Mental Toughness in 75 Days

By Lindsey Johnson

The 75 Hard Challenge has taken over social media with friends posting progress pictures and sharing book recommendations. What is this challenge, what does it entail and is it right for me?

The 75 Hard Challenge was created by Andy Frisella, an entrepreneur, podcast host and author. According to Frisella, this challenge is designed to increase mental toughness and change your life in 75 days. There are aspects of fitness, nutrition, hydration and personal development.


Every day, there are certain requirements that must be met:

  • A healthy diet with zero cheat meals and no alcohol.
  • Complete 2 workouts of 45 minutes each. One workout MUST be outdoors.
  • Drink a gallon of water.
  • Read 10+ pages of a non-fiction entrepreneurial or personal development book.
  • Take a progress picture.

If you do not complete all activities for a given day, you start back at Day 1.

This challenge requires a high level of commitment and focus. In order to be successful and to avoid overuse injuries, many participants choose to include yoga, stretching or gentle walks as one of their daily workouts. This challenge creates the opportunity for mental discipline and resilience while also improving physical habits.

While “before and after” photos show significant changes in body shape or weight, participants claim that the greatest change is internal.

Interested in starting your own 75 Hard journey? Consult your provider for clearance before starting. Your health history, injuries or other factors may play a role in whether or not this challenge is for you.

Wellness360 Readers share their journey doing 75 Hard!

HOW MANY DAYS DID YOU COMPLETE?

Carey Hudson: I am currently on day 25, and will complete the challenge in September.
Larry Freedman: I started the program twice, making it both times to about day 15. The physical toll of trying to complete 2 full 45 minute workouts eventually made me have to take a break. Once you’ve broken, it’s tough to restart.
Chad French: I completed all 75 days.
Maria Esposito:
I made it to Day 55! I cut my leg open and had to get staples about 40 days in. I did lots of upper body work and instead of running for 45 minutes, I would do an ab circuit instead. It was taxing to do only upper body and abs but I pushed through. My leg healed and then I got strep throat. I had a fever and my whole body hurt so I had to take a day off, which ends the program. I haven’t re-started because I’m trying to let myself breathe for a minute and give my body a rest from the pressure.
Corinna French:
All 75. I started Monday, May 17, and finished on Friday, July 30. I don’t think I would have been able to do it without Chad doing it with me. Staying committed and on the same page was key.

WHAT WAS THE MOST POWERFUL OR LIFE-CHANGING PART OF THE EXPERIENCE?

Carey Hudson: Learning how to better organize and plan my day.
Larry Freedman: For the first 5-10 days or so I felt energized to workout, but then I would start rationalizing easy workouts.
Chad French: The biggest thing I took from this challenge was reading at least 10 pages of a non-fiction book every day. I ended up reading over three books (on the 4th now), and the third book was over 430 pages. I learned so much during the 75 days. Two of the books were self-help books and I ended up applying them to my life. The second most impactful thing was exercising outside for at least 45 minutes every day. Sun and fresh air are things we tend to not really think about and are so important. My mood was consistent throughout the challenge and I looked forward to getting outdoors every day, rain or shine.
Maria Esposito: The most life changing part for me was the daily pictures. Since I had my son, I got back on track and then got pregnant again. I miscarried at 12 weeks and I’ve been really hard on myself about my body ever since. The daily pictures showed me that I was wrong about my opinions on my body and I was actually starting to kick some butt.
Corinna French: Living every hour of my day with intention. Knowing that I had a list of tasks to accomplish each day required me to really take control of my time. If I knew I had a work event in the evening, I would have to shift my schedule so that I could get my second workout in earlier in the day. I’ve never felt in complete control of my life like I did on 75 Hard. I also had substantial growth and insight from the non-fiction books I read.

WHAT PART(S) DID YOU NOT LIKE?

Carey Hudson: So far, nothing!
Larry Freedman: The invariance of the program. I think if there was a built-in pass day once a week I could have made it longer.
Chad French: Taking a picture every day didn’t make a lot of sense to me. I understand using pictures is a good way of telling progress but every single day? It should just be a weekly thing or not a thing at all.
Maria Esposito: There really wasn’t anything I didn’t like about it. It was a really great confidence boost to know I was checking off all the boxes. Makes you feel like you’re accomplishing something everyday, which is a huge mental health bump for me.
Corinna French: My least favorite part was denying my body rest days. I’ve always been taught to listen to your body. During 75 Hard, I couldn’t listen to the aches and pains of my body; I had to keep going. To balance the high physical demand, I incorporated yoga and active stretching into most of my weeks as a second daily workout.

HOW DID YOU STICK TO THE SCHEDULE?

Carey Hudson: Preparing the night before. Looking at my schedule and making sure to schedule my tasks.
Larry Freedman: I’m a very early riser, so getting in a 45 minute walk in the morning was easy, then I only had to work in a short workout in the evening.
Chad French: I typically worked out once before noon and then once in the late afternoon or early evening. Everything else just came naturally, and I made sure to check off my list before going to sleep.
Maria Esposito: I just made it work. Being a mom, I have to be on a schedule 24/7. So I just had to wake up earlier, move things around and get it done when I could.
Corinna French: I was very strategic with my schedule. Balancing work, parenting duties, and life, if I didn’t have a strategy, I wouldn’t be successful with the challenge. My typical day looked like this: 4:15 a.m. Wake Up + Progress Picture • 5:00 a.m. Workout #1 6:30 a.m. Read 10+ pages • 9:00 a.m. Work • 12:00 p.m. Lunch (low carb) • 4:00 p.m. Workout #2 • 6:00 p.m. Dinner (low carb) • 9:00 p.m. Bedtime .Water allllll day long (sometimes not finishing my gallon until 9 p.m.)

WHAT DID YOU LEARN ABOUT YOURSELF?

Carey Hudson: So far I have learned that on most days I actually have more time than I thought.
Larry Freedman: I am an expert in rationalizing that 45 minutes of foam rolling and easy stretching can be a workout.
Chad French: I learned that I could stick to a rigorous diet and lifestyle for as long as I want when an end goal is a motivating factor. I did this for 75 days, but I could have gone much longer. I also discovered I really enjoy reading books. I’ve been an Audible person for years but there’s something different about taking time out, turning off the TV and phone and jumping into a good book, especially self-help. Challenges like these are so much better when you are doing it with another person. I don’t think I could have done it alone. Too many temptations in life like alcohol, junk food and laziness.
Maria Esposito: I learned that I’m too hard on myself. I am fully capable of doing these things and I do them well, I think. But all workouts don’t need to be ridiculously hard to be effective. I don’t need to kill my body to push my limits.
Corinna French: I learned that I’m actually a very disciplined person. I’ve always considered myself a “fly by the seat of my pants” individual but after setting my mind to accomplish a set of rules of 75 days, I realized that I love being intentional with every part of my day; rain or shine, early or late, busy or idle. I have also continued my low carb diet, a gallon of water a day, daily reading and increased exercise post-75 Hard. The only difference is taking rest days and not doing two-a-days 7 days a week.

OTHER THOUGHTS

Carey Hudson: If you are interested in self development, this is a great platform to explore that.
Larry Freedman: I’ll probably give it another chance. Would definitely help to have a partner (even remotely) to motivate me on those sore days.
Chad French: My goal was to lose 20 lbs and I ended up losing 21 lbs in total.
Corinna French: Mental toughness has increased 20-fold. The physical benefit was icing on the cake. I lost 12 pounds and my body shape changed. I can definitely see myself doing this challenge again.

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