Introduction to the 75 Hard Challenge
If you’re an avid social media user, chances are you’ve come across the hashtag #75Hard accompanied by photos of physical progress, book covers, or gym selfies. But what exactly is the 75 Hard Program, and should you consider taking it on?
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Understanding the 75 Hard Challenge
The 75 Hard Challenge was introduced in 2019 by entrepreneur Andy Frisella, known as the podcaster and CEO of 1st Phorm, a supplement company. Rather than being solely a fitness challenge, 75 Hard is described as a “transformative mental toughness program” on its official 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 resilience.
Rules of the 75 Hard Program
During the 75 consecutive days of the challenge, participants must adhere to the following daily requirements, as stated in the program’s welcome email:
- Follow a structured diet plan focused on physical improvement. Alcohol and meals outside the chosen diet are not allowed.
- Complete two 45-minute workouts each day, one of which must take place outdoors.
- Take a progress picture.
- Consume 1 gallon of water.
- Read 10 pages of a book (audiobooks are excluded).
It’s important to note that any deviations from these rules reset the participant’s progress back to day one. Frisella emphasizes the importance of strict adherence to the program without making alterations to suit personal preferences or circumstances.
Potential Benefits of the 75 Hard Challenge
Advocates of the 75 Hard program claim that it can lead to various benefits, including:
- Increased confidence
- Improved self-esteem
- Enhanced perseverance
- Strengthened self-worth
- Boosted self-belief
- Developed fortitude and grit
By successfully completing the program, participants will have read at least 750 pages, established a dietary routine, maintained optimal hydration, and documented physical changes through progress photos.
Experts agree that following a structured wellness plan can bring benefits by promoting consistency. Registered dietitian nutritionist Noah Quezada highlights the program’s focus on nutrition and physical activity, which encourages individuals to pay closer attention to their overall health and fitness goals.
According to mindset coach Carrie Veatch, who completed the program herself, participating in the 75 Hard Challenge can help individuals eliminate negativity from their lives and discover the true potential of their minds and bodies when committed to a goal.
Potential Drawbacks of the 75 Hard Challenge
While the 75 Hard program has its merits, experts also point out several potential drawbacks. Quezada expresses concern about the program’s rigidity, particularly regarding its strict dietary guidelines. The absence of “cheat meals” may make long-term adherence challenging and could potentially lead to an unhealthy relationship with food.
Moreover, the all-or-nothing nature of the program leaves no room for flexibility or learning from slip-ups. Dr. Saara Haapanen, a performance coach and motivation expert, notes that the program lacks guidance on developing sustainable behaviors and dealing with uncertainties.
Registered dietician nutritionist Jackie Kaminski adds that although the program allows for individual flexibility in terms of nutrition and exercise choices, it may leave those with limited knowledge in these areas struggling to develop an effective routine aligned with their goals.
Health and Safety Considerations
It is crucial to acknowledge that the 75 Hard Challenge lacks scientific research support. Frisella chose the duration of 75 days based on personal instinct rather than empirical evidence.
Engaging in 75 consecutive days of intense physical activity without rest poses potential risks of overtraining injuries, depending on individual fitness levels and exercise choices. Additionally, the program’s emphasis on perfection can negatively impact some participants’ mental well-being.
Brooke Cavalla, a certified prenatal and postnatal exercise specialist, warns against programs with fixed end dates, as they often promote unsustainable weight loss methods and may contribute to yo-yo dieting and negative body image.
Expert Opinions on the 75 Hard Challenge
Experts offer varying perspectives on the 75 Hard Challenge. Jake Boly, a certified strength and conditioning specialist, recognizes the potential for habit formation and improved self-confidence but cautions against losing sight of moderation after completing the program.
Stephanie Thomas, a certified personal trainer and nutrition coach, suggests that the challenge may be better suited for those already engaged in an active lifestyle rather than beginners. She recommends starting with manageable goals and gradually increasing intensity and complexity.
Dr. Haapanen advocates for a more gradual approach to behavioral change, aiming for incremental daily improvements. She believes this approach is more sustainable, realistic, and enjoyable in the long run.
Assessing the Fit for You
If you’re considering the 75 Hard Challenge, it’s essential to evaluate whether it aligns with your goals and lifestyle. Brooke Cavalla recommends asking yourself the following questions:
- What is your plan after completing the program?
- What other accomplishments do you seek beyond finishing the challenge?
- How will this program improve your current exercise and dietary habits?
- Can you realistically maintain this program in the long term?
To ensure your safety, it is advisable to consult with a dietitian and trainer who can help tailor a nutrition and exercise plan specific to your needs and goals. Always consult your healthcare provider before embarking on any new wellness or fitness program.