The 75 Hard Challenge: What Is It and Why Am I Doing It?

It’s official, I’m doing the 75 Hard Challenge. #75hard

If you’re not familiar, the 75 Hard Challenge is a mental toughness challenge developed by entrepreneur Andy Frisella.

the rules for the 75 hard challenge

 

For 75 consecutive days, a person commits to:

  • Two x 45-minute workouts (one has to be outside)
  • Follow a diet of your choosing
  • Drink 4L of water
  • Read 10 pages of a self-development book
  • Take a progress picture
  • Don’t drink alcohol
  • Don’t eat cheat meals or junk food

If you miss a commitment on any of the 75 days – you start over at Day 1.

I’ve read stories of people who made it to day 70, forgot to read and then had to go back to the beginning.

I will not be doing that!

My start date is September 24th, 2021.

My end date is December 8th, 2021.

Why am I doing 75 Hard?

As I share with my friends that I’m doing this – the obvious question is WHY?

Well, because I want to know I can.

I’m not a believer in mental toughness.

The win-at-all-costs and-beat-yourself-into-submission approach to reaching goals is not aligned with my belief system. I’ve lived that life and it led to self-hatred and imposter syndrome.

I missed the roses because I was so focused on the arbitrary finish line. When I reached it, the reward was never as satisfying as I hoped. I’ve since come to realize that fulfillment is in the journey – as cliché as that seems.

You may wonder, if I don’t believe in mental toughness why am I doing a mental toughness challenge?

Well, because I believe in mental discipline – and that’s what I want to develop more of in myself.

I’ve watched others I admire do the 75 Hard challenge. I’ve been captivated by their determination. It was something the “cool people” did. Over time, I thought maybe “one-day.”

Then, it clicked.

If not now, then when?

The Reasons Not To Do 75 Hard

First thought that came into my mind was… “Am I even capable?”

Then I questioned, why do I default to assuming I’m not capable?

Sure, there’s the obvious health issues (shared below) and the fact that mostly I’d prefer to hang with friends and share a bottle of wine than go for a workout.

Then I thought – what if I applied my universal problem-solving framework – situational awareness, self-awareness, solution activation – to this particular challenge and went 75 Hard?

Like I literally teach resilience and problem-solving for issues that pop up as part of the human experience. Granted this is a self-inflicted “problem.” So, I’ve decided to go for it.

I’m curious to discover…

  • What happens when I push my body beyond its comfort zone?
  • What happens when I stop caving into any food craving? (Ice cream and nachos be damned.)
  • What would it feel like to reach optimal physical health?
  • What other potential in my life and business could I unlock if I accepted and activated 75 Hard?

Getting Started on 75 Hard

While the founder of the 75 Hard Challenge says start today, I chose my official start date five days after I made my decision.

For one reason:

On Thursday, I went to the Dean Brody concert. I wanted the freedom to drink, eat and be merry. After all, it was my first real concert since before COVID. Still, I half took his advice. I incorporated all elements of the 75 Hard Challenge four days before my official start date. Having this warm-up has given me a lot of confidence as I started officially tracking my progress in the 75 Hard app.

The app allows you to check off each commitment. When you’re done for the day, you can automatically share your progress to Instagram. (Follow my progress by clicking here.)

The Obstacles I Must Overcome To Complete 75 Hard

In fairness, there are reasons why I thought I couldn’t do it. I have impulse control issues when it comes to sugar and cheese.

Right Allie, that’s not a legitimate excuse – that’s the whole point.

The goal is to have the mental discipline to not eat the thing I want to eat that isn’t serving my optimal health.

My Diet Choice For The Next 75 Days

In terms of my diet choice, I’ve decided to go fairly mild – clean eating meaning no dairy and no processed sugar.

I want this to be a healthy, lifestyle choice not a punishment.

The idea of going on a low-calorie diet or depriving myself of something at the core to fundamental health (i.e. going Keto and not having fruit) seems unnecessary.

I know that eating dairy negatively impacts my joints and inflammation, so experimenting with how I feel without dairy after 11 weeks seems like a no-brainer to eliminate. Processed sugar has no worthwhile purpose in the body, so again, that’s a no-brainer.

OH – a caveat. I am allowing myself small amounts of ketchup, non-dairy sauces like BBQ, cranberry and hot sauces – and butter. Again, this is not about punishment. There’s a lot of benefits to be gleaned even with those items still in my diet.

I’m guessing some hard-core HARD 75ers may disagree with my diet choice, but it’s what I believe is best for me.

My Exercise Choices for the 75 Hard Challenge

Another reason I didn’t think I could do the 75 HARD is that I was accident prone.

Doing  150 workouts in 75 days (technically 158 in 79 days for me since I started that part early) seemed like a recipe for injury.

I realized though – he doesn’t tell you what work out to do. Just a workout.

That’s why I will incorporate a lot of variety both in terms of type of activity and intensity. So far on the list I have…

  • Kenpo Karate
  • Bootcamps
  • Running (the Couch to 5K app is ready to go!)
  • Hot yoga
  • Pilates
  • Swimming
  • HIIT workouts on my deck
  • Active fascia stretching
  • Weight training
  • Random YouTube workouts (I’ve already done a Jane Fonda video from the 80s – so fun)
  • Walks

Not every workout needs to be high intensity – and in fact, I don’t think it should be.

I realized on Wednesday night – no matter how tired I am, I can always go for a 45-minute walk. And I did.

The satisfaction of doing the thing you committed to do is a reward that’s hard to measure. There are some hurdles I anticipate along the way, but I’ll share those in future posts.

Doing 75 Hard With Chronic Pain and Health Challenges

One of the biggest obstacles for me, that I think is important to share up front, is that I’ve struggled with my health over the years.

I have sarcoidosis. It was diagnosed in my late 20s. For many patients it’s no big deal. For others, like me, it creeps into different parts of the body and can cause epic levels of exhaustion and inflammation. It finally got bad enough that I went on Prednisone six weeks ago.

While the side effects from Prednisone (mainly puffiness and random food cravings) are annoying, this is the first time in many years that I am feeling like I have some energy and am not going to collapse mid-work day.

I also have neuropathic pain, caused from a surgery in 2007.

Gratefully over the years I’ve managed my pain to live at a much more comfortable (although not ideal) 2 to 4 on a pain scale, with the odd spike to a 10. This is much better than the old days when an average day was spent at 7-9 on the pain scale. What will be interesting is how my nerve pain reacts to increased exercise.

So far, the day-to-day average pain hasn’t increased, but the frequency of the intense spikes of pain has increased. I’ll keep an eye on that.

Even though – pain is not going to stop me. Years ago, I realized I can do something and be in pain, or I can do nothing and still be in pain. Life is better spent doing something.

So, for the next 75 days – this is what I’ll be doing.

I hope you’ll join me for the journey and cheer me on!