Fitness programs aren’t what they used to be.
At least, they don’t look the same as they did before social media. What we once knew as simple diet and exercise regimes now come in all different forms, ranging from programs and challenges to “lifestyle transformations.”
Once such wellness challenge has gained popularity across social media and the internet this New Year’s resolution season, catching the attention of people who want to do more in 2024 than simply lose weight.
Known as “75 Hard,” the program debuted in 2019 and has become popular in the online wellness space since. Hashtags like #75Hard, #75HardProgram and #75HardChallenge give a glimpse into just how much interest the 75-day challenge has garnered, with the #75HardChallenge hashtag on TikTok boasting more than 1 billion views.
Marketed as an overall wellness and self-improvement plan, 75 Hard allegedly helps people to develop their physical health, mental health and overall lifestyle.
Are you seeing the hashtag everywhere and wondering what it’s all about? Here’s what you need to know.
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What is the 75 Hard Challenge?
The challenge is marketed as an overall health and wellness program meant to “get your life on track.” Described as a “transformational mental toughness program” by creator Andy Frisella and advertised as a “tactical guide to winning the war with yourself” on his website, the challenge is intended to focus on more than weight loss.
75 Hard consists of six strict lifestyle rules that participants are supposed to follow for 75 days straight to improve their fitness, health and mental strength. If you fail to follow the rules, your progress reverts back to day one and you have to start all over.
Frisella first formulated the program in 2019, selling copies of a guide on his website. An entrepreneur and podcaster, Frisella has run multiple businesses in the wellness and supplement space and serves as the CEO of multi-million dollar supplement company 1st Phorm International.
According to Frisella’s website, following 75 Hard will improve your mental toughness, mental fortitude, confidence, self-esteem, self-worth, self-belief and grit by “100 times.”
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Rules of 75 Hard
- Stick to a diet. It can be a diet of your choice, but it must be structured and you must follow it consistently each day of the challenge.
- Drink a gallon of water every day.
- No cheat meals or alcohol for the full 75 days consecutively.
- Exercise twice a day for 45 minutes each time, with at least one session happening outside.
- Read 10 pages of a book every day. The books should be non-fiction and focus on self-improvement. Audiobooks do not count.
- Take a progress picture every day. They’re for you, you don’t have to post them anywhere.
The rules are intended to remain rigid and not be modified or altered in any way. If you miss one of these goals for a single day of the 75, you will have to start over.
Does 75 Hard actually work?
75 Hard first started gaining mainstream popularity around 2020 and has garnered plenty of followers each year since. Frisella’s website is filled with photos of apparently successful participants showing off their buffer arms and flatter abs, and the most popular videos about the program on TikTok show much of the same.
Of course, promoters of the program are likely to share a positive experience, but what about the average person who isn’t a peppy influencer or gym-hardened health nut? Like with any fitness plan, there are pros and cons.
- Each activity offers wellness benefits when practiced on its own.
- The U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine determined that a minimal adequate daily fluid intake is 15.5 cups a day for men and 11.5 cups for women. Drinking one gallon, or about 16 cups, a day meets and surpasses those goals for ample hydration.
- Sticking to consistent habits of exercising and healthy eating offers plenty of positive outcomes such as weight loss, improved cardiovascular health, better blood sugar and blood pressure, reduced risks of cancer, improvements in sleep, energy, immunity, mood and more.
- Reading regularly strengthens your brain, builds your vocabulary and base of knowledge, helps prevent cognitive decline, combats dementia, reduces stress, and can be therapeutic.
- Reducing or eliminating alcohol consumption can improve sleep, mood and energy, help with saving money and losing weight, lower the risk of associated diseases and repair/lessen damage or stress to your liver and other organs.
- Tracking daily progress can help you reach goals, boost self-awareness, improve your mood, provide a sense of accomplishment and motivate you to continue with healthy habits.
- Frisella’s vested involvement in the wellness and supplement space is a potential conflict of interest in how the plan is developed, advertised and sold.
- 75 Hard was not developed by a medical professional, nutritionist or fitness professional of any kind and and is not backed by any scientific research or data.
- The lack of flexibility is not realistic for the average person’s life – needing to start over if you miss a workout due to work, for example, means life happening is a hindrance to following the program.
- People are more likely to fail when attempting to follow a rigid regimen and/or find that results are short-term and gone 6 months to a year after stopping, according to a recent study.
- Like any fitness or diet plan, one size does not fit all and the lack of specificity in the program lends itself to not being right for many people. Some of the more vague advice could even be detrimental to people with certain conditions.
- While the rules offer generally positive lifestyle changes, they are not sustainable long term for most people and may lead to unhealthy habits, such as body image issues, disordered eating, over-exercising, or a preoccupation with “failure” that may discourage participants from trying other wellness and fitness activities.
- Exercising every single day for 75 days straight can lead to injury, exhaustion or strain. Experts suggest at least 1 to 3 rest days a week when engaging in exercise, especially strenuous workouts.
As a general rule, it is smart to speak to your doctor before starting on any kind of diet or exercise plan. Be sure you have chosen workouts and a diet that are safe, healthy and workable for you. If you are unsure, get in touch with a certified trainer or nutritionist and always listen to the experts first.