Apr 27th, 2023, 09:00 AM

The 75 Hard Challenge

By Gloria Kabongo
Image credit: Unsplash/Derick McKinney
Is it just another TikTok trend to partake in or a permanent lifestyle change?

No alcohol. Eat clean. Two daily workouts. A gallon of water. Daily progress photos. Reading 10 pages a day.

Those are the six non-negotiable rules that have to be completed for an entire 75 days in the viral wellness challenge known as the 75 Hard Challenge. According to Andy Frisella, the creator of the challenge, it's is not a fitness plan nor a diet plan. He states that the challenge is a "mental toughness program"

@impaulsive 🤔 WOULD YOU ATTEMPT 75 HARD CHALLENGE⁉️👀 #mikemajlak #impaulsive #podcast ♬ Summer - Instrumental - Devinney

Helena Shlaudeman, a first year abroad student with the GWU program, started her fitness journey prior to partaking in the 75 Hard Challenge. “I think working out really helped with mental health and just like feeling better overall in terms of health and even strength. I have also thought about working out and eating healthier—like not the best but definitely not completely the worst,” Shlaudeman said.

Frisella believes that the 75 Hard Challenge comes with many benefits. It helps create healthy habits and adds more structure within your life because there is a set routine that you have to follow. There will be an increase in terms of your fitness levels and according to the Women's Health Magazine, the 75 Hard Challenge claims to improve your self-esteem, perseverance, self-worth, self-belief, fortitude and confidence. If one was to successfully complete this challenge, it means they would have read roughly 700 pages, gotten into the routine of eating cleaner, been more hydrated than normal and noticed physical changes—especially after looking at the daily photos they are required to take. 

Shlaudeman mentions that she had first heard about the challenge in 2021 but has also been seeing it appear a lot more recently on TikTok. “I think it's a really interesting challenge because it’s not like a weight loss challenge or like a challenge with a specific goal that is meant to be achieved. It’s a challenge that’s meant to challenge yourself in so many areas and I just felt like I really wanted to see how much I can push myself even when I am tired, that's kind of what made me start it.” Shlaudeman mentioned that she feels a lot better about the food that she is eating and although the 75 Hard challenge does not follow a specific diet, she has chosen to cut down on eating fast foods and has been consuming more water than she normally would. 

However, many experts are concerned about the rigidity of the challenge. Priyankaa Joshi, a health and fitness writer at Women's Health stated that many have touched on the fact that the diet restrictions that come with partaking in this rigorous challenge might lead to one developing unhealthy relationships with food. Another issue that is brought up is the fact that the challenge does not teach the people that follow it how to deal with potential slip-ups. While it strongly emphasizes that a diet should be followed and that there should be daily physical activity, it does not provide any guidance on what exercises one is required to do or what one is required to eat. Those choices are left to the person that chooses to partake in this challenge. 

“I have not been hard on myself” Shlaudeman said. She added that because of the challenge there has been some form of structure that has been created within her every day routine which has been positive for her mental health.

“I am definitely following the rules that are known for the 75 Hard Challenge, but again because it is not specific—like I weight lift and that takes me around an hour and the second workout I don’t really fully workout, I just take that time to go outside and take a walk which is beneficial for my mental health. I am definitely following all the rules and I am sure some people go above and beyond as it progresses. Maybe some people do more rigorous second workouts but I feel that I might burn out if I do that right now.” Shlaudeman continues to partake in the challenge in a manner that works for her.



♬ POV - K bye for now💘

In response to the 75 Hard Challenge, challenges such as 75 Soft or even 75 Medium have been created. These alternatives have been created to allow others to commit to creating new habits but without the rigorous restrictions or drastic life changes. The 75 Soft Challenge was created as a kinder and more realistic challenge that one could follow . The rules require you to eat well and only drink on social occasions, train for 45 minutes a day for an entire 75 days, drink 3 liters of water and read 10 pages of a book everyday. This was created for people that potentially have difficult relationships with food or even exercise that could potentially trigger dangerous habits. 

“If you do the challenge in a sustainable way, then it is indeed sustainable," Shlaudeman added, "It depends on how you choose to interpret the challenge."