Virginia Rogus lost 114 pounds — and it all started with a tattoo.
Rogus, 32, an emergency room nurse, said early last spring she asked her brother to get "sibling tattoos" together. Having recently lost a great deal of weight himself, Rogus' brother issued a challenge.
"He was like, 'OK, I'll make a deal with you,'" Rogus told TODAY. "'You lose 75 pounds and we can get tattoos together.'"
Rogus was in. And, after spending a few months trying different weight-loss methods, she stumbled upon videos on Instagram about 75 Hard, a program founded by businessman, author and podcast host Andy Frisella.
In the 75 Hard program, which Frisella describes as a "mental toughness" program, there are six rules which must be completed every day: Participants must take a progress photo, follow a diet of their choosing, complete two 45-minute workouts, drink a gallon of water, spend time reading a self-help book and commit to no cheat meals or alcohol daily for the entire 75-day period.
For Rogus, who lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia, something about 75 Hard just clicked.
"I was like, 'You know what, let me just try it. I probably won't even get through the first week,'" Rogus said. "I had always made excuses like, 'I work 12-and-a-half-hour shifts, I don't have time to work out and I need my sleep.' I had every excuse in the book."
Instead, Rogus excelled at the program, completing a full 75 days, taking a three-day break, and beginning a second round. During her second 75 days on the program, she tried out her uncle's new Peloton bike for the first time.
"I figured I'd try it, but I hoped I'd hate it because I really couldn't afford it," Rogus joked. "But I fell in love with it and told myself, 'Once I lose so much weight, that will be my reward, I'll get a Peloton.'"
Rogus picked up extra nursing shifts during the pandemic and saved up enough money to buy her bike. With Peloton workouts, she completed a third round of 75 Hard and lost more than 100 pounds.
Today, Rogus says she's a different person both mentally and physically.
"75 Hard has completely changed my life," she said. "I used to be a complete TV addict and couch potato, but I barely watch TV anymore ... I'm more active. I enjoy eating better and meal prepping."
Rogus says her biggest advice for attempting the 75 Hard program is to take it one day at a time.
"If you look at 75 Hard like 75 long days, I don't know if you'll be able to achieve it," said Rogus. "I literally took it day by day, task by task."
And, Rogus says to remember those two 45-minute workouts don't have to be strenuous.
"Starting off, most days my workouts were always walking," she said. "I would walk outside, and (Andy Frisella) reminds you, you don't have to do intense workouts. If you go on two 45-minute walks every day, that still counts."
Rogus' other tips? Get a big water jug to help get your gallon of water in, and pay attention to your progress photos.
"Even if I didn't see the scale move, I always posted my progress pictures in comparison to day one so I could see my progress. It became addicting. And, more importantly, I started realizing that I felt amazing."
Rogus and her brother did get those tattoos — an astronaut for him and a scuba diver for her.
"My brother found a tattoo of an astronaut and a scuba diver on Pinterest, like connected by oxygen tubing," she explained. "He's a math teacher and he was like, 'Space is all about math and you love the ocean.'"
"So we have them both on our right forearms in the same position — it's like they're the same person but in different universes."