Three months ago I was face to face with a choice I had to make: live or die?
I sat in the dentist’s chair while the technician was checking my blood pressure. She looked at the reading and told me the machine must be broken and was going to get the other one. Armed with a new machine and using my other arm, the test continued and she stood quiet for a moment.
“Okay Mr. Vasquez, we won’t be able to work on your teeth today. I need you to just sit there and relax.”
I knew it was bad.
That was a rough morning. I drove back to the office and realized my luck was going to run out sooner than later. When would it be the last straw? Would I make it to the end of this day? What’s gonna happen to my girls? Something has to change and it had to be now.
The Challenge at Hand
75 Hard was first introduced to me by my buddy Justin Schenck. He explained the purpose and how it was created by Andy Frisella in hopes of giving you the steps to literally change your life. My first reaction was, “Fuck That! Who has the time?!” and wished him well on his attempt to complete the challenge.
Fast forward a couple of months, my daughter Angelina announced she was going to do the challenge and my buddy Dominic quickly followed suit. I didn’t want to be the odd man out at the office, so I agreed to participate as well and the rest as they say is history.
Now let me first preface the story with my sole intention was to lose weight. I had accountability partners and knew I didn’t want to fail in front of them, so this was the way to go. Lose weight, try to keep it off, and get my blood pressure manageable again. Nothing could have been further from the truth.
What I realized after about a week or so was this was in no way easy. Ever try to drink a gallon of water every single day? How about two workouts a day, with one having to be outside – no matter the weather? The challenge wasn’t created to allow for coasting. You had to commit and use intent to literally change your life as a whole, not just lose weight.
Here Comes the Pain
After about thirty days, I started to feel a mental change. I actually looked forward to accomplishing the tasks on a daily basis and daydreaming about what life would be like on day 75. What would I look like? What would be my first drink? What would be my first meal? It was something to look forward to and “earn” once I completed the challenge.
Then I confronted my first real hurdle. Food poisoning.
I remember going home and being in very rough shape. It was coming out of everywhere and there was no end in sight. I dragged myself to the treadmill in order to get my second workout in and after a few steps, I jumped off and headed right to the bathroom. This was going to be the end and from no fault of my own.
Remember the mental change I spoke about? It finally kicked in and I kept going. I asked my wife Jill to grab me a couple of dumbbells and I started to do arm exercises for a straight 45 minutes. No bullshit. I had to get the workout in and this was the only thing I could do that didn’t upset my insides. I was so damn proud of myself! Pre-75 Fred would have quit instantly, but he no longer existed.
How could I let this beat me? Why would I let this beat me? My mindset was in a different state, there was no quit, only win! I sipped the last half-gallon of water over the next few hours and was able to empty it by 11:45 pm that evening, just in time!
This was the turning point for sure, life would never be the same for me and in a good way.
More than Just Weight Loss
One of the tasks you need to complete on a daily basis is reading a minimum of ten pages. The books themselves need to be non-fiction and in your hands, audiobooks do not count. I had a copy of “You are a Badass” by Jen Sincero floating around the office and decided to start with that.
This task quickly became my favorite part of the whole challenge. I ended up reading a little more than five books over the span of 75 days and I attest my whole way of thinking to each one of the awesome authors I had a chance to meet through print. I strongly recommend self-help and motivational books if you decide to take the plunge, it will become vital when you have those days where you want to throw in the towel.
Even if you’re not ready for 75 Hard, do yourself a favor and take a trip to your favorite local bookstore. One of the books you choose may just be the first step in you achieving the greatest successes of your life. I’m living proof!
What I Learned
75 Hard is more than just weight loss, I know that now. I have grown into a better version of myself. I feel the stress slowly leaving my body and I’ve learned to become selfish. Yes, selfish. I am doing more for myself now and making sure I’m taken care of before I go out and take care of someone else.
I completed the challenge and never stopped working out. My mind and body wouldn’t allow it, and that’s a feeling I never thought would exist inside of me. I take trips to the bookstore on purpose looking for the next book that will leave a mark on my soul. I drink tons of water and have no urge to eat shitty food or drink boos. All those “earnings” I spoke about earlier in the post were gone!
Who the f**k is this guy?
I am definitely not the same person that started this challenge. Confidence has entered my body in a new way and there is literally no stopping me. If I can be honest, I don’t think that could even exist in a world where you beat yourself down for 75 days straight and rise to the top.
Shit, there were days where I had no desire, no drive, no care, and I got up and pushed ahead. It got so hard at one point, I was on the verge of crying and wanted nothing more than to just stop walking and lay on the pavement. But I never quit and I owe it all to creating the will I needed to succeed by sticking to the plan that was presented to me. That’s what it’s all about!
Andy Frisella created the challenge in order to prove that you don’t need to be born with the skills to succeed in life. Society doesn’t get to make the rules, you do. You will force yourself to learn how to succeed under the hardest of circumstances, which will lead to greater successes in life. If I can do it, you can do it, I guarantee it!
Who’s 75 Hard for?
I recommend this challenge to anyone. What 75 Hard has done to my mental state alone will motivate me to complete the next three phases of this challenge. If you really want to know more about my experience, please feel free to reach out to me, I didn’t want to bore you with my first entry.
Phase One of 75 Hard adds new daily tasks, and one of them for me is to blog daily, so feel free to bookmark the site and check back often. I hope you’ll be a part of my journey.
P.S. – I spoke about 75 Hard on my podcast Fred Talk early in the challenge, check it out!