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75 Hard

Updated: Nov 2, 2022

In his book 75 Hard, Andy Frisella references Anton Chekhov’s short story “The Bet.” The synopsis is a banker and a lawyer discussing capital punishment engage in a bet of whether the lawyer could spend 15 years in total isolation and receive 2 million rubles as reward.

#75Hard Day 75 - Last Workout

After experiencing depression and loneliness, the lawyer begins to read and study, experiencing tremendous growth and insight all the while. The day before the lawyer is to be released, the banker plots to kill the lawyer, rather than paying the bet. In a twist of fate, the lawyer leaves his imprisonment 1 day shy of reaching 15 years. In his note, he explains how he’s gained more in those 15 years through reading and study than the huge sum of money could ever give him.

As I currently sit with 75 days worth of two-a-day workouts, 75 gallons of water over 750 pages read, and 74 progress pictures, I finally get what the lawyer was feeling. Getting to this point isn’t so much about the ecstasy of getting to this moment. It’s more about the things I gained along the way. It reminds me of the quote, “Those who love the journey will go further than those who love the destination.”

I’d like to confirm the statement I heard upon beginning the 75 Hard program. This is not a workout, diet, or health regimen. You will experience the benefits that all of those things promise, but these results are far from the point.

#75 Hard Day 1 - August 19

This is about finding something inside that I’ve only found through three months of Marine Corps boot camp, and even that wasn’t the same. Boot camp was in a lot of ways physically and mentally more taxing. But there was always someone pushing me, there. The 75 hard is 15 days shorter, but you’re the only drill instructor you’re likely to find.

The effects I’m immediately feeling are profound. My body is undeniably stronger. I’m running much faster, I’m rock climbing much harder, my body is much more flexible. My mind is fed and clear. The biggest impact, however, has been on my inner landscape. I feel peaceful. I trust my path. I have a renewed sense of confidence. I have less tolerance for excuses, but not in a judgmental or intolerant way with others. I feel amazing in all the ways you’d expect, and in ways I don’t think many people will understand without going through a similar alchemizing.

Here’s a few of my biggest lessons gained through the experience.

#1 - Discipline.

I heard my ego complain so many times. I also learned to acknowledge it and dig deeper than it. There were so many days of being too tired to workout. There were so many days I was falling asleep while reading. There were too many days where I was chugging my last 30 oz. of water knowing that I’d be up all night peeing. None of those inconveniences were as important as making a promise to myself because none of those forms of relief are as sweet as being able to say that I didn’t fold to them. Developing a strong discipline is worth more than all the other lessons combined and will undoubtedly be the biggest contribution to my leveling-up in life.

#2 - Organization.

This is my biggest shadow. This is the primary reason I started and failed my way through July and half of August. My organization and lack of prior proper planning killed me early on. Drinking water, looking at my schedule and understanding my windows for working out were key. Having meals on hand and with me made a huge difference. Though I still found myself chugging water past 10:30 more often than not, I had to get my schedule straight to even have a chance at doing this without piling on unnecessary stress.

#3. Flexibility.

I did a lot of yoga. That helped me find areas of resistance and breath into those spaces. Even more so, I found the need for flexibility in my life. No matter how well I planned, life sent surprises. My ability to dance with life became a fun, and almost desired challenge. Often times not burdening myself with the stress and fear of change allowed me to have the energy and capacity to complete tasks in unexpected times and ways.

#4. Intuition.

The 75 Hard became a real meditation in listening to my body. I could accept soreness in one area, an exercise another body region. I could understand the value of a bike ride instead of a run on days my knees hurt. Even surrendering to a brisk walk or a lighter yoga flow helped my body become stronger despite not having built-in “rest days.” Even sleeping in a little later knowing I’d have time for a workout at lunch or in the later evening became a constant check in and honoring of what my body was experiencing. I also learned how confused my body would get sometimes. Mistaking hunger for thirst. Often drinking water was an excellent appetite suppressant.

#5. Tools.

Surround yourself with useful tools. Having several ideas for inside and outside workouts was crucial. Yoga saved the day, so much so, that I spent all of October doing at least 20 minutes whether I’d worked out two other times or not. Having healthy food and snacks on hand was critical, too. Having people that would support me and go on a walk, or know that I needed to read before I could do another activity was beyond helpful.

#75Hard Last Day

Here are a few of my fun stats from my 75 days:

  • I ran over 98.69 miles.

  • I biked 20 miles.

  • I hiked 24 miles.

  • I played golf four times.

  • I did 1,300 minutes of yoga.

  • I climbed over 200 boulder / roped routes and managed to climb over 20 V4s grade routes when I’d only done 5 in the years leading up to the 75 hard.

  • I walked another 40 something miles but didn’t track this as carefully.

  • I completed the Utah Men’s Circle 3,000 pushups / sit-ups / pull-ups / body squat challenge with plenty to spare.

  • My 32 inch pants don’t fit without a belt anymore.

And now for a few of my closest calls of not making it:

  • July - August 18 I tried and failed many times. Sometimes it was forgetting a picture, or not planning out my day well enough and leaving too much to too late in the night. These “failures” taught me that my time management sucked and that was the first place I needed to fix, and still the place I struggled with the most over the time period.

  • Sept. 26 - I took my friend Patrick to Wendover for his birthday. All the water, workouts, and photos were done, but I hadn’t read. I was getting super drowsy heading back after 2 a.m. and knew if I fell asleep, I’d be starting over. So I got out in the middle of the Utah desert and paced under a street light reading The Untethered Soul before mercifully sleeping for an hour and finishing the rest of the drive back to Salt Lake City.

  • Oct. 3 - I had a few intense workouts and was completely wiped out when I sat down to read at 10:30. I ended up falling asleep for what felt like 3-4 hours and was crushed that I’d made a mistake. When I realized I’d only fallen asleep for about 15 minutes, it was clear that I’d only taken a power nap and that something beyond myself was willing me to finish this thing right.

  • Oct. 13 - I had done a psilocybin journey that felt important to stay grounded and in the medicine space throughout the day. I attended my daughter’s birthday dinner and didn’t finish until 8:30. I hadn’t worked out. I went on a 45-minute intense walk / hike and then read and drank my water. I started a yoga practice at 11:45 so drowsy and fatigued I was afraid I’d fall asleep during Shivasna. So I set an alarm just in case so I could take my progress photo before heading to bed that night.

  • Oct. 25 - The rain and snow came early and I was not looking forward to doing an outside workout, let alone a run. I decided to have fun with it instead and look at it as a memorable experience. When I ran, I ran hard and felt like a kid, even though it was the one workout I was dreading the most.

  • Oct 28 - It was 10:30 and I knew I needed an outside workout. Walking felt like a cop-out and I was experiencing heavy emotions. So I decided to do an outside yoga vinyasa practice in 40 degree weather. It was a definite level up.

Should others do the 75 Hard?

When people ask me if I recommend the 75 Hard, I say, "Yes." There’s a growth in showing up for yourself that is indescribable and can only be felt by doing it. Watching excuses and rationalization for not doing something melt away. Holding yourself accountable is like making a promise to yourself and knowing you have the integrity to keep it. There’s no better cure for self worth than this act.

There’s also an element to being realistic. I know my circumstances were easier compared to some, and much more challenging than others who haven’t finished it. Understand that there’s no such thing as ideal.

It’s also not necessary to do it Anthony Frisella’s way. I mean, if you want to do the actual 75 Hard, there’s only one way to do it. But to get the results you’re looking for, there’s 100s of iterations.

My plan moving forward is to tweak some of the activities to fit what aligns with my best self. It’s more about sticking with something you set out to do for long enough to have it be a habit.

  • I will be doing a workout every day. In the outdoors often, and sometimes it will be as light as a Yin yoga practice.

  • I will meditate daily.

  • I will do yoga daily.

  • I will read at least 10 pages daily.

  • I will journal daily.

  • I will emphasize more sleep and push my body in running, climbing, and weight lifting workouts.

  • I will emphasize water consumption and look for clear urination as a daily indication of hydration.

  • I will give myself permission to eat peach cobbler now and then.

  • I will probably take my final progress photo. I love what I've gained, and I would like to collect my 2 million rubles.

Final Thoughts

What I can say is that my body and mind feel absolutely amazing. I haven’t been this strong or flexible since the military. My mind has been exposed to so many great ideas, and I’ve learned a shit-ton about my ego, my will, and most of all, how to have discipline in listening to my body when it need something, and also not listening to my mind when it wants to quit way before my body is truly ready.

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