I’ve been a qualified nutritionist for over 12 years and a personal trainer for 18 years, this was way before social media, fitpros and influencers existed as we know them today.
The principles and values I stand by today around food, fitness and health are the same as the ones I had even before I entered the health and wellbeing world.
For me, it’s all about HEALTH & how food and exercise make you feel!!
Over the years most of the time, I’ve embodied these values and practised what I preach.
However, in 2019 I got distracted by other stuff and allowed my health and wellbeing to suffer both physically and mentally, at the end of 2019 I decided that 2020 was the year that I got back on track and committed to myself that my health and wellbeing were going to be my number one focus, for the first five months of 2020 (01.01.2020 – 31.05.2020) I focused on upping the amount of activity I was doing as well as being more mindful about the food I was eating,
- Counted calories – No
- Tracked my macros – No
- Skipped meals – No
- Restricted my food intake – No
- Denied myself the food I want to eat – No
- Focused on weight – No
- Focused on measurements – No
All I’ve done to monitor my progress is simply to take pictures of myself in the same bikini each month, look at my health stats (mainly resting heart rate) and log how I feel generally.
This approach is the way I suggest to any of my clients, it’s slow and subtle but I feel leads to long-term sustainable health benefits.
Then during mid-May a friend mentioned something called #75Hard, it was created by a guy called Andy Frisella, after doing a bit of research I decided that I was going to give it a go, like with most things these days there are fans and critics and I can see both sides of the argument for this programme, let’s just say it’s not for the faint-hearted and if you are new to exercise I would recommend that you consult your GP to ensure it is safe for you to do.
The idea is that it builds:
The programme in itself is pretty simple, do a number of prescribed activities for 75 days, no deviation from these activities and if you don’t do any of the listed activities by bedtime then the following day you have to start on day one again!! The idea behind the programme is to build mental toughness and resilience!! It’s meant to be uncomfortable and inconvenient and that is what builds the strength of mind.
So the programme is:
- Eat a health diet – no specific diet was given but suggested that you eat based on the outcomes you want
- No alcohol or cheat/treats
- Drink 1 gallon water (4 litres)
- Do 2 x 45 minutes workouts (1 being outside)
- Read 10 pages of a personal development book (Does not include audiobooks)
- Take a progress picture
So for the diet I decided that I was going to cut out cake, sweet biscuits, chocolate, fried crisps (tyrrells crisps), sweets & ice cream, now none of these are inherently bad for you when eating as part of a well-balanced diet and I don’t eat these things very often, however, I just wanted to see if I could go without!
If this wasn’t enough I also added in to meditate for at least 15 minutes each day.
I started it on 1st June 2020, at the moment my level of work has been cut by about 70%, I felt like it was now or never to try something like this!! If I couldn’t make time in my day to do these things then I needed to have a very hard look at how I fill my days!!
I created my own tick sheet to mark off each activity each day and to track progress, seeing the boxes slowly but surely crossed off with no gaps was so motivating.
Was it hard? Yes, however, the things I thought I would struggle with were not the things I found hard.
I was concerned about the water intake – 4 litres is quite a lot of water, the government guidelines is to consume 2 litres, I was already drinking more than that anyway but 1 gallon just seemed a lot, however, I had a water bottle which holds 1.3 litres so I got into a routine of drinking one of these bottles by mid-day, another in the early afternoon and then the 3rd late afternoon & evening. This gave me 3.9l, the other 100ml was either drank when I first got up or before bed.
For the workouts I decided that one would be my normal workout and the other would be a walk, this mainly around where I live and I found a route that takes roughly 45-50 minutes to walk but doing this walk day in/day out became quite boring and at times I really didn’t want to do it but I just stuck in my earphones & whacked on some of my favourite tunes and got it done.
For the most part of the 75 days, I was doing my workouts at home with minimal equipment (I’ve got some light-ish dumbbells and a skipping rope) and of course my bodyweight. I stuck to Crossfit Witham’s programme where I could and adapted the workouts where I had to. Some days I ended up doing a lot more physical activity due to the current restrictions – for many years I’ve attended Intervals at Crossfit Witham, these are cardio-based workouts that usually have a 35/40 minute time cap, in normal circumstances, I could have just jumped on a piece of cardio kit to top up to the 45 minutes but the set up was that after our booked time slot we had to leave the gym to allow the next group to start, so I would drive home and do more exercise at home.
I decided to record some stats from my Fitbit to see what I achieved over the 75 days.
So on average each day, I did:
- Steps – 15,341
- Active minutes – 132
- Kilometres – 9.85km
- Floors climbed – 32
Your resting heart rate is often used as an indicator for health, the lower it is (within reason) the more efficient the heart is functioning therefore generally lowers your risk of heart disease and other illnesses. At the beginning of the year, my RHR was around 60 beats per minute, it is now around 54!!
I’ve also managed to save £187.50 as my Fitbit is linked to my bank account and every time I do over 10,000 steps in a day, my banking app automatically puts £2.50 into a savings pot and I hit this totally every single day for the 75 days!! I’m going to use this money to buy myself some new gym kit as a reward for completing the challenge.
Things I’ve learnt, none of these are new things just things that I choose to not practice/or neglect to recognise in myself:
- Deep down I already knew that doing something consistently leads to results, if you read about any successful business/individual then this is something that is said time and time again yet it’s something I struggle with even if the activity I’m doing brings we joy/happiness and doing me good. I can do something consistently for years & get a great benefit from it then just like that I stop doing it, yes life just gets in the way, I get caught up in my head with worry and fear, I get distracted!! This is also something I need to apply to my business and the marketing I do as when I look at it’s not surprising that at times it’s been a struggle to make the business work!
- When I have a clear focus, step by step activities & and endpoint I stick to it, again I know this as it’s just like having SMART goals – something I teach both my business and nutrition clients yet I don’t apply it to myself and my life.
- I am mentally strong & don’t let things get me down to for too long.
- When you focus on positive action you get positive results, over the 75 days I’ve had down days, wobbles but none of them felt as bad as they have done in the past.
- Your mind is both a simple and complex beast – mastering it is a life long journey, which will include painful emotional times but the lessons learnt will make you a better person overall and more able to handle challenging situations.
- Small actions – lead to be big results.
- Don’t allow your excuses to become bigger than your goals/vision.
Doing this challenge has been a bit of an experiment to show that you can get results quickly, however, these often aren’t sustainable and actually if you want to improve your health, fitness and wellbeing it’s a life long habit and there will be bumps in the road and as long as you pick yourself up, dust yourself down & carry on then make small changes you will see the benefit! It’s not about all or nothing!! My philosophy is life is for living, food is for eating!!
Here are my progress pictures, as you can see that the most progress I’ve made is the slow and steady 5 months before the challenge! And this is what I’ll go back to doing regular exercise, eating a well-balanced diet with no foods excluded, mediate often & ensure I get plenty of sleep!
I still don’t know how much weight or inches I’ve lost but I do know that I feel A LOT healthier, more comfortable in my own skin and I’m walking talker with more confidence & an inner strength that no kg/cm loss will give you (in my opinion)!! I will weigh myself at some point as I’m just interested.
I know that I still have a way to go to get to my goal of being as healthy as I can be and that’s ok like I often say to my clients, slow and steady wins the race in the end!! I know for sure that I WILL NOT do anything that will be detrimental to my mental and physical health just to look a certain way. I’m going to keep taking the monthly pictures for the rest of this year.
So what next… well a rest, a well-earned glass of wine and who knows!! Watch this space is all I can say!!