Ever hit a season of life when you go looking for something big? When you find yourself ready to do something that requires big effort from you… that is hard…that carries with it the promise of coming out the other side different in some way?
Maybe it’s an adventure trip, or starting a new business. For many of my clients, it is saying YES to the hard work of healing.
For me recently, it was 75 Hard. I began May 22, and finished August 5.
What is 75 Hard?
75 Hard was created by Andy Frisella, who is a very successful business leader in several industries, including the nutritional supplement space, as well as a podcaster, writer, and thought leader.
When Andy realized the irony of speaking on stage to audiences about running a successful business in the health space, while also being nearly 100 pounds overweight himself, he took massive action in his own life to regain his health. From that emerged 75 Hard, the program he shares (for free) with millions of rabid fans, eager to change their own lives. Their hashtag #75Hard is legendary.
75 Hard is famous for being black and white: you’re either doing it or you’re not. No negotiation. The rules – as follows – are not complex…but NOT easy.
- Complete two 45-minute work outs of your choosing every day, one of which must be outdoors.
- Drink a gallon of water every day.
- Stick to a diet (of your own choosing), no cheat meals, zero alcohol.
- Read 10 pages of educational or self-improvement book daily (actual book, not electronic).
- Take a progress picture every day.
- Miss a step, start all over.
Although it involves physical fitness, it is described as “not a fitness challenge,” but rather a “mental toughness and discipline” program. It actually rolls into a longer, 2-year program (Live Hard) which incrementally layers on more steps to those above.
Why I Did 75 Hard
Like I said earlier, I was ready for something that required me to level up. Yes, physically, but beyond that, to improve myself across as many areas as I could, simultaneously.
This is a busy season of my career, as I continue to serve my structural patients, and have also recently built my online supplement store SolutionsMethodHealth.com and also my 10-week coached health group program, The Solutions Reset®. So, whatever I did had to be simple, even if it was hard.
The five “critical tasks” of 75 Hard are not complicated, and they all made sense to me: hydration, movement, time outdoors, clean diet, learning, and self-documentation. I could see that it would require discipline, mental focus, strength, purpose and follow through. I consider all of these integral character traits to develop in order to achieve success, so I felt excited to develop them more in myself.
I was all in!
What I Did
Although I enjoy maintaining a personal level of fitness, two 45-minute workouts every day is definitely a step up for me. Especially to complete them every day, rain or shine, no matter what is happening in my life or how I feel.
I decided to work out at the gym before going into the clinic at least 3 days during the work week with weights, and to do my mobility exercises there along with sauna. At least once on the weekends I’d also hit the gym, and do something recreational like fishing, spearfishing, or volleyball. The rest of the mornings I would complete my at-home routine of breathwork, yoga, and a 4-minute workout I adapted from Dr. Zac Bush, which incorporates balance, nitric oxide production, and more breathwork. In the evenings, I would walk, body or board surf, hike or do sprints at the beach in the sand.
I don’t drink much alcohol anyway, so going to zero was not a hardship.
For my diet, I adhered to no grains, no processed food, and intermittent fasting (usually on a 16-8 schedule).
I loved the reading, especially a book I have come to savor deeply: Braiding Sweetgrass, by Robin Wall Kimmerer.
From the beginning, I did not plan to take a progress picture every day, but took one at the beginning, the middle and the end. So I admit I did not 100% do the program as designed…I guess I did #75”almost”hard.
My biggest challenge was with the workouts.
Not that I didn’t value them or enjoy them. It was the time it took to get them in every single day without fail. That took commitment and follow through…which I guess is the point! Scheduling and planning ahead (like making sure I had all equipment I needed for various activities to be accomplished before leaving home for the day) was critical. Sometimes that after-work workout was really hard to get done, especially after a 12-hour work day. Those times I found it best to just suit up and get out the door without allowing myself any thinking about it.
Very important: I did not want to get injured from over-exercise. So building in rest and a varied routine was critical, especially for someone in his mid-60s.
Also, I started getting bored at the end, in the sense of having to repeat these workouts daily.
Drinking a gallon every day – even when I have always made a point of drinking at least my body weight in ounces of water daily – is not always convenient. (My patients began to comment on me using the bathroom a lot!)
Lastly, it is rather difficult to find any grain-free food to eat at the movies! Linda and I enjoy a movie on Friday nights, and sometimes treat ourselves to the expensive cinema near us with reclining seats and a full menu. How we succeeded here was by eating a large lunch and looking at the evening meal as more of a snack.
Some were subtle, some more dramatic. Overall, #75Hard was very significant to me at this stage in my life, and well worth the effort.
I noticed how the workouts built on each other. In a subtle way, it was like reading the next chapters of a book I kept returning to, going deeper each time.
For example, at the gym, I challenged myself to do a set on each machine there. Over time, this became kind of a game that I looked forward to.
Similarly, in doing the Zac Bush workout, I felt excited to notice my balance improving with my consistency.
I’ve achieved gains in strength, muscle mass, flexibility and balance. I hadn’t set out to lose weight or gain weight, but I did notice that I needed to up my calories to avoid losing too much weight.
I agree 100% that this is way more about mental toughness and discipline than it is about physical fitness.
For me, I notice increased certainty and confidence. In keeping promises to myself on a daily basis, my mind responded with a calm and strong confidence, which has grown daily.
My focus and clarity increased. I can see better where I want to go and how to get there.
As Andy Frisella says, “Personal excellence is the ultimate rebellion.” As I enter this next phase of my life, and I see the need to be excellent, and 75 Hard was a great vehicle to get there.
I have become more willing to take action on everything in my life with a more positive attitude. I love this!
Ultimately, I felt myself releasing some internal inhibitions and hesitations that have held me back in my life from serving others to the best of my ability, which is my goal in life, both professionally and personally.
75 days passes quickly. Maybe not every second of every day, but ultimately, it is only two and a half months out of a lifetime. I’m really glad I spent the last 75 days doing this, and know more about my own capabilities.
75 Hard was transformative for me in both subtle and not-so-subtle ways. I’m very grateful that Andy Frisella freely shared his journey with the world. It really came at a perfect time for me, and I’m taking my lessons forward into the rest of my life.
I’m taking the next 30 days “off,” as the program recommends, and am looking forward to the next phase. I am currently on vacation in Montana, at the lake where I spent my summers growing up. I am spending a lot of time napping! After the last 75 days, I need it, and I am giving myself this rest to both recuperate and reflect.
Will I continue with the “Live Hard Program” from here? As they say, it’s not a challenge – it’s a way of life.
I’m always up for a challenge of some sort, excited about improving myself still, even at this ripe old age. LOL
How about you? Have you ever completed a challenge like this? Have you ever wanted to? Let me know in the comments. I definitely encourage you to do so!
All the best to you and yours,
Dr. Wade Binley