A week of getting up at 5am, working out and eating healthy every day, and calling that a hell week? Norwegian mental trainer Erik Bertrand Larssen probably didn’t write his book “Hell Week” with Fit Girls in mind. But then again, adding social media and tv as a taboo might be. Always in for a challenge, I tried Larssen’s hell week. After all, after a 30 day #FITGIRLCODE Planking Challenge, how hard can this be?

So what is this hell week?

It’s a week you decide how it looks like, with only a few basic but gruesome rules:

  • Get up at 5am; go to bed at 10pm
  • Work out daily for an hour, preferably in the morning
  • Eat healthy
  • Work hard, be focused
  • Be the best and happiest you can be at anything you do
  • No tv
  • No social media during work; no private matters during work; no small talk during work
  • No sleep between Thursday and Friday

It’s not a self help retreat. Hell week is meant to be done in your daily life, with your normal schedule. Or even better: in a hectic and challenging week in your normal, daily life.

Now why you wanna go and do that?
I’m doing this hell week to get rid of my fit dip. A week of Fit Girl extraordinaire should make it easier to keep up a moderate routine of exercising three times a week, eating healthy with little snacking. On top of that, life has got to me lately, leaving me with the feeling of being lived instead of being in control of my life. I want my Fit Girl superwoman confidence back!

Vegan Week Challenge
I up the ante by making it a Vegan Week Challenge: it’s all plant based foods this week. And for the cheese lover that I am, that is a big deal. Eating vegan turns out to be quite easy and more importantly quite delicious. I totally overdosed on soy products and legumes though, but I guess there are worse things in life.

Turns out as well that I love working out at 5 am. Getting my work out done first gives me energy for the rest of the day and a confidence boost that makes me resilient to any obstacle thrown at me. Like a sick toddler with a bad temper. I mix up running with yoga and strength training, including those dreaded sit ups and push ups. Apparently, I hate mountain climbers and froggers even more!

A Theme a Day
Every day has it a special theme Larssen wants you to focus on. On no, they aren’t Leg Day or Abs Day! Monday is all about recognizing your habits, and deciding which habits to break and which to keep up. Tuesday is about Modus and Focus, about realizing with which attitude you do things and how focused you do them. On Wednesday Larssen wants you to focus on time management, which means you’ll be planning your day, your week, your month, your year. That day really helped me to focus on my lifetime goals and breaking them into short-term actions.

Thursday is meant to be the hardest day of hell week. I deprive myself of any form of automated transport – so no car, no buses or subways. I walk that mile to the mall, carrying the weekly groceries in a duffle bag on my back and pushing my whining toddler in the stroller back home. A week of groceries weighs about 30 pounds, and walking a mile with in on your back is tough, people! The focus of the day should be of facing your fears and really putting yourself outside of your comfort zone. That includes a night without sleep!I use the night between Thursday and Friday to face one of my bigger fears: watching a tape of my BodyBalance lesson and self assessing my tape. I am happy I made it through the night without falling asleep, but then it hits me: it’s a start of a new day.Rest & Recovery
Friday is about Rest and Recovery. So I take a much needed nap in the train to work. It’s has been ages since I was up all night and I feel really groggy and feverish. I survive the day somehow, and against the rules I turn to bed 2 hours earlier. Only to wake up on a Saturday at 5am. Hell Week is a 7-day program and getting up early in the weekend is part of it. I take advantage of this opportunity to go out for a Long Run. I run over 10 miles, returning home when it’s still dark and silent. Saturday is about Feeling Good About Yourself, and this long run really helped me do that! It’s turns out to be one of the hardest parts of the program. I find it difficult to pat myself on the back for the things I’ve done this week, constantly reminding myself of the things that I haven’t done.Sunday is about celebrating. We go out for lunch to celebrate my mother-in-law’s birthday in this really cool place with organic and local cheeses, meats, bread and cider. It’s my discipline that takes out my lunch box with vegan ‘egg’ salad and the raw blueberry ‘cheese’cake I brought as my family enjoys the home made pastrami, artisan cheeses and their brownie. For diner, my family joins me in a vegan meal to which I added cheese for them. But at 10pm as my hell week finally comes to a close, I celebrate the way a cheese lover should: with a cheese plateau, a glass of port wine and some well deserved quality time with my husband.


I made it through hell week! Would you put yourself up to such a challenge?



Larssen’s book has just been published in the Netherlands under the titel ‘Helweek’ and its rights has been sold to 16 countries. Anglosaxon countries can expect an English translation Autumn 2015.

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