Starting on March 5th, 2020 I decided to start a program called 75Hard. I have talked about 75 Hard in previous articles but it never did the program justice explaining how much it taught me, and how much it outright changed my life.
75Hard is a 75 day mental toughness program in which you must do the following tasks everyday for 75 days in a row with no compromises. If you fail any of these tasks during any of the 75 days you fail the program and must start again at day 1. Doesn’t matter if you fail a task on day 4 or day 74, you must restart or the program does not count as completed.
The tasks you must complete everyday for those 75 days are as follow:
- Two 45 minute workouts one of which must take place outdoors regardless of the conditions, this is to get you into the habit of doing things that are hard when you don’t want to do them and do them even if the conditions are hard.
- Drink 1 gallon of water, this is a great habit that will greatly increase your overall health by keeping yourself properly hydrated and a habit that should remain in your life long after the program.
- Read 10 pages of a non fiction personal development book. Reading is an amazing habit that I didn’t do much before the program and now I am a lifelong reader. Books contain years, even decades of someone’s life work that you can download in just a few days and gain all that valuable information. Amazing habit and if you aren’t reading you should definitely start today!
- Follow a diet of your choice that will push you towards your health goals. Just because there are multiple tasks that relate to health, 75 Hard is a mental toughness program. The reason for these health tasks is the fact that they are hard. If you can stick to a diet without cheating for 75 days you will gain a powerful threshold over your relationship with food and gain mental toughness and confidence.
- No cheat meals whatsoever. Task #4 says it all.
- Take a progress picture each day. This is not meant to be posted online if you don’t want it. It’s meant to get you looking at yourself to 1 become more comfortable at seeing yourself if you are not happy with your body, and 2 its to document the incredible changes you will create during these 75 days.
- No consumption of alcohol. Luckily for me I haven’t drank since I was 21 in Vegas so this was easy for me, but I’m sure this will be the hardest task for many. Remember this is a mental toughness program and to build mental toughness you have to break out of the stranglehold that these vices have on us.
Now as you can imagine doing these tasks every day for 75 days was extremely daunting, and something I put off for a long time. But with the rumors of a quarantine happening late february I knew that the said quarantine would be a perfect time for me to buckle down and start working on myself. So 3 days before the quarantine lockdown hit my area I started 75 Hard and got to work.
But the thing about 75 Hard is that it doesn’t end after day 75, in fact, 75 Hard is only the beginning to a year long program called the Live Hard program.
The Live Hard program has 4 phases, 75 Hard, Phase 1, Phase 2 and Phase 3. The next 3 phases are all 30 day phases and each phase has new, harder elements to them. Just as 75 Hard, phase 1, and phase 2 both have the rule that if you fail you must start over at day 1 of the phase you’re on. Phase 3 has a different rule that I will talk about in a second.
Before I get into the amazing benefits I have gained from the program I would like to first break down the next 3 phases of the Live Hard program after 75 Hard and detail what each phase entails.
This is the first phase after 75 Hard, and you can start immediately after you finish 75 Hard or take some time off. I personally took about 2-3 days off before starting phase 1 so I could give my body a couple days to heal and prepare for the next 30 days of 2x workouts a day.
Phase 1 has all of the previous requirements that 75 Hard had, with 3 new tasks in addition to complete daily.
- 5 minute cold shower, and by cold I mean cold, if you’re aren’t shivering and having that feeling of cold shock then the water isn’t cold enough. This is another mental toughness builder and the hardest tasks of all the tasks in my opinion. But cold showers have proven health benefits and also have the benefit of getting you out of your comfort zone. Cold showers are usually the worst part of the day for me, or at least the part I look forward to the least so once I get it done the rest of the day is usually a cake walk compared to that cold water.
- 10 minutes of dedicated visualization, to help you begin seeing your goals daily as a reality and not just a dream.
- 8 powerlist tasks. The powerlist is a daily checklist where you write down your 5 most critical tasks that need to be done that day that push you towards your goals. But during phase 1 you must do an extra 3 tasks making it 8 total critical tasks each day that must be completed. You can learn more about the powerlist by listening to one of my favorite podcast episodes of all time and the one that started my life transformation here.
Phase 2 is exactly like 75 Hard except it is 30 days opposed to 75 and you are not required to complete the extra tasks there were assigned during phase 1.
However, the hard part of phase 2 is you must take a 30 day break between finishing phase 1 and starting phase 2. This may not seem difficult but this break can break some people. Without the pressure of the program to hold your hand you start to have cheat meals, you start cutting workouts and going out during the weekends for drinks. You will begin to lose the momentum the program gives you and once you come back to phase 2 it will be even harder to start than it was starting 75 Hard. If you fall off during the break you will regret it going into phase 2. The break is meant to help you transition this into a lifestyle of daily winning and if you fall off this will be the extra hard step of phase 2.
Phase 3 is the hardest of them all in my opinion.
First off you are not allowed to start phase 3 until 30 days prior to when you started 75 hard the year prior. For example I started 75 Hard March 5th 2020 and started phase 3 on February 4th 2021. Unlike the previous stages of the live hard program you are not allowed to start again on day 1 if you fail any of these tasks. This is the final test, and if you fail phase 3 you fail the whole program and must start again at 75 Hard day 1 and go through the whole cycle again.
Phase 3 has all of the previous tasks to complete from 75 Hard and phase 1, as well as 2 new additional tasks.
- Have a conversation with a stranger. This is to get you started on being comfortable talking to new people. If you want to build a business, make new relationships or grow a goal you will have to reach out to new people. Talking to strangers is a very hard task to start but it will be a skill that is useful for your whole life.
- Do a random act of kindness. This is to get you thinking about other people. You don’t want to do the same 1-2 tasks the whole 30 days, you want to challenge yourself to really help some people. This could be donating, cleaning up some trash during your outdoor workout, helping someone unload their groceries, complimenting someone, being a spotter at the gym etc.
Now let’s get into the amazing benefits I gained from this mental toughness program throughout the past year, and talk about how it completely changed my life for the better and set me on a new direction in life.
First let’s talk about the physical changes I went through. Now this is a mental toughness program but with the core rules being 2 workouts everyday, following a diet, and drinking a gallon of water then if you follow it with no compromise you will see huge positive changes in your health.
I changed into a completely different person. I lost a great amount of weight going from about 18-19% body fat down to about 12% and since then I have maintained anywhere from 9%-11%. I also gained a lot of lean muscle. My shirt sleeves started to fill out, the lines of my shoulders began to separate from my arms, my core was strengthening and a 6 pack was starting to form.
I became much stronger, faster, and my endurance shot up as I saw the distance in which I could run consistently increase.
People noticed, I got a lot of people telling me I looked great and commenting on how much of a change I made. Since we were in a quarantine the only people who really saw me day to day were my parents, so my friends and siblings didn’t see me until I had lost a lot of weight and the responses were great. Now all this praise feels good obviously but I knew I couldn’t let them get too far into my head as I still have a lot of work to be done. And I know that if people are impressed with the changes I have made at this point then they will be blown away by my transformation throughout the upcoming years.
Now as I stated earlier the Live Hard program is a mental toughness program, and the changes to my mental dwarf the physical changes.
First off the excuses I had started to go away, I no longer said I couldn’t, that I wasn’t good enough, or that I didn’t have time. Through this program I knew I had what it took to reach my goals. By doing the tasks each day through the 4 phases of the Live Hard program I began to realize not only that I had what it took to get up and get things done when I didn’t feel like it and the conditions were not perfect, but I also began to realize through daily hard work, dedication, and discipline that I could begin to achieve goals and make progress towards whatever it is that I focused on.
I got control of my relationship with food. I no longer needed to eat junk food, I no longer needed soda, energy drinks or other sugary beverages. I learned that I didn’t need to eat anytime food was put in front of me, I began to completely clean my diet, and skip out on the artificial, highly processed foods in exchange for cleaner, healthier foods that made me feel alive instead of tired and groggy. I consistently intermittent fasted, which helped not only further my control of my food intake but also taught me that I didn’t need to eat if the only thing available was food that was bad for me. I could go 24+ hours fasted and not only feel fine but I would actually feel incredible. Intermittent fasting has greatly bumped up my mental clarity, my energy, and the confidence in myself.
Speaking of confidence, I am now incredibly self confident. Waking up each day and doing 2 workouts when I didn’t want to, say no to cookies, and ice cream, following my diet, learning from all the reading I was doing and watching my body transform made me very confident in myself and my abilities. Self confidence is something I had sparingly in the past, now it’s something I feel radiates from me because I put in the work to gain that confidence. And the best part is, my confidence only goes up from here as I further chase my goals, as I keep failing and getting back up, and as I keep learning.
This program has given me life back, and I mean that with 0 exaggeration, or sarcasm. This program changed me from the unhealthy, depressed, stagnant person I was with no hope for the future, into someone who is healthy, confident, motivated and has no doubt that I will fulfill my goals. I feel like I gained my future back from this year long program. In a year where it was very easy to feel hopeless, to regress into bad habits, and to be lazy and indulge on junk food, I came out better than I have ever been with the knowledge and skills to begin pushing myself further and harder to one day become the man I know I can be.
Now let’s talk about what the potential downsides of the program are.
- You will no longer be able to go back to your old self safely. After learning what you are capable of, going back into a less optimal state will put you into a deeper depression hole than you were before because you will know you are not living up to your potential.
- You will lose friends. When you change into a high achiever and someone who is grinding hard towards goals, you will begin to separate from those who don’t agree with your actions. They will tell you to slow down, that you’re working too hard, or “you’ve changed”. This is a tactic to get you back to where they want you to be, and not where you want yourself to be. These are the people who won’t support you in the short or long run and you will need to cut them out/minimize the time spent with them or they will continually make you question yourself and your decisions.
- You will pee A LOT. Going from drinking some water each day to a gallon+ each day will cause you to start using the bathroom much more frequently. At first it will be a nuisance because it feels like you have to go every hour but over time you will get used to it and the benefits of staying optimally hydrated will dwarf the downside of having to frequently visit the restroom.
- Quitting your normal foods will be extremely hard. Going from eating some junk food, desserts, or even the normal snack foods, into a clean, progressive diet will not come easily to most people. This will likely be the hardest part of the program for most but also the one that is the most mentally and physically rewarding.
- You will have to get water at the bar. No alcohol mean NO ALCOHOL. And if you’re a drinker this will be a problem when going out with friends, but you just have to remind yourself that you are on a program to better yourself and to better your life and this “sacrifice” is only temporary.