Updated: Apr 4, 2021
What have I gotten myself into this time?
I first heard about 75 Hard back in the summer. One of my jiu-jitsu brothers had just started and was compbragging about the work he was putting in. For record, I find no fault with bragplaining. I, myself, am quite guilty of it. One might say I’ve even built an entire blog around the concept.
I heard about it again when another brother asked me if I wanted to join him when he started in November. I liked the idea but the prospect of starting this kind of effort during the holidays seemed like a fool’s errand to me. I told him I’d join him at the New Year and he could mock me in February when he was done and I still had halfway to go.
As this year winds down and I stare into the cold abyss that is the coming year I see I could use a little tightening. Like everyone else, 2020 has worn me down a bit. I’m much more willing to grab a beer or whiskey at the end of the day or that plate of cookies that’s just gonna go stale if someone doesn’t take care of them...
But what, you ask, is 75 Hard? It’s the brainchild of Andy Frisella. Andy’s a self-styled entrepreneur and that’s all I really know about him. To be honest I’m more intrigued by the program than I am him. I’ve listened to his podcast, specifically the one where he lays out the rules of 75 Hard, and he seems like an alright guy. Oddly enough, he agrees with me. His selling of 75 Hard (which is free by the way) is all about the program. You can go to his website to learn about him, but he's more interested in getting you to try 75 Hard than he is to promote himself.
Here's the program:
Work out 2x a day for 45 minutes per session, one workout MUST be outside
Drink one gallon of water
Read 10 pages of a non-fiction book
Follow a diet
No alcohol or cheat meals
Take a progress pic
Every day for 75 days.
I feel like this strikes that perfect balance of daunting and doable. First of all, it’s straight forward. Do these things for 75 days straight, no exceptions. Fail to complete a day? Start over with day one, or call it quits. So now you see the value of compbragging. By saying I’m going to do this and doing it publicly I am now on the line. If I fall short of this goal, having told you I’m going to meet this goal, I set myself up for no small measure of shame. Regardless of whether you give a damn or not, I will. Hopefully, that’s enough to keep me on task.
For the most part, I think I’ve got the workouts. Of course, I’ll have to be smart about them. No killer weightlifting sessions that require two days to recover from. In fact, this will be perfect as it will help me focus on the new season of Alabama Sasquatch workouts. I’ll do most of them from the garage using the tools I set out for the Alabama Sasquatch Home Gym (yes, it’s a sweet setup and no, I don’t make any money off of this. Wright was just nice enough to put the package together for me and price it well for you.)
I plan to meet the workouts as follows: Tuesdays and Thursdays I have jiu-jitsu at 6 am. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, I‘ll work on Alabama Sasquatch workouts. That handles workout #1 throughout the week. Monday through Friday I take a two-mile hike with Samantha and the kids she keeps. With two dogs and a wagon full of toddlers, I’ve got my ruck. That’s workout #2 and it’s outside. The only problem is Saturday and Sunday, those days I, normally, take off from structured workouts and usually just work around the house, but if I plan a wood splitting session or two and throw in a couple of yoga/mobility sessions I’m covered. I could also add in hikes those days, either rucking with a pack or heading out to Ruffner, Red, or Oak Mountains.
The key is to do enough without overdoing it. It’s super easy to throw yourself at this type of challenge and exceed your capacity forcing you to push through injury or stop entirely. The point of this is to come out better than you went in. Neither injury or quitting equals that.
As to the water, I’ve already started on that. I allowed myself to get to a very dry state, only consuming a quart or so of actual water all day. Coffee and beer do not make for good hydration, but running to the bathroom every five minutes does help you get your steps in. I used a gift credit from Christmas to purchase a ridiculously expensive water bottle. It's solid as a tank and holds 64 ounces. Which means I only need to fill it twice. I was using a smaller vessel that required five refills a day and, quite frankly, found myself second-guessing somewhere around refill three. It's just way easier to count to two than it is to count to five. I also discovered I do better drinking from a small cup than a big jug. I tied an 8-ounce tin cup to my 1/2 gallon jug and drink from that. It's no big deal to toss back two or three cups and move on. Most days I'm done with my gallon by dinner time.
I am a voracious consumer of books, but over the years I’ve gotten into the habit of listening rather than reading. I use my time in the truck to listen to all kinds of audiobooks and podcasts. The book learnin’ part of this challenge will be difficult. I’ll have to pace it throughout the day as at present after about three or four pages I’m ready to fall asleep -regardless of the time of day.
For the most part, we eat well. We cook around 90% of our meals using fresh, whole-food ingredients. I recently invested in a subscription to Butcher Box, thereby upping the quality of our meats. My biggest downfall is being a bit lax on my carbs. So my plan is to tighten up there. No added sugars and limiting myself to rice and sweet potatoes. That’s gonna hurt more than you think as, with my busy schedule, I’ve been relying on a particular Smoothie King concoction that I’m fairly sure has a bit of sugar in it.
The alcohol bit I’ve done before. A few years back I cut it out entirely and didn't drink for three years. To be honest I think it bothered my friends more than it bothered me. As to cheat meals, I think they just make sticking to a diet harder. Given my activity level, I don’t plan on going hungry. Weight loss is not the goal of this program for me. If it happens, great. My goal is discipline, mental toughness, resilience, and, given how 2020 has acted, being ready to kick 2021 in the teeth.
The progress pic...
Dude, I hate this shit. In my mind, I am a much more handsome and attractive man than photographic reality bears out. Taking a daily picture, specifically meant to showcase my flaws, seems like torture and just the sort of thing I need to do to snap me out of the delusional framework I’ve built myself into.
So there you have it. Six things for 75 days. No excuses. No exceptions. I’m sure I’ll find plenty of opportunities to bragplain over the next 75 days and may even go into greater detail about my experience with each of these tasks.
If this sounds like something you’d like to do, you can find out more through Andy’s website. If you’d like to join me, drop a comment, or send me an email. We’re using the Alabama Sasquatch private group page as an accountability group. There you can find all the help and support you need.
Wish me luck, I’m starting tomorrow.
Happy New Year, Dave