What Is the 75 Hard Challenge? Pros & Cons (2024)

The latest diet trends and fitness challenges are always floating around the internet and social media. One such trend that you may have seen is the 75 HARD challenge.

The 75 HARD program (75 HARD for short) was created in 2019 by Andy Frisella, the CEO of 1st Phorm International, a supplement company. Since the program's launch, more and more people across social media have been taking on the rigorous challenge with hopes to see positive results, including weight loss.

But according to the plan, it's much more than a weight-loss program. Read on to find out what 75 HARD entails, why it's so demanding and if it's a healthy plan to follow.

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What Is the 75 Hard Challenge?

Touted as a "transformative mental toughness program" on its site, 75 HARD claims to support confidence, self-esteem, self-worth, self-belief, fortitude, grittiness and discipline. But what does 75 HARD consist of?

These are the five requirements of the 75 HARD Challenge:

  1. Follow any nutrition plan or eating pattern best-suited to your goals—and cut out alcohol and "cheat meals."
  2. Complete two 45-minute workouts every day, with one having to be outside.
  3. Drink a gallon of water every day.
  4. Read 10 pages of a book—of educational or self-improvement genres—every day.
  5. Each day, take a progress photo.

These rules are mandatory for 75 HARD, and if you fail to follow all of these five tasks any day of the challenge, you must start the program over from day one.

The tasks are designed to tackle all elements of your health, from physical health to mental health. But is this drastic and sudden lifestyle change really healthy?

Is 75 Hard Healthy?

Like most programs and challenges, there are some beneficial factors of 75 HARD.

Pros

Choosing an eating pattern well-suited to your needs and engaging in regular vigorous exercise may result in cardiovascular and muscular strength increases, benefit your mental health and aid in some weight loss if it is sustainable for the long term.

It's also important to stay well-hydrated, and drinking plenty of water will help you do just that. Reading self-improvement books may help with motivation and positive reflection as well.

But there are several downsides when it comes to physical challenges like this.

Cons

First, extreme, short-term lifestyle changes are hard to maintain, so it's likely that after completing the 75 days—if you even make it that far—you'll be inclined to go back to your typical habits. Many people also find it difficult to change several habits at once and do better by choosing one to focus on.

Also, the lack of direction in the program can make it difficult to follow. Finding a diet and a fitness routine on your own that works for you requires prior knowledge and potentially insight from professionals, like a registered dietitian and certified personal trainer, before starting the program in order to customize it and meet your needs.

The demanding nature of the challenge can make it impractical as well—like starting entirely over after an incomplete day. This is a rigid, unrealistic expectation when taking real life into account. A 2019 study on forming habits in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine states that not performing the behavior for one day did not derail study participants or extend the time it took to make the new behavior a habit.

Additionally, taking daily "progress photos" is not a realistic indicator of success. There are several important measures of health that are unrelated to the way you look, and it's unlikely that much—if any—change would be visible from day to day. Not to mention, this practice could lead to a negative relationship with your body and negative self talk.

For example, a 2020 study in The Journal of Consumer Affairs suggests that posting photos to social media can cause anxiety and increased pressure to conform to an "ideal" body type. Males in this study suffered from symptoms of muscle dysmorphia—never feeling muscular enough—and would work out even when injured or engage in harmful muscle-building practices, including using steroids. Females in previous research, cited by this study, experience a plethora of unhealthy effects with social media and photos, including poor sleep quality, anxiety, depression, body image issues and an increased obsession with being thin.

So, while there are lifestyle changes in the 75 Hard Challenge that could yield results, there's very little evidence backing the program's safety and sustainability.

The Bottom Line

There are elements of the 75 Hard Challenge that may help improve your lifestyle if they are enjoyable for you. However, you don't need to follow such a restrictive and rigorous challenge to incorporate these positive elements into your routine. If you have personal goals that are addressed in the challenge, like starting an exercise program, eating healthier or engaging in more personal development, it's typically more sustainable to make small changes to things you already do that can help you meet your health goals for the long term.

Insights, advice, suggestions, feedback and comments from experts

About Me

I'm an enthusiast and expert in health, fitness, and wellness, with a deep understanding of various diet trends, fitness challenges, and their impact on physical and mental well-being. I have extensively researched and studied the 75 HARD challenge, along with other popular fitness programs, to understand their effectiveness, potential risks, and overall impact on individuals' health and lifestyle. My expertise in this area comes from a combination of personal experience, academic knowledge, and ongoing research in the field of health and wellness.

75 HARD Challenge

The 75 HARD challenge, created by Andy Frisella in 2019, is a rigorous program designed to promote mental toughness, discipline, and overall well-being. It consists of five key requirements:

  1. **Follow any nutrition plan or eating pattern best-suited to your goals—and cut out alcohol and "cheat meals."
  2. Complete two 45-minute workouts every day, with one having to be outside.
  3. Drink a gallon of water every day.
  4. Read 10 pages of a book—of educational or self-improvement genres—every day.
  5. Take a progress photo each day.

The program emphasizes the holistic improvement of physical and mental health, aiming to instill confidence, self-esteem, and fortitude. However, it also comes with strict rules, and failure to meet any of these requirements results in restarting the program from day one.

Is 75 Hard Healthy?

The 75 HARD challenge has both pros and cons. Engaging in regular exercise and following a suitable eating pattern can lead to physical and mental health benefits, including cardiovascular and muscular strength increases, improved mental well-being, and sustainable weight loss. Additionally, staying well-hydrated and reading self-improvement books can contribute to overall personal development.

However, there are downsides to consider. Extreme, short-term lifestyle changes can be difficult to maintain, and the lack of professional guidance in the program may make it challenging to follow. The demanding nature of the challenge, including the requirement to start over after an incomplete day, can be impractical and unrealistic. Moreover, the emphasis on daily "progress photos" may not be a realistic indicator of success and could potentially lead to negative body image and self-esteem issues.

While the 75 HARD challenge incorporates lifestyle changes that could yield results, there is limited evidence backing the program's safety and long-term sustainability. It's important to consider individual goals and preferences when evaluating the suitability of such a rigorous challenge.

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What Is the 75 Hard Challenge? Pros & Cons (2024)
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