Fitness trends pop up and fade into obscurity as quickly as a TikTok dance challenge. Some linger more persistently than others, garnering a legion of fans that wax lyrical about the transformation they’ve seen in themselves, while others sadly don’t have quite the same staying-power. Though it can be painful to have to endure such conversations with those int he former camp at the communal office coffee machine, fitness trends always seem to carry with them a degree of FOMO. With so many of us looking to get in shape, or simply find a workout we love that is sustainable enough to carry us throughout our lives, we can’t help but question those that work for others and see if the positive benefits might happen to work for us, too.
That’s why the latest fitness trend has piqued our interest. If you own a phone, you’d likely have seen the hashtag “75Hard” trending on social media, with all manner of people posting sweaty selfies and transformation pics alongside the caption. The following is almost cult-like, that’s how instrumental this fitness trend has apparently been to a number of people in overhauling their lifestyle and getting their health back on track. But if you were sceptical seeing all the posts, here we explain just what 75Hard is and why you might consider giving it a try.
What is 75Hard?
75Hard is a challenge – both mental and physical – designed by Andy Frisella from the Real AF podcast that aims to help people “take complete control of your life.” The challenge doesn’t focus on fitness alone, but rather seeks to incorporate all elements of a healthy lifestyle, be it diet, training and those cheat meals some people come to rely a bit too heavily on.
As Frisella explained, the point of the challenge is to help you achieve confidence, self-esteem, grit, perseverance and resilience. It’s clear from the outline of the program that it’s not easy, and there are zero compromises and substitutions along the way, meaning any slip up will see the person go back to Day 1 to start over. It’s for this reason why Frisella believes that once you complete the 75 day challenge, you’ll be a different person, “guaranteed.”
What are the rules?
On his podcast, Frisella explained the rules as following:
The diet can be anything you choose – vegan, paleo, Whole30, vegetarian – but the key thing is that there has to be a physical improvement in mind when undertaking the eating program you embark on.
There has to be two 45-minute workouts done each week, and one of them has to be outside. 75Hard isn’t a gym membership or fitness program that locks you into a training regime you can’t get out of. Instead, it gives you the freedom to do your own workouts, whether it’s strength training at the gym, cycling, or just running or taking a yoga class. Of course, you can work out longer than 45 minutes, but the minimum has to be 45 minutes. As well as that, an outdoor workout has to happen, even if the weather isn’t great which is a great life lesson to embrace that which is out of your control (and enjoy nature, too).
No cheat meals
As well as no cheat meals, you also can’t have alcohol which, for some people, could just be the biggest challenge of all. The point of 75Hard is to teach you focus, and so if you are to give in to a piece of chocolate, no matter how small, you have to go back to Day 1 of the program.
Take a progress picture every day
Cue the Instagram hashtag and fan following. By taking a photo everyday, even those days where you feel no progress is being made, tracking your journey allows you to see just how much work you are putting in and encourages you to keep going.
Drink 3.79L of water
Staying hydrated is something we all know we should be doing, but few of us are. It might sound simple to drink close to 4 litres of water a day, but this just proves that the simplest tasks are often the hardest to do.
Read 10 pages of a book
And no, audiobooks don’t count. This also has to be a nonfiction book and is designed to encourage those doing 75Hard to pick something informative or interesting that will grow your mind.
Is it worth the hype?
Naturally, those that have embarked on the 75Hard challenge have found it powerfully transformative. That said, the program isn’t without its criticism by way of experts. In an interview with PopSugar, registered dietician Leslie Langevin, MS, author of The Anti-Inflammatory Kitchen Cookbook, said it’s an extreme way to develop better health habits, but that the program lacks individuality for the person in mind. Other critics have spoken out about the rules, believing they are overly restrictive and would be incredibly difficult for someone new to dieting or who wanted to lose weight. Similarly, for those just starting out, 45 minutes is a pretty solid workout to complete.
ACE-certified trainer Rachel MacPherson told PopSugar, “The plan is an example of letting perfection be the enemy of the good. If you fail one small aspect of the plan, you need to start back at ground zero.”
It might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but if you’re looking for a program that will really test your mental and physical strength and resilience, the 75Hard program might just be the one for you. Naturally, it has its faults, but given there are some who swear by it, it might simply be a case of trying it out and seeing what works for you.