Trust The Process & Workout Like A Boomer

5 Lessons From Completing The 75HARD

The 75HARD is an internet challenge dubbed as the “tactical guide to winning the war with yourself.”

Andy Frisella, the host of the MFCEO podcast, created the 75HARD to teach listeners how to cultivate discipline, integrity, and physical and mental toughness.

In this post, I share the five most significant lessons I learned from completing the challenge this summer.

What is the 75HARD?

To complete the 75HARD, you must do six things every day.

  1. Follow a diet that you set for yourself. No cheat meals.
  2. Do two 45-minute workouts.
  3. Do not drink alcohol.
  4. Take a progress picture.
  5. Drink one gallon of water.
  6. Read 10 pages of nonfiction.

You have to check all 6 boxes— 75 days consecutively.

If you mess up just one thing, you start back at day zero.

I started in early May and finished in mid-July.

Here’s what I learned.

My Takeaways

#1 — Trust The Process

The 75HARD was engineered carefully.

If you listen to Andy talk about it, he aggressively rants “don’t try to change this for you.”

If you want to make substitutions, if you want to make modifications, if you want to do the “75 except” you’re not doing the challenge.

Going into the challenge, I fully bought into that idea.

It’s not six random tasks. It’s a mutually reinforcing system.

I’m not going to make any changes.

I’m not going to look for loopholes.

I’m going to do it exactly as he prescribes.

During the challenge, the benefits of listening to Andy surface. Think of him like a coach who has thought through everything. More than likely, he’s been where you are. He’s made it to the other side, and he knows the best way through the anticipated obstacles on the path.

By trusting his advice and trusting the process, you make it to the other side just as he did.

In the 75HARD, the tasks work in harmony.

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The Tasks Work In Harmony

The gallon of water makes both workouts possible. The sunlight helps you stay energized throughout the day and improves sleep quality which improves workouts the next day. Also, your diet is extremely clean, so you are most likely losing weight, feeling better, and probably sleeping better.

You become a superhero.

I had friends who wanted to join but kept drinking.

I called that the “75HARDER” because I couldn’t imagine successfully completing the challenge if I drank. My workouts would’ve been awful, my sleep would’ve been disrupted. It would not have been a good time.

Find top-quality teachers, coaches, and mentors and then respect their advice.

#2 — Push Through Fatigue

In high school, I was disorganized and did too much. I was frequently burning the midnight oil: completing homework, studying, and writing college applications bleary-eyed.

In college, I connected the dots between studying when exhausted and poor academic performance. I decided to get my shit together, got really, really organized, and, magically, I stopped having to do work past 8–9pm.

I did my important tasks early in the day and worked without distraction.

At the beginning of 75HARD, I was back in the same spot as high school. I’d rather be sleeping, my eyes are watering but I hadn’t completed the day’s tasks.

During 75HARD, there’s no “I’ll just do it tomorrow.” Pushing off my reading to the next day would mean failing the challenge. That was not an option.

Because of the clarity and severity of the consequences — if you fail you start back at day zero — it was surprisingly easy to summon a short burst of concentration and motivation. No matter how tired I thought I was, I could read 10 pages.

The lesson is that clear accountability and consequences for failure can motivate you to do work you didn’t want to do (in the moment) with energy you didn’t think you had. I call this “pushing past fatigue.”

I go more in-depth on how to create that accountability here.

Eventually, like in college, I learned how to work around this, so I started organizing my day and planning ahead by time-blocking.

75HARD Time Blocking
A sample time-blocked day for 75HARD might look something like this

#3 — Challenges versus Peer Pressure

For the past 9 months, I’ve been taking a hiatus from alcohol, nicotine, and added sugar.

In social settings, people often ask why I don’t drink/smoke/eat cookies.

I explain that it’s for some combination of fitness, health, productivity, and avoiding bad hangovers.

After a few minutes of back and forth that always ends with me saying, “Yes, I’m sure that I don’t want to make an exception because it’s a ‘special occasion’,” the conversation finally moves to something else.

When confronted with the same situation during 75HARD, I had a completely different experience. This time, I shared that I was doing the 75HARD and explained what it was and why it meant I couldn’t drink/smoke/ eat cookies.

The author with a birthday avocado
My 21st Birthday Landed During COVID & The 75HARD… We Improvised

I learned that a serious fitness goal is an easy and readily accepted justification for not drinking/smoking/eating cookies someone’s mom made.

I learned that a serious fitness goal is an easy and readily accepted justification for not drinking/smoking/eating cookies someone’s mom made.

If someone’s pushy, you can show them your awesome progress pictures.

The good news is that you don’t have to do 75HARD to take advantage of this lesson.

Now that my 75HARD is over, I’m planning on using the more general line, “I’m really prioritizing my health and fitness right now.”

If you have a sport, just use a specific goal for your reasons.

Some examples
  • “I’m working on getting my bench up to 300, and alcohol sets back my gainz”
  • “I’m training for this 5K/Marathon, I have to run tomorrow, and cookies make me feel like trash the next day”

People generally respect that.

As a last resort, make a pseudoscientific argument about the effects on alcohol on fitness. Be sure to use buzz words like “protein synthesis” or “metabolic pathways.”

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I’m not going to even pretend to understand this diagram — neither will your friends

#4 — Combine Exercise With Something Fun.

We intuitively know that time flies when we are having fun, but it took me about 40 days to remember that during 75HARD.

On day 38, I couldn’t bear the thought of another 45-minute solo outdoor-workout in the Arizona heat. I was making 75HARD way more difficult than I needed to.

To fix this, I called up some friends in the area and invited them to throw the frisbee.

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This was taken 4 years ago, but it is my hand all the same

This became a great way for (socially distant) socializing and getting my outdoor-workouts in. As an added bonus, my roommate finally learned to throw straight.

#5— Train Like You’re 50

Before attempting 75HARD, I already worked out five days a week. I thought I would be prepared. That was not the case.

14 weekly workouts are a different beast.

During the first week, I tried to go all out for every single workout.

Bad decision.

I was completely wrecked and had well over 120 more workouts to do.

During 75HARD, no matter how hard you work out one day, you are going to have to wake up and work out again the next day — twice.

That first weekend, I met the challenge by doing stationary bike for recovery.

Ironically, I was making less progress by working out too hard.

This was an early reminder that you go faster by going slower in the long run.

Instead of trying to set personal bests twice a day, I started moderating my intensity.

This helped balance the boom-bust cycle I started with: going all out and then spending four days recovering.

There’s a reason ‘old’ people spend obnoxious amounts of time warming up, cooling down, resting between sets, and stretching. Start these habits now.

Consistent daily effort beats unsustainable intensity.

Sample Moderate Workouts
  • Walk for 15 minutes, run for 15 minutes, walk back home.
  • Do 5 sets of 5 for one compound movement with 2–5 minutes rest between sets. Do some light accessory lifts, core, or stretch with the remaining time. Cycle between squat, bench, deadlift, row, and overhead press.
  • Alternate forms of cardio: stair-master, elliptical, bike, & hike.
  • Yoga
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Highly recommend a sunrise hike. Be sure to point at nothing.

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Rock Climbing (at your own risk) is also fun.

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The dogs certainly enjoyed the extra walking.

Some Things I Didn’t Mention

Weight Loss

I was already pretty lean at the start of the challenge, but if you do it right, you will lose weight. My friend Kyle lost 30 pounds doing the challenge with me. That’s two bowling balls.

Try It For A Day

The call to action isn’t everyone should do the 75HARD.

You have to decide if it’s right for you.

But my advice is to try 75HARD at least once.

Do it one day, give it a test drive — see if you like it.

75HARD Resources

Start here:

More details:

Learn More

I joined my friends Kyle and Stryker to talk in detail about our experience doing the 75HARD on this podcast episode.



Published on Sep 01, 2020

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