11 January, 2022
by Greg Buford
There's '"..."' because it's slightly watered down.
I need to start off by thanking my little, big brother, Ryan, for asking/calling me out to do this challenge with him. We had both decided it would be a fun challenge and agreed it’d be less fun for me as winter approached, because he’d be enjoying sunny California. Nonetheless, I was convinced and decided to give it a go.
Given the criteria I had to follow, I knew I would learn a thing or two while attempting this challenge and was sort of looking forward to it. Amongst the things that I considered would be obvious for me to learn or develop, were time management, discipline, sleep habits, and new and quick recipes. I knew for sure if I didn’t plan out my days meticulously, given how scatterbrained I can be, it would be very difficult to achieve everything required.
So off to planning I went and designated times for most things, but somehow those outdoor walks/runs/jump ropes and reading sessions often came too late, sometimes as late as 11p.m or 1a.m.
Of course, I knew my discipline would be tested with every donut, beer, and UberEats urge, but that was checked off rather easily. I feel like I have to give my former high school track coach, Coach Chamario, kudos for planting that seed of eating more mindfully and showing the correlation between your eating, your energy production, and energy output. His wisdom helped me curb my pop drinking to virtually nothing in high school, so I just had to revert back a little. Thanks Coach!
“75 days of outdoor activity will make you realize you haven't really been smelling the flowers”
In regards to the workouts, personally, I thought the indoor workouts were a piece of cake. But getting up and out every day, rain or shine, happy or sad, hot or cold, was such a drag at the beginning, the middle part, and the end. Like I legit woke up, like “screw this walking business”, but there I was getting my walk, run, bike, jump rope on regardless. Definitely made me tougher, in the sense that I’m not going to let myself down and it just has to get done, but also because I didn’t get the usual early seasonal cold.
Coming across the “On Purpose with Jay Shetty” podcast was a nice breathe of fresh air though. Every podcast was packed with tons of insight and goodies, which made the outdoor activity more bearable. I highly recommend!
When it came to the diet/cooking part, I knew this part would be tough, from the time aspect, because the diet I chose was the “freshly cooked” diet, which meant nothing that was already prepared. Given that I wasn’t used to cooking so frequently, nor had any option for taking a day off, I found myself cooking larger portions, meal prepping, and PLANNING. When nearly everything you eat needs to be prepared, you learn to have the food ready ahead of time if possible. Nothing quite like trying to make food decisions as your hanger starts kicking in. That’s not really a place you want to be. I do have to give a big shoutout to my UIC Human Nutrition Class for helping me be more kitchen savvy and allowing me not to experience any kitchen anxiety regardless of the recipe. My pasta, roasted veggies, and Jasmine Rice, not together, game has excelled to levels unimaginable*. Quick note, Jasmine Rice cooks in a fraction of the time as some other rice, tastes delicious, and can be used in a wide variety of dishes.
“finding time to pee so frequently... required more time and energy than you imagine. ”
I unexpectedly learned a couple things while attempting this challenge, which I’m sure can differ between people, but I was pleasantly surprised with my findings.
One thing that caught me off guard, was how I just thought the daily pictures were kind of vain and strictly a way to document your progress. Like that’s nice and all, but I thought every day was a bit much. That mindset soon changed, because I realized that even though I was progressing in my fitness every day, my body would not necessarily reflect it every day.
By documenting those changes and being able to differentiate how I felt, versus how I looked was eye-opening. When you look your best after a lazy workout, or look like you did nothing after feeling like you’ve exhausted yourself can be disheartening. At the end of the day, I feel like I grew to appreciate myself more every day, because your body can feel like it’s split in a million different pieces, but you’re stuck with that shit, so assemble and enjoy what Potato Head you put together!
“Puts a lot into perspective in regards to everyday activities and relationships that you do or don’t “have time” for. ”
The biggest things I learned were actually in the time after the challenge. Even though I took my time and got in my cheat meals, I no longer felt a craving for those foods and still found myself thinking with the #75Hard brain. In other words, it appeared as if my brain has somewhat rewired itself to make the healthier choices for some time longer and left me little desire for junk food. I still love me some gummies and ice cream though.
My last and most impactful thing I learned, for now, was an appreciation for the human capacity. It’s funny how full one can think their plate is, but yet still find time to meet your goals every day. Puts a lot into perspective in regards to everyday activities and relationships that you do or don’t “have time” for. Firstly, making time for the challenges themself is a task in its own right, but then finding time to pee so frequently, still have a social life, and maintain your sanity, required more time and energy than you imagine.
So after completing the challenge, I came across a set of rules that included a five-minute cold shower and a daily random act of kindness. Uhhh, if I decide to attempt this again, I'll toss in some cold showers, but I'm already nice AF on the daily to just about everybody... I'll add that one too though.
Now the moment you’ve been waiting for. Should you do the challenge as well? My answer is, I think everybody should try a realistic version of this that works for them. Finding 1.5 hours to workout or consume that much water every day just isn't feasible or healthy for everybody, but the ideas of practicing daily activity, mindful eating, proper hydration, acquisition of knowledge, self discipline, and time management are skills we all can refine and develop though. So find YOUR version, give it a go and lemme know!
*excuse the mirror. I swear it's clean now*