Want the Body of your Dreams with a Healthy Mind?? Is The 75 Hard Challenge Right For You!?
If you've been engaged on social media, chances are you've come across the hashtag #75Hard accompanied by physical progress photos, book covers, or gym selfies. However, you might be wondering: What exactly does the 75 Hard Program entail, and is it worth considering for yourself?
The 75 Hard Challenge
In 2019, entrepreneur Andy Frisella, a renowned podcaster and CEO of the supplement company 1st Phorm, designed the 75 Hard Challenge. Although often associated with fitness, the program's website emphasizes that it is, in fact, a "transformative mental toughness program."
The inspiration behind 75 Hard came after Andy Frisella interviewed James Lawrence, also known as the Iron Cowboy, who accomplished the incredible feat of completing 50 Ironman races in 50 consecutive days across all 50 states. During the interview, Lawrence stressed the importance of deliberately pushing oneself into uncomfortable situations to cultivate mental resilience. This conversation motivated Frisella to conceive the concept of 75 Hard and bring it to fruition.
Rules of the 75 Hard Program
According to the program's welcome email, participants of 75 Hard are required to complete the following tasks every day for 75 consecutive days:
Follow a diet. While it can be a diet of your choosing, the diet must be a structured eating plan with the goal of physical improvement. No alcohol or meals outside your chosen diet are allowed.
Complete two 45-minute workouts, one of which must be outdoors.
Take a progress picture.
Drink 1 gallon of water.
Read 10 pages of a book (audiobooks not included).
Additionally, any modifications to the program are strictly prohibited. Should you fail to meet any of your daily objectives, your progress will reset back to day one.
In his words, Frisella warns, "You may feel tempted to make slight adjustments to accommodate your 'unique lifestyle,' but that mindset is at the core of every problem in your life."
Potential Benefits of 75 Hard
The 75 Hard program claims to improve your:
Upon successful completion of the program, you will have read a minimum of 750 pages, established a disciplined dietary routine, maintained proper hydration, and documented your physical progress through daily photos.
Experts acknowledge the benefits of adhering to a well-structured wellness plan. Noah Quezada, a registered dietitian nutritionist based in Colorado, appreciates how the 75 Hard program encourages people to be more mindful of their nutrition and physical activity, highlighting the value of consistency in achieving health and fitness goals.
Carrie Veatch, a mindset coach who recently finished the program, had a positive experience. She believes that participating in 75 Hard enables individuals to remove negativity from their lives and discover the true potential of their minds and bodies when they commit and follow through.
Sophie Banyard, a personal trainer and kettlebell coach who also completed 75 Hard, found the program challenging yet manageable. It taught her valuable lessons about time management and demonstrated what can be achieved with determination. Banyard credits the challenge for inspiring her to give up alcohol entirely, a decision she considers one of the most rewarding she has ever made.
Potential Drawbacks of 75 Hard
There are some potential drawbacks to the 75 Hard program as well, according to experts. While Quezada likes the consistency of the program, he says he has concerns about its rigidity. “It’s very restrictive in terms of diet and doesn’t allow for any ‘cheat meals.’ This [rigidity] can make it difficult to stick to [in the] long term and may even lead to an unhealthy relationship with food,” he says. Because it’s an all-or-nothing program, 75 Hard doesn’t allow for uncertainty. “It doesn’t teach you any skills to help deal with slip-ups or teach you sustainable behaviors,” says Saara Haapanen, Ph.D., a performance coach, motivation expert, and certified personal trainer in Colorado. “It doesn’t allow for giving yourself any grace.” 75 Hard doesn’t guide specific fitness or nutrition plans, either. While this flexibility allows individuals to eat and exercise in a way that makes sense for them—one person might be a vegan weightlifter while another prefers yoga and a low-carb meal plan—it can leave those without a lot of nutrition or fitness knowledge struggling to come up with an effective routine that helps them progress toward their goals, according to Jackie Kaminski, registered dietician nutritionist and nutrition instructor for the National Academy of Sports Medicine.
Potential Health and Safety Risks of 75 Hard
It’s important to note that 75 Hard is not backed by scientific research. Frisella chose 75 days as the program length based on his instinct, according to an episode of the 75 Hard podcast. Although the benefits of physical activity are well documented, 75 days with no chance to rest could put participants at risk for overtraining injuries, depending on what they choose for their workouts and what their current fitness level is. The program’s built-in emphasis on perfection might also negatively affect some people, according to Dr. Haapanen. “Programs designed as ‘X-day challenges’ typically use weight loss and lifestyle habits that are not sustainable and, in some cases, completely unhealthy,” says Brooke Cavalla, a certified prenatal and postnatal exercise specialist and personal trainer in California. She says she steers people away from any program that has an end date. “Because of this [end date], [these programs] can lead to yo-yo dieting, poor self-esteem, discouragement, body image issues, and even disordered eating habits when the program can’t be maintained as a complete lifestyle change.”
If you're interested in taking on the 75 Hard challenge, it's a good idea to collaborate with a dietitian and a trainer who can assist you in developing a personalized nutrition and exercise plan aligned with your specific goals. However, if 75 Hard doesn't align well with your lifestyle, these professionals can still guide you in designing a diet and fitness program tailored to your individual needs.
Before embarking on any new exercise or wellness program, it's essential to consult with your healthcare provider to ensure that it's suitable for you and won't pose any health risks. Their expert advice will help you make informed decisions regarding your well-being.