75 hard
75 hard

75 Hard Is The Latest Health And Wellness Craze, But Is It Worth It?

Posted on October 11, 2023 by Henry Ford Health Staff

75 Hard is a program that has taken the internet by storm – encouraging participants to push themselves to complete 75 consecutive days of living a rigorous, structured lifestyle of healthy eating, exercise and mental health challenges. But it’s not without its flaws.

Many people have taken on the challenge to successfully complete the program but have been overwhelmed by the strict rules and physical demands. It begs the question of if this “challenge” is really a sustainable model for creating positive change in your life – and if it is safe.

“While we might like the appeal of transforming and bettering ourselves through challenges, they can end in failure,” says Kenneth Uy, a health coach at Henry Ford Health. “There are people who do challenges like this for fun and if they don’t succeed, they are okay with that. However, there is the potential for people to undergo challenges like this and have it crush their motivation when they don’t succeed. This can lead to a potential spiral of feeling failure and giving up on healthy goals altogether.”

Here, Uy breaks down why there is so much of a draw to programs like 75 Hard and how it is possible to make real lifestyle changes without overhauling your life.

What Is 75 Hard?

Completing the 75 Hard program requires participants to meet several tasks every day for 75 days. If you skip a workout or have a cheat day, you are required to start the program over from day one. The tasks you are required to meet each day include:

  • Following a structured diet of your choice, but with no cheat days. Alcohol consumption is also not allowed during the program.
  • Completing two 45-minute workouts. As an additional challenge, one of those workouts must be done outside, regardless of the time of year.
  • Drinking 1 gallon of water.
  • Reading 10 pages of a non-fiction or educational book.
  • Taking a daily progress picture.

Many influencers and social media personalities have helped to popularize this program by challenging themselves and their followers to complete it.

“These influencers are often experts that come off as regular, everyday people, making these challenges more identifiable to the general public and accessible on social media,” says Uy. “We see very fit individuals online who attribute their success to a certain diet or fitness regimen, so we are encouraged to try to replicate those results.”

Uy warns that the intensity of this program can cause you to burn out quickly and once it’s done, not have the motivation to keep up a healthy routine. And while participants will likely see some physical change after successfully completing 75 Hard, it might take longer than 75 days to get there.

Should I Try 75 Hard?

According to Uy, 75 Hard is probably a wellness program to avoid. “Even for seasoned athletes, this program has its mental and physical risks,” says Uy. “Your risk of injury goes up the more time goes on without proper rest and recover after workouts.”

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Like any exercise or fitness program, it is recommended that you talk with your physician before starting something new. Your doctor can provide more insight, but this program is probably best suited for people who have a track record for being able to handle extreme discipline (triathletes, high-level CrossFit trainers, military soldiers, etc.).

If you are still looking for the structure of a program, Uy recommends the less rigorous 75 Soft, a wellness challenge that is also gaining traction on social media in opposition to 75 Hard. This challenge is a bit more forgiving with its rules - making it more achievable. The daily requirements include:

  • Eating a well-rounded diet
  • Limiting alcohol consumption to social occasions only
  • Exercising for 45 minutes, making sure to take one day a week as a “rest day” for active recovery
  • Drinking three liters (100 ounces) of water
  • Reading 10 pages of any book

How To Make Real, Sustainable Changes In Your Life

Many exercise and wellness programs become popular because they boast quick results and major changes to your life. The reality is that change doesn’t happen overnight. It’s all about consistency to build any habit.

“Studies have shown that it takes 66 days to form a habit, so rather than going hard for 75 days, try easing into sensible changes over 66 days,” says Uy. “This promotes change in your life while giving you the space to also handle life’s everyday challenges.”

Start small with a step-by-step approach – changing one thing at a time before trying to take on the next thing. Once those small changes become habit, you can make another change. One change Uy suggests is creating a small calorie deficit as a moderate and realistic approach to weight loss.

“Reducing 500 calories of your daily intake – either with less food, more exercise or both – can lead to losing one pound each week,” says Uy. “This introduces healthy eating and getting more exercise into your routine in a way that is easy to do. Even cutting this in half and reducing only 250 calories per day will help you see results over time.”

The idea of this approach is to help people find success in making lifestyle changes. You are able to form new habits while still allowing yourself to indulge within reason and enjoy living without burning out along the way.

Reviewed by Kenneth Uy, a health coach and tobacco treatment specialist at Henry Ford Health.

Categories : FeelWell

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