75 Hard | Mind and Body Transformation.

Dr. Lucas Hiller, PT, DPT

Posted 05.13.2021


Recently I completed a challenge called 75 HARD developed by Andy Frisella. I learned a lot about myself. As a physical therapist, I went to the extreme to place myself in my patient’s shoes to learn about how to overcome mental hurdles in achieving my goals.

What is 75 HARD:

·        Two 45 minute workouts a day (one MUST be outside)

·        Drink one gallon of water a day

·        Pick a diet and stick to it (no alcohol or cheat meals)

·        Read 10 pages a day

·        Take a progress picture everyday

·        NO DEVIATION for 75 days or you have to start back from Day 1.

I often encounter patients who are in extreme pain; and as a result, are no longer able to participate in the activities that they love. Not being able to do what you love to do has a huge impact on your life. You may lose your sense of self. You may not be able to get the social interactive you typically have.  You start to lose motivation. You may become depressed. This cycle is hard to correct.

BEGINNING a change to get your life back is the hardest part. Finding the motivation to make that call to seek help is tough. It is hard to confront the fact that you are not who you want to be. You may begin to just accept that you will never be able to get back to the gym, or you will never be able to play pickleball or paddle again, or you tell yourself “I’m too old to run anymore.” This is not the case!

1. Get Started!

  •  I chose to begin 75 HARD because I was not who I wanted to be. I became stagnant in my career. I was finding myself becoming lazy, unmotivated, and depressed. 2020 brought challenges to everyone in the world. I was losing my sense of self. I made excuses as to why I was not exercising as often as I’d like, eating poorly, and feeling sorry for myself. 75 HARD appealed to me because so many things were happening in the world that I couldn’t control, but the one thing I could control was how I carried myself daily. I can control my amount of exercise, I can control what I eat, I can control what I drink, and I can take back my life.
  • I thought to myself, “this is what it is like for my patient.” An unexpected injury is something that you cannot control. Sometimes it just happens. But, like I said earlier, it can impact your entire being. I will tell you it was hard just to START 75 HARD. Really really hard! I put it off for months! Just like most people put off seeking help for their pain or injury. Physical therapy is critical in getting you back to doing the things you love most! Make that appointment!

2.  Once you Start!

  • Once I began 75 HARD, I started realizing how there are so many forms of exercise. I enjoy Crossfit as my main form of exercise. I used to think anything I did that was not Crossfit was wasting my time and if I did any workouts on my own I would be over doing it. I would attend 3-5 Crossfit workouts a week. I would take days off because I sore or just didn’t feel up to it that day. That mindset quickly changed after the first week of 75 HARD. Since 2 workouts a day are required, I did a lot of walking and stretching. In the first 7 day span I went to 5 Crossfit classes, I did 8 45 minute walks, and 1 Yoga workout. I couldn't believe it! I did almost 3 times the amount of exercise and I felt great! I learned how effective something as simple as a walk could be in my recovery, my overall endurance, and especially my mood!
  •  Physical therapy can sometimes be humbling. Movements that used to be easy may now be hard. Moving in general may even be difficult. I want you to remember where you started from while you are on this journey. For some, you may not be able to walk 20 minutes without your low back pain acting up, so you stop walking all together. Or you typically run 5 miles daily, but now you start having knee pain at 1 mile so you just stop running all together out of frustration. I typically see people weeks or even months after they have stopped their normal activity. Remember where you started. When you walked in the clinic, you may have not exercised in weeks. Within 1 week of starting therapy, you are now moving every day! Yes, it is not the 5 miles you used to run but you are getting there! If you do your recommended exercises everyday that week, you are 7 times more active than last week!

3. Stick with it!

  • One of the most commonly missed tasks of 75 HARD is taking a progress picture everyday. This task is more than a tracker of the physical changes you may be experiencing. A progress picture is symbolic of “doing the little things”, prioritizing your time, and paying attention to detail. Prior to this experience, there were many “little”  things that I would just put off to the side or “save for later.” 75 HARD changed this for me. It forced me to focus on every task in my day, no matter how big or small, and complete it. Whether it was staying up late to walk my dog for 45 minutes or making sure I cleaned my dishes after dinner. I was forced to do this for 75 straight days. Some days were harder than others, but I came to realize true change happens with consistency over time.
  • It’s an easy trap to fall into. You finally made the call to see your physical therapist, you started your care, you're feeling better, and now this is when it gets tough. You were excited to get better when you started and you went all in! Great job! The tough part comes now when you have to keep with it. Don’t skip out on that rotator cuff primer before your lift because you “feel good enough” that day. Don't skip your dynamic warm up before your run. Shut down the voice in your head that says “well just this one time because I don’t have much time.” Once becomes twice, twice becomes three times, and before you know it you’ve fallen back into your old habits and pain returns. Keep with it! Stay the course! Take as much pride in doing the little things as you do with the activity you love doing!

Full disclosure! I am not saying you shoulder try 75 HARD. I am speaking from my experience and encouraging you to take back control of your life. Physical therapy is the first step in returning to the things you love to do most! Get out of pain, get active, and start living again!

Meet the Author

Dr. Lucas Hiller, PT, DPT is dedicated to the wellness of each and every person who walks through the door. With his knowledge, he helps health conscious individuals live their most active and fit life without the need for pills, injections or surgery. When Dr. Hiller isn't using his magic touch to keep people as active and healthy as they can, he's attending classes and conferences to implement the most innovative practices and technologies to address his patients' needs.

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