75 Hard

Three months ago I was scrolling through Instagram and I saw a post by a high school friend, teammate and workout buddy. He announced that he was starting 75 Hard. Daniel (@hyde.fit) has done a great job staying in shape, working out, and being consistent with his fitness – I, on the other hand, have not.

If you’re active on social media, I’m sure you’ve heard of the 75 Hard Challenge, but I was not familiar with it. Seeing Daniel’s post was when I became aware of the challenge. After Googling 75 Hard I was interested.

Different people succeed with different types of challenges. The “common” wisdom has been that doing “too” strict of a diet leads to failure. A lot of people have success with things like the Slow Carb Diet where they get one full day to eat whatever they want each week. Many people choose Saturday and term this day as “Faturday”. For me personally, I’ve typically done well with things that are more strict. Mentally, if I know I cannot have something at all, I won’t even purchase it – so it’s not there if I have a craving.

My initial thought was, “I can do this”. I listened to Andy Frisella’s (@andyfrisella, https://andyfrisella.com) podcast covering the challenge and decided to do it.

A quick breakdown of the challenge

For seventy-five consecutive day, you must do these things – if you miss any you have to start over at day 1:

  1. Follow a Diet – no cheat meals / days
  2. No Alcohol
  3. One 45 min outdoor workout
  4. One 45 min indoor or outdoor workout
  5. Take a progress photo
  6. Drink 3.8 Liters (1 US Gallon) of water
  7. Read 10 pages of a physical non-fiction book

The Diet

The diet can be any diet that focuses on becoming more healthy. The only limitation on the diet that was mentioned on the podcast is that you cannot just do a macro diet and “eat junk” but still hit those macros. A macro diet is fine, as long as it’s healthy. Up to each person to decide if they’re being healthy.

My diet was broken into three parts with a different focus on each. While I wanted to lose weight, I also didn’t want to lose muscle.

General diet rules:

  1. No Added Sugar (Eg: fruit is ok, a coke is not)
  2. No Fried Foods
  3. Minimal Dairy (I didn’t cut out dairy because extended periods of time without dairy can cause lactose intolerance)
  4. Protein bars are ok

Part 1 – Start Cutting: Days 1 – 28

  1. No Bread
  2. No meat except for chicken
  3. No more than 1 serving of rice each day (I live in Japan, it’s near impossible to not eat rice here)

Part 2 – High Calorie Low Fat to build muscle: Days 29 – 56

  1. One Serving of Rice / Bread each day
  2. Three large eggs every day
  3. Beef + Chicken (Mostly Chicken)
  4. Two Protein Shakes on weight lifting days, one on “rest” days.

Part 3 – Cutting until the end: Days 57 – 75

  1. Eggs
  2. Chicken
  3. Vegetables (Mostly Broccoli)
  4. Banana before/during strenuous workouts (eg: when I go for long bike rides)
  5. Nothing else

For me, the diet wasn’t the hard part. Yes, I missed pizza, pancakes, pie, etc; however knowing I couldn’t have those things at all made me only want them when my wife or I would cook pancakes for the kids for breakfast – or when my wife, on day ~55, decided to make a batch of chocolate chip cookies.

As a side note, I already choose to not drink alcohol, so that part was easy for me. Some people might have a harder time with that part of the diet.

There were some difficult times here. There was more than one occasion where I did not eat because I was on a long cycling trip with friends and we stopped at a restaurant that had literally nothing on the menu I could eat. That always ended up with me grabbing a couple protein bars from a convenience store. My favorite was Strong Bar. They’re expensive and hard to find, but pack 20g of protein and zero carbs or sugars.

The Workouts

The workouts are really the only thing I don’t like the format of. As per the rules, the workouts have to be separated by a few hours. This becomes an issue when I would do a bike ride starting at 6:30 a.m. and riding, with only a couple of breaks for water or lunch, until 3 or 4 p.m. On one ride I burned almost 5,000 calories, but it was technically only one of my two workouts.

In general the two workouts are fine, but I would suggest a change in the requirement from “two workouts of 45 minutes each – one outdoor” to “90 minutes of workout, 45 min must be outdoors.”

The Water

Honestly the water is the most difficult thing in this entire program. There was more than one occasion where I drank two liters of water in the last 2.5 hours of my day. That’s a recipe for waking up multiple times during the night, and being tired the whole next day.

The Reading

I used to read a lot. And I prefer physical books over digital. I can’t really explain why, but I know there are many people like me in this regard.

The reading wasn’t difficult as I enjoy reading, and it was nice to bring time for reading back into my daily routine.

Pro-tip: Be careful if you’re going to read at night in bed. You could fall asleep and not finish – it almost happened to me twice. (I dozed, then got up to finish reading.)

The Progress Photo

It seems a lot of people fail on this one. Not because it’s difficult, but because they forget, or their routine gets messed up for some reason.

My Results

During the pandemic, I had put on about 4kg and got up to 81kg. Not “terrible” but not great either. So I had a goal to get down to 75kg. But this program isn’t just about weight loss, it’s about lifestyle changes and bettering yourself.

I’ll post my physical results here:

Weight: 81.2kg (179lbs) -> 74.8kg (164.9lbs)
Waist: 90.8cm (35.75in) -> 84cm (33in)
Chest: 102.8cm (40.5in) -> 104cm (41in)
Biceps: 31.75cm (12.5in) -> 34cm (13.5in)
Shoulders: 115.5cm (45.5in) -> 120cm (47.25in)

One Comment on “75 Hard

  1. Pingback: Getting Healthy – Part 2 | Jacques Vincilione

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