75 Hard Challenge Review (and What I’d Do Differently)

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Have you heard of the 75 Hard workout challenge? It’s one of the many recent challenges presented by influencers in the health and wellness space. Is it just a passing fad? Probably. 

But right now, it’s trending on TikTok and showing up all over social media. It has billions of views and is a controversial diet, lifestyle, and mindset challenge. Here’s everything you need to know about the 75 Hard Challenge.

What Exactly is The 75 Hard Challenge? 

While the name sounds like one, the 75 Hard challenge is not a fitness program. It’s a transformational mental toughness program meant to get you out of the rut and into pursuing your dreams and goals. It does require working out twice a day, but not necessarily following a fitness plan. 

This potentially life-changing program was created by Andy Frisella, CEO of the supplement company, 1st Phorm International, author, and podcaster. 

On his podcast, Frisella interviewed James Lawrence, dubbed the “Iron Cowboy.” Lawrence shared his experience of completing 50 Ironman races in 30 days across all 50 United States. 

Frisella developed  “75 hard” as a response to James Lawrence’s comment that “you must intentionally put yourself in places that are uncomfortable in order to develop mental fortitude.” That advice inspired the 75 Hard challenge rules.

These are the 75 Hard challenge rules or tasks… “with ZERO compromises & ZERO substitutions”:

  1. Follow a structured diet
  2. Two 45-minute workouts each day (one MUST be outside)
  3. Drink a gallon of water each day
  4. Read 10 pages of a non-fiction, educational book each day. (Audiobooks don’t count)
  5. Take a progress picture each day

The diet is supposed to be chosen based on your personal goals. Then you follow it strictly for 75 days straight. No alcohol is allowed. The type of workout is up to you and can be weight lifting, walking, or even yoga. However, the rule that one workout must be outside has no exceptions – no matter the weather! If you don’t do one of your daily workouts outside you’re back to day one.

Each task has been chosen for a reason, to cultivate discipline, develop grit, or practice paying attention to detail. As you can see, this challenge is intense! There’s no cheat day and no rest day… for two and a half months straight. If you slip up, you have to start all over again. You’re back to day one.

What Are The Benefits of 75 Hard? 

Some of the key potential benefits of 75 hard include are around mental toughness and fitness:

  • Confidence
  • Improved self-esteem, self-belief, and self-worth
  • Better self-awareness
  • Weight loss and better physical shape in general
  • Improved completion of daily tasks
  • Strengthened perseverance, fortitude, or grittiness
  • Improved consistency
  • Better time management and use of each day
  • Adoption of a dietary routine
  • Improved hydration
  • Making strides in your career
  • Increased income
  • Better relationships with those who matter most
  • Read 750 pages 

This challenge does have a lot of upsides. It’s like a boot camp for getting back to discipline in all areas of life. 

How About The Downsides of 75 Hard?

First, remember that Frisella is not a licensed dietitian, nutritionist, certified personal trainer, or fitness expert. The section of the 75-day length comes from Frisella’s instinct and not from scientific research. Additionally…

  • The  “no cheat meals” rule may lead to an unhealthy relationship with food and potentially a poor body image.
  • 75 days straight of physical activity and no rest may cause overtraining injuries depending on the type of fitness plan chosen.
  • The lack of flexibility for sickness, family emergencies, and daily ups and downs is a major drawback. 
  • The emphasis on perfection may also take a toll on mental health for some people.

A major downside is although it emphasizes health, it may not be that healthy. It’s a very intense program, and it’s not for everyone… including me.

Why I Wouldn’t Do 75 Hard

As great as it seems for self-improvement, 75 Hard is not something I would personally do or recommend. There really isn’t any guidance for the fitness challenge part of the program, so it leaves daily workouts wide open to interpretation. Without clarity on how to work out, it’s difficult to have confidence in the program and anticipate good results.

The two 45-minute workouts each day are not ideal for busy moms needing to care for their families. Remember: 75 Hard must be done every single day for 75 days. It’s just not practical for moms and it’s not great if you’re dealing with low adrenal function or a chronic illness.

A lot of women with hormone imbalance or cortisol issues find that intense workouts can actually make weight loss harder. While I was in the middle of an intense healing phase from Hashimotos and weight loss, I only did gentle movements. This was an important part of the healing process for me and gave my body time to recover. 

I would advise anyone in a healing phase to not do really intense workouts. Now that my Hashimoto’s is completely in remission and I’ve reached my healthy weight, I’ve added more workouts in. Last year I focused on strengthening, and this coming year’s focus is on speed. All of this is helping me to be stronger and keep up with my kids!

75 Hard Diet 

Another downside to the 75 Hard program is that there’s no guidance on eating. There’s no 75 Hard nutrition plan. You could choose low-carb, Whole30, vegan, or carnivore. The fact that he emphasizes “no cheat meals” is also concerning. That view of food is harsh and can lead to disordered eating.

Because it really emphasizes the 75 days, it’s not ideal for someone trying to make permanent lifestyle changes.  While I like the notion of reading books, spending time outdoors, and drinking water, those are the only positives I see in the program.

What I Would Do Instead 

Instead of adopting this extreme 75-day challenge and then risking a return to old habits, why not start making small healthy changes? This idea of pushing the body super hard without rest days or cheat meals can set a person up for eating disorders, low self-esteem, and exhaustion.

I would instead opt to commit to adopting certain healthy habits. I would focus on:

In general, I would focus on a diet and lifestyle program that is sustainable long term. I would focus on taking good care of my body rather than pushing it beyond limits.

Daily progress photos may be helpful, but I wouldn’t post them on social media. I found that when I stopped weighing myself daily and stopped obsessing about the (fluctuating!) number on the scale I did better. Taking a photo every day may cause the same issues for some.

Personally, I’ve found habit stacking to be a great (sustainable) way to adopt new habits. The idea is to use daily activities as a trigger, or reminder, to do a healthy habit. For example, I’ll dry brush while I’m waiting for my shower water to heat up. Turning the shower on is my trigger to dry brush. You can read more about how I do habit stacking here. 

The Bottom Line 

The bottom line is that 75 Hard is likely not a good program for beginners who are just starting to work on improving their health and fitness levels. However, for those wanting to take things to the next level, it can do that. I would still caution that the zero flexibility portion isn’t practical (or helpful) for most. 

Please check with your healthcare professional before diving into this program. 

Have you tried 75 Hard? How did it go? Did you stick with it? Do you recommend it? Please share with us below!

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