There’s a challenge called the 75 Hard. Essentially it’s a life upgrade in 75 days, but elements of it don’t make a huge amount of sense. Here’s my argument as to why you should adapt the 75 hard challenge….
Last year (2019), I needed to kickstart my fitness. I’d had a great summer, work was fantastic and I’d enjoyed a holiday, but it was very indulgent. Long story short, I’d let my training slip. Having seen the 75 Hard challenge doing the rounds on social media, I thought I’d give a version of it a go. I say a version because the ‘official’ thing seemed a bit arbitrary to me.
I liked the principles of the 75 Hard challenge – for 75 days in a row you stick to the rules. No days off, no excuses. That level of discipline is really something that works for me. My problem was that the 75 Hard challenge itself didn’t really make sense to me, my life or what I wanted to get out of it, so I adapted it.
When I decided to adapt the 75 Hard challenge, I started to blog about it (you can see the post here). What I didn’t expect was a few keyboard warriors getting all upset about it, basically saying that I was too much of a pussy to do the real thing. Despite the fact that on MULTIPLE occasions in the post I mention that I was doing my version of the 75 Hard and my reasons for doing so.
The internet’s a funny place, where people who you’ve never met, who don’t know you, get so upset and offended over something they didn’t create, don’t own and never will! Check out the comments I’ve received on it from some people to see what I mean.
Why you should adapt the 75 Hard
At its core, the 75 Hard is a challenge – not a robotic series of actions. A promise to yourself that for 75 days you’ll stick to pre-determined behaviours without any excuse.
There’s immense value in that. It gives you a focus for two and a half months, which is long enough to see some real changes in your health, your fitness, your habits and your overall sense of wellbeing.
Another great thing about the 75 Hard is that it’s multi-faceted, so rather than just focus on one aspect of a challenge, you focus on multiple at once. That may go against a lot of behaviour change advice, but I see a 75 Hard type challenge as a life upgrade, rather than just a health and fitness upgrade.
In fact, Andy Frisella who invented the challenge doesn’t see it as a fitness plan either – he sees it as a mental toughness programme.
But there’s a problem with everybody following the original challenge – it’s generic. It’s vague and some elements of it are completely pointless for some people. If someone can explain to me how drinking a gallon of water makes you mentally tough, or how taking a progress picture every day does, then I’m all ears.
If you don’t seem to be able to drink enough water everyday, then having a target to hit is also a good thing, but if you’re NOT dehydrated, drinking a gallon of water every day is largely pointless.
And that’s EXACTLY why I think you should adapt the 75 Hard. The principle of it is great and principles should always drive behaviours, but copying it verbatim leaves huge a opportunity for specific personal growth to go begging. If you adapt the 75 Hard challenge to your own personal areas of weakness you’ll benefit of whole load more.
It puts me in mind of a Bruce Lee quote…
I’ve heard the arguments against my opinion, but it hasn’t changed what I think for a second. I’ve been told that I’m “missing the point” and that the point is that it’s supposed to be hard, it’s supposed to be uncomfortable and it’s supposed to be a challenge.
I understand all of that, but I’ve got two arguments against it…
- ‘Different’ isn’t necessarily ‘easier’. You aren’t a ‘pussy’ if you don’t do the original challenge. In fact, I’d argue taking a daily selfie is hardly alpha behaviour anyway.
- ‘Hard’ isn’t a target. Some of the stupidest things ever done were done because they were hard. Surely beneficial is a more worthwhile target than hard?
I’m yet to hear a worthwhile argument against either one of those points. A challenge is only a challenge if it pushes your behaviour and forces a change. If you already train twice per day for 45 minutes, with one being outside then that aspect of the 75 Hard isn’t a challenge for you.
‘Hard’ is not an outcome measure worth pursuing…
A lot of people seem hell bent on making ‘hard’ the outcome measure they’re going for, but that’s fucking stupid. Eating a brick is hard. It’s also stupid.
Take a step back and look at what you’re trying to gain from the 75 Hard. That’s the point of this, not kicking the shit out of yourself with nothing to show for it other than a few injuries.
How can you use 75 days of focussed attention to upgrade your self, your life, your fitness, rather than just following a pre-determined plan? You can make it as difficult as you like – nobody said it had to be easy.
Perhaps you want to learn a new skill? Complete a certain distance of running/cycling/swimming in that time? Maybe you want to perform a certain amount of push ups? Be creative and give it the thought and attention it deserves – it’s 75 days of your life you’re committing to keeping this up for!
How I adapted my first 75 Hard challenge…
In case you’re wondering how I adapted my original challenge, here’s what I did…
- Dietary Discipline – Eating well. Only drinking on social occasions, not at home
- Train Every Day – 75 days without a day off. Active recovery counts
- Drink 3 litres of Water per Day – Nothing but clear, plain water counts
- Read 10 Pages per Day – From a non-fiction self help book or business book
- Take a Progress Picture Every Day – So you can see the progress at the end
- Complete a full 10,000 steps per day
These were chosen because they made sense to me. As a fitness copywriter, I often spend a lot of time on my arse, writing (ironically). This meant that in order to hit my 10,000 steps per day, there was a real need to get up and do something.
The 75 days of training wasn’t easy – 75 days of working out every day is no joke! The 10 pages per day was actually the toughest thing of the lot to do, but you’d assume it’s easy. It’s where I struggled the most, which sound stupid. Even writing it feels stupid – maybe I need to adapt how I get my ‘pages’ in.
Anyway, the time has come for me to do another adapted 75 Hard challenge. Lockdown has been incredibly busy, but once again my training has suffered. You’ll see soon why it has been so busy (if you follow me on Instagram you’ll get a sneak peek), but in the meantime, keep your eyes peeled because I’ll be writing about my new adapted 75 Hard challenge.
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