“A lot of people think this is a fitness challenge…this is not that. This is a program created to develop mental toughness.” – Andy Frisella, creator of 75Hard.
I was interested in 75Hard because it focuses on building a stronger mentality. As a distance runner, I know how important having a strong mentality is and I’m always looking to sharpen and build mine because I know my mind has held me back at some points during my training.
Before starting this challenge, I listened to Andy Frisella’s podcast REAL AF. The episode about 75Hard is #14: “#75Hard: A Tactical Guide To Winning The War With Yourself”, and I recommend doing the same if you are interested in it. In the beginning of the episode, Andy was talking about the people who walk into a room and you immediately look at them because you know they’re accomplishing something. Doesn’t matter what it is, that person is doing big things and deep down you want to be like that person; you want to be the person who is achieving their goals and who everyone looks to for motivation and inspiration. Since starting this program, I’ve taken pride in doing things that I know I’m supposed to do even when I don’t want to do them and when no one else is doing them.
There are five critical tasks of 75Hard which must be completed everyday. You cannot tweak the program to your liking (like skip the outdoor workout because it’s raining) and there will be times when it is inconvenient – that’s the point. So what happens if you miss a workout or forget to finish your gallon one day? You have to start over from Day 1. There’s no compromise or deviation on anything.
I’m on Day 10 and yes, there have been inconveniences for me and times when I thought, “Ughhhhhhh, this is the last thing I want to do” and I’m sure there will be many, many more instances like that in my remaining 65 days. One of my favorite things Andy said during the podcast is, “This is for people who want to develop their own superpower that every single other person is never going to have” How empowering is that?!
5 Critical Tasks of 75 Hard:
1.) Choose a diet aligned with your personal goals and commit to it – Before anyone goes running for the hills, following a diet does not mean you are in a calorie deficit, restricting, or trying to lose weight. Everyone has a diet – it’s how you eat. Andy specifically states, “You need to choose the diet according to your goals“. Everyone has different goals, so everyone has a different diet. My goal is to fuel my running and to build muscle, so my diet consists of eating over 2,000 calories a day of nutritious foods that fuel my running and muscles.
Andy does state that you cannot eat “junk” or drink alcohol. Now, 75Hard doesn’t provide a list of food that falls under the “junk” category, so use your best judgement and be honest with yourself. For me, this means choosing another piece of fruit for a carb source midday instead of something that’s processed – basically, just making slightly smarter choices. The alcohol piece for me isn’t really a big deal. I do drink, but can go 75 days without it.
2.) Drink one gallon of water everyday – Pretty self explanatory. Since starting the challenge, I realize I drink close to, if not more than, a gallon of water everyday, so this has not been a big change for me. The biggest change is now I just measure it! I have a Nalgene that holds 1/4 of a gallon of water, so I’m drinking at least four of those everyday throughout the challenge.
3.) Complete two 45 minute workouts everyday, one of which must be outside – It doesn’t matter what your workout is – could be biking, yoga, running, lifting weights, swimming, walking… For me, the outdoor workout is usually running and if I have a running rest day then I go for a 45 minute walk. Now, the second 45 minute workout is probably the most challenging part of 75Hard for me (so far)! Usually 3-4 days a week, I lift weights and that lasts 45 minutes. But on the days I don’t lift weights, now that’s when it gets really hard for me. I’ve been doing 45 minutes of yoga and while I love the stretch, yoga isn’t my favorite workout because my mind is thinking about other things I need to do and I’m constantly looking at how much time I have left. I think I’ll continue doing yoga on some days but may start swapping it for a 45 minute walk on days that the weather is nice and I don’t mind completing both workouts outside.
And yes, even if it’s raining or snowing, you still need to get outside. I’m only 10 days in and I’ve run through snow on one day and both walked and ran in negative temps on other days. It’s not easy and that’s the point – it’s 75Hard, not 75Easy or 75Convenient, and a program that builds mental toughness so these are the times you need to show up for yourself and get out there, even when conditions aren’t perfect. Andy states, “The minute conditions are off, [people] throw in the towel on the plan” – don’t be one of those people.
3.) Read 10 pages of a nonfiction book a day – Could be a book on personal growth, professional growth, a book about a skill you’d like to learn… But here’s the thing: it must be a real book – no audiobooks. Andy mentioned, “There is a sense of accomplishment you can see as you move through the book” I totally do this! As I’m progressing through a book, I feel proud of myself as my bookmark gets closer and closer to the end. Anyone else?! I’m currently on my second book of the challenge – I first read Marathon – The Ultimate Training Guide by Hal Higdon and now I’m reading Roar: How to Match Your Food and Fitness to Your Unique Female Physiology for Optimum Performance, Great Health, and a Strong, Lean Body for Life by Stacy Sims. (Last night I was so tired and kept nodding off while reading my 10 pages but I got it done!).
5.) Take daily progress photos everyday – On the podcast, Andy said that this is huge reason why many people don’t complete 75Hard. Taking a progress photo everyday is a small detail, but people forget and think they don’t need to document each day so they don’t. So don’t miss a day of taking progress photos! I have an album on my phone called #75Hard and it has all my progress photos in it. And something to note – these pictures do not need to be posted online so don’t be nervous about other people seeing them.
To help remind me of the critical tasks and to use as a check-in throughout the day, I have this on our fridge:
You will probably find that some of the critical tasks are more challenging than others and this may change as you move throughout the program (I’m curious to see if this is true for me). Again, if you’re interested in 75Hard, I recommend listening to the podcast before starting to familiarize yourself with the program and the critical tasks. I’ll be sharing my journey throughout 75Hard on my Instagram page (@elizabeth_healthy_life) if you’d like follow along.
Have you heard of 75Hard? Have you completed it or are you interested in doing it? Let me know in the comments below!