If you follow social media, then you have probably seen the viral fitness challenge, #75Hard, making it rounds. Basically it is a 75 Day challenge where people focus on improving their fitness through 5 basic commitment pillars. These posts often come with skin clad photos of the progress for accountability.
For those that know me know that I am typically anti viral fitness trends. They tend to be repetitive, inefficient, and likely to hurt people due to increasing volume. I no longer get tagged in 1000 squats/day, plank across the globe, or whatever TikTok’s fitness challenge of the month seems to produce. #75Hard was no different in my opinion so I ignored it when it hit my feed…..
I only gave it a second look when one of my clients and racing buddy, Steve, was giving it a go. Even though I wasn’t a fan of the challenge initially, I always support my friends so I checked in on his progress. I also learned that the program was about more than just working out. I was intrigued to learn more after seeing that there was a book published about the challenge (I was also amazed to learn that most of the challenge followers had no idea that there was a companion book for it).
So I bought 75 Hard by Andy Frisella and was ready to do several eye rolls at self indulgent drivel about a challenge that I would likely discount. Man was I wrong! It ended up being a book that I couldn’t put down. I marked all over the margins which means that I was finding valuable nuggets all over the place. What I expected vs. what I go was totally different.
Let’s take a step back and look at the author and why the challenge/book was written. Andy Frisella is the larger than life character that is the founder of multi million dollar supplement company 1st Phorm. Personally, my family and I used a few of their products (specifically Opti-reds, opti-greens, and opti-kids to help get in our fruits and veggies) but that was about as much as I knew about the company and Andy. I had heard Andy on a few podcasts where he was a guest and I had honestly put him in the same box as guys like David Goggins and Jocko Willink. Larger than life characters that had amazing personal stories of triumph but that often missed the mark in relating to sub-superhuman everyday people. Plus the continual use of four letter words puts me off. So I had never taken the time to learn more about Andy.
While Steve was completing his challenge, he mentioned he had to read 10 pages of nonfiction per day. Knowing Steve, that was a big task since he always ripped on me about how boring all my leadership and self help books were. He preferred to get lost in fiction fantasies. It was at this point I decided to learn more about the challenge and saw that Andy had written a book about it. I purchased the book from his website (side note: I try to always support companies I like by buying directly from their website even if it costs a few extra bucks).
A few days later I was enthralled with 75 Hard. I expected a lot of superficial fitness advice with a lot of tired motivational quotes to fill the pages. What I found was a gem on business advice, personal growth, and a mental toughness challenge. The first 9 chapters establish who Andy is, how he got to where he is, and the lessons he learned. He went over the early days of 1st Phorm, but not in a self indulgent and boasting manner. He shared wisdom about things like how to turn getting stabbed in the face multiple times that required 160 stitches leading to very noticeable scars into an opportunity to be memorable/unforgettable. And how to use that platform to scale a business. It was less “pull yourself up by bootstraps” and more “$hit happens so find a way to make it work for you.” The recurring theme of MENTAL TOUGHNESS shined brightly throughout the text.
Chapter 10 focused on the origins of the 75 Hard challenge. Spoiler alert: it started as a $250k bet with other business owners about Andy’s ability to get down to under 10% body fat by a certain date which happened to be 75 days away. Andy knew that he had the ability to achieve that goal but that it would require more mental toughness to be able to grind consistently and check his boxes EVERY DAY. It would be a battle of TOUGHNESS!
The next several chapters explain the “WHY” behind the challenge and details the 5 Critical Tasks. I’m going to give you the tasks BUT I HIGHLY RECOMMEND doing the actual reading on why Andy chose each task and what significance it plays in developing mental toughness.
The 5 Critical Tasks are:
1. Choose a diet and commit to following it with no exceptions
2. Drink 1 gallon of water/day
3. Workout 2x/day for at least 45 min each (one must be outside regardless of weather)
4. Read 10 pages of personal development books daily
5. Take a progress picture every day
According to Andy, there is no room for deviation and no exceptions. You can’t trade a 2 hour workout for the 2 separate sessions. You can’t listen to an audible book to count for your reading. You can’t throw in a cheat meal. And you can’t miss your daily progress picture regardless even if you don’t have a physical improvement goal in mind.
As a fitness professional, this is why I roll my eyes at these sorts of challenges. This doesn’t allow for smart audibles based on how the body is doing which often leads to injury. This is exactly why I didn’t pay attention to #75Hard on social media. BUT……...after reading Andy’s book, I understand his position a lot more. There is “wiggle” room in the workouts for things like active recovery, walking, and non traditional fitness that isn’t abusive on the body. Thus you can listen to your body and modify a day for recovery by doing things like ROMWOD, yoga, myofascial release (foam rolling), etc. The important thing to him is that you do something you commit to with no exceptions.
The last few chapters are personal accounts and what to expect during different phases of the program. I liked this. It gives you strength to see where people excelled and an opportunity to plan for where people failed. Even though this challenge is likely an individual pursuit, reading this section gives the strength and wisdom of a group.
I see this book as more of a personal/business development book than a fitness resource. And that is what I love about it. I think many people are missing an opportunity for success in having not read 75 Hard before trying to complete #75Hard. I am thankful that the cynic inside me was proven wrong and that this book was a hidden gem. It will stay on my office book shelf to share with others. I’m not sure that the #75Hard is currently for me, but I’m intrigued to try it, which is a big thing since I never do those sort of challenges. However, I do know that I will be rereading the book again soon and will collect my notes into a reviewable document. That is a practice that I reserve for only the best books that I find the most wisdom from. Thank you Andy!
Overall Score: 10/10
Recommendation: While this book seems like a fitness challenge, it is secretly a mental toughness challenge that can be used for personal growth. I also think it is a great read for entrepreneurs looking for wisdom on how 1st Phorm grew so well.
Length: 195 pages
Retail Cost: $19.95
Read Time: It took me 4 days. I couldn’t put this book down!
Where to buy: CLICK HERE