75 Hard is a mental fitness challenge by Andy Frisella of the Real AF* podcast . The 75-hard, part of the Live Hard Program has an initial challenge, which is 75 Hard.  Then the Live Hard Program has 3 additional phases, all completed within one calendar year. The 75 Hard and Live Hard Program all have secondary benefits of physical and mental health improvements with fantastic results among those who are serious about the challenge.

The 75-hard challenge is customizable, adaptable, and catered to your specific dietary needs and your physical ability.

There are only a few parts of the challenge that are not adaptable: The water, the progress picture, and the required reading.

There are no makeup days- any failure on the non-negociable parts mean you need to re-start the entire 75-Hard from day 1. This means that circumstances beyond your control may cause you to fail- just like life.

I love how Andy said,

“Failing is okay. Quitting is not”

*strong language warning

Quick links:

75 Hard Challenge

75 Hard is the initial 75-day challenge and is the most commonly referenced part of this program.  It is a free program, that you can do just by listening to Andy’s free podcasts (again, language warning). The book and app are helpful, but not mandatory.


  1. Two 45-minute workouts each day, at least 3 hours apart, and one must be outdoors uncovered no matter the weather.
  2. Stick to a diet of your choice.  No alcohol or cheat meals.
    Examples: Carnivore, Keto, GAPS, Gluten Free, Paleo, Primal, Whole 30.
  3. Take a progress picture daily.
  4. Drink 1 gallon of plain water each day.
  5. Read 10 pages in a self-development and/or entrepreneurial book each day. Audio books don’t count.Remember, any failure to do any of those 5 things results in you starting over from day 1!

You may also like: I got rid of my bed (and mattress!) to sleep on the floor

75 Hard Book Recommendations

Mental Toughness

  • Can’t Hurt Me
  • Relentless
  • Never Split the Difference: The art of negotiation from a FBI Hostage negotiator- this book actually surprised me at how helpful and engaging it was. Useful in communication with anyone, including children.
  • Chasing Excellence: A story about building the world’s fittest athletes
  • The Comfort Crisis: This book is what caused me to want to do 75 Hard. It explores the necessity of doing hard things in order to feel like we are really living. Excellent book!

Small daily changes and building habits to change your life exponentially

A little woo woo (emotional health and unconventional ideas)

  • How to Do The Work: The Holistic Psychologist (of Instagram) tells us how to work on ourselves.
  • The Emotion Code: We need to really feel, and not suppress or run from our emotions. Sometimes, after a habit of suppression it’s hard to find them. The Emotion Code tells you how- it’s remarkably effective and quick and easy!
  • The Wisdom of Menopause: Excellent for understanding women’s hormones, excellent for those in menopause, those who love people going through menopause, and those who anticipate going through menopause in the future.
  • Your Spark is Light: Courtney Hunt’s book about quantum physics and the importance of sunlight
  • When the Body says No: Gabor Mate, MD, explains how physical illness comes from emotional repression and what to do about it.
  • The Body Keeps Score: How trauma physically stays in the body and how to get it out.

Health-related books

Business and Finance:

  • Deep Work: Stop multitasking and see the results that come from going deep and pushing through boredom.
  • Business Made Simple: If you confuse you lose- this is the book from Story Brand, and is great for sales pages, sales pitches, and clarifying what your offer is.
  • The 4 Hour Work Week: Tim Ferris’s classic book on entrepreneurship, thinking outside the box, and making more while you do less.
  • You Need a Budget: I love this budgeting method! It’s like the envelope system, but with an app.
  • I Will Teach You To Be Rich: Cheesy title, fantastic book on budgeting with your personal priorities.
  • Building a Story Brand
  • Dare to Lead
  • The 10X Rule: Extreme success, by definition, lies beyond the realm of normal action. If you want to achieve extreme success, you can’t operate like everybody else and settle for mediocrity. You need to remove luck and chance from your business equation, and lock in massive success.

You may also like: I got rid of my bed (and mattress!) to sleep on the floor

Q&A for 75 Hard Challenge:

🍽 Does it matter what diet? What diet is recommended?

The diet you think you should be doing is what is recommended! Most of us already know what we need to do, whether it’s cutting gluten, cutting carbs, strict keto, or even carnivore.  Since no cheats are allowed, you may want to ‘try’ for a strict version, but ‘commit’ to a less-strict diet.

For example, this could mean trying to avoid all grains and dairy, but committing to being gluten free and dairy free for the entire 75 days. No cheats!

🥏 Are there any required supplements or diets? 

No, there aren’t any required supplements. I always recommend getting as many nutrients as possible from whole foods and not relying on protein shakes or supplements. That said, this is what I’m using and why:

  • Black Oxygen This ‘magic dirt’ has studies to support it benefiting mitochondria (energy), hormone balance, blood sugar control, inflammation, endurance, workout recovery, and more. I started half way through and I LOVE it. Game changer for me!
  • Probiotics: I always think probiotics are useful in this sterile age! I use Biokult.
  • Collagen Protein Powder: I use a collagen-based protein powder to help stay on track. If I wasn’t breastfeeding, I would probably just opt to skip meals (fast) rather than do this.

⛈ What if the weather is bad? Do I still have to work out outside? What about in my garage?

This is the mental toughness part of the program!  Yes, save a lightening storm where it would be dangerous, you need to do your workout outside for 45 minutes. If a storm is heading your way, get your workout in before it arrives!

You can, however, opt to walk, do yoga, or any other less-difficult activity, but it does need to be done outside in the elements.

📚 Do listening to podcasts or reading a magazine count toward the 10 pages of reading? I don’t like to read. 

More mental toughness here! You need to read 10 pages in a real nonfiction book. It’s only 10 pages, and you’re welcome to read fiction, magazines, or listen to podcasts or audio books in addition to your 10 pages.

Find a book: My recommended reading

☕️ Can I drink bubbly water? Add flavor? Does coffee count toward my water? 

Nope. You need to drink a gallon of pure water each day. You may want to take electrolytes (salt) as you get used to this.

You can drink other things in addition to your water, but not alcohol, and whatever you are drinking must be allowed on your diet.

🏋️‍♀️ That doesn’t sound that hard, do I need a harder program?

If it’s not hard, then reflect on the previous 75 days. Did you do all these things with perfect compliance? It’s easy for the first few days, but 100% compliance for 75 days is tougher than you may realize!

📆 How long does this challenge last?

75 days, then you can stop there or go on to Phase 1 of the Live Hard Program.

Quick links:

cold showers are part of phase 1 in 75 hard

Phase 1

Information on the phases after 75 Hard is on Episode #80 of Andy’s Podcast. This podcast still has strong language, but not nearly as much as #14 about 75 Hard.

Between 75 hard and Phase one you can take a break for as little or as short as you want, as long as you complete the whole Live Hard program within 1 year.

Phase 1 takes 30 days, and if you fail you go back to day 1 of Phase 1.

*Previously I had said if you fail in phase 1 you go back to day 1 of 75 hard, but I’ve been corrected and I checked again- you just go back to the beginning of phase 1!

Continue everything on 75 Hard:

  1. Two 45-minute workouts each day, at least 3 hours apart, and one must be outdoors uncovered no matter the weather.
  2. Stick to a diet of your choice.  No alcohol or cheat meals.
    Examples: Carnivore, Keto, GAPS, Gluten Free, Paleo, Primal, Whole 30.
  3. Take a progress picture daily.
  4. Drink 1 gallon of plain water each day.
  5. Read 10 pages in a self-development and/or entrepreneurial book each day. Audio books don’t count.

Add in these three additional items to the list of 5 above, and do daily.

  1. Add 3 tasks from a Power List (episode #16). This is making a short ‘to do’ list of mandatory tasks that you will do each day. Do everything on your list! If you fail, you go back to day 1 of 75 Hard, so make sure you’re doing your Power List first thing!
  2. 10 Minutes of Active Visualization Daily.  This can be using a vision board, or a list, or just in your mind, but imagine the details about what you want to achieve.
  3. Cold Shower for 5 minutes. It needs to be uncomfortably cold.
    For those in climates that have warmish ‘cold’ water in the summertime, a camping shower kept in the fridge or with ice added can let you do this.
    The whole shower doesn’t have to be cold, just 5 minutes of it. So feel free to wash up and then turn the water to cold!

Benefits of cold water: 

  • You get to practice doing things that are uncomfortable.
  • There are tons of health benefits: circulation, mitochondria production, lower resting heart rate, increased calorie burn.
  • Shiny hair and improved skin texture.
  • A boost in energy!

Minimum of 30 day break before going onto Phase 2.

Quick links:

Phase 2

Between Phase 1 and Phase 2 there is a mandatory at least 30-day break.

Phase 2 is the same as 75 Hard, but for 30 days. This teaches you to recover after a break.

  1. Two 45-minute workouts each day, at least 3 hours apart, and one must be outdoors uncovered no matter the weather.
  2. Stick to a diet of your choice.  No alcohol or cheat meals.
    Examples: Carnivore, Keto, GAPS, Gluten Free, Paleo, Primal, Whole 30.
  3. Take a progress picture daily.
  4. Drink 1 gallon of plain water each day.
  5. Read 10 pages in a self-development and/or entrepreneurial book each day. Audio books don’t count.


Quick links:

Phase 3


  1. 5 Power List Tasks from Phase 1.
  2. Cold Shower
  3. Random Act of Kindness.
    This is the good stuff in life! It doesn’t have to be big, but you have to practice positively impacting someone else’s day. Do not count what you are already doing (taking care of kids, etc).
  4. Talk to a Stranger.
    This is full (or mini) conversation that is more than ‘hey how are you?’ in passing. This gets lots of us out of our comfort zone, especially in this digital age. Being able to comfortably converse with strangers improves your quality of life and networking abilities for business.

This lasts 30 days, up to the first day that you started the program.

Quick links:








My progress and Specifics

This program is individual, and should work for nearly anyone! Here is what I’m doing.

My 75 Hard:

    1. Dirty keto. Dirty keto means I’m staying low enough carb to be in ketosis, but I’m not counting anything, and I’m including keto treats, which aren’t the best for anyone. I love Carnivore, but I know I don’t have the self control right now to stick with it for 75 days. I’d rather be successful with dirty keto than quit Carnivore part of the way in.
    2. Exercise is mostly walking pushing a stroller, with some biking as well. I got a tandem so that Hannah and I can bike together during the summers, but she can’t quite go 45 minutes so that won’t happen often. I’m counting yard work as exercise if I do it for 45 minutes straight, and I’m exerting effort during it! No ‘puttering’ but actual working counts! As I get bored with walking, I’ll include some jogging to push myself. You can change up your workout, so I can always add more as the time goes on.
    3. I started using Black Oxygen about half way through my 75 Days, and my endurance and muscle building went WAY up!

I already read a LOT. This challenge I am getting off my phone, even the Kindle App, and reading books with real pages. This is what I want my kids to see, and they are already picking up on it.

Some books I have already that I’m reading during the challenge:

Benefits I’ve seen from 75 Hard:

Oddly, though this requires 45 minutes of physical activity twice a day, I seem to have more free time! I think there are multiple reasons for this, but mostly I’m afraid of having to start the 75 days over so I’m sure to do all my activity and reading early! The momentum of the workouts kick-start the rest of my day and bust procrastination. I’m not tempted to start over, so I’m not tempted to eat off plan, so I don’t spend any time thinking about it.

I’ve lost about half a pound a day so far, thanks to breastfeeding and the initial water weight loss when switching to keto. Financially, I am busy so I’m eliminating mindless online shopping. I’m drinking way less coffee than I was, drinking a full 32 ounces of water while it brews has slowed me down a lot!

I’m unapologetically working on myself and prioritizing this for me, which is the best form of self care there is.

Read: 6 Ways to Know You’re in Ketosis 

Read: How to Eliminate Stress by Budgeting (YES)

Read: Special Needs Mamas, This is Why You Need Self Care

Rewards, and their timing

Just like it’s better to not talk about your goals before you start a diet or program, it’s also best for many of us to jump in NOW and then use purchased items or rewards after certain milestones to reinforce your progress, not intention.

Read: Success Secrets: Why Saying Nothing is The Best Accountability

Day 3: Bought the App. I like to make sure I really like doing something before I purchase *anything* even a $5 app!

Day 5: Bought Andy’s Book, 75 Hard.

Day 10: Bought a FitBit Inspire, with the clip so I can attach it to my pants rather than always having it on my wrist.  Mostly to see how much my heart rate increases doing yard work vs walking or a conventional workout. I love to compete against myself, and with metrics I think I’ll be better able to do this. I used to use the pedometer on my phone but it’s heavy and I like to keep it in the stroller when I run.

Day 20: I’ll buy workout clothes if I see some I like that are within my budget.

Day 30: By now I will probably be done with all the nonfiction books I already had at home (I read a lot and love books!) so I’ll buy another, and repeat as my remaining bribes/rewards as needed.

An incentive every 10 days or so usually keeps me on track!

Day 17 update:

I’m honestly loving this program! A few observations right now:

  1. If I don’t get my first workout done by 7, I really feel behind. So I’m pretty motivated to make that first workout early.
  2. Everything else seems easier than it has in the past.  I’m hurrying (read: not procrastinating) to get done what I need to get done so that I can get these workouts in. This is regular stuff like laundry, but also fun stuff that I might have otherwise put off like craft projects with the kids. There is a mandatory 3-hour break between workouts, so I use that time to do what’s on my to-do list rather than letting the day escape from me.
  3. I really don’t want to start over, these workouts are taking a lot of effort both to fit in, and to actually do.
  4. Because of #2 I have absolutely zero urge to give up anywhere else in the program.  I took my son to pizza today after football camp, and he asked if I was tempted because of the smell. NO, I’m honestly not at all- I really don’t want to start over haha. I sat with him and then came home and had my water.
  5. I try to get my water half way done by noon. If I don’t, it’s SO many bathroom breaks in the evening.
  6. If I feel water logged I drink pickle juice.
  7. This is fantastic self care. I’m motivated to do what I need to do to take care of my body and mind, and in my mind this is the best kind of self care for me.
  8. I really like my FitBit. I love stats, and it’s really pretty fun. The step count probably isn’t all that accurate because I’m pushing a stroller a lot of the time, but I don’t mind. The heart rate insights are super interesting.
  9. I broke my bubbly water addiction. If I’m even a hint of thirsty I reach for my plain water so I can get it in. I used to drink way more bubbly water than I’d like to admit.

Day 30 update: 

Day 30! I’ve survived going to court to divorce (covered a bit in this video if you want a little more info), a swim meet out of town, and the kids being on summer break and I’m still on 75 Hard! I’m excited about this.

Things I’ve noticed on 75 Hard month one:

  • My room has gotten messier. Something has to give sometimes, and I’ve chosen for it not to be my eating or exercise.
  • I’m not used to sticking myself as a priority- for example, if the kids want to go to the park but I need to exercise, we have to go to a park that I can walk to and around, or go later.  I think this is GOOD for them to see, as they will follow this example of taking care of their health later.
  • I was drinking alcohol rarely, but going without completely I think is better. I fail to see any situation in the past 30 days that alcohol would have made better.
    ReadAlcohol Lies, my article about quitting alcohol as a result of 75 Hard
  • My 12-year-old is watching me. He tries to tempt me with food I can’t have, and jokes that he is going to drink from my water bottle to keep me from knowing my ounces. This is really fun to see, because sometimes with the pre-teens we aren’t sure if they are watching us AT ALL, as they seem to be in their own little world.
  • I’m down 10 lbs! I have 10 pounds left to get to my pre-pregnancy weight.
  • My milk supply is still good. I think being forced to drink a gallon of water a day helps.
  • Sleeping is going so well! I’m consistently sleeping 9-5, which is my preferred sleeping schedule.
  • Dirty keto has been a life saver when I needed to grab something from the grocery store.  I eat clean keto most of the time, but allowing myself the ‘keto junk’ has made it so I could stick with this diet long term.
  • If I don’t know what to eat, I grill up a steak from ButcherBox.  And I do one for my 12-year-old at the same time.  So good, so easy, and excellent nutrition!

Some things I wish I had done earlier:

  • Get a gallon water bottle, or at least 3 liters. Especially if you’re out of town it’s hard to keep track of ounces.
  • Show some skin with progress pictures!  I wish I had at least once a week taken a good progress picture in consistent clothing. Starting about 3 weeks in I’m being more consistent and showing more skin.


Day 68 update:

Still loving 75 hard! I have never been this consistent with a health program in my life!  I’m ready to be done though, and have a cheat day. I feel like this is a habit. I also started toying with the idea of going off around day 60, which seems so weird since I’m so close to the end!

It’s requiring some stubbornness and lots of self talk on my end to finish, which I didn’t expect. I only have a few more days!  I’m not sure why I feel so apprehensive about finishing now.

I’ve been practicing doing extra tasks and writing them down in my Power List Journal, and failing, no joke, every. single. day. I’ve also been practicing the cold showers (and succeeding) and visualization (and succeeding).

I believe the extra tasks are more an exercise in realistic expectations of oneself than actually accomplishing extra things.

Extra things I’ve accomplished during 75 Hard:

Since I’m not drinking or eating junk food, there has been a lot of ‘well, you’re not going to be eating that so you may as well go out to the garage and work’ type thinking.

  • Re-done my kids’ rooms with the bunk bed I’ve meant to get for months.
  • Made significant progress on re-doing my back yard.
  • Maintained and added to my garden and other landscaping.
  • Completed wood working projects.
  • Organized my pantry, closets, etc.
  • Lost 15 pounds to be within 5 pounds of my pre-baby weight.

My plans to continue after 75 hard:

  • Enjoy all the things I’ve been missing out on on day 76! The kids are excited for my ‘day 75 party’ and we’ve been saving up money-wise for it!  Even though I’m going to enjoy foods that are off plan, I have no intention of skipping exercise, I really enjoy exercise now!
  • Start Phase 1 by Sept 15th (my kids go back to school Sept 1).  I’m enjoying thinking about my ‘extra tasks’ for Phase 1.
  • Keep exercising at least once a day, I LOVE this time!

Quick links:

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