Hell Week Challenge: What it is and why you should do it

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This post brought to you by Erik Bertrand Larssen. The content and opinions expressed below are that of The Art of Making a Baby.

I have been SO GIDDY about participating in the Hell Week challenge since I found out about. I don’t think I have ever been so excited to write a late night post about anything ever before.

If you follow me on Instagram (and you should), you have seen me sitting around with a book. Not just any book. This one: HELL WEEK: Seven Days to Be Your Best Self by Erik Bertrand Larssen

I would like to talk a bit about what this book is about, why I am reading it and participating in the challenge and why I think you should join me (if not for anything but for the fun of doing a challenge together)



Hell Week is a best selling book in many countries and finally it has made its way to the US. The book goes over a week long challenge with the idea borrowed from the author’s military experience and applied to every day civilian life. It starts with 7 rules to follow all week and 7 steps to prepare for the week. You journey through 7 days for the actual challenge  with a theme and challenges every day. The goal here is to become a better you, to be more productive, get rid of bad habits, foster new good habits, become an overall more effective and happy person. This book claims to help you do all that 7 days.


Erik Bertrand Larssen, a Norway native, borrowing from his experience as a paratrooper, performance consultant, successful entrepreneur, created an easy to follow, straight forward program that can be applied to anyone’s life. He has experience with mental training, and has been instrumental in success and bettered performance of many Olympic athletes, executives and CEOs. His writing style is fun and easy, yet firm and motivating. I have developed huge respect for the author while reading the book, not only in the experiences that he puts forward but in the tone, strength, and motivation that he manages to transfer through the book to the reader.



Hell Week is meant to be a catalyst to a better life, sort of a jumping off point for all of us stuck in a rut or having trouble finding motivation. It is short, intense, doable and exciting regardless of where you are in your life. Type A people would probably get the biggest kick out of the challenge, while type B people would definitely be the prime candidates for improvement as well. This challenge is for everyone. It even applies to mommy world and life, where deadlines aren’t as important and boardroom pressures aren’t present.

This challenge is for you if:

  • you want to become more productive and more effective person while also remaining calm and composed, in every day life, at home, at work
  • you want to finally get a business started or turn your hobby into business
  • you need to catch up on things you’ve been putting off
  • you need to figure out a way to lose weight, start exercising, eat better and actually stick to it.
  • you simply desire improvement and pushing your own limits.

If all or any of these things appeal to you, join me in the challenge!

Despite its name, HELL WEEK doesn’t sound that hellish to me. It actually sounds kind of awesome. Awesome enough that I already planned out my 2nd Hell week for next month.

All you will need to join me is this book (which can be bought on Amazon), some desire to be better than what you are now and improve in whatever aspect of your life that you’re interested in. I’ll be using the hashtag #hellweekchallenge for the posts on social media if you want to follow them or use them yourself and the hashtag #hellweektaomab as a hashtag for anyone who wants to do it with me at any point, whether it’s now or later down the line. I’ll be checking that hashtag periodically and engaging with you guys.



The first step in the challenge is to prepare. It actually consists of 7 separate steps all of which can take 3 weeks to put together. I did it in an afternoon. Once you are ready to take the challenge, you start your HELL WEEK. I will go over some of the notes I made as I was reading the prep part below.

Once the prep part is complete, you embark on your HELL WEEK, which has 7 rules for the whole week and 7 days, each day has its own theme and challenges.



  1. Early to Bed, Early to Rise
    5 am wake up and 10 pm bedtime sounded horrible to me until you read the argument in its favor. I am a night owl ( staying up till 3-5 am is a normal occurrence), yet I am excited to challenge myself in this way because it could really jump start my day. (I am writing this at 1 am, so yeah it will be a challenge but I am excited. My plan is to wake up and go rollerblading right away. Jump start my day with some cardio and push myself out of that sleepy state (Erik brings up some really interesting arguments about why that is important)
  2. Look Your Absolute Best At All Times
    Quite a challenge for me. I can’t find time to do my basic things, trying to have my shit together even at home will be frustrating because of the time I will be spending on it. Yet I realize that I need to make time to take care of myself, my skin, my hair and my nails. Hopefully those extra hours of not sleeping in the morning will help. I would like to turn it into a habit where it’s not even a thought. That’s what I do.
  3. Exercise to the Extreme
    I’ve got this baby covered! I exercise 7 days a week for 2-4 hours. It’s important to me for stress relief, for relaxation, and to be at my top physical shape, as well as be strong enough to be good on the volleyball court. During this challenge, we are asked to push exercise to the extreme and push our limits. Exercise harder and more intense than before. I used to thrive on pushing myself, so I would like to get that feeling back
  4. Stick to a Healthy Diet
    Once again, no problem here. I meal prep in the morning, I will have to cut out all sweets completely and rely on fruit for my sugar high. Other than dessert, I rarely eat any junk food like chips, pop or processed stuff.
  5. Take Charge of Your Digital Life
    Oh boy, this was very difficult to admit, but I am addicted. I realize my job is all about digital and social media, but I find myself obsessively checking my phone for texts, emails, comments and posts from friends. Not because I am particularly interested, but because I am addicted to always being plugged in and being entertained. I am REALLY looking forward to this rule to push me to only deal with social media during an appropriate time.
  6. Get Hyperfocused
    YES YES YES YES!!!! Please! I think I am one of the most productive focused people out there, yet I crave more. I want to have a laser sharp focus on things that I am doing. If I am with Lexi, I want to be in mommy mode. If I am working, I want to be focused on task at hand, not my incessantly buzzing phone or social media. I will take any help in that department to hone my productivity and efficiency skills.
  7. Step Up Your Game
    Do your absolute best the whole week. Just be better! Think of Yoda, “Do or do not, there is no try.” Push at every turn!

That’s it! Doesn’t it sound like fun? If that’s not your idea of fun, think about it this way: It’s just ONE WEEK, what is the worst that could happen? You’ll walk away with some better habits, a clearer mind, more determination, better focus, and understanding of yourself. Even for people who cannot do the actual challenge, I would recommend reading the book for the informational side of it.



Each day will have a theme and a sort of “skill” you will be focusing on. I won’t get into each because I will be writing about each day as they happen, but here are the themes.

Monday: Harnessing the Force of Habit

Tuesday: Getting into the Mode

Wednesday: Managing Your Time

Thursday: Getting Out of Your Comfort Zone

Friday: Rest and Restitution

Saturday: Controlling Your Inner Dialog

Sunday: Putting Life into Perspective

In the next post, I will go over my thoughts on preparation for HELL WEEK. As I was reading it and preparing to take part in the challenge (it took me one afternoon), I had a lot of thoughts and emotions that were evoked by what the author said, so I would like to share them in a separate post.

Please feel free to come back and look at all of this and if you end up doing the challenge, compare your insights, your approach, and your point of view to mine. Hopefully my experience will help motivate someone do the same thing or help someone get a different perspective on their life through this challenge.

If you want to get caught up with how the week went, I wrote 7 posts, with this post being the 7th.

Hell Week Challenge Prep,
Hell Week Day 1: Habits,
Hell Week Day 2: Get In the Mode,
Hell Week Day 3: Planning,
Hell Week Days 4 & 5: Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone and Rest.
Lessons and Recap

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