I Can Do Hard Things – 75Hard Edition

I remember thinking how tired I was of hearing people say, “2020 was a tough year for everybody“. I mean, I don’t doubt 2020 was hard for many people, but I had so much to be thankful for! I moved into my condo, added a puppy to my family (and a sister-in-law), got accepted into grad school, was fortunate enough to have a career that allowed me to work from home, and my family was healthy. 

Then came 2021. 

While I still had a lot to be thankful for, 2021 definitely proved to be a year of challenges. I was getting back into the routine of driving to work three days a week, which was now an additional 25 minutes from my condo. I started graduate school with the mentality that C’s get degrees and quickly learned that was not the case in grad school. And then a bomb hit.

On July 14th, my family received the news no family can ever prepare for. My mom was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer after spinal decompression surgery. Not even a month later, she was hospitalized and underwent her second back surgery. This time COVID prevented us from visiting, and she was left highly medicated and alone for two weeks as she completed outpatient rehab. When she returned home, we were all hands on deck to support her not only through healing from her back surgeries but also navigating her cancer diagnoses. 

One of the most challenging things for me personally to comprehend from my mom’s diagnosis were the conflicting views from different doctors she was seeing — let’s call it western vs. holistic medicine. Why do mainstream medical professionals completely disregard wellness and prescribe medicine for the symptoms? And why must we wait till we hear a diagnosis to focus on wellness? I knew it was time for me to change. 

My best friend, Kayleen, mentioned 75 hard, a mental toughness challenge created by Andy Frisella. If you have never heard of it, check out The Real AF podcast, but in short you have to follow 5 tasks for 75 days straight.

1. Follow a diet
2. Workout twice a day for at least 45 minutes with one workout outside
3. Drink 4 liters of water per day
4. Read 10 pages of nonfiction each day
5. Take a progress picture each day

My initial thought was just like everyone else when they hear about it — not a chance! No way would I have time for 2 workouts a day. No way would I be able to drink a gallon of water a day; I barely drank 16 oz a day. My exact words are “I’m working out 3-4 times a week. Hitting 14 is gonna be impossible” “a daily pic – no way. I’ll take one before and after“. I remember thinking 75 days is a long time, especially through the holiday season, planned vacations, and of course, concerts. However, my gym was starting a 45-day challenge. I thought, “okay, why not try the concepts of 75 hard for the 45-day challenge with my gym“. 

Many people will say you cannot succeed if you go in with the mindset of “trying” 75 hard, but as soon as I started, I found the discipline and determination that I lost when I stopped gymnastics. After peeing 100 times my first few days from drinking so much water, I started to notice that I was waking up thirsty, and soon drinking a gallon was an easy habit. Reading became something I wanted to do. Finley made sure I was held accountable for our daily walks, and I had FOMO when I was not at F45. On days when my body was tired and sore, I found yoga incredibly soothing and great for active recovery. And the daily picture I dreaded most became a leading motivator through the process (even though it was also the reason I failed the first time). 

I was no longer trying 75 hard. I was going to succeed.

During this time, I also attended cancer support groups with my mom. I heard firsthand how nutrition and wellness saved people’s lives. I watched documentaries that bring to light the failings in our society that reinforce bad habits that ultimately predispose us to disease. So focusing on my nutrition seemed unforced while looking at such a larger picture. 75 hard was not a weight loss challenge for me. Were there physical changes? Yes! But I did not cut out specific macro groups or worry about dropping a bunch of weight. Instead focused on eating whole, clean foods that were low in added sugars – consistently. 

Consistency is key. And even though I mention all the positives, that doesn’t mean this was easy to complete. There were times when I didn’t want to workout. There were times when I craved that piece of chocolate or a beer after work. There were times when I had to chug a liter of water before bed. But with consistency, I was able to push through and complete the 75 hard. 

I have learned so much about nutrition, mental toughness, and myself. I learned that you do have time – for what you want with the right time management. I learned that it is powerful to have the courage to say no, especially with alcohol or chips at a Mexican restaurant, and boy does it feel good to be in control again! I also know that I still have a lot of learning, especially with how misleading nutrition labels can be. 

Although it took me a little longer than 75 days, I have 
Lost 22lbs+
Read 1,165+ pages
Walked 223+ miles
Took 92 progress photos 
Drank 86+ gallons of water 
Spent 45+ minutes outside every day 
Completed 33+ F45 workouts
3 months no alcohol 

Here’s to completing the entire live hard program!

4 thoughts on “I Can Do Hard Things – 75Hard Edition”

  1. Shelby I am so proud of you. Your self motivation is very inspiring. I am Witness to your walks, making good food choices, reading, drinking gallons of waters, going to F45 and not only talking the talk but walking the walk. I can only hope to be as strong as you are going through this cancer journey.

  2. Shelby I am so proud of you. As I told you on our family vacation your focus, determination and mental strength is amazing. Wishing you continued success.

  3. Pingback: Lessons Learned from Andy Frisella Live Hard Program - Shelby Brooke

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