Every few years, there’s a trend that takes the fitness world by storm. In the 1970s, there was the running boom. In the 1980s, there was aerobics and tae bo. A few years ago, HIIT became all the rage.
In recent years, because we have lived so much of our lives online, it’s all about streaming fitness for at-home workouts and social media challenges as trends, one of which is the 75 Hard Challenge.
If you like fitness and find yourself scrolling through social media more than you’d like to admit, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of the 75 Hard Challenge.
After all, the program’s hashtags #75Hard and #75HardChallenge have millions of combined views on TikTok, many of which pin impressive transformational before-and-after photos and videos of happy program adherents.
But, what is the 75 Hard Challenge all about? If you’re the type of person that does whatever you can to stay off social media, there’s a good chance you’ve never even heard of this phenomenon, and even if you have, its somewhat cult-like undertones may have you questioning if it’s all hype.
In this guide, we will explain the 75 Hard Challenge, and discuss the benefits, risks, and alternatives.
We will cover:
- What Is 75 Hard?
- Is 75 Hard a Weight Loss Program?
- Purported Results of Completing the 75 Hard Challenge
- How Many People Have Completed 75 Hard?
- What Are the 75 Hard Rules?
- How Do You Do the 75 Hard Challenge?
- Benefits of 75 Hard
- Downsides and Risks of 75 Hard
- 4 Tips for Surviving The 75 Hard Challenge
- Is Doing 75 Hard Worth It?
Let’s get started and see what this challenge is all about.
What Is 75 Hard?
75 Hard is a mental toughness or mindset program created in 2019 by Andy Frisella, an entrepreneur, and best-selling author. It is sometimes called the 75 Hard Challenge, 75 Hard Program, 75 Day Hard Challenge, or just 75 Hard.
75 Hard is considered a “transformational mental toughness program” rather than a fitness program, according to Frisella. This distinction is supposed to convey the fact that he claims that the program will change your life, not just your body.
In fact, Frisella says 75 Hard is supposed to primarily change your mind. Essentially, 75 Hard can be seen as a boot camp for mental toughness. Frisella created it as a way to combat the “weak” mindset many of us possess, where we are prone to make excuses, give up, and fall short of committing and giving 100% at all times to everything we do.
Frisella designed 75 HARD to 100x the certain mental traits, including:
Is 75 Hard a Weight Loss Program?
Although not marketed directly as a weight loss program, the 75 Hard Challenge has a significant exercise component, which is why it has garnered such a foothold in the fitness community. It also has a strict diet task, so 75 Hard participants usually lose weight and body fat.
Purported Results of Completing the 75 Hard Challenge
According to Frisella, if you indeed complete the entire 75 Hard challenge with absolutely no compromises, substitutions, or slip-ups, “you will change your life forever.”
Through the program, you will learn how to manage your time effectively, make career strides, increase your confidence, develop meaningful relationships, increase your independence and self-efficacy, gain self-awareness, take ownership of everything you do, overhaul how you think and behave, and get in the “best physical shape of your life.”
How Many People Have Completed 75 Hard?
The official website reports that there are over 100,000 successful 75 Hard challenge finishers to date.
What Are the 75 Hard Rules?
The key rule of the 75 Hard Challenge is that if you miss any of the five daily tasks over the 75 consecutive days of the program, you MUST start over from day one. You cannot make a single compromise, substitution, or omission.
In other words, you have five daily tasks that you are required to complete every day, without fail, for 75 days in a row. If you miss a task or fail to give it your all, you have to restart your 75 days from the beginning, whether it’s day 3, 45, or 74.
How Do You Do the 75 Hard Challenge?
There are five daily tasks to complete for 75 consecutive days during 75 Hard:
Task #1: Follow a Structured Diet
The specific diet you follow is up to you. For example, you can follow paleo, keto, vegan, or Whole30, but the rule is that the diet must be tailored to your goals and you can never, ever make a single deviation from the diet. There are zero allowances for “cheat meals” and no alcohol of any kind is permitted.
This task is said to be the most difficult expectation of 75 Hard for most participants, and it’s meant to cultivate self-discipline, with indirect transformational effects on your physical body and health.
Task #2: Two 45-Minute Workouts Per Day
Here’s where the fitness component comes in. You must complete two workouts per day during 75 Hard, lasting a minimum of 45 minutes each, and one must be done outside no matter what the weather is.
The Hard 75 challenge has received concern and scrutiny from health professionals.
This is largely due to this exercise component because depending on your current fitness level when you start the program, and the type and intensity of exercise you do, exercising for 90 minutes or more per day can be detrimental to your health and put you at risk of injury, overtraining, and cortisol hyperproduction.
This task is said to help you learn to control what you have the ability to control and soldier through things you cannot control without making excuses or substitutions.
Task #3: Drink One Gallon of Water
We all know water is good for the body, so drinking a gallon of water per day is supposed to help improve your health and physical functioning. More so, Frisella says that it instills discipline because it’s a “simple” task, yet not necessarily “easy.”
You have to take the time and get it done, even if it seems like you have more pressing things on your plate.
Task #4: Read 10 Pages of Non-Fiction
During 75 Hard, you must read 10 pages of educational, non-fiction text every day. It can be on any subject that will improve your life, but it must be read with your eyes—audiobooks do not count.
The purpose of this task is to create a beneficial habit.
Task #5: Take a Photo of Your Progress
You must take a photo of your physical body every single day of the challenge to document every step of your transformation.
Benefits of 75 Hard
From a zoomed-out view, the 75 Day Hard challenge can absolutely be beneficial for your life. Committing to anything and seeing it through no matter what builds discipline, structure, and mental toughness, which will serve you well in all areas of your life, whether running a marathon, working a hard job, or sticking to a budget.
The Hard 75 tasks themselves are also potentially beneficial.
- Following a healthy diet can certainly improve your health and reduce your risk of certain diseases, provided the diet meets your nutritional needs.
- Exercise is healthy for the body when done in an appropriate, safe, and sustainable way with adequate recovery and variety.
- Drinking water is excellent for your overall health, as nearly every cell in your body is primarily composed of water. Water can improve your skin, metabolism, digestion, mental clarity, and more.
- Reading something educational every day—10 pages a day—will expose your brain to at least 750 pages of enriching material during 75 Hard, some of which you can likely apply to your life. Moreover, it teaches you that you can build habits into your life, no matter how busy you seem to be.
- Finally, taking a daily photo is a good way to have an objective measure of your physical progress, which can be motivating and empowering.
Downsides and Risks of 75 Hard
Just because a trend has a groundswell of avid fans and adopters, it does not necessarily indicate any degree of safety or efficacy, and while there are definitely benefits from completing 75 Hard (if done safely), there are also risks.
There is no science behind the specific 75 Hard Challenge rules. For example, why must you do two 45-minute workouts a day with one outside? There are various physical activity recommendations for adults, but none prescribe this level of activity.
Moreover, exercising this much can be counterproductive, particularly if you exercise vigorously for one or more of the workouts.
While some runners and athletes do work out twice a day, working out twice a day every single day for 75 days in a row is a recipe for overtraining unless you’re really only doing occasional hard workouts and mostly Zone 2 or easy aerobic exercise like walking or gentle swimming or flexibility like yoga.
Another primary downside of Hard 75 is the inherent complete lack of flexibility. The program is built entirely on the tenet that it cannot be modified in any way, which can create a mindset of fear, obsessiveness, and defeat.
If you have suffered from an eating disorder, Hard 75 may be an unhealthy option.
Hard 75 is also a time-consuming program. Most participants end up devoting about 2.5 hours a day for each of the 75 days to complete all five tasks. This can be unsustainable, particularly after the program, as it usually requires significant sacrifices with other responsibilities in your life.
4 Tips for Surviving Hard 75
If you do decide you are a good candidate and you want to try your hand at Hard 75, it’s important that you keep safety at the forefront of your mind. Here are some tips for a safer, and healthier version of the Hard 75 Challenge:
#1: Choose a Nutritious Diet, Not a Fad Diet
This is key. Many popular diets online are fad diets or crash diets that lack sufficient caloric intake and cut out entire food groups. If you want to do Hard 75, pick a science-backed healthy diet like the Mediterranean Diet or the Dash Diet, rather than a weight-loss diet or a highly-restrictive diet like the Military Diet or Whole30.
#2: Exercise Mindfully
Just as you wouldn’t run two hard doubles every day, it’s important to take a safe approach to the exercise component. If you truly want to do two 45-minute workouts per day, one must be a full recovery workout like restorative yoga or a walk around your neighborhood.
Another good option is to modify the exercise task and just do one 45-minute workout per day or two 20-minute sessions.
#3: Add Electrolytes to Your Water
#4: Listen to Your Body
While a “no excuses” attitude is a good one to have, sometimes life or your body has different needs. If you’re sick, injured, or exhausted, heed what your body needs. Sometimes, being mentally tough is actually about doing what your body needs, not what you want to do to satisfy some imposed challenge.
There you have it, the 75 Hard Challenge rules, benefits, and risks for you to consider and decide whether or not the Hard 75 Challenge is for you.
If you are looking for a shorter challenge to try out, check out our Running a Mile a Day, 30-Day Challenge.
Is Doing 75 Hard Worth It?
Although the 75 Hard Challenge is undoubtedly vigorous and not necessarily appropriate as is for everyone, it would be a gross oversight to fail to mention how transformative it can be for people who do decide to commit and take on the 75 Hard Challenge.
There is a wonderfully supportive community of current and past 75 Hard participants, and nearly everyone who has successfully completed the program has positive experiences or valuable lessons and growth to share.
The oft-repeated truism, “You get out what you put in,” seems highly appropriate for the 75 Hard Challenge: It will push you, it will test you, but it will change you.
Successfully completing 75 Hard can be wholly empowering. As much as it will transform your body, it will transform your mind and help you become the person you are meant to be.