For the past three months I have been silent.
Zero article posts and very little Instagram posts about wine and beer reviews.
Did I quit blogging, drinking, or loose interest in wine, beer, cigars or food?
The answer is: absolutely not!
75 Hard-Live Hard is a physical, mental, and emotional challenge I chose to embark on. I finally finished about two weeks ago. Accepting this wild and tough challenge forced me into a place where blogging and posting about wine and food would more less be a lie or fantasy. In this article I will be sharing you my entire journey through the 75 Hard-Live Hard challenge and what I have learned. The exciting news is…I’m back and I have a lot of wine, cigars, and stories to review and share with you.
What is 75 Hard.
According to founder and creator Andy Frisella, “75 HARD is the only program that can permanently change your life … from your way of thinking, to the level of discipline you approach every single task in front of you with. This is about mental toughness.”
This is not a paid advertisement and I am not promoting the lifestyle either. This is simply about my personal journey through 75 Hard and the results I acquired through it. From day one it is truly about mental toughness more than physical accomplishment. The beauty is the physical is a result of our mental stamina. There is no financial commitment.
You’re correct. The entire challenge is free at no financial cost. Overall there is a price to pay in completing this challenge. The fact is attempting to complete 75 Hard was not my first time. I previous failed this challenge three times prior to actually completing it for the first time. Yes I failed.
Although the 75 Hard challenge does not come with a financial commitment, it comes with many other commitments. There is a price to pay for what you will embark on. Sacrifice is the greatest price you will pay for, but the results and mostly the journey to get there is the real gold in all of it. Here is what I learned on my 75 Hard journey.
No cheat meals or Alcohol.
Yes you read that correctly. You are not allowed to consume an ounce of alcohol or have any cheat meals outside of your diet of choice (we will discuss this further down). I confess I am not an alcoholic, but I am a certified level 2 sommelier and ciceron (professional beer geek). Smoking and reviewing cigars is another hobby I have and enjoying a neat glass of scotch with my cigar usually goes hand in hand. Not in this case.
For the next 75 days I had to intentionally choose not to drink any alcohol or eat any cheat meals. First, being a sommelier who reviews wine and blogs about it needs to see, swirl, taste, and examine the wine. Using all of my senses is part of the tasting. A choice had to be made prior to moving into the challenge. It was far from easy.
Some days I honestly found my self pouting because I couldn’t open a delicious bottle of wine. Other days I wouldn’t even look at a bottle for fear I would cry. I’m joking. Mixed in with the lack of alcohol I had to monitor my food intake. It meant no more mini candy bars, Krispy Kreme donuts running through the glazed water fall, and I had to follow some type of diet.
Little did I know at the time, I was in for the long haul. When I removed alcohol and cheat meals from my life, some ugly spots reared their little heads. Spots that I had brushed over for years. Thing I had hidden really deep within my core and I’m not just talking about my stomach. The funny part is once these two elements were slowly removed my inner issues were magnified.
Anger and food lust. I was full of a quick temper and food lust. Sooner than later I started to notice how quick tempered I was over the little things in my life. Driving in traffic, stress at work, family issues, and so many other areas. The discovery came one day when I had gotten upset over something small and considered reaching for a bottle of whisky.
In the moment it hit me. Opening a bottle a wine was about playful art, but drinking beer and whiskey had become a coping mechanism for me. I was using alcohol to cope with my quick temper and emotional stability. To add to it, I had an inner lust for food, sugary foods. My experience with 75 Hard has taken me to a place of understanding these inner demons. I made them my enemies and faced off with each one of them.
Have I destroyed them? No. Have I battled them? Yes. I still see remnants of them, but they are still my enemies and I am still making war with them.
Follow a diet.
Ugh the D-word. Diets have always been a struggle for me. Having tried several and failed. Heck I even tried being a vegetarian. I knew this would be a major challenge for me. Again.
Knowing this was going to be for the next 75 days I did more research. There needed to be a diet or lifestyle that contained meet, vegetables, no carbohydrates or sugar. Keto. The Keto diet seemed to be the magical formula I was in search of. Putting my body into ketosis was quite the process.
For the first few days it felt like I had the flu. Once ketosis set in I was shedding the fat and beginning to see the desired results. To take it a step further I decided to do some intermittent fasting as well. 16 hours of fasting every day to be exact.
For the first time in over 15 years I have lost a total of 17 pounds and I am feeling wonderful. The great news is I’m still pursing the weight loss I need for myself. I set my goal to lose 30 pounds and I’m currently a little more than half way there.
Read 10 pages a day.
Reading is my jam. For years I have been reading books as if they would never grace bookshelves again. When I was in my internship my advisor had me read a book a week. I thought he was crazy. Reading a book a month was pushing it.
He challenged me and I rose the the occasion. Every week he would give me a book to read and I would have to craft a one page report on what I read. It was his way of forming accountability to make sure i actually read the book. Although it seemed impossible, I did it and I fell in love with reading books. Reading, highlighting, learning, and taking notes became a positive habit for me. When it came to 75 Hard and reading ten pages of a non-fiction book a day was a breeze.
At the same time it taught me to slow down and dig in a little deeper than I normally would. Reading and comprehending fast is a by -product of continual reading. The demand to read ten pages a day actually caused me to retain what I was reading on a level I never attained before. As we slow down and push to see the greater content available to us, things become alive to us. If we speed read or glance over a few pages and call it “good,” we are missing the great content.
Two 45 Minute workouts (One outside).
Working out once a day is doable and most people are accustom to this type of routine. Doing two workouts, each being 45 minutes at minimum and one has to be outside, is playing by a whole new set of rules. This new concept was definitely a challenge for me. I was already working out five days a week for 45 minutes to an hour. Adding on an additional 45 minutes plus outside was no easy task.
Have you ever worked out in the rain, the wind, or low temperatures? I never did until recently. Some of the days it was more mental than physical. The idea of running in the rain for 45 minutes was hard. Taking a 45 minute walk in the rain and wind wore on my mind.
The outcome was mental toughness. Creating a mental edge of endurance worked its way deep into my bones physically. Living out 75 Hard took my physical fitness to the next needed level. I honestly hit a plateau prior to engaging with 75 Hard. The truth is, I attempted 75 Hard 3 times prior to completing it this time around. The results came in and I have lost a total of 17 pounds and 5% plus body fat.
Drink a Gallon of water.
Water, water, water. Our bodies need it and they crave it. It’s a life source. A fun little fact. Coffee dehydrates our bodies and is a diuretic. Interesting how most of us wake up in the morning and the first cup we reach for is a cup of steaming hot coffee.
After a good night of sleep our bodies are already dehydrated, so why not dehydrate them even more. We should be reaching for 8 ounces of water or more when we rise and shine. Prior to completing 75 Hard I drank water, but no where near a gallon of water. A gallon of water a day keeps us hydrated and you would be surprised how your cravings for energy drinks, pop, and alcoholic beverages begin to lack. Try drinking a gallon a water for three days and see how you feel. You may be surprised.
WRapping it up.
During and after completing 75 Hard I realized I deal with sort bursts of anger, physical health is still an issue, food is my all-time lust, and alcohol has tried to become my go-to for stressful situations and problem solving. At the end of this journey I have also gained more mental clarity, increased my time management skills, and have become more disciplined in my eating habits and health.
Although I do have a cheat meal on the weekends, I remain strict during the week, still collect and drink wine, and I’m learning to control my thoughts which tend to trigger quick reactions instead of strategic responses. If you have not tried 75 Hard, I highly recommend going after it.
Have someone hold you accountable. You have nothing to lose but all the more to gain.
Instagram Handle: @the_traveling_somm
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