aging · exercise · fitness · healthy lifestyle · inspiration · vegan

A mental Ironman

Hello, and happy inauguration day! It’s a new chapter in America, and I’m hoping that it’s going to be one filled with unity, hope, equality, and prosperity!

Things are going well with my workouts and nutrition so far in 2021. I’m on week 3 of Phase 1 of 9 Week Control Freak. Week 3 is called Acceleration week and let me tell you, the workouts live up to the name! However, I really love how each week we bump things up. There’s no room to be bored or plateau because we are working our asses off! My nutrition has been so much better; I’m feeling better and the bloated belly is gone. I’ve also been working on drinking a lot more water this week.

Over the weekend, I was talking to a friend about a program that she is going to be doing soon called 75 Hard. At first when she told me about it, I thought, wow, that’s really extreme, but then the more I thought about it, the more I kept thinking that I should try it. I haven’t really had a tough challenge since I ran my two marathons several years ago, and NO, my running days are done and I never want to do another marathon! Ha ha But I do miss that “training” mindset where I am 100% committed to something that’s going to push me way past my comfort level. I think that 75 Hard is just what I need to push myself mentally and physically.

75 Hard is just what it sounds like – it’s a 75-day program that is designed to be hard. The rules are few and simple, though:

  1. Drink 1 gallon of water a day. It has to be plain water, so the water that you put in your protein shake or tea, etc., doesn’t count. You can’t add fruit or flavoring.
  2. You have to do two 45-minute workouts a day, and at least one of them has to be outside. They also can’t be back-to-back workouts, so there has to be time in between each workout.
  3. You have to follow a diet. It can be a diet of your choosing, as long as it’s a healthy diet. There are ZERO cheat meals and NO alcohol.
  4. You have to read 10 pages of a non-fiction self-improvement/professional development book each day.
  5. Take a progress pic each day.

If you miss an item on the checklist or you cheat on your diet, you have to start over at Day 1.

When I first started thinking about doing the program, my brain immediately started coming up with reasons why I couldn’t do it. A gallon of water is too much; I have a hard enough time drinking half of my body weight. A workout outside during an Iowa winter sounds awful. We never know from day to day if we’re going to have a snowstorm, an ice storm, frigid temperatures, rain, or sunshine. I can’t go 75 days without a glass of wine or a cheat meal. Working out twice a day EVERY day for 75 days is just too much. What if I injure myself?

The creator of the program, Andy Frisella, says in his podcast that this is what our brain will do. When we are presented with something hard, our mind automatically starts rationalizing why we can’t do it. Years ago when I started to think that maybe I could run a marathon, my brain immediately started coming up with reasons why I couldn’t. I was scared. And when I first thought about doing 75 Hard, I was afraid. I was afraid of failing, I was afraid of being uncomfortable or inconvenienced. And then the more I thought about it, the more I thought that I want to at least try it.

After coming up with a game plan on how I’m going to do this program, I’m not just going to try it. I plan on completing this thing.

Here is my game plan:

  1. I’ve already started increasing my water intake and now that I’m making myself aware of how much water I’m drinking, I think drinking a gallon is completely doable. Today I ordered a gallon-sized water bottle so that I have a visible marker of how much farther I have to go that day. No stopping to remember, how many of these 32oz bottles of water did I drink? I know it will happen, especially on busy days. So each morning, I’ll fill my gallon jug and make sure it’s empty by the end of the day.
  2. I already get in a workout every morning, so now I just have to make sure it’s 45 minutes. Most of my workouts vary from 25-40 minutes a day, so I’ll just have to add on a bonus workout or a short walk or extra stretching on the treadmill. I’ll also need to give myself some extra time in the mornings which means getting up a bit earlier. The outside workout is the one that I think will be more challenging, especially in inclement weather, but I think the easiest thing will be to walk during my lunch hour. If the day gets too busy with work, then I’ll walk after work when I get home. If it’s a nice weekend day, my husband and I could hike or go on a bike ride. I will have 2 days a week when my workouts won’t be strenuous so that I don’t injure myself, so I’ll do yoga or stretching, or just a walk outside or on the treadmill.
  3. The diet that I will follow will be a whole foods, plant-based diet. While I eat that way most of the time, I’ve been eating eggs and cheese at times, and I eat way too many cheat meals, so with this diet, it will 100% vegan with only healthy, whole foods. No processed junk. No alcohol. No fried foods.
  4. I’m not concerned about reading 10 pages a day, since I read all of the time. I love personal development books, so I’m looking forward to this part.
  5. I’ve been researching 75 Hard a lot and one of the most common mistakes that people make is forgetting to take their daily progress picture. My plan is to do this when I put my workout clothes on in the morning.

Now that I’ve been doing some research, reading posts on social media by those who are successfully completing the program, and putting my own game plan in place, I feel prepared mentally enough that I’m going to start February 1st. There’s no optimal time to start and I feel like if I wait until the spring when the weather is nicer, I’ll talk myself out of it. This program is meant to be hard and challenging and for me, going for a walk outside during inclement weather is going to be really tough for me and if I can overcome that and embrace the suck, I’m going to feel really accomplished.

I think it’s important to know your “why” before committing to a program like this. Yes, it would be nice to lose some more belly fat, but the main reason I’m doing this is to prove to myself that I can be disciplined and stick to something for an extended period of time. I’ve been so frustrated with myself over the last couple of years that I can’t seem to stick to healthy, clean eating. I’ve been working out with so many awesome programs and yet I feel like my results haven’t been as good as they could be because I can’t commit to eating healthy. One cheat meal a week often turns into three or four and one glass of wine will turn into a few. I’m tired of starting something and then as soon as things feel hard, I fall off track. I can’t resist the slightest temptation and find a rationalization for eating junk or having that extra glass of wine. I know I’m capable of more. I know that my mental toughness is stronger than that.

Andy Frisella says that this is not a fitness challenge. This is a program to build mental toughness. Every person that comes out of this program is transformed, not just physically, but mentally as well.

In the meantime, I’ll continue to build up my water intake and just mentally plan, plan, and then plan some more, but honestly, I just want February 1st to get here so that I can start!

May your glass always be full,


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