard. Yes, it was so inconvenient. That’s the point.
There were some days that were so busy that I hadn’t done either of my workouts by 7 or 8pm.
On those days, I would do my indoor workout as quickly as possible, then do my reading or some chores to get an adequate “cool down” (as Andy required in the podcast), then went for a walk/run around 10 or 11pm.
Those days were pretty terrible, but thankfully it only happened a couple of times.
The rest of the time it wasn’t as bad. If you can get a workout in before lunch, it’s much more manageable!
Some days I would do a more low-impact workout such as yoga, stretching, or two walks. Listen to your body!
I’d also recommend not doing anything too crazy that first week.
You don’t want to go too hard, too fast, otherwise you’ll be so sore and you won’t want to do a workout the next day!
ONE GALLON OF WATER
To do 75 Hard to the “T”, you cannot add anything to the water. No fruit, citrus, electrolyte or collagen powders, salt, mint, or mix-ins.
You can drink lemon water or water with stuff in it, but it does not count toward the 128 ounces.
how to drink a gallon water every day
I was a little nervous about how I would handle the water, but it wasn’t too bad (after the first week!). 128 oz is three Stanley mugs, plus 8 oz.
Every evening, I would fill up my beloved 40 oz Stanley mug with water and ice. Then, I’d leave it on my nightstand so I would have my cold water waiting for me from the moment I woke up.
Because the cup is so awesome, all the ice would still be frozen.
You’d be surprised how many ounces of water you can drink while just getting up and ready for the day!
For the first week, I was constantly going to the bathroom! I would sit at my desk while I worked, perch my water in my lap, and just drink and work all morning.
I would go to the bathroom every 20-30 minutes!
After literally a week or two, my body beautifully adjusted to the water and I was back to normal!
things that helped
I did make a point to have a lot of extra salt during 75 Hard. I would carry my Redmond Real Salt pocket shaker with me everywhere and add a little extra to all my meals.
The added electrolytes helped me from getting headaches and feeling depleted.
The hardest part about the water is not having much room to drink anything else!
When I was done with my water for the day, I would treat myself to a Mixhers (use code Lisa10 for a discount!) or diet soda (which was within my diet).
It was nice to have something yummy to look forward to!
75 HARD DIET
Which diet I chose
Because I wanted to make a lifestyle change, I chose a diet that was manageable, yet challenging. What I didn’t want was to pick something that I couldn’t maintain long term.
My diet wasn’t as intense as what some people choose, but still gave me great results.
The diet I chose for 75 hard was no sugar, junk food, candy, etc.
I did allow non-sugar sweeteners and I did say honey or pure maple syrup was ok, but I only had honey one time when I was developing a recipe for a client that asked me to use it in the recipe.
While it was not officially part of my prescribed “diet”, I also just really made an effort to make healthier choices.
When I could, I chose protein and vegetables over carbs. I was already working so hard, that I figured I might as well really go for it and do my best.
Because I have had experience eating a keto/low carb diet when I had gestational diabetes (twice!), I had worked with a lot of sweeteners before.
I felt like I was able to use monk fruit sweetener in place of most instances where I would typically use sugar.
I purchased sugar-free bbq sauce to make our Memorial day ribs, made sugar-free Jello cups with fruit, and had bananas with almond butter for a treat!
These types of substitutions weren’t too hard at home, and I really enjoyed it!
Hardest part of the diet
The only times it was really hard was in social situations. Summer is a very social time, and while most people were very supportive, there was definitely a lot of pressure to “just have a bite!”
There were also small moments each day where I consciously had to refrain.
Making homemade fresh raspberry jam each summer is a family tradition, and I made dozens of jars of jam without tasting a single lick! That was hard!
There were several moments where I felt like I was really missing out when all my friends were having something DELICIOUS! It was really hard sometimes!!
While hard, it felt empowering knowing I had already made my choice that I wasn’t going to deviate from my plan!
If the diet is intimidating for you, pick something approachable like eating 6 servings of fruits/vegetables each day or a certain amount of protein at each meal.
That, plus refraining from junk food will still give you results!
The diet is the only thing you’re allowed to change through the 75 Hard.
So if your diet of “keto” isn’t working for you, you can switch to something else that will give you the results you’re after.
You just can’t change day to day to fit your desires 🙂
You must read at least 10 pages of a physical, non-fiction book every single day. Audiobooks or books on e-readers are not acceptable.
The books I read during 75 Hard:
- Dare to Lead by Brene Brown
- Atomic Habits by James Clear
- Glow Kids: How Screen Addiction is Hijacking our Kids by Nicholas Kardaras
- The Pit of Success: How Leaders Adapt, Succeed, and Repeat by Dave Jennings and Amy Leishman
I loved reading Atomic Habits and I think it should be required reading for every single person! That was a super easy read.
The rest of the books were so-so. Once you start a book, you have to finish it, so I would definitely suggest some good books!
It is so hard to read books that aren’t engaging!!
On really busy days, I would read my pages during the first 10 minutes of my warmup.
Brett often takes his book on his outdoor walks. I can’t walk and read at the same time, but it’s an option!
The reason for the progress picture is so you can see your growth!
Day to day, you will not see much change. However, even after only 7 days, I saw and felt a huge difference!
I’m so glad I took those pictures!
I wish I had taken better/more pictures on my first day. It wasn’t pretty, but it would have helped me see my results even better.
Although not part of the requirements, I wish I would have taken my “before” body measurements as well.
The biggest thing about the picture is that since it’s the easiest task, it’s also the easiest task to forget.
My husband Brett had to start over TWICE because he forgot his picture! Even after doing all the workouts and hard things for the day! SO sad!!
I would take my picture first thing in the morning when I was getting dressed.
In life, we have lots of tasks that require daily attention and intention.
Once those things become easy, they feel less important and you may start forgetting or skipping. That’s the intention behind the daily photo.
HARDEST PART OF 75 HARD
This is probably the most-asked question I have gotten about 75 Hard (in addition to the last question in this post). Here are some of my responses:
- Showering every single day. I never did this before, but working out so much made it an absolute necessity.
- Doing the subsequent laundry from aforementioned showering^
- Making the time on super busy days. I was home almost all summer, but Brett went on 4 trips (2 international) and he made some massive sacrifices and had crazy discipline to get everything done!!
- Turning down treats… every… single… day!! (you’d be shocked how many times a day you have the opportunity to eat treats/candy/junk/sugar!)
- I had a certain level of stress every single day until I had checked off everything off my list.
- STARTING THE WORKOUT. I am a massive procrastinator, so the hardest part was honestly just starting that first workout. I’d do just about anything before starting it. It was so hard every single day! But as soon as I got my cycling shoes on, it wasn’t too bad.
- Drinking straight water. Now, I crave water and have a hard time putting anything in it. Before, I really wanted to drink water with stuff in it like fruit, powders, or Mixhers. It’s hard because it can get pretty boring just drinking water.
- Feeling extremely mentally and physically STRONG!
- Seeing actual results, even after one week. It’s one thing to start going to the gym once a week and then seeing nothing change. This program accelerates your progress so much, and it’s very rewarding to see results if you’re not used to that like me!
- Knowing that no matter how busy I was, I really did have time to move my body and work out every day. Fitting it into my schedule is literally a choice!
THINGS THAT HELPED
- Taking progress pictures and comparing them week to week vs. just the scale.
- The scale did move, but so slowly and very inconsistently. Remember, a gallon of water is 8lb!
- I couldn’t have done it without the Peloton bike and classes (I understand this is a massive privilege to have). If you already have another stationary bike, I still highly recommend getting the Peloton app membership for all the classes. Jess Sims changed my life! Since I do not have time or childcare to commute to a gym multiple times a day/week, having an at-home workout that I love is absolutely critical. Before I purchased the bike, I had never cycled before. I had no idea if I was going to love or hate it, but it has made me so strong and I cannot live without it!
- The attachment to swivel the screen for my Peloton. I also have a comfier bike seat and tray attachment so I can put my phone and headphones on it.
- On the days I was extra busy, out of the house, or at a cabin for a family reunion, I brought my own water in a washed out milk jug. That way, I wasn’t losing track of how much water I was drinking. I like refilling my water throughout the day so it was fresh and not “stale” and warm.
- Monk fruit sweetener! It’s really the best sweetener in my opinion (vs. Stevia or other natural sweeteners).
- I used an app called Patterns for iOS. It is really simple, but gets the job done. There are other habit tracking apps out there, but I really liked this one. Brett used the official 75 Hard App, but it costs $5 and isn’t as cute as Patterns.
- I did make a paper chart where I crossed off every item on my daily to-do list, but I found that I actually didn’t use it very much, but Brett did. Find what works for you!
- I also used an app called Drink Water. I downloaded it on the first day and literally never opened it again until today when I went to see what the app was called. While I never opened the app to track my water intake, the thing that helped me were the notifications. Several times a day, I would get a notification on my phone and watch, reminding me to drink water. While I was sipping all day anyway, it was actually really helpful to get reminded throughout the day!
- Making a list of go-to approved snacks and treats.
- STRENGTH TRAINING. After so many days on the bike just doing cardio, I felt a pull in my body to do something else. I have literally never done any hard strength exercise before, but I’m telling you, it changed my life! Strength training and building your muscles helps your metabolism and makes you body stronger, which means that you don’t need to burn as many calories and your body looks and feels amazing! I listened to this podcast from Just Ingredients about the importance of strength training for women.
- Having something to listen to during my outdoor walks. I love podcasts and audiobooks, so that time was so precious to me!
- An Apple Watch. I don’t know how I would live without it!
75 HARD RESULTS
I was and continue to be shocked at my results. People would always tell me I had no weight to lose or that I was looking fine. But I think we all know what feels good/normal/balanced for our own bodies, and I knew mine didn’t feel balanced or good. Also, high waisted pants can hide anything haha.
- Mentally, I feel so much better. I feel confident, strong, capable, and accomplished.
- Emotionally, the confidence I gained from the 75 days helped me not feel so depressed and depleted.
- Physically, I had lost 13.5lb on day 76 and over 15lb at the time of this writing.
Some non-scale victories:
- Fitting into clothes I haven’t fit into in at least 3-5 years
- going down a whole notch on my Apple Watch band
- my wedding band is loose
- my periods went from honestly DEBILITATING to NO BIG DEAL.
I can’t stress that last one enough. For years, my cycles have been pretty miserable ever since I had my daughter 4.5 years ago.
It just seemed like every month they got worse and worse.
Some days, I would be in bed all day feeling nauseous and in so much pain.
I was really nervous about doing the program during my periods (I had 3 on 75 Hard), but it was really amazing what happened.
I had a couple cramps on the first day, then it was pain-free and effortless the rest of the time!! That in and of itself was worth doing the program.
People ask me all the time what part of the 75 Hard I think contributed to this huge change.
I honestly think it is a combination of the workouts, water, and diet.
All three of these elements together unlocked a new level of freedom and health in my body.
I still did my workouts and drank my gallon of water for about a week after 75 Hard officially ended. It was a habit that really stuck.
Then, one day I just was super busy and not feeling it and I didn’t.
Then I ate a little more than normal, and felt like absolute garbage the next day. It’s so hard!
It has honestly been really difficult to move forward post-75!
Before, there was no choice in the matter. I was getting my workouts in and eating my diet to a T with absolutely NO cheats or compromises.
It’s much easier when the decision is already made.
Now that I have the freedom and flexibility to choose, it’s become increasingly difficult.
Little bites of treats and even a lick of jam off a spoon isn’t forbidden, so it just happens.
My weight loss has stalled and even gone up a little, so I need to really shift my mindset.
I needed to understand that my progress wouldn’t be as rapid or even exist if I didn’t make good choices every single day.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON MY 75 HARD JOURNEY
I will say, 75 Hard made me so much more in-tune with my body.
I could hear my internal voice so much louder and stronger!
There were days my body told me to slow down a little, and I would do a 45 minute yoga flow or just two, low-impact walks.
There were days that I felt like my body really needed more carbs, and I ate them and still lost weight the next day.
That isn’t to say my weight went down daily.
It was a zig zag of up, down, up, down, down, up, down… but, a general trend down.
I think the biggest thing to remember is that the number on the scale may not always be the best indication of your progress and success.
That’s why the daily pictures and non-scale victories are so important.
I’m so grateful for 75 Hard and the transformative journey it sent me on.
Once I started seeing actual progress (by day 7!!) it drove me to continue getting good results.
It was so fun and rewarding to see and feel my body change to become a happier, healthier me (inside and out!).
SHOULD YOU DO 75 HARD?
Absolutely. I was recruiting as many people as I could to do this with me because I felt so good doing it!
There is nothing cost prohibitive about the program. You don’t need to buy a single piece of workout equipment, an expensive meal plan, supplement, book, or subscription.
You could walk for both your workouts each day, or just do a free Youtube workout in your living room.
The only excuse that people give is that it’s too dang hard.
Yes. It’s supposed to be hard. It’s supposed to be inconvenient.
But you’ll never get different results doing the same thing you’ve always done.
There really is no ideal time to do this. 75 days is a long enough time where you’re bound to run into something inconvenient like a big event, vacation, celebration, or reason it would be hard.
Just pick a day and start.
CHOOSING YOUR HARD
While I was doing 75 Hard, the biggest thing that kept ringing true in my head is the concept of choosing your hard.
Being overweight is hard. Working out is hard.
Choose your hard.
Eating crap and feeling gross is hard. Eating healthy or healthier is hard.
Choose your hard.
I know this concept of “choosing your hard” comes from a place of privilege and does not apply to all aspects of life where there is not a choice to be had.
In my case for 75 Hard, it did apply to me and helped me through my journey.
For the things in my life I can control (mainly how I allot/use my time and what I choose to put in my bodies), it’s imperative to make wise, consistent choices.
And that’s my 75 Hard journey! Thanks so much for reading. Please feel free to leave any additional questions in the comments! – Lisa