Why You Should Stay Away From the 75Hard Challenge, According to a Dietitian

One of the six set-in-stone requirements of the 75Hard Challenge is to read 10 pages of a book each day.
Image Credit: DusanManic/E+/GettyImages

The 75Hard Challenge has been hard to escape lately as it trends across social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok. But what is the "challenge" exactly? Founder Andy Frisella — who promises it isn't just another internet challenge — claims that the 75Hard Challenge is a "transformative mental toughness program."

I beg to differ.

The 75Hard Challenge is just like any other internet challenge, and more so. If the before-and-after weight-loss photos on social media have you curious if the 75Hard Challenge is worth checking out, here's what you need to know (hint: you'll probably want to pass on this one).

What Is the 75Hard Challenge?

The 75Hard Challenge is a 75-day challenge created by Andy Frisella, a self-proclaimed entrepreneur, CEO, author, car nerd podcast host, speaker, force for good and certified dominator (read: not a doctor, dietitian or personal trainer).

The challenge includes six principles (more on the specifics below), that must be followed exactly — without compromise or substitutions — for 75 days. The challenge is based on Frisella's personal experience (i.e. anecdotal data), that will allow you to "take complete control of your life in 75 days," just as he has.

The challenge is based on one man's life experience, a man with no clinical training, which sounds an awful lot like other extreme diet programs lately, such as the Snake Diet and the Warrior Diet.

Except, Frisella claims this isn't a diet. He acknowledges that you will likely lose weight and there are physical transformations, but defines it as a program for your mental toughness. That sounds great except this challenge trends online because of the before-and-after weight-loss photos (they're also featured on his website), which are a clever and effective marketing tool.

Did you know that keeping a food diary is one of the most effective ways to manage your weight? Download the MyPlate app to easily track calories, stay focused and achieve your goals!

What Are the Rules?

The rules of the challenge are very straightforward. There are six actions you must take or follow each day without compromise or any wiggle room. In fact, you have to start back at day one if you fail to follow these actions exactly.

  1. Follow a diet. This is left up to you. You're allowed to pick any diet of your choice as long as it's designed for physical improvement.
  2. Work out twice a day for at least 45 minutes each time. One of these workouts MUST be an outdoor session, although it's not explained why.
  3. No alcohol or cheat meals. Cheat meals are not defined. This can mean different things to different people who are following different diets.
  4. Drink one gallon of water. Everyone's fluid needs are different and are based on a variety of factors. There's no one specific amount that we should all strive to consume.
  5. Read 10 pages of a book. (Audiobooks do not count)
  6. Take progress photos every day.

Can You Lose Weight Doing 75Hard?

Yes, most likely. First, you would be following a diet of some sort. Most diets call for omitting food groups, counting macros, etc. Anytime you're hyper-focused and/or restrictive with your diet, you will likely lose weight.

There's also the 90 minutes a day of required physical activity. For most people, this is a significant boost in the amount of time they are currently working out.

The combination of these two factors — following a diet and working out daily — will most certainly lead to some weight loss although the results will vary depending on where you're starting at, as well as the diet and workout you choose.

Related Reading

Pros and Cons

By now I'm sure you can tell I'm not a fan of this challenge. To be fair, there are some positives to this program, although the cons definitely outweigh them by far.

Pros

Simple to follow: Note, I said simple, not easy. The 75Hard Challenge is simple in that there are six tasks you must complete daily. It comes down to a simple yes or no as to whether you engaged in that behavior for the day.

Other programs can be more complicated whether there are different phases to follow, specific recipes to make, extensive food lists or tracking points/calories/macros. Compared to most other programs, the 75Hard Challenge is fairly straightforward.

Inexpensive: The program is 100 percent free. There's no one-time buy-in or monthly fee, and it doesn't require you to buy specific foods or supplements either. There's a lot of flexibility over the type of diet you follow and subsequently, the foods you eat. It also allows you to pick your workouts. No gym membership required.

Related Reading

Cons

A marketing scheme, cloaked in a challenge: I signed up for the challenge 17 days ago (at the time of writing) and have received an email every day, if not multiple times a day. Not one of the emails is about the challenge itself. There are no tips on how to sustain, or motivation from others' experiences, etc. Instead, I've only received a barrage of marketing emails promoting the founder's podcast, app, gear, book and business program.

Every email thus far has a call to action to purchase or sign up for something that makes the founder money and none have been directly related to the challenge itself. He also asks that you take a progress picture every day and post it to social media, tagging the 75Hard Challenge so that he and others can see it, i.e., extend the marketing reach.

Not based on science: Many claims are made on the 75Hard Challenge website without any basis or scientific support. They're completely arbitrary, again, based on one man's supposed experience. For instance, from the 75Hard Challenge website: "I made this program 75 days because that is how long it will take for you to develop these skills."

Another claim: "Each one of those daily tasks was hand-picked for a specific reason. They were chosen for a reason that I will explain and you will come to understand as you are moving thru the challenge. Trust me."

Again, I'm about a quarter of the way through the challenge and the reasoning for these daily tasks has not been shared or made apparent.

Too regimented and not sustainable: This program offers no flexibility in terms of completing the daily tasks. In fact, it shames you for it. For example: "The next 75 days is a chance to prove to yourself that you're not a liar ... you're not weak ... and you truly have what it takes to break the patterns of weakness and compromise you've built over the course of your entire life."

We do not need to work out for 90 minutes a day to be healthy. In fact, it's unhealthy and unsustainable. Your body needs rest.

Avoiding any sort of food indulgence for months is, again, so regimented, and honestly takes the fun out of life. There needs to be balance. It comes down to the fact that you're not learning healthy habits that you can sustain for a lifetime with the 75Hard Challenge.

A Healthier Approach

Run, don’t walk, away from this challenge/marketing ploy.

If you’re looking to make specific changes in your life, you don’t have to do it all at once. Instead, try implementing one or two changes at a time. For instance, perhaps you want to meditate on a more daily basis and eat more vegetables. You can set SMART goals to help you achieve this.

The goal should be to make sustainable changes that you can maintain as part of a lifestyle, not a 30- 60- or 75-day challenge.

references