75 Hard Again and Post COVID updates

Okay, my friends, we are doing 75 Hard again. I loved it so much the first time, I figured why not start the New Year with it! I am also recovering from covid. I was not super ill but there one month since symptoms first showed and I am still recovering. So this challenge seems like a great way to “detox” myself from bad habits I get into while sick and from not paying attention to my food and exercise over the last month. Though truthfully it has been a bit longer, covid is just a convenient excuse.

So here we go again!

Starting off point:

Weight: 76.5 Kg

Body Fat %: 28.8%


Workout:

2 workouts a day, minimum 45 minutes, 1 outside, minimum 3 hours apart.

Here’s the plan:

Weight Training:

Continuing on with my PUSH/PULL/LEG split. Three days on, one day off. This is an 8 day cycle, so 5 or 6 resistance training sessions a week.

Yoga:

On days without resistance training, I will be doing yoga. I might make it more frequent but not committing just yet.

Outdoor Training:

I am alternating between walks, and walk/jog intervals. On push and rest days from weights, I will be doing my jog intervals, and walking on the other days. Minimum 45 minutes and outside.

Other:

I will be continuing with my martial arts training but this will be separate from the 75 hard. I have jogging and weight training goals. (More on that another time)

Teaching:

Since gyms are closed at the moment, I am only teaching private sessions, so I will have to make myself move more throughout the day.


Eating Protocol:

My “diet” is going to be very simple, under 1800 calories a day, clean food. That’s it. You know me, I like to play around with my macros (not that it makes a difference, really, a calorie is a calorie). For the 75 days I likely will be playing around with them, but not committing to one ratio for the entire time.

There will be no alcohol, no sweets, and no cheats.


Water:

F*cking water… 4 Litres a day! The good side to this time, vs last time, I am a bit more accustomed to drinking more and while it will inevitably still be very difficult, it’ll be easier than the first time. I do have to be careful, upon starting this challenge (while writing this I am in Day 3) I found the water overfilled me, and my eating suffered, meaning I ate very little and with the amount of exercise involved, that is not a good plan!


Reading:

I still have a bunch of books to read. Not the sort of entrepreneurial style that is suggested for 75 Hard but rather ones that are relevant to my own self development. Think fitness, health, martial arts, well being, housekeeping… you get the idea. I keep track via GoodReads.


Progress Picture:

Take a picture every single day. Unfortunately I started with pictures in my bathroom, which is not terribly pretty. I really need to invest in a full length mirror for my bedroom… Anyway, picture every day 🙂


Some Thoughts Before Starting This Time:

This time is a little different than the first time, obviously. The knowledge that I have already done this challenge might actually be more of an obstacle than a benefit. I tend to get lazy when it is something I have already done. I will overcome this during the challenge, but figured I should mention it anyway.

After completing the challenge the first time, I started reading more about other people’s experiences with 75Hard. I can see where their criticisms come from. This is not a sustainable plan. My understanding, however, is that sustainability was never the intention. It is a challenge, not a lifestyle.

Looking back on the first experience, it was great, I did feel good throughout, but it did feel very isolating. Was that a consequence of the challenge or living through a pandemic? I don’t have the answer. What I do know, is that this challenge will likely save my mental health through this wave of covid chaos, because I need something to go hardcore with, something healthy and not alcohol or other substances. So going to go crazy with the health kick instead.

November Monthly Goals

Okay, so as much as I need a bunch of variety in my check ins and goals, this whole two week thing is just not working out for me, so I have got to change it to something a little more consistent but still having some opportunities for change.

The colder weather is here-ish and that means getting into the habit of dealing with the cold and still doing outdoor workouts or activities. Among the many things I took away from my experience with 75Hard, was the daily outdoor activity. The last few months, though I have been doing some training outdoors, it has not been daily. So let’s bring that shit back. And make it more of a habit before the full force of winter months freezingness hits me.

Let’s get into it

Starting off points:

Weight: 74.0 kg

Body Fat Percentage: 27.4

VO2 Max: 44

Stats are from November 2nd, 2021. (Yes, I put on a good chunk of weight since the end of 75Hard, it was to be expecting, plus add in a month (or two) of not tracking and yeah, weight goes up.


The Plan:

Movement:

Resistance/Weight Training:

Going back to my PPL (Pull, Push, Legs), I was not enjoying my previous workout. This seems to be the style of training I enjoy the most. 3 days on, 1 day off, repeat.

I am following a strict warm up session, comprised mostly of body weight exercises, think push ups, walking lunges, rows, etc. After I have completed the warm up, I am moving on to 3 plyometric exercises related to the specific day, pull, push or legs. Think box jumps on leg day. That sort of thing.

Cardio/Aerobic:

Every day! I don’t add enough proper cardio, like getting the heart rate up high cardio. I do a lot of movement, and that it wonderful, however, I am a cardiac patient, I am a person who needs their heart to be in optimal shape for the likely, probably inevitable time that some part of my heart decides to fail again. Yes, feeling kind of dark these days. I am going with it!

So what will this look like? Kickboxing class on Mondays. On Tuesdays I have my karate class, however, I have noticed that there are many ups and downs with my heart rate during these classes. Which makes sense, we are learning as well as doing. Sometimes there are moments when I spend time writing rather than jumping around. So, on Tuesdays I will add in an extra 20 minutes of steady state cardio somewhere. Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays will be a variety of some sort of cardio. I have no classes (other than the ones I am teaching) so maybe some cardio machines, elliptical, rower, bike, or some HIIT, heavy bag training, hardcore karate practice, that sort of thing. You get the idea. Jogging intervals.

Jogging:

3 days a week, I will be doing some jogging intervals. Working up to longer steady jogs. This will be the cardio for the day. The days are not specific since they will be my rest days and one more during the week, probably some push days. The intervals are for 500m at a time, walking 250m in between. There are 7 intervals, something like that.

Walking:

Aiming for a simple 3k of walking on days I am not jogging. I like getting outside for walks and want to create the habit of walking daily even in the sh*tty weather.

Steps:

Going for the daily 10,000 steps. Arbitrary number and likely not difficult to hit especially with the amount of movement I am planning. That being said, I like having a step goal so keeping it there.

Yoga:

Is this the month where I succeed in daily yoga? Hopefully. Following the daily plan outline by Yoga with Adrienne, cause she is awesome.


Fuel:

Calories:

Going to be counting everything this month. The goal is to between 1,500 and 1,800 calories a day. Minimal snacking unless I am hungry.

Macronutrients:

Protein:

35%

Carbohydrates:

35%

Fats:

30%

Water:

Going for 3L a day.


Thoughts Before Starting:

I have been lazy, like LAZY lately when it comes to my food. Exercise and movement have never been issues for me but food, it is a struggle when I stop tracking carefully. I tend to over eat, and eat garbage when I am not tracking. So getting back into the proper mindset of nourishing my body rather than finding something convenient.

I have a flu shot scheduled for the first day of this month, last year the shot took me out for almost a week. Hopefully this year it will be different.

I forgot to weigh in prior to coffee and breakfast eating, so stats will be retroactively added after this post. I will date it on top.

Week 41 and 42: The Plan

So I am starting this post a little bit ahead of time. These last weeks, months have been a little hectic. Yondan exam is now complete so I have time to focus once again on this. (Was I using my Yondan exam as an excuse to slack off, probably, but I am okay with that.)

Unfortunately during the last little bit I have managed to put on some weight. Not an insane amount but enough that I was like “B*tch, get yourself together!” So here I am getting myself together yet again. There are a couple of things I have learned during this brief and stressful reprieve.

Staring Off Points:

Weight:

Body Fat:

VO2 Max:


The Plan:

Movement:

Resistance Training:

I have a newish 5 day workout routine I had started prior to super exam prep. Each day focused on a different aspect of weight training, i.e., hypertrophy, endurance, power, explosivity, etc. So I will be focused there. My rest days are Tuesdays and Fridays. I am hoping it will not kill me too much after a two week break, but so far it has been pretty good to me. Fire in my calves and hamstrings but that is to be expected.

Cardio:

I would like a minimum of 20 minutes higher intensity cardio. As previously stated the walking is not doing enough for my heart and I would like to get it pumping a little bit more. The good part about my resistance training program at the moment is that it does have a certain cardiovascular component but I would like to add a little more. Especially with the weight gain, I would like to burn that out sooner rather than later. If I thought I could manage to run everyday I would. But I seem to be very prone to straining muscles during jogs, so I need another plan as well.

Step:

We are set back to the 10,000 steps, I missed a few days and decided that my streak did not need to be for 12,000. Went back to 10,000.

Walking:

I will add in some walk-jog intervals, and the days without jogging I will continue to aim for 5km of walking. I think this number works the best for me. Shorter and I feel like I have not accomplished anything. I don’t know why. Maybe my psyche is too attached to spreadsheets.

Jogging:

The goal here is three times a week. It will replace my walk for that day. It will be in intervals as I still cannot go straight jogging for any extended period of time. Instead of time intervals, I am focusing on distance. 500 meters jogging, 500 meters walking. Repeat 5 times. I will be slow increasing the jogging distance and decreasing the walking/recovery distance.

Karate:

The goal continues to be a daily practice. Unlike exam preparation though, this will be more focused on readying my kata for demonstration. I figure 15 minutes daily should be good for the moment. I will add more material when time permits.

Beyond teaching classes, I have my own weekly 90 minute class. This tends to be rather intense.

Yoga and Stretching:

Again, I want this to be a habit so badly. One of these days I will get it! I am going to start each day with a 10ish minute session of yoga. Before coffee… Should be interesting. I will add a post workout stretching routine and on occasion add in a longer session of yoga.

Fuel:

Calories:

Aiming for between 1500 and 1800 calories a day. Recording everything I am eating, I have been a bit lazy in this regard.

Protein

35%

Carbs

35%

Fats

30%

Water:

Aim is 3L per day.


Plan by Day

ActivityMondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFridaySaturdaySunday
Yoga10-15 mins10-15 mins10-15 mins10-15 mins10-15 mins10-15 mins10-15 mins
Weight TrainingConditioningStrengthEndurancePowerSpeed
Walk5km5km5km5km
JogIntervalsIntervalsIntervals
Added Cardio*Kickboxing ClassKarate ClassEllipticalHeavy BagSkipping

Finished #75Hard

What a crazy experience! Seriously. I cannot believe the transformation, not just the physical change, that was going to happen anyway, the mental, psychological, emotional changes have been numerous. Here’s to them staying!

Reflections on My Initial Thoughts

The Workouts:

I did not add as much cardio focused workouts as I had initially planned. Instead there was a lot of yoga. Well, a lot is subjective. A lot of yoga for me. I actually found that this was extremely helpful with my joints and helped me relax at the end of the day, even with my hatred of yoga. Hatred might be too strong of a word. My displeasure in doing yoga.

Unfortunately, there was little to no jogging or running. My joints were just having none of it and the heat didn’t help either. I did spend a good amount of time with the elliptical.

I aimed to walk about 5k every day, managed it most days, some days I very much surpassed that number. My strength workouts were three days on, one days off. Active rest days were yoga and/or the elliptical and some heavy bag work. Forty-five minutes of heavy bag work was not going to happen.

Unlike my initial plan, I did not do abs every day. Ab were definitely a focus when doing my weight training and I did participate in several abs classes during the last 75 days.

Typical Day:

Weights (Pull/Push/Leg)

Walk (minimum 5 kilometres)

Yoga (on non weight lifting days)

Kickboxing (weekly, except August)

The Diet:

The diet part of my 75Hard challenge was simple. Under 1650 calories and a minimum of 130 grams of protein daily. I hit this every day. The last month however, I did have to increase my intake to under 1750 calories and aim for 160 grams of protein.

My workouts, and ability to move my body increased so much in intensity that without the calorie increase, I was a mess. Brain fog, poor muscle control, all those markers for under eating. So instead of working out lighter, I increased my calories (side not, since finishing my 75Hard, I have increased my calories again and am still steadily losing weight, so I probably should have increased it earlier.).

I ate clean the whole time, with the exception of protein powder. I know some people argue about whether protein powder should be considered clean. Most meal were made by me, in fact there was only a handful, like 3 meals where I actually ate out the entire time. When I did it was steak and veg or one time where I went to a vegan restaurant (actually amazing!).

Meal from Day 1

No Cheat Meals and No Alcohol:

75 days without alcohol, during the summer months. I did it. It was actually surprisingly easy. I haven’t been having much to drink this year since I started counting my calories, so it does not feel like a massive accomplishment. I am, however, very excited for my son and I to go out for our first drink together. We could have last year, but the cov.

No cheat meals was a surprise. What I mean by that, in the past food has always been a comfort. It’s been easy to eat my feelings and shove them down by putting a hefty cheesecake on top. I expected my mental state to suffer without this comfort and am surprised and delighted that this was not the case. Granted, most meals were made at home by me, that might be the trick. I am looking forward to my first dessert since 75 hard but I am also not in a particular rush to have it.

Water:

Water was/is my enemy. My body never adapted to the 4L consumption. Every night I was up peeing. More than once. But my skin felt awesome the whole time, and I rarely woke up feeling dehydrated.

This was the part that kept me up. I would often be missing water and would need to chug a whole bunch before finally resting my head.

Reading:

OMG did I love this part. I had genuinely forgotten how much I enjoy reading. While I did get woken up by a book cover falling to my head cause I fell asleep reading, it was great. I read through a ton of books, all related to training, martial arts and self discovery. It’s been truly amazing.

Books I finished during this venture:

Fight Like a Physicist: The Incredible Science Behind Martial Arts
The Essence of Aikido: Spiritual Teachings of Morihei Ueshiba
Karate of Okinawa Building Warrior Spirit With Gan Soku Tanden Riki
Functional Training and Beyond: Building the Ultimate Superfunctional Body and Mind
The Way of Energy: Mastering the Chinese Art of Internal Strength with Chi Kung Exercise


Nicole’s favorite books »

I am currently reading Endure. I started it a few days ago and will continue reading it this month.

Progress Picture:

A picture is worth a thousand words right?

Okay. I spent like ten minutes trying to figure out why they are not in the same position when I was sooooo anal retentive about standing on the same tiles. I changed phone in between. So that explains that. Anyway, you can definitely see some rather significant body composition changes.

We will discuss the physical and psychological changes shortly.


What Has Changed Since Starting 75Hard?

So let’s start with the easiest to measure, measurements and figures and all that.

MeasurementDay 1Day 76Change
Weight80.7 kg70.8 kg-9.9 kg
Body Fat %31.225.6-5.6%
Muscle %28.932.5+3.6%
Bone %3.74+0.3%
VO2 Max3944+5
Waist77 cm72-7 cm
Hips97 cm92.5-4.5 cm
Resting Heart Rate61 bpm55 bpm-6 bpm
BMI29.625.9-3.7
Using Day 76 since it is the first day following the 75Hard tasks. I did the same with the picture.

Lots of great body changes. Would this have happened without 75Hard? Yeah, probably. A little slower perhaps but yeah, it would have happened.

But this isn’t a weight loss challenge

It is not a weight loss, health challenge, it really is not. Working out, eating well, yeah, we all know to do that. The biggest changing were psychological, emotional, habit changes.

What Else Changed For Me

The beginning of this adventure brought with it very few emotional, psychological changes. It was mostly about accomplishing the specific tasks. I understand why the duration is 75 days. It is rather simple, comparatively speaking to perform a daily routine for 10, 20, even 30 days. The changes that went beyond physical took a significantly longer time to manifest. It was not until the second half of the challenge that I began to notice these changes.

My confidence increased significantly. I am not a person who has difficulty finding confidence when necessary, however, my inner dialogue is a little harsher than how I project. What I found is that throughout this challenge, my inner dialogue changed to match my projections. There were rough days where self confidence was in the toilet but they were short lived and spaced apart. My mental health is something I generally struggle with and for me (important, FOR ME, not everyone will react in the same way), this challenge helped bring about a certain balance in my state of mind. No signs of depression at all. This borders on miraculous.

I even convinced myself to clean my depression nest from last year. I don’t know if anyone else does this. When I get depressed, or down, or am just in a bad place, I tend to surround myself with sh*t. Like, holding on to 87 empty shampoo bottles, or leaving utensils close by to be washed “later”. This sort of thing. So basically, when I start recovering from my bouts of depression, I have to deal with a ton of housekeeping, which in turn makes me more depressed and re-triggers. As such, I tend to just learn to live with the mess, my brain stops seeing it and I go about my stuff. It’s complicated, I have unhealthy coping mechanisms sometimes. Anyway, that can be a whole post on its own. What I am trying, ever so slowly apparently, to get at is that during my 75 Hard experience, I started cleaning, clear, scrubbing and all that stuff. Not because I felt I had to, but rather because it did not feel hard or challenging, or triggering to do so. My mind was/is strong enough to accept that this is depression Nicole behaviour and I am not there right now, so let’s fix it. That may sound a little bizarre and explaining it is not simple but I tried.

I watched little to no television. Now, I don’t know that this is an improvement, or what. But I found it interesting that during this challenge, I very rarely watched an episode or film. There was some YouTube watching though. I don’t know why this is. Perhaps because if I had the time, reading was the priority during this time. I don’t know. But this little to no television was actually a delight. I accomplished much more than I normally would. I don’t know how this related to mental toughness, or psychological wellbeing but it feels somewhat related by I can’t seem to connect the dots.

The rediscovery of a love of reading. I have rarely made time for reading in the past few years. This challenge was the perfect thing to remind me. Now I cannot get enough. It is fantastic.

With the reading came the need for silence. This gave me a new found appreciation/tolerance of my ticking valve. Forcing myself to sit in silence with the ticks while I read was actually exactly what I needed. Does it still make me mental? Absolutely but less so.

There are other tiny changes, things that only I or people I am very close to would notice. Giving you some broad strokes here. And now…


Would I Recommend #75Hard

So look, this challenge was hard. There are some criticisms out on the interwebs, vlogs, and such. I do believe that this is not a challenge for everyone. I think anyone could accomplish it, but do I believe everyone should try it? No. I can see how for some it would encourage disordered eating, or exercise, how it could drain the life out of you, how it would be horrible to the point of just not worth it….

If you are wanting to try it as a means to lose weight or improve your exercise regime, this is not the ideal challenge. There are many challenges out there that are not as harsh and not as psychologically taxing. Remember, this is a MENTAL TOUGHNESS challenge.

I would recommend thinking about whether you want to take the challenge and outline your reasons for doing it. This does not have to be long. But just make sure you think about it before plunging in.

Thoughts if you take the challenge

Get your water in early. Late night water marathons make for mid-night peeing marathons.

Plan your diet to be something that is adaptable. Don’t start a new diet or a fad diet.

Find exercises you love or try new exercises regularly. Yoga and walking are your friend.

Pick books that relate to your life. I avoided finance, entrepreneur books because really, I have little to no interest.

Finally, be willing to forgive yourself if you need to start over. Self compassion is available in any situation!

Week 34 and 35: Plan

Now that my 75Hard Challenge is complete, we are back to bi-weekly plans. I went back through my post and finally got all the dates figured out, I was not as twisted as I thought I was. Anyway, neither here nor there. So let’s figure out what to do for these upcoming weeks.

Starting Off:

Weight: 69.8 kg

Body Fat %: 25.1

VO2 Max: 44

I have decided to no longer measure waist and hip circumference with each bi-weekly plan, I will be saving it for once a month during the monthly recap.


The Plan:

Movement:

Karate:

A minimum of 20 minutes a day. There is currently a challenge happening with my karate organization so that alone will take care of this. I also have an exam to prepare for so there will be lots of training.

Steps:

11,000 daily steps minimum.

Weight Training:

Continuing with my Pull, Push, Legs routine. Three days on, one rest day, repeat.

Walking:

The goal is to continue with the pace set by the 75Hard Challenge and continue doing about 5 km everyday. It takes less than an hour usually, and well worth making the time for.

Cardio:

Walking doesn’t quite get the heart rate up like it used to, so I would like to aim at another 20 minutes of dedicated cardio every other day, ideally everyday but there are only so many hour in a day and I seem to be running low on time.

Yoga and Stretching:

Every single day, there is no time factor. Could be 45 minutes, could be 15, the point is just to get into a daily routine with it. I am debating whether to add it as a morning or evening thing. I will be playing around with it and see what works best.


Fuel:

Calories:

Aiming for around 1800 calories a day.

Macro Distribution:

Carbs:

40%

Fats:

20%

Proteins:

40%

Water:

Aiming for a simple 2L a day.


#75Hard: The First Two Weeks

I have made it through the first two weeks of #75Hard. If you are not sure what I am talking about check out this post about my 75Hard journey.

Let’s look at all the mandates of the challenge and see how each one is going rather than me babbling on with no where to go. I will do that later in the post.

Just to add a little side note about this post. By the time I actually completed

Workouts:

As mentioned in the previous post, everyday there needs to be 2 workouts, one outside, spaced 3 hours apart and one must be done outside. With this current heat wave, trust me when I say the outdoors have been a struggle. Heart condition, swelling, all that fun stuff really likes to come out and play in the humid heat. Anyway, that is neither here nor there. It’s been rough, but going out at night has definitely helped.

This part of the challenge has not been terribly difficult, other than the aforementioned heat issues. I was already basically doing two a days and one was usually outside. I tweaked the timing and voila, it worked out. Not including my teaching or training other individuals in my workouts is perfect. I decided rather than try to do the 3 hour spacing from my teaching or leading classes, I would time it to be three hours from my first workout. Which logically makes sense but part of me thought maybe I was cheating the experience of 75 Hard by doing so, but there is literally not enough hours in the day to make that happen.

On days where I am not weight training, because those muscles still need a rest day, my friends, challenge or no, I did an hour of yoga for one and I did about 45 minutes of heavy bag training. Yesterday I double walked and did an ab class for 30 minutes.

The ab workout has been a bit of an issue for me somehow. I keep forgetting to add it in and end up doing ten minutes of abs work before bed. At least I am getting it in, but I would like it to flow more naturally. By the end of my lifting sessions, I am exhausted and forget. Going to have to push the abs a little more. Only because I like doing abs. I have several compound movements that work my abs anyway, so there is not a “need” for me to focus on my abs training, but I do find that it helps my back and strengthens my control when doing my martial arts training.

Diet:

I have not cheated, there has been no alcohol, no chocolate (other than protein powder), no pastries, cakes or cookies, etc. Granted I was following this before, but still let’s enjoy the moment of success. I have kept my calories under 1650, actually closer to 1500. I did start to split my meals up. I am now doing 5 meals every day to avoid some stomach/digesting issues I have been dealing with. (Not related to this challenge, but the challenge made it clearer.)

Water:

4 Liters every day, at least for the last ten days. What have I noticed? I pee a lot. Like a lot a lot. I have had to pause my walks to take care of things. I thought I had the timing down but looks like no!

I find myself chugging down one litre of water at a time. I am pretty sure this kind of goes against the idea behind the water, like it should be drank consistently throughout the day. This is working for me and I am keeping it going.

Reading:

I actually forgot how much I enjoy reading before bed. I struggled with focusing solely on the reading. I “need” background noise. My heart ticking is very annoying to listen to. I don’t think I have discussed my mechanical valve here yet, we will. Anyway, constant ticking noise in my head. I made an effort and have successfully read without adding in background noise, like a podcast or music. Ten pages is a great number, a few days I read more. It’s been wonderful. I managed to complete my first book and am now looking for a second one. I am sure there are a few on my shelf however I am thinking I will check out my local bookstore to see what they may have.

Daily Progress Picture

I have taken an image every day. Usually at the gym, a few times I completely forgot and had to do it from home (very bad lighting and not a large mirror). I don’t think I will be posting these until the end of the challenge. I think it will be far more dramatic in a before and after style of progress picture. I may change my mind, we’ll see.


Some Thoughts So Far

I managed to gain weight the first week. How? Who the f*ck knows? I am thinking it was the increased water intake combined with humidity. It was actually a significant number like over 2 kg over the course of a day. It has since evaporated or whatever, and weight loss has since continued. I cannot possibly explain to you have frustrating that was. Rationally, I understand fluctuations are normal and increased water intake, humidity, and cardiac patient usually equals weight gain from water retention. But when the scale goes up, all attempts at rational thought tend to fly out the window. I even had moments of “should I decrease my calories even more?” I did not because that would be a first class ticket to coocoo town. I don’t like visiting there.

Speaking of calories, I am actually thinking mine are too low. But because of that weight gain, I cannot tell what the trend is. So I am going to continue watching. Ideally, I want to only be dropping body fat and not start eating into my muscle mass. I have far less room to play with lower calories than I did when I started this journey. In looking at my calculated TDEE, (not completely accurate, by the way, you have to do your own experimenting to really get proper insight) I should be consuming something like 750 calories more than I am currently eating. Since TDEE calculators are not super accurate I am not going to change just yet. I will be watching the scale to see, I would like to avoid losing more than 1 kg a week.

So let’s take a moment to get a little personal… The constipation is a real issue. I don’t understand it. I am drinking tons of water, getting lots of fibre and still things are not on track. They are stuck in the track. I am at a loss in what to do here. I have changed my eating so that I am eating more frequently.

I have not been doing any IG story check-ins, cause I am a bad person. This week I will start. I don’t really want to load up my feed with just 75Hard stuff, and this seems like a great opportunity to learn how to use stories. Yes, I am an old lady. I don’t know how social media works.


Summaries from the Last Two Weeks

I know these are not too exciting at the moment, working on my excitement skills as we speak.

See you in the next one.

Nic

Time for #75Hard

You may have seen the 75 Hard Challenge floating around the interwebs lately. It has been around for a while but seems to have ramped up in popularity since COVID. That’s neither here nor there. This is a challenge where the end goal is mental fortitude. There seems to be added biproducts, like weight loss. So let’s get into this.

What is it?

What is it going to look like for me?

Why do this?

Starting thoughts.

What is 75 Hard?

75 Hard is a list of daily behaviours that need to be done every single day for 75 days straight. Any deviation results in starting over to Day 1.

Workout Twice a day:

Every day you must work out twice. One of those must be outside (regardless of the weather). Some are saying they should be spaced no less than 3 hours apart. Each workout is a minimum of 45 minutes. The workouts will depend on your current fitness level. If you are not an athlete, and let’s face it, few of us are, you will not be performing 2 45 minute intense workouts. Walk outside, yoga, elliptical, dancing, whatever, find a workout that suits your current fitness level. Do not go out there and start doing plyometrics and ridiculous calisthenics if you can’t perform them properly. The risk of injury is high. Adapt to what you can.

Follow a diet:

Any diet. Just have a concrete plan that you will not deviate from for the entirety of the 75 days. This can be some sort of popular eating protocol like keto, paleo, whole-30 etc. Find something that suits your goals. If you want to gain weight, don’t plan a calorie deficit. And vise versa. There are no cheat days, and no alcohol. So, if your plan is to go keto and you ate 40% of your macros as carbs, well, guess what? You are starting over.

Drink 4L of Water:

Everyday you must consume a gallon (4 Litres) of water. This is plain water, not juice, not sports drink, water. Like from the tap.

Read 10 Pages of a Non-Fiction Book:

It may not seem like a lot but carving out the time to read 10 pages every single day. This cannot be an audio book. Yes, it has to be non-fiction. What that means to you. Some people are saying must be self-help or entrepreneurial, just pick a book and read it.

Daily Picture:

Take a daily progress picture. Post it or don’t, doesn’t matter. What matters is that you can reflect on the changes.

Learn more about 75 Hard from the creator:


75 Hard for Me:

Starts June 1st, 2021.

So for the challenge this is my plan:

The workouts:

I will be doing my weight training at the same schedule. 3 days on, 1 day off. On weight rest days I will be performing some other sort of workout, like heavy bag training, elliptical, rowing (there is no way I can row for 45 minutes), we will see what the rest days will look like.

The outdoor workout will be walking/jogging. This is my usual thing anyway so not much change other than committing to the jogging. I watch a friend of mine run by me the other day while on my walk and I was like “Damn, I wanna do that too.” So I am doing it too. Plus there are many other people in my circle that have taken up running, and I find it incredibly inspirational, so I am doing it too! We just have to hope my knees decide to cooperate.

One of these two work out will include ab specific exercises. I have been neglecting my abs lately and would like to put some more focus on them.

Added information for the workouts. If I am leading a class, regardless of how many calories or what my heart rate is at the time, it does not count toward my workouts.

How will this effect my step counting? Well, I am hoping to continue reaching my goal of 11,000 steps per day, so if I am short, I will be getting more steps in. That’s just the way it is.

Diet:

So, here is where I am going to have some trouble. Not in the execution of the task but rather finding something I can stick to the entire time that has enough calories for me to increase my muscle mass and decrease my body fat percentage. Since I don’t know how many more calories my body will need with the increased expenditure, I am going to have to make a guess and hope it will be a good amount for me to not crash and burn.

The plan is going to be simple. I am not aiming for a specific macro nutrient distribution. I am going to create a maximum calorie consumption and a minimum protein requirement.

So 1650 kcal is the maximum daily. I am going into this feeling confident in that number, however, I am adding a wrinkle, if this is not sufficient to run my body on, I will up it but will keep the same idea of a maximum calorie consumption. I just know that if I start burning 3000 calories a day and am only eating say 1500, it is going to be bad. I will use my weight loss and muscle percentage to keep track. I will be consuming a minimum of 130 grams of protein daily.

To sum up: 1650 Calories a day made up of a minimum of 130 grams of protein.

Water:

I see we meet again, my arch nemesis. If there is one place that I see being the BIGGEST challenge for me, it is the water consumption. In case you have not been following my journey, water and I struggle to be together often enough. 4 Litres is a F*CK ton of water. I guess I will be peeing all the time. (might need to buy something to run with).

I am going to break this down into manageable increments. Say 4 shots of 1L at a time. I will set up timers and just basically hope for the best and make sure the majority of my water is consumed way before bedtime.

Reading:

This part of the challenge works out really well because I have been wanting to add some reading time to my daily life. I have not decided which book I will be starting with, but since it begins tomorrow I better hurry up.

Progress Picture:

Shouldn’t be an issue for me.


Why Do 75 Hard?

This is not about weight loss. This is about creating a mental toughness that I lack in certain aspects of my life. I would like to gain the ability to do all the things. Right now, I am great with following eating plans, working out, those things that are necessary for weight loss. In the future, I want to be good at the things that will go beyond my wellness journey. Like marketing my business. Keeping my house clean (my house surfers when I “run out of time”). I would like to take control of my time management, and just all around prove to myself that this is something I can do. I am a sucker for a challenge.

For those of you thinking about joining on this challenge, please find your why. Like with weight loss, it is important to remember why you are doing this. This challenge is not meant to be sustainable. It is not meant to be something you implement in your daily life. It is a challenge to overcome. This is a sprint. Where as most things in life are a marathon.


Starting thoughts

There is not much to say other than water…. I am going to have a tough time there. The reading might prove to be a bigger challenge than I am giving it credit for right now, since it is something new to add in. Ultimately, I am excited to see how this will go and if I can make it the whole 75 days the first time around without starting over. Fingers crossed.


Be sure to follow my IG account for daily check ins. These will be in my stories (are they stories on Insta? I don’t even know. Might need a book on such things). I will try and cross-post on Facebook as well, and do recaps on Twitter.

Dates All Twisted

All right my friends, I seem to have all my days twisted. You see what happens when you don’t remain consistent. This applies to so many things and apparently journaling as well. So here’s the thing. I could go back and calculate what week we are actually at, and I probably will at some point. (Side note: I did check it out and I seem to be a week off. This is the 21st week of the year and I started this journey very close to New Years). However, I think the bi-weekly changes are coming to a close. I have a pretty solid understanding of how my body responds to a variety of stimuli.

Now is this to say my journey is finished? No! Now that I have a clearer picture I can play around with my goals and challenge on a more lengthy timeline. I am thinking month to month with a weekly check in. Check ins will not be for weight, but rather for the other challenges outlined for the month.

This is going to be a lot of new, since my intention come June 1st was to follow the #75Hard trend. I know, but I am a sucker for a good challenge. I am actually adding in a whole series of challenges for clients and members of the gym. Anyway, not related really. I will write out the idea behind 75 Hard or you can google, some great stuff comes up, and full disclosure, some not so great stuff. Like anything really. This is not a post about 75 Hard this is more to let you know that I am all screwed up with my dates and week counting and all that. I wanted to be fully transparent.

I do have all my stats for every single day written down in my spreadsheet, so I didn’t take a little side journey. I think one two-week plan ended up being three without my realising the week had disappeared somewhere. That’s what happens when you get busy. Happy problems, I guess. I do love being busy. I actually thought we were on week 18. How? Blame Covid, or confinement or whatever.

It has also just come to my attention that I did not do an April Recap. I will work on that this week. I do have pictures, at least I am fairly certain I do. I should have it up just in time to do the May one… I might have to start vlogging instead of typing, always looks so much easiest. I am most certain it is not. Just seems like it would be nice to turn on a camera and go. I am fully aware more work and effort goes into it.

To tide you over, here is a beautiful picture of my supper this evening:

I didn’t do any filters or anything, just some raw deliciousness. Grilled chicken breast, plastic cheese on top. Sautéed Bok Choy with garlic. Oven roasted sweet potato and asparagus. Cal: 420

Well that is all I have for today. I don’t know how I got everything topsy turvy but it is what it is. Now to finish writing anything post about the lessons I have learned about weight loss.

Nic

Week 17 and 18: Plan

I know I have not posted the previous weeks and the week 14 and 15 done post. Shit got busy. However I am working on putting them together I did have a set of goals throughout those weeks and kept records, just haven’t put pen to paper, so to speak.

These next two weeks should be interesting with an eating protocol change and new resistance training plan. I am really looking forward to it actually.

Starting off:

Weight: 85.7 kg

Hips*: 106 cm

Waist*: 83 cm

Body Fat Percentage: 33.9%

VO2 Max: 37

*From May 2nd


The Plan

Movement:

Karate:

Aiming for thirty minutes per day focused on my own training.

Steps:

Minimum 11,000 steps every single day

Weight Training:

Changing my programme to a Push/Pull/Leg split. 6 different workouts. Three days on, followed by one day off, repeat. The workouts are about an hour each including warm up.

Ab Work:

Aiming for daily ab workout. Nothing structured per se but there should be some ab specific time in every day.

Walking:

Minimum 5 km every day. The goal is to do these outside as much as possible. With the warmer weather and later curfew it should be possible.

Cardio:

Trying to fit in cardio daily, beyond the walk that is. I am having some difficulty with time during the day. However, I would like to try. I am not committing to anything longer than 5 daily minutes (this is on top of the karate training). If a schedule starts to manifest, I will make loftier goals for the following weeks.

Yoga and Stretching:

No specific goal for now, however, making sure I add a little bit every day. As the weather warms up, it is perfect to work on flexibility.


Fuel:

Calories:

The goal is to remain below 1800 but above 1400. I know this is a big range. At the beginning of this weekly plan, my energy was way down. So I bumped up my calories and feel much better. My reasoning is so long as I stay below 1800 I am winning. Especially given the number of calories I am burning through every day.

Macro Distribution:

Changing this up a little. Rather than having a particular distribution for all macros, I am aiming for 140ish grams of protein per day. The remaining calories can be in whatever ratio that keeps me satiated.

Water:

Oh one day…. Aim 3L


Other Things:

School is finished… For the moment anyway. So this frees up a significant amount of time.

I will be teaching often, including a new Bootcamp Kickboxing class (so excited for this).

I will be participating in a Kickboxing class weekly.