75 Hard: Tips To Becoming The Best Version Of Yourself
75 Hard is a mental toughness program created by Andy Frisella designed to change your life and help you become the best version of yourself. If you want to accomplish anything you can dream of and build a bulletproof mindset then this is for you. I completed the program on July 6, 2019 and it was one of the best things I’ve ever done.
I want to help others on their journey by sharing my experience and lessons learned. If you are thinking about doing the 75 Hard program then I hope this post becomes a source of inspiration and encouragement for you. If I can do it so can you.
I’m going to break this down into a few different sections. I encourage you to watch the video or listen to the podcast I recorded with Brendan Pettit to dive deeper into our experience. You can also check out our tips & lessons learned from each of the other Phases of the Live Hard program: Phase 1, Phase 2, Phase 3, Live Hard Results overall
Here is the Audio Version. You can subscribe to Best Year Ever wherever you listen to podcasts.
You can also connect with me:
- Rob Cressy – Instagram: @rob_cressy – LinkedIn: /cressy/ – Twitter: @RobCressy – Join my Facebook group for Growth Inspired Creators
What is 75 Hard?
75 Hard is a mental toughness program. Every day for 75 days you do these 5 tasks with zero compromise.
- Workout twice a day: 45 minute indoor workout, 45 minute outdoor workout. You can choose whatever fitness program or workouts you want.
- Follow a diet with no cheat meals and no alcohol. You get to create the diet for yourself.
- Read 10 pages of a personal development or non-fiction book. Something that makes you better. Note: Audiobooks do not count.
- Drink a gallon of water.
- Take a progress picture every single day.
I recommend you listen to Andy Frisella MFCEO podcast where he shares more details about the program if you have any questions. It’s simple and straight forward by design. (Note: Andy has added more clarity to the program since I did it in 2019, so please follow the current guidelines).
Tips For Completing 75 Hard
If you are thinking about doing 75 Hard or you just started, knowing some of these things ahead of time can be an absolute game changer for ensuring you complete the program. I had to learn them along the way so they come from experience. (And here’s a post where I share my success story after the fact).
There is no perfect time to start 75 Hard. You will always have weddings, vacations, work trips, family events, holidays, and things that are already on the calendar. It is designed to be inconvenient. That’s one of the things that makes it worth it.
Go All-In on 75 Hard. If you want to make 75 Hard as impactful as possible then go all-in on the program. What that meant to me is it was the most important thing in my life for 75 straight days. It was my top priority from the second I woke up until the second I went to bed. Everything else came after in. Note: I am an entrepreneur that runs a small business and I’m married so I’ve got a full plate. While 75 Hard was the most important thing in my life, one of the reasons I was doing it was for my family as well as my future business.
Prioritize 75 Hard tasks early in the day (aka Start Hard). One of the things that helped me be successful at completing 75 Hard and the Live Hard program was prioritizing the tasks early in the day. I was up at 4:58 am and by 7:30 am I had more than half the tasks done for the day already. I’d wake up and read my 10 pages while drinking a glass of water. Then I would go to the gym or for an outdoor walk and drink another 16 ounces of water, taking a picture when I was done. My mindset was to work from a position of strength opposed to waiting until later in the day and having to get things done when my energy was lower or I had less time in the day. I eventually termed this “Start Hard”.
Write down and check off when you accomplish your 75 Hard tasks. This is a huge tip as you want to leave nothing to chance. “I forgot” is never an excuse. Create your own self check system that ensures before you go to bed that you have guaranteed that you completed all of your tasks for that day. I would keep a notebook next to me at all times and check off as I drank my water, did my workouts, and completed each of the tasks. This allowed there to be a constant awareness of the program.
Have an accountability partner. If you are 100% committed to completing 75 Hard then find someone (or a group of people) who is also doing it to be your accountability partner. The support is so important because this is a mental toughness program and often you are trying to overcome the self limiting bitch voice in your head telling you not to take action. Your accountability partner can help lift you up when you are down, you can do the same for them, and you can share with each other when things are going great. I am so thankful that I had Brendan Pettit alongside me on this journey. It was a game changer.
Plan your meals. This is imperative to being successful at following your diet because if you don’t plan ahead you will inevitably get to a time when you open your fridge and it’s seven o’clock and it’s time for dinner and you go “Holy Crap, I have nothing in here that I can eat.” Planning ahead puts you in a position to succeed by being intentional about what you are going to eat and not leaving it up to chance. The diet side of things was the hardest for me as the temptations never went away, so this was imperative.
Bring snacks with you wherever you go. You are going to quickly find out how few healthy eating options there are when you eat out. I went to a concert and knew there wasn’t going to be many options for food from the snack shack that aligned with my diet so I brought some healthy snacks with me. This saved me from being hangry all the time.
Buy a water bottle to tracks the amount of ounces. This allows you to easily quantify your water consumption, that way you ensure that you drink a gallon of water every day. I used a 24 ounce Nalgene water bottle that had the ounces listed on the side. I also purchased a 17 ounce water bottle off Amazon that I carried around with me.
Take your progress picture in the morning/early in the day. It pains me when I see someone fail at 75 hard because they forgot to take their progress picture. It takes 5 seconds and is literally the easiest thing to do. Since I did at least one of my workouts in the morning I would always take a picture when I completed it. That way I was stacking the habit and ensured it got done.
Lay your workout clothes out the night before. Being successful at this challenge starts with preparation the night before. By laying my clothes out I committed to myself that I was going to workout in the morning, plus it removed any friction that would slow me down from making that happen. Think less, take more action.
Embrace the journey. This tip was the hardest for me to learn as it took 24 days. I think back to Day 11, which was my lowest day, where my mindset was “how in the world am I going to work out twice a day for another 64 days when I already feel worn out?” Thankfully I was able to push through that day, but it took another two weeks of counting down the days I had remaining in 75 Hard until I realized that I needed to embrace the journey. See each day for the blessing that it is. Once I saw that it changed everything for me. I started looking forward to the opportunities I had instead of seeing it as a struggle.
Embrace bad weather. One of my favorite parts of 75 Hard was the bad weather. I live in Chicago and my Live Hard journey had me doing outdoor workouts in below zero temperatures, snow, and rain. The reason I started to enjoy the bad weather is I knew what it was doing for my mental toughness. I was building a fortress in my head. When the rest of the world see’s rain they have a negative mindset. When I see rain I have a smile on my face and see it as an opportunity to get better. It also really helps build up the No Excuses Mentality.
Write down a daily log of things you’ve learned or noted during your 75 Hard journey. 75 Hard was one of the best things I’ve ever done in my life and I am thankful that I took 5 minutes a day to write down my thoughts or things I learned each day. It allowed me to decompress as well as document what was going on. I created a simple format of questions:
- How do I feel mentally
- How do I feel physically
- Biggest struggle
- Biggest success or benefit
- Outdoor exercise
- Indoor exercise
- Book I am reading
- When did I finish my water
Skills 75 Hard Teaches You
75 Hard is a mental toughness challenge, but it is also a skill development program. So many of the lessons I learned during my journey will be with me for the rest of my life. When Andy Frisella says that it will turn you into the best version of yourself he was spot on. When I completed the program I turned into the Terminator (in the best way possible). Here are some of the skills that I learned and you can too.
When someone asks what my number one takeaway from 75 Hard is it is earned confidence. 75 Hard makes you earn every step, every workout, every drop of water, every minute of your day. Nothing is given to you. When you pay your dues for 75 days in a row a confident energy gets created. You know what it took and have an appreciation for how hard the journey was. You come out the other side with an earned confidence that creates an aura around you. Because of this mindset, when I walk around life I look to do challenging things so I can get more earned confidence. Rinse and repeat.
One skill that will serve you forever is grit. It’s your ability to push forward when times are tough. 75 Hard is intentionally uncomfortable and inconvenient. It forces you to dig deep and prove what you are made of. When you do this day after day you build up a resilience and grit that becomes an impenetrable shell. I completed the Live Hard program during the pandemic. When many people are making excuses for why things aren’t the way they want them to be, I was working on myself to make things better. This time in my life will have made me and built me into the strong champion you see today.
Are you going to do the things you say you are going to do? That’s what discipline means to me. 75 Hard is a personal journey. No one is going to make you do it. It’s entirely on you. When you show up day after day, especially when you don’t want to, you build discipline. I would wake up at 4:58 am to start my day and every time it was not easy. However, I knew what I wanted to accomplish with this program so I was willing to push through the discomfort and exercise discipline to make it happen.
When I was on 75 Hard it was my number one priority every day. This allowed me to show up in a way where I put myself in a position to succeed. But here’s the thing, it’s not always easy. I still would go out with my friends on the weekends and have fun. Inevitably I would look at the clock and it would be 10 or 11 pm. I had a choice to make. Stay out later and bro it up, or head back home so I can get a good night sleep, that way I could be up bright and early to start my day. Every single time I went home early. I had more important things I want to accomplish the next day, and I wasn’t about to let others take me off course. That’s how you learn prioritization.
One of my favorite quotes is from Jesse Itzler. He says, “How you do anything is how you do everything”. When I was on 75 Hard I was intentional about every single second of my day. It meant that much to me. When you put that much intention into your personal development and your actions you automatically perform at a higher level. This bleeds to all areas of your life and is something that has stayed with me. There’s only one way to do things, and that’s with intention. A great example of this was with my 45 minute indoor workouts (many of which were strength training). Since I was going to be putting in the work I made it a point to follow a lifting program (which is something that I haven’t always done). That way I could see better results since my training regiment was laid out for me.
Overcome Your Self Talk
The biggest challenge of 75 Hard is yourself. What is the narrative in your head and what are you telling yourself on a daily basis? 75 Hard teaches you to control your self talk and turn it into action. Is it easy? Nope (especially when your bitch voice is making a ton of noise). Is it worth it? 100%. When you can control your self talk you can do anything you set your mind to. The challenge with overcoming your self talk is your internal voice never goes away. For 75 days, on a moment to moment basis, you have to overcome the self limiting voice in your head that tells you to “take it easy”, “sleep in a little later”, “no one will know if you skip this workout or eat this chip.” The more you get accustomed to living in action the second your bitch voice makes noise the easier it becomes to live in action the next time.
When I started 75 Hard I had no clue how I was going to finish. 75 days damn near felt like 10 years. What separated me from most people was my commitment. I was all-in and nothing was going to stop me. Day after day of completing my tasks slowly built up my self belief. Then I found a way to power through on the hardest days. The days in which the last thing I wanted to do was be on the program. Those days ended up becoming the most valuable days. They built my self belief and proved to myself that if I can get through them then I can do anything.
One of my favorite quotes is “Make Time, Not Excuses.” 75 Hard teaches you to remove excuses. You find a way. Your muscle are sore from lifting? Go do yoga. You are tired of eating chicken and vegetables? Go find a new recipe. It’s snowing out and you still need to get your outdoor workout in? Put on a ski hat and goggles. Excuses don’t cash checks. Excuses don’t tell great stories. Excuses don’t get you to where you want to go.
Doing anything for 75 days in a row is hard for most people. Doing the five daily tasks with no compromise is something that few people on earth can say they’ve ever done. By showing up and paying your dues every single day you learn about consistency. What it takes to perform at a high level over and over again without excuses. This naturally bleeds to all areas of your life.
A crazy thing happens when you are doing 75 Hard. Great things start to happen in your life. You create an energy and aura and way of being that attracts people and things to you. So often someone would come up to me and say “Rob, there’s a glow about you.” That’s no accident. When you are doing a mental toughness program designed to turn you into the best version of yourself you perform at a higher level. The more you do it the more that you build momentum. It’s why I kept things going and completed the entire Live Hard program.
When I started 75 Hard I was uncertain about the journey I was on. By the time I was done I had transformed into the best version of myself. In the process I learned the things that served me and helped me achieve what I wanted. Ultimately this became about lifestyle design. I kept the things that I liked that helped me be a high performer.
Is 75 Hard hard?
As the name says, 75 Hard is hard by design. If it was called 75 Easy it wouldn’t change your life. Here are a few of the hardest things I experienced and overcame during my journey.
Twice a day workouts
75 Hard is not a fitness program, even though there are physical benefits to it. One of the biggest things I had to overcome and manage was my body. Going from working out 5 days a week to working out twice a day for 45 minutes each for 75 days in a row takes its toll on both your mind and body. Because my goal was to complete the program I was more intentional about the variety of my workouts. My goal wasn’t to max lift on every exercise I did. Instead it was to be intentional about my effort and exercises. This included mixing in yoga so that I could keep my body stretched and limber.
On the mental side you have to get to a point where you realize that nothing bad is going to happen to you by working out twice a day. What starts out as “holy smokes am I sore” turns into earned confidence. I began to wear the soreness with pride. As the days of the program progressed my mindset completely shifted. I began pushing myself more, wanting to finish strong. I began to crave the performance.
You are going to go to the bathroom a lot
Drinking a gallon of water is no joke, especially if you’ve never done it before. From day one you’ll quickly learn to not be far away from a bathroom. You’ll schedule meetings and trips in the car around going to the bathroom first. You’ll also be a lot more selective on the other liquids you drink. Since I had to drink a gallon of water every day anything else no longer served me. I wasn’t look to add more liquid to my already liquid heavy consumption.
Low moments are going to happen
How you handle the inevitable low moments shows what you are truly made of. What I learned to do was take the tough times and turn them into action. There were countless times in which I didn’t want to do something but did anyways. That’s where the growth and mental toughness comes from. The more often you take action in the face of discomfort the more comfortable you get taking action when you don’t want to. It doesn’t get any easier, you just know what to do.
Following a diet isn’t easy
The most challenging task for me was following a diet. The reason was because it never went away. One of the rules is no cheat meals. If you slip up even once you go back to the beginning. The absolute nature of the 75 Hard challenge never left me. I was constantly aware of everything I ate. At the same time, everywhere you go is temptation. One night I was out to dinner with some friends and the restaurant messed up our order. To make up for it they gave the table 4 full deserts, including cakes, cookies, and ice cream. I had to laugh at the absurdity of it. There was so much that the rest of my party actually had leftover desert. Things like this happened on a regular basis so I got used to it. The good news is that discipline is what allowed me to cultivate better eating habits.
Thank You Andy Frisella
When I look back at my life one of the pivotal moments will be when I committed to completing 75 Hard. I was sitting on Siesta Key Beach and I had just listened to Andy Frisella’s 75 Hard podcast for a second time. There was something he said that I couldn’t get out of my head. “75 days is a small price to pay to become the best version of yourself.”
As an entrepreneur I am all-in on my dreams. How could I not be willing to do something that guarantees I’ll be the best version of myself? I thought about all the things I’d be giving up or missing (like drinking with my friends at street festivals or enjoying Summertime Chicago). I also thought about how hard some of the tasks were going to be to complete, especially drinking a gallon of water. I was full of excuses for why I was comfortable where I was and didn’t need to do 75 Hard.
It is for the reason that I didn’t want to do the program that I ended up committing to it. I saw my excuses as weakness and I had to keep myself in integrity. If I am truly destined to do great things then this has to be part of it.
I have to thank Andy Frisella for his leadership and constant example. Seeing his Instagram Stories where he was paying his dues every day inspired me to do the same. If he could do it so could I. And I did.
I have to thank everyone in the 75 Hard community for inspiring me with their action. We all earn every step and seeing others transform their lives fuels me.
I have to thank everyone in the Arete Syndicate for constantly raising the bar and living a life of excellence. When Andy first came out with 75 Hard it was the people in the community who originally did it that made me want to level up with them.
If you are considering 75 Hard then I highly recommend you do it. This mental toughness program changed my life and it will for you too. We all have so much potential inside of us and 75 days is a small price to pay to make that happen. I promise you that when you complete this program you’ll never be the same again!
As a parting gift, if you are a high performer looking to take your personal growth and mindset to the next level and you are looking for a coach to support you in that process then I’d love to chat with you. Schedule a free breakthrough coaching session with Rob Cressy here.