I have attached my progress pdf at the end of the post.
What is the 75 Hard Challenge?
75 Hard Challenge is a mental toughness challenge designed to toughen you up beyond the point you are now. It was created by Andy Frisella. And many people around the world participate in the challenge.
I have seen many Instagram Reels where people document their days of 75 Hard.
The Challenge has the following rules:
- For 75 days,
- Work out twice a day for 45 minutes.
- At least one workout outside (even if it’s rainy or sunny).
- Workouts cannot be back to back.
- Read 10 pages of a non-fiction self-help or entrepreneurial book.
- No alcohol or cheat day
- Take a progress picture every day.
- Drink 1 Gallon (3.7 liters) of pure (no mixing anything) water. If you fail any step, you have to reset your counter to zero and try again.
The challenge can be scaled and has some customizability. For example, you can do any diet as long as it is healthy, and you can do any workout as long as it’s a good workout.
The challenge is not supposed to be something you plan to do. It’s something you just do.
Many people confuse 75 Hard with a physical fitness challenge. But it is not a physical fitness challenge. It’s a mental toughness challenge that has some good physical side effects.
To learn more about the 75 Hard Challenge, I recommend listening to Andy Fresilla’s Podcast on it. I listened to it on the first few days of the morning walk. 75 Hard is part 1 of 4 part Live Hard challenge, which is for a year.
Why did I pick up the 75 Hard Challenge?
I had constant feelings of having no purpose in life. I felt like I was just living my life, and days were passing. The excitement for the future wasn’t there. Add to it, I wasn’t able to take steps towards moving on from a heartbreak. Combine this with stress-related IBS, which is painful every day.
After talking to a friend about all this, I asked him what I should do when I have no purpose. He suggested I become a Warrior in a Garden.
I have always felt like a warrior born at the wrong time. But the Warrior in a Garden fit the mental model I was looking for.
It’s better to be a warrior in a garden than to be a gardener in a war.
Be prepared and ready and do your best always. Another quote that I relate to is
Those who know how to use a sword but keep them sheth will inherit the world.
Both the conversation with my friend Akshay and the quote helped me towards the path of searching for which “heavy” load I could find.
I thought, “I am already depressed. Might as well push myself and see what I can do. It won’t be as worse anyways.”
Then I remembered 75 Hard and Project 50. I searched both up, and I thought 75 Hard was better. So, I learned about it and got the printout to track.
75 Hard wasn’t the first time I was pushing myself. I had pushed myself 2 years ago, too, when I used to work out every day and plan and get work done. I listened to Jocko, and he had a high impact on me. Before the 75 Hard Challenge, I was confident that I would be able to complete it.
Between the last time, I pushed myself and 75 Hard, I had always been good at setting up “systems.” I had read atomic habits and was good at making my environment such that it would help me towards the task I was aiming at. But my systems kept failing; I needed what was there two years ago—a driver of all the system. I needed Discipline.
How I adapted to the principles of 75 Hard and made it a habit?
I printed out the 75 Hard PDF. I did not mess with Apps because I wanted to rely less on my phone. https://www.docdroid.net/50XW1Br/75-hard-tracker-pdf
I declared to my family that I would be starting the challenge. I showed them the PDF. The diet was a big concern. I could not cook myself because I won’t have enough time. So, I opted for going for online Delivery instead.
My family had been very supportive. I had told the reason why I was doing the challenge. “I want to get out of depression.”
I had allocated “funds” from my salary, and I calculated that I would be spending 16,000 Rs per month. For many, 16,000 on food is a lot. I viewed it as an investment. If I invest 16,000 here, I’ll get a lot more back. It was a winning investment with low risk.
Modifying a rule
I have been sober my entire life. So I modified the No alcohol rule to be no YouTube. I gave myself one day to set up all the blockers for not watching YouTube.
Over the coming days, I ate the following, and these stuck through the 75 days.
- Morning: Order Eggs and Omelet. Later I ordered Paneer Bhurji.
- Afternoon: I ordered Chicken Salad.
- I ordered Gym Packer Protein which was multiple high-protein items in one order.
- I combined this with Curd, which the doctor said would be good for my IBS.
Later in the challenge, around Day 40, I started to make Paneer Bhurji at home. It was fast, and I have now become good at making Paneer Bhurji.
If I could not eat or didn’t just feel like it, I would not eat at all. If I was outside with my friends, I would either eat salad or not eat at all.
Fasting is good for health.
Drinking 1 Gallon of Water
- I drank 1 liter when I woke up.
- 2nd liter after coming from my morning walk, which was my morning workout.
- I drank 3rd liter of water while working out at the gym.
- And the 700 ml of water after the workout.
If I missed drinking a few liters, I would chuck it before bed. This did mean I would wake up frequently at night, but it was part of the challenge, so it had to be done, and I didn’t regret it.
I also started setting reminders and wallpaper to remember to drink water.
Later, I started drinking more 3rd liters of water in the afternoon. So, during the workout, I would finish the last 700ml. This was because I reduced the need to chuck water at night.
I opted for a morning outdoor walk and evening Gym.
The morning walk was initially just a walk, but later I ran for many days. I didn’t face rain during the challenge, but I faced it after it. It’s fun to walk in the rain.
I would go for a walk at any time, after waking up or in the afternoon. It didn’t matter if it was hot outside or not. I would just go.
Later, I work up earlier, at 7:30 AM, and start going. I would do my Daily Scrum stand-up while on the walk. But later, I felt it became stressful to walk while thinking about work, so I woke up even earlier at 6:30. To wake up early, I had to sleep early, but this time wasn’t fixed. If I couldn’t wake up early, I would still go for a walk at any time.
While on the walk, I would listen to podcasts. Initially, it was a podcast about 75 Hard, Jordan Peterson’s advice on becoming tougher, The Jocko Podcast, etc. This primed my mindset to the challenge more and more.
Many days when I was feeling overwhelmed, I did not listen to anything and just walked while “listening” to my mind.
The evening gym was a group session at Cult.fit Fitness Center, which is near my home. I mostly did weights. I would do Yoga and Dance only if I wasn’t able to do weights.
I went mostly at 7 PM but later went at 6 PM.
On days when I had to travel, I would go for a walk early at 6 AM and go to the gym late at 7 PM or 8 PM. I had to only do once/twice because most of the time, I prioritized gym and the 75 Hard challenge over all other activities.
I used to read for 20 minutes every day a few years ago. I always pick up non-fiction books that are related to areas that would help me. I read the following books.
- Discipline Equals Freedom
- Since I started 75 Hard, I thought this was the best book I could read.
- I learned a lot about the mindset and the thought process of being more disciplined.
- I used the lessons of the book throughout the challenge and still use them.
- Ego is the Enemy
- I was thinking between choosing the Dichotomy of Leadership and Ego is the Enemy, but I went with Ego is the Enemy because I thought I still had to improve before preaching to others.
- It’s a book that I thought was only about Ego. But it turned out to be about Humility and Discipline.
- This was a really good next book to Discipline Equals Freedom and Humility is what makes us pursue Discipline.
- The Anxious Hearts Guide
- I would not have read The Anxious Heart, but Ego is the Enemy had taught me about Humility.
- I was suffering from Anxious Attachment Style, and I still have anxious tendencies; I knew this was a big problem.
- The problem with reading and learning is that I open up Pandora’s box of pain. But it was, and for me, it still is something I wanted to deal with. So I started reading.
- I learned a lot about why I failed, why heartbreak happened, and what I can do to improve. And I’m grateful to the author who wrote the book.
- The shortness of life
- Made me more focused and aware.
- I am in love with chapter 3. The tranquility of the mind.
- The Scrum Guide
- I became the scrum master for our team for two weeks, and I thought I would have to coach the time.
- I also started implementing Scrum in my own life. So, reading the scrum guide would be perfect.
- It was just 10 pages, so I finished it in 1 day.
- The Scrum Handbook.
- I had 6 days left in the challenge, and I wanted to read technical books after the challenge.
- So, I found the Scrum Handbook PDF, which was 66 pages. 66/6 is equal to 6 days of reading.
The books I chose and the podcasts I listened to while walking were related to the challenges I was facing. So these kept me focused and learning and improving at what I was doing day to day. i.e., the lessons became practice as soon as I read them.
I used the EveryDay app for capturing a daily photo. The app allows for clicking one photo a day in the same position as the previous time, and you get a nice video/gif export of all the photos.
Clicking photos was the most boring part of the 75 Hard Challenge. I can see some progress, but not all.
I took photos shirtless, but my thighs are not captured. The size of my thighs is much smaller than they were before.
I missed taking a photo on Day 69 of the 75 Hard. That does mean I failed 75 Hard and should start again, but I’ll override. Photos are not something as imp as eating healthy, never eating junk, exercising twice a day, drinking 1 gallon every day, and reading 10 min. Hope that explanation should be enough.
What are the results of the 75 Hard Challenge?
Before 75 Hard,
- I was mentally disturbed.
- Freezing for ourselves in one place, overthinking, and being anxious.
- Had low work productivity.
- Had stress-related pain from IBS.
- Had low to no motivation. During the 75 Hard,
- I pushed myself to a point that I was able to handle.
- I workout out every day. At the start of the challenge, I as picking 7KG and 10Kgs arms. By the end of the challenge, I was able to pick 25 Kg per arm.
- My deadlift went from around 30-40 kgs to 92 Kgs.
- My weight dropped from around 83 KGs to 73 Kg. 10 Kg was reduced.
- I was reading 0 books and spent all my time on YouTube.
- I watched 0 hours of youtube on its website. I did watch YouTube video when it was put up on TV or when it was necessary on a separate site.
- I read 3 books and 2 PDFs and retained and applied many of their lessons
- My productivity was boosted.
- By the time I became scrum master on day 70. I was ultra-productive. I’ll talk about the productivity hacks in a separate post.
- My IBS reduced and reduced beyond the point of recognition. This was thanks to the mostly palio-type food I was eating and lots of exercises I was doing.
I have confidence restored and was now able to plan for the long term, which I wasn’t able to do while I was depressed.
Towards the end of the challenge, I started following Scrum in daily life, which increased my productivity and work ethic even further.
I would like to thank Andy Fresilla for creating the 75 Hard Challenge. The program helped me bounce back to my old self. Thank you, Sir!
Advice for people considering 75 Hard
Here is my advice for those considering 75 Hard.
- Do it. It’s fun!
- Create systems that many it easier for you to do it. You could read Discipline Equals Freedom and Atomic Habits during the challenge.
- Do it for mental toughness. I was able to chuck water at midnight because I was doing the challenge for mental toughness. Even pushing myself at the gym was part of my mental toughness. If I was doing it to become healthy, I would have been satisfied with simple signs of progress. But I ignored those signs of progress because I wasn’t doing it for health. I was doing it for my mind.
- Learn from the guy himself. Listen to Andy Fresilla’s podcast on 75 Hard.
- Regarding exercise, you won’t feel tired at all if you are eating a high-protein diet.
- And if you fail, look for the silver lining of progress as long as you are improving, you will get better.
- Get your family and friends on your side. Don’t be shy to open up and explain to them why you are doing this challenge and why it’s important to you. My family thought I would give up after a few weeks, but later in the challenge, they supported me and motivated me to complete the challenge.
If you tried, completed, or failed the 75 Hard Challenge, ping me using the comment box below! I’ll respond.