75 Hard Challenge Review (and What I’d Do Differently)

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Have you heard of the 75 Hard workout challenge? It’s one of the many recent challenges presented by influencers in the health and wellness space. Is it just a passing fad? Probably. 

But right now, it’s trending on TikTok and showing up all over social media. It has billions of views and is a controversial diet, lifestyle, and mindset challenge. Here’s everything you need to know about the 75 Hard Challenge.

What Exactly is The 75 Hard Challenge? 

While the name sounds like one, the 75 Hard challenge is not a fitness program. It’s a transformational mental toughness program meant to get you out of the rut and into pursuing your dreams and goals. It does require working out twice a day, but not necessarily following a fitness plan. 

This program was created by Andy Frisella, CEO of the supplement company, 1st Phorm International, author, and podcaster. 

On his podcast, Frisella interviewed James Lawrence, dubbed the “Iron Cowboy.” Lawrence shared his experience of completing 50 Ironman races in 30 days across all 50 United States. 

Frisella developed  “75 hard” as a response to James Lawrence’s comment that “you must intentionally put yourself in places that are uncomfortable in order to develop mental fortitude.” That advice inspired the 75 Hard challenge rules.

These are the 75 Hard challenge rules or tasks… “with ZERO compromises & ZERO substitutions”:

  1. Follow a structured diet
  2. Two 45-minute workouts each day (one MUST be outside)
  3. Drink a gallon of water each day
  4. Read 10 pages of a non-fiction, educational book each day. (Audiobooks don’t count)
  5. Take a progress picture each day

The diet is supposed to be chosen based on your personal goals. Then you follow it strictly for 75 days straight. No alcohol is allowed.

The type of workout is up to you and can be weight lifting, walking, or even yoga. However, the rule that one workout must be outside has no exceptions – no matter the weather! If you don’t do one of your daily workouts outside you’re back to day one.

Each task has been chosen for a reason, to cultivate discipline, develop grit, or practice paying attention to detail. As you can see, this challenge is intense! There’s no cheat day and no rest day… for two and a half months straight. If you slip up, you have to start all over again. You’re back to day one.

What Are The Benefits of 75 Hard? 

Some of the key potential benefits of 75 hard surround mental toughness and fitness:

  • Confidence
  • Improved self-esteem, self-belief, and self-worth
  • Better self-awareness
  • Weight loss and better physical shape in general
  • Improved completion of daily tasks
  • Strengthened perseverance, fortitude, or grittiness
  • Improved consistency
  • Better time management and use of each day
  • Adoption of a dietary routine
  • Improved hydration
  • Making strides in your career
  • Increased income
  • Better relationships with those who matter most
  • Read 750 pages 

This challenge does have a lot of upsides. It’s like a boot camp for getting back to discipline in all areas of life. 

How About The Downsides of 75 Hard?

First, remember that Frisella is not a licensed dietitian, nutritionist, certified personal trainer, or fitness expert. The section of the 75-day length comes from Frisella’s instinct and not from scientific research. Additionally…

  • The  “no cheat meals” rule may lead to an unhealthy relationship with food and potentially a poor body image.
  • 75 days straight of physical activity and no rest may cause overtraining injuries depending on the type of fitness plan chosen.
  • The lack of flexibility for sickness, family emergencies, and daily ups and downs is a major drawback. 
  • The emphasis on perfection may also take a toll on mental health for some people.

A major downside is although it emphasizes health, it may not be that healthy. It’s a very intense program, and it’s not for everyone… including me.

Why I Wouldn’t Do 75 Hard

As great as it seems for self-improvement, 75 Hard is not something I would personally do or recommend. There really isn’t any guidance for the fitness challenge part of the program, so it leaves daily workouts wide open to interpretation. Without clarity on how to work out, it’s difficult to have confidence in the program and anticipate good results.

The two 45-minute workouts each day are not ideal for busy moms needing to care for their families. Remember: 75 Hard must be done every single day for 75 days. It’s just not practical for moms and it’s not great if you’re dealing with low adrenal function or a chronic illness.

A lot of women with hormone imbalance or cortisol issues find that intense workouts can actually make weight loss harder. While I was in the middle of an intense healing phase from Hashimotos and weight loss, I only did gentle movements. This was an important part of the healing process for me and gave my body time to recover. 

I would advise anyone in a healing phase to not do really intense workouts. Now that my Hashimoto’s is completely in remission and I’ve reached my healthy weight, I’ve added more workouts in. Last year I focused on strengthening, and this coming year’s focus is on speed. All of this is helping me to be stronger and keep up with my kids!

75 Hard Diet 

Another downside to the 75 Hard program is that there’s no guidance on eating. There’s no 75 Hard nutrition plan. You could choose low-carb, Whole30, vegan, or carnivore. The fact that he emphasizes “no cheat meals” is also concerning. That view of food is harsh and can lead to disordered eating.

Because it really emphasizes the 75 days, it’s not ideal for someone trying to make permanent lifestyle changes.  While I like the notion of reading books, spending time outdoors, and drinking water, those are the only positives I see in the program.

What I Would Do Instead 

Instead of adopting this extreme 75-day challenge and then risking a return to old habits, why not start making small healthy changes? This idea of pushing the body super hard without rest days or cheat meals can set a person up for eating disorders, low self-esteem, and exhaustion.

I would instead opt to commit to adopting certain healthy habits. I would focus on:

In general, I would focus on a diet and lifestyle program that is sustainable long term. I would focus on taking good care of my body rather than pushing it beyond limits.

Daily progress photos may be helpful, but I wouldn’t post them on social media. I found that when I stopped weighing myself daily and stopped obsessing about the (fluctuating!) number on the scale I did better. Taking a photo every day may cause the same issues for some.

Personally, I’ve found habit stacking to be a great (sustainable) way to adopt new habits. The idea is to use daily activities as a trigger, or reminder, to do a healthy habit. For example, I’ll dry brush while I’m waiting for my shower water to heat up. Turning the shower on is my trigger to dry brush. You can read more about how I do habit stacking here

The Bottom Line 

The bottom line is that 75 Hard is likely not a good program for beginners who are just starting to work on improving their health and fitness levels. However, for those wanting to take things to the next level, it can do that. I would still caution that the zero flexibility portion isn’t practical (or helpful) for most. 

Please check with your healthcare professional before diving into this program. 

Have you tried 75 Hard? How did it go? Did you stick with it? Do you recommend it? Please share with us below!

  1. Frisella, A. 75 Hard | The 75-Day Tactical Guide to Winning the War with Yourself. Andyfrisella.com.
  2. Frisella, A. 75HARD: A 75-Day Tactical Guide to Winning the War With Yourself, with Andy Frisella – MFCEO290
Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. WellnessMama.com is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


11 responses to “75 Hard Challenge Review (and What I’d Do Differently)”

  1. Ally Avatar

    I’m currently on day 41 of 75 HARD and it’s been a game-changer. I feel so revived, inspired, and healthy. I am postpartum 17 months out from a horrible c-section, breastfeeding, with a full-time job. I got so unhealthy and tired of sitting on my bum and not being able to breathe and decided to stop making excuses and get my life together.

    Listening to Andy’s podcast or reading his books is not as restrictive as you made it seem. Considering there are 24 hours a day and we are sitting mostly all day, this program pushes you to move without excuses throughout whatever challenges ie weather. I have no desire to do the gym, so sometimes I stretch, sometimes I walk during my lunch hour and/or when I wake up, and the evening before dinner – often pushing the stroller or going to the store. The “diet’” setting an intention for an eating lifestyle and sticking to it. This is the one thing that is flexible but not from day to day. As far as the water, you should drink half your body weight in ounces every day. However with 2 physical movements we need more water and it’s totally doable to drink 128oz a day.

  2. Tira Bowen Avatar
    Tira Bowen

    I completed 75Hard and it is not as horrible as you make it sound. There is room for you to listen to your body so while there are no”recovery” days, you can walk 2 times for 45 min or stretch for 45 min and do a walk later. This is the reason there are no set workouts or specific nutrition plans for 75Hard. Everyone is different in capabilities and goals. As far as the no cheat meals rule, I had an unhealthy relationship with sweets and used it as a crutch during stressful times. 75Hard gave me the time to figure out different and healthier coping strategies rather than reaching for a sweet treat to “make me feel better”. And the rule is no cheat meals, I made ice cream out of Greek yogurt, fruit, and almond milk which gave me a healthy sweet treat with out comprising my personal health and fitness goals. I definitely recommend this program and busy moms can include their families in the evening walks and help instill healthy habits into their children at a young age. Being a mom of young children I can tell you it is possible if you don’t give yourself the ability to make excuses.

  3. XiaLi Avatar

    I find it interesting that you’re against the 75 hard rules yet finish your review with suggestions that are very similar.

  4. Terry McNeese Avatar
    Terry McNeese

    Obviously, this writer as well as most of the commenters have listened to everyone else who warps the program through a thorough lack of understanding the whole process and it’s objectives and not listening to the actual podcast . Before you decide to drop some more “Fake news”, please listen and understand the whole podcast – Google Episode 208 of the RealAF Podcast – the podcast itself is not for everyone, but I encourage you to listen to the episode all the way through for better understanding. The 75 Hard is part of a program – Live Hard. It is the first phase (a boot camp, if you will) of a year long 4 phase program. It is not a challenge (the buzzword of this decade). It is a program to instill a rock solid belief in yourself. It builds your ability to ignore the voice in your head that tells you that you cannot do something that you set out to accomplish and eliminates our tendencies as generally lazy human beings to avoid failure by listening to that voice and it’s list of all of the things that could go wrong to try to talk you out of moving forward in the first place. For the “influencers” who have decided to pick out the easiest part of the program and deconstruct it, distort it and literally screw it up for some of the people that need it most without any actual knowledge or context of the actual end goal of the program, I recommend not passing judgement on what you know nothing about until you have listened and understood the whole Live Hard program. It is not for everyone, in fact most people could never accomplish Live Hard, much less 75 Hard, nor do I or anyone else who understands it encourage the uneducated to pursue the program. If you want to be fit, there are so many programs out there that’ll get you fit at their pace (or take your money for their program or their app and leave you not fit at all). If you want to lose weight, there are so many programs out there that’ll help you lose weight. 75 Hard and the entire Live Hard program are meant to encourage personal excellence – it is the only reason, the human race in it’s current state will survive. There are also plenty of ways that you can develop mental toughness and personal excellence without putting yourself through the program that, if you fail, can also erode your confidence and all but ensure that you will follow all the rest of the human race into mediocrity and extinction. Why be mediocre when you can be excellent. By the way, the whole program is free. Andy lays it out, ensures that you understand the reasons for doing the action items exactly as laid out with no compromise and how they pertain to the actual end goal….for FREE!
    I hope that this comment finds the light of day and helps at least one person make an educated decision on the 75 Hard Program step (not a challenge) and yes, I would not be ashamed to present my point of view to you in your living room (reference the Comment guidelines)

  5. Sarah Avatar

    Critiques of this article/comments
    – daily workout risk of overtraining and injury. The plan doesn’t have a specific workout. Plenty of ways to incorporate parasympathetic days into a training regimen. simple walks, yoga, meditation

    – no cheat meal being bad. again, no diet is specified. set the plan you want and stick to it. if your plan is to eat a relatively normal diet but want to cut chocolate out, then that’s your plan. you don’t have to subscribe, to paleo, vegan, keto, carnivore etc

    the red herring of this article is it insinuates that you need to start some Navy Seal routine. Changes to your diet could be as simple as cutting out chocolate and doing 2 walks a day. Its an evolution in setting a Day 1 plan and sticking to it… i.e mental toughness. The ‘What would I do instead’ para of this article is still within the guideline of 75 Hard. Set your rules and stick to them for 75 days

    – Yes mothers are superstars, but the idea of ‘we are pushing through all the hard things already, we don’t need to work on our mental toughness’ is dangerous. There is always room for self improvement that doesn’t come at the cost of our husbands and kids
    – You’re not ignoring your need for rest and recovery. My normal plan involves 2-3 parasympathetic days. This is still achievable within 75 hard

    1 gallon/3.7L is around the minimum water requirements for males, slightly less for females. regardless of electrolyte content
    That minimum requirement rises if you are doing exercise. Its not over-drinking, its making sure you have at the very least the minimum required

    I have not done 75hard. I will probably give it a go soon. but the premise is YOU decide your workout plan, YOU decide your nutrition plan. and this plan ensures you stick to it

  6. Lisa O Avatar

    Katie- can I ask what you did to put Hashimoto’s in remission? I was diagnosed w/ hypothyroid/ Hashi just about 1 yr now- in March- and I cannot for the life of me, lose weight. I stop eating, I go hard on the treadmill, I eat protein, I avoid “thyroid” foods.. pleas help!

  7. Tom Davis Avatar
    Tom Davis

    Done it twice. Yes, it’s tough, but the whole point of it is this.. forget your rest days and being soft. If you actually get your head down and push through yes, sometimes you ache and are tired but you will amaze yourself how powerful you are and how much more you can do then you have ever tried. I wasn’t in shape, couldn’t run more than a few k when I started it back in 2020. Where I am now, how much healthier I live is night and day. I’m fitter now today on day 27 of my 3rd round then I have ever been in my life and I’m middle aged.

  8. Angela Yoshiko Avatar
    Angela Yoshiko

    I’m so thankful I found your post on this. I was very tempted to start this challenge, but I started to listen to a few of his other podcast episodes to gauge how much I should trust this guy. And no. Just no. Absolutely not, no way.

    I was definitely drawn to the concept of commitment, consistency, and pushing through even when things are hard, but after taking a beat and reflecting, I think refusing to honor the need for rest and recovery is downright toxic. For me, mental toughness shouldn’t mean ignoring my needs, or the needs of my family, just to prove that I’m tough. I don’t know many moms who need to grow their mental toughness. Moms are already pushing through all the hard things, often at the detriment of our own health.

  9. Kari Holland Avatar
    Kari Holland

    I completed 75 Hard last year when I was recovering from surgery. Due to medical restrictions, I was only able to walk so it was not a strenuous workout regimen. I was happy with the noticeable results after 75 days. I used the Daily Dozen app to track my whole food plant based diet each day. Based on the variety of whole foods I was eating, I didn’t feel 75 Hard was overly restrictive to my healthy diet.

  10. Laura Avatar

    My husband is obsessed with Andy and has the book. I was PSYCHED you wrote a critique bc he doesn’t believe me it’s a bad idea to do a 75 hard (not that he is going to—he’s a lineman so works crazy hours when we get storms and usually works 24-36 hrs straight once or twice every 75 days lol.. but he’s idealized this 75 hard regardless ?). My points were the same as yours, but he still maintains you could do two 45 mn walks a day and eat paleo and that it’s mostly for the mental fortitude and discipline to stick with something. We definitely didn’t convince him, but I’m feeling very justified haha!

    I also don’t like the gallon of water.. That should be tailored to how much you’re sweating (and electrolytes). But yeah

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