Unveiling the 75-Day Challenge

Unveiling the 75-Day Challenge: Benefits, Drawbacks, and More



Have you come across the hashtag #75Hard on social media? If so, you may have seen posts featuring physical progress pictures, book covers, or gym selfies. But what exactly is the 75 Hard Program, and should you consider giving it a try? Let’s delve into the details and explore its potential benefits and drawbacks.

Table of Contents

  1. The 75 Hard Challenge
  2. Rules of the 75 Hard Program
  3. Potential Benefits of 75 Hard
  4. Potential Drawbacks of 75 Hard
  5. Potential Health and Safety Risks of 75 Hard
  6. Expert Opinions on 75 Hard
  7. Determining Whether the 75 Hard Program Is Right for You

The 75 Hard Challenge

The 75 Hard Challenge was created in 2019 by entrepreneur Andy Frisella, the CEO of the supplement company 1st Phorm and a renowned podcaster. It’s important to note that 75 Hard is not primarily a fitness challenge but rather a “transformative mental toughness program,” as described on the program’s website.

Frisella was inspired to create 75 Hard after interviewing James Lawrence, also known as the Iron Cowboy, who completed 50 Ironman races in 50 consecutive days across all 50 states. Lawrence emphasized the importance of intentionally placing oneself in uncomfortable situations to develop mental fortitude, which led Frisella to conceive the concept of 75 Hard.

Rules of the 75 Hard Program

During the 75 Hard Challenge, participants are required to complete the following tasks every day for 75 consecutive days, as outlined in the program’s welcome email:

  1. Follow a structured diet plan aimed at physical improvement. While participants can choose their preferred diet, it must be a structured eating plan, and alcohol and meals outside the chosen diet are not allowed.
  2. Engage in two 45-minute workouts, with one workout specifically performed outdoors.
  3. Take a daily progress picture.
  4. Consume one gallon (approximately 3.8 liters) of water.
  5. Read 10 pages of a book (audiobooks are not included).

It’s important to note that any deviation from the program’s rules restarts the progress from day one, and participants are strictly forbidden from making alterations to the program to suit their preferences or lifestyle.

Potential Benefits of 75 Hard

Advocates of the 75 Hard program claim that it can lead to improvements in various aspects of life, including:

  • Increased confidence
  • Enhanced self-esteem
  • Strengthened perseverance
  • Heightened self-worth
  • Reinforced self-belief
  • Developed fortitude
  • Cultivated grittiness

Successful completion of the program also involves reading at least 750 pages, adhering to a structured diet, maintaining proper hydration, and visually documenting physical progress through daily photos. Following a structured wellness plan can offer benefits, according to experts. Noah Quezada, a registered dietitian nutritionist, emphasizes that consistency is key to achieving results in any health and fitness plan.

Potential Drawbacks of 75 Hard

Despite the potential benefits, there are some drawbacks to consider. Experts raise concerns about the rigidity of the 75 Hard program. Quezada points out that the strictness of the diet, which disallows cheat meals, can be challenging to maintain in the long run and may even lead to an unhealthy relationship with food.

Moreover, the all-or-nothing nature of 75 Hard leaves no room for uncertainty or learning from slip-ups. Saara Haapanen, a performance coach and motivation expert, explains that the program fails to teach participants skills for dealing with setbacks or cultivating sustainable behaviors. According to Jackie Kaminski, a registered dietitian nutritionist, the program’s lack of specific guidance on fitness and nutrition can leave individuals without adequate knowledge struggling to develop effective routines aligned with their goals.

Potential Health and Safety Risks of 75 Hard

It’s crucial to note that the 75 Hard program lacks scientific research backing. Andy Frisella selected the 75-day duration based on his own intuition, as mentioned in an episode of the 75 Hard podcast. While physical activity has well-documented benefits, engaging in 75 consecutive days of intense training without rest carries the risk of overtraining injuries, depending on individuals’ current fitness levels and the chosen workout routines. The program’s emphasis on perfection may also have negative psychological effects on some participants.

Brooke Cavalla, a certified prenatal and postnatal exercise specialist, cautions against programs designed as “X-day challenges” that promote unsustainable weight loss and lifestyle habits. She advises against programs with set end dates, as they can lead to yo-yo dieting, poor self-esteem, discouragement, body image issues, and even disordered eating habits when the program cannot be maintained as a complete lifestyle change.

Expert Opinions on 75 Hard

While there may be benefits to a challenge like 75 Hard, experts urge caution. Certified strength and conditioning specialist Jake Boly recognizes the potential benefits of habit formation and increased confidence resulting from completing the program. However, he warns against pendulum swings and emphasizes the importance of maintaining a sense of moderation.

Certified personal trainer and nutrition coach Stephanie Thomas believes that 75 Hard may suit individuals who are already active but may feel overwhelming for beginners. Thomas suggests starting with one or two achievable goals and gradually adding more as progress is made.

Dr. Haapanen believes that, although some individuals may find 75 Hard beneficial for kickstarting healthy habits, there are generally better alternatives. Her approach focuses on incremental steps toward behavior change, aiming for continuous improvement and sustainability.

Determining Whether the 75 Hard Program Is Right for You

When considering any lifestyle change program, Cavalla recommends reflecting on the following questions:

  1. What is your plan for after the program ends?
  2. What do you hope to achieve beyond completing the program?
  3. How will this program improve your current exercise and eating habits?
  4. Can you realistically maintain this program as a permanent lifestyle change?

If you decide to embark on the 75 Hard journey, it is advisable to work with a dietitian and trainer who can tailor a nutrition and exercise plan to your specific goals. These professionals can help you design a program that aligns with your lifestyle and unique needs. It is always essential to consult your healthcare provider before starting any new exercise or wellness program to ensure it is suitable for you.

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