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xoxo, Kerri O.


What is 75 Hard #75Hard: Documenting My Experience With The 75 Hard Challenge


January 1, I embarked on an interesting journey; I decided to start the 75 Hard Challenge (scroll to the bottom of the post for my updated journal on my progress. I've gotten a lot of questions on this program and what it is exactly, what the rules are, etc. So...

What is 75 Hard #75hard

What is 75 Hard? It's a mental toughness skills development challenge started by Andy Frisella. (Since first posting this, it is now a book as well.) His premise is that mental toughness is a skill and therefore can be learned, practiced, and honed. Andy designed this challenge to cultivate: confidence, self-belief, self-esteem, self-worth, endurance, fortitude, grit, perseverance, self-discipline, endurance, resilience... and all of the skills inside the scope of mental toughness. 

75 Hard Motivation
Check out the podcast that started it all for all the info from Andy himself: https://andyfrisella.com/blogs/mfceo-project-podcast/75hard-a-75-day-tactical-guide-to-winning-the-war-with-yourself-with-andy-frisella-mfceo291 Note that if f-bombs are going to offend you this is not for you. 

So, what are the 75 Hard Rules?


For 75 days straight:
  1. Follow a diet of your choice strictly. No cheats. No alcohol.
  2. Workout twice a day for 45 minutes each session. Any workout of your choice, but one MUST be outside.
  3. Drink a gallon of water per day.
  4. Read 10 pages of a nonfiction entrepreneurship/self-improvement/personal development book each day. Audiobooks don't count.
  5. Take a progress pic every single day.
No slips, no substitutions, no compromises, no altering the plan. If you slip, if you miss one tiny thing, you start back at day 1.

75 Hard Rules

Andy is emphatic about not cheating yourself by allowing cheats, slips, excuses, or "Oh, that's not a big deal, I'll just keep going." The challenge is intended to be completed as it stands, straight through, no breaks or editing at all. We'll get out of this challenge what we put into it. Holding ourselves accountable is a big point of it all. I definitely recommend listening to the podcast I linked above to get all of the fine print on the challenge.


Why do 75 Hard?

The magic in 75 Hard is the mental gain that you're going to get out of this challenge, it's not about the physical transformation (though that will occur as well), it's about who you're becoming through doing hard things. It's about the qualities and skills you will develop by sticking it out and seeing it through. It's about the HARD in the 75 Hard. Andy says that 75 Hard is simply how to become who you want to become. 

For me, it's about getting back to ME again. I've wandered off so far from the strong, confident, fit mama I know that I am. Self-discipline is something I normally excel at, but life has knocked me flat a few times in the last 3 years and I've lost some of that. I have let so much slide in the name of just keeping my head above water. This challenge is about fighting through the hard to get it all back.

It's also about working on my running again and honing my overall process. It seems like a really great way to be all-in and figure out how my process needs tweaking.


My 75 Hard Challenge Experience

I began my 75 Hard challenge on January 1. You can follow along on my Instagram.


The parameters I've set for my 75 Hard program:

  1. Keto diet. 1650 calories (1651 and I go back to day 1), 20 grams TOTAL carbs (21 and I go back to day 1). I'm going back to food prep to streamline this. It's really tough to fit all of this in and having my food prepped makes it so much less stressful. And of course zero alcohol. I'm posting my calories and macros every day in my IG story.
  2. One morning workout outside, usually cardio (focused on working on my running), and then an afternoon workout balancing things out with yoga, weights, etc. 45 minutes each of course. I'll be sharing my watch reading after each workout on my IG.
  3. I purchased a gallon water bottle (this one) to make tracking this easier. I fill it up in the morning and it has to be empty by bedtime.
  4. I'll share some of my favorite snippets from my reading on IG. These are the books I'm starting with: Do the Work, Mindset, and The Miracle Equation. I'll update the list as I go along.
  5. I have set an alarm on my phone to remind me to take this every day! I dug out my snuggest workout clothes and I'll share a few on Instagram and here at the end.

75 Hard Water Bottle

So far as I can tell so far (on day 2 of the challenge as I write this) the best advice I can give for tips to get through 75 Hard is to plan ahead, figure out everything you can do to make this work in your life. ie: 
  1. Meal prep
  2. Get a gallon water bottle
  3. Set phone alarms to remind you
  4. Enlist the support of those near you. My husband says he's doing the 75 Easy because he's doing the morning workout with me and doing everything he can to ensure I get through this.
  5. Have a checklist that you go over every night to ensure you've done everything!
You would not believe the things that have been thrown at me the first 2 days to try and throw me off track. It's amazing to me how when we set out to do something positive, in our lives or the larger world, everything seems to come at us to try and knock us off our course. I say...

Keep Calm and 75 Hard


UPDATE 1/18 AM:

As the name should give away clearly: this challenge is HARD. Like, I'm one of those extreme self-discipline types and I am struggling hardcore. I am now 18 days in and wishing I could let myself quit. No such luck, I'm one of those finish what I started freaks. Le sigh ;)

I'm struggling to keep up with food prep and just winging it is really hard to hit my calories and macros perfectly. I'm completely exhausted overall. I suppose from the added workout? I thought my body would have adjusted by now, but nope. Fitting all of this in has become increasingly hard as homeschool with my kids started back from Christmas break. Focused, active reading of 10 pages with 3 kids, 2 crazy cats, 1 puppy, and 1 husband working on the 1 house that is completely under construction is quite the trick. Plus, I'm just flat tired of being cold. It's been cold (like 6 degrees F to 20ish) with icy winds (-1 wind chill) on most of my early morning walk/runs and I return home completely frozen.

All whining aside, this challenge is really hard. I would not recommend joining it lightly. I've seen so many quit or just kind of appear to fake it. Don't start this unless you are really and truly all-in committed to yourself to finish.

Meanwhile, I'm off for another icy walk...send keto cocoa.

UPDATE 1/18 PM:

YES, today's walk/run was again completely miserable with icy crazy wind. However, this is what I know for sure: when resistance gets strong that is the time to go like hell. To push even harder

SO, I've been taking it easier with workouts. Morning workouts generally walks with minimal running and afternoon workouts have been lots of easy yoga and lighter workouts. No more. Today I did a hardcore leg day for my second workout. I'm upping my game. Oh, and steady running needs to make it's reentry this week me thinks. Part of this challenge was about renewing my running love and I'm ready to shift my focus towards that now.

And now, it's 5 PM and I am getting this butt in the kitchen for some food prep.

Time to get it.

I. WILL. NOT. QUIT.

UPDATE 1/22

OK, 3 weeks in and all is not lost! I think I finally hit my stride. My body seems to be adjusting and I'm not feeling exhausted all. the. time. I did get an extra hour of sleep a couple times this week as well. I would highly recommend grabbing extra sleep anywhere you can the first few weeks of this challenge.

I've seen some people say they felt great at the two week mark, and it took me until 3 full weeks, but I definitely say there is light at the end of the tunnel if you're just starting this challenge. Do whatever you can to hold on through those rough first weeks. It does get better!!

After 3 straight weeks of consistent 2-a-days I'm also feeling STRONGER. Quite a bit stronger and more capable in my workouts. I've been able to up my weights and intensity across the board in all my workouts, and yes, running has returned!

Game on...

UPDATE 1/29

4 weeks in! A few things I've learned about planning your workouts for this challenge:

  • Definitely PLAN your workouts. Two-a-days for 75 days is no joke and without planning, you could be in a world of hurt.
  • Alternate hard and easy workouts and hard and easy days. Make some days easier and some days harder. Also, one workout a day is slightly easier for me. "Easy" workouts being things like walks, easy slow runs, and yoga. Harder workouts being HIIT, Tabata, tougher runs, etc.
  • Alternate body parts on your lifting days. Whether you split workouts up into upper body and lower body, front and back (push/pull), or specific body parts like back and biceps etc. This will keep soreness at a doable level.
  • Lots of variety is key. It keeps it from being boring and from hammering the same body pats the same way. I'm also changing my plan up completely every 4 weeks.
The way I've structured my workouts so far is cardio in the morning (walk or run) and then weights, yoga, kettlebells, circuits, or HIIT in the afternoon.

UPDATE 2/5

I took on this challenge as a way to bring self-discipline back in my life. That it is doing in spades. As a side effect, I assumed weight loss would of course happen. Funny thing: it didn't.

Not for a long time (relatively for the effort).

The first 3 weeks of this challenge I'd only lost a pound...then in week 4 I gained that pound back!

I was perplexed. I've followed my plan to a T and believe it to be a good plan for me. But bigger picture, that's not what this challenge is about for me, so I just kept going. I wasn't going to quit just because the scale wasn't moving!

Then, week 5. I lost 3.4 pounds in one week.

The message? We often quit right before the flood gates open. 

Stop stopping. 


UPDATE 2/10:

Day 41! I cannot tell you how my attitude has improved since passing the halfway mark. I know I still have a month left, but it seems so doable now. Yes, I still don't want to do my second workout about half the time and the weather is being insane (who's idea was it exactly to take on this challenge at 7000 ft elevation during the worst part of winter in CO?? Oh ya, mine...). But ever since day 40 it seems so much easier to just keep chugging along. I can't exactly explain it, but there's been a major shift.

This challenge has been sooooooo good for me mentally. I've found my "I can" again. You've no idea how lost that has been. 

SO excited to see where I progress to by day 75!


UPDATE 2/16, Day 46:
I had a moment this morning when I looked at the calendar and realized I have 2 weeks in February, then 2 weeks in March and I'm DONE with this challenge! Crazy. It seems so short. 

I've already begun to ponder what I'm going to do when this challenge is over. In the past, I've done things like this and then just wandered off at the end. After 75 Hard I want a good solid plan on what I'm doing next. I'm only about halfway to my goal and there's no way I'm wasting this traction!

What I've realized is that not much needs to change. Honestly, most of this just works for me. The daily AM cardio, be it walks with hubby and the puppy or a run, works well for me and I think they'll stay. The second workouts will also stay most days. Post challenge I plan to focus on weights more. I'm perusing programs to decide on something more well-planned here. 

I do think the gallon of water will go down a bit. I think my sweet spot is 64 oz to 100 oz. So, that will be my aim post-challenge. Also, I'm a rabid reader, so the 10 pages rule isn't really necessary. I can read a book a day sometimes, so that will go. The progress pic will go as a daily thing, but I do find them helpful. I'll probably take them once a week or once a month going forward. 

I'm still pondering the diet portion. Results haven't come as fast as I'd expected. This 40+-year-old body just doesn't always respond as expected. That may need to be tweaked, but I haven't decided how yet. I'm thinking maybe slightly higher protein. I'll keep you posted!


UPDATE 2/20

I think I'm coasting a bit. 

It's time to bring back the HARD in 75 Hard. In the first part of the challenge, I was mostly concerned with living through it. It was so HARD! I was exhausted and sore and just struggling to keep my head above water. But yesterday was day 50 and I am feeling so much stronger and more capable. My body has finally adjusted to all this. Which is good, but the point of this challenge is to do hard things! SO.....

Time to bring back the HARD. 

First, I'm going to up my workouts these last 24 days. More intensity is on the menu and on days I do simply walk I plan to lengthen the walks and add a weight vest. Second, I am tightening up my diet. I know this is what needs tweaking to get the results coming at a more consistent rate. I will be zig-zagging my calories for the rest of the challenge. 2 or 3 days a week I'll be taking them down around 1350, and then the rest of the week aiming for 1550-1650. Also, I know I need to up my protein so I'll be tweaking my macros a bit for the remainder of the challenge. 


UPDATE 3/16/20

75 Hard Before and After
My 75 Hard Progress

I did it!!


9/09/20

Long time no update. YES, I did finish 75 Hard! Above is the progress pic from the first day and last day of 75 Hard.

However, the Covid thing took off right at that exact time and, as happens, life ran me over a little and I didn't get back here to update this post. So, anyhoo...

I finished 75 Hard and was extremely proud of having done so. I followed it to the letter. It was HARD. Duh, as promised I suppose, but I don't think I could truly communicate how hard this challenge is to actually complete to the letter.

It was so good for me. I learned so much. But...

I didn't have a great exit strategy. And, as it so happened the Covid and lockdowns and quarantines and huge life disruptors hit at that exact moment. Honestly, my first instinct was to jump right back into another 75 Hard. In hindsight I kind of wish I had. It might have been virtually impossible, but it also would have given me some structure and a better focus. Overall, coming out of 75 Hard was rough for me, but I'm still glad I did the challenge. Will I try it again with a better exit strategy? Maybe.

So, my best advice from what I learned from 75 Hard:
  1. Have a good plan going in.
  2. Enlist support from those around you.
  3. Commit 100% NO MATTER WHAT.
  4. Have a good exit strategy. What you will do after the challenge to not just go back to your old ways. After being so strict for so long, this is tougher than you might think.
Final thoughts?

I'm so glad I did this challenge. It was so good for me mentally. I would absolutely recommend doing it if you're thinking about it!



Follow me on Instagram (@kerriolkjer) or twitter (@kerriolkjer) and let's chat about this challenge!




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The Whole30 Program is amazing. I highly recommend it. Every time I've done a Whole 30 I have felt AMAZING by the end. It's a very empowering experience. It is not however an easy one. Mostly because the food prep can take much more time if you're used to grab and go options. A little planning ahead and you can definitely make it through the 30 days. When it comes to Whole30 lunches, 3 things worked best for me: Quick and easy salads. Prepping food on Sunday. Cooking too much at dinner and eating leftovers for lunch the next day. I thought I'd share 30 of the awesome Whole30 lunch recipes I've found from my favorite bloggers (and a few from me!). I've included all three options I listed above. Some quick and easy salads, some to prep an entire recipe on the weekend and then portion them for lunches that week, and some to be cooked for dinner and the leftovers packed for lunch the next day. Play around and see what works best for you. This list

Hype or Help: Jillian Michaels Body Revolution Final Program Review

*This post contains affiliate links. I make a small commission if you purchase items by clicking these links. It costs you no more. Disclaimer: I received  Jillian Michaels Body Revolution for review purposes. As always opinions are 100% honest and my own. After three long months of testing this program I'm finally down to the review! I've had so many questions, and I hope to answer them all here. So, is it hype or help ? Have a seat, let's talk about that... What you will need for these workouts: A set of light, medium, and heavy hand weights to suit your ability level. What's Included with Jillian Michaels Body Revolution : 15 Workout DVDs Resistance Cable Fitness Guide Book Fat Burning Meal Plan 7 Day Kick-Start Your Metabolism Plan 90 Day Journal Bookmark What's in the box? My unboxing video if you want to see it all: The Body Revolution Diet Plan I've had a lot of questions on what exactly the diet plan for Bo