What Is the 75 Hard Challenge and Is It Healthy?

We break down the rigorous health and fitness challenge and weigh the pros and cons.

a collage featuring a photo of a woman drinking water and a pile of books
Photo: Design elements: Getty Images and Lukas/Pexels. Collage: Cassie Basford.

The new year can be a time where you're being bombarded with diet trends and ambitious fitness challenges. And one such trend that's regaining momentum is the 75 Hard Challenge.

The 75 Hard program was created in 2019 by Andy Frisella, the CEO of 1st Phorm International, a supplement company. Since the program's launch, more and more people across social media have been taking on the rigorous challenge with hopes to see positive results, including weight loss.

But according to the plan, it's much more than a weight-loss program. Read on to find out what the 75 Hard Challenge entails, why it's so demanding and if it's actually a healthy plan to follow.

What Is the 75 Hard Challenge?

The 75 Hard Challenge claims to support confidence, self-esteem, self-worth, self-belief, fortitude, grittiness and discipline. But what does the 75 Hard plan consist of?

These are the five requirements of the 75 Hard Challenge:

  1. Follow any nutrition plan or eating pattern best-suited to your goals—and cut out alcohol and "cheat meals."
  2. Complete two 45-minute workouts every day, with one having to be outside.
  3. Drink a gallon of water every day.
  4. Read 10 pages of a book—of educational or self-improvement genres—every day.
  5. Each day, take a progress photo.

These rules are mandatory for the 75 Hard, and if you fail to follow all of these five tasks any day of the challenge, you must start the program over from day one.

The tasks are designed to tackle all elements of your health, from physical health to mental health. But is this drastic and sudden lifestyle change really healthy?

Is the 75 Hard Challenge Healthy?

There are some general beneficial factors of the 75 Hard Challenge.


Choosing an eating pattern well-suited for your needs and engaging in regular vigorous exercise may result in strength increases and potentially some weight loss if it is sustainable for the long term.

It's also important to stay hydrated, and drinking plenty of water will help you do just that. Reading self-improvement books may help with motivation and positive reflection as well.

But there are several downsides when it comes to physical challenges like this.


First, extreme, short-term lifestyle changes are hard to maintain, so it's likely that after completing the 75 days (if you even make it that far), you'll be inclined to go back to your typical habits.

Also, the lack of direction in the program can make it difficult to follow. Finding a diet on your own and a fitness routine that works for you requires prior knowledge and potentially insight from a nutrition professional like a registered dietitian before starting the program in order to customize it and meet your needs. The demanding nature of the challenge can make it impractical as well—starting entirely over after an incomplete day is an unrealistic expectation when taking real life into account.

Additionally, taking daily "progress photos" is not a realistic indicator of success. There are several important measures of health that are unrelated to the way you look, and it's unlikely that much if any change would be visible from day to day. Not to mention, this practice could lead to a negative relationship with your body and negative self talk.

While there are lifestyle changes in the 75 Hard Challenge that could yield results, there's very little evidence backing the program's safety and sustainability. Since it wasn't created by health or fitness professionals, it's difficult to know if there is a science base for the claims made.

The Bottom Line

There are elements of the 75 Hard Challenge that may help improve your lifestyle if they are enjoyable for you. However, you don't need to follow such a restrictive and rigorous challenge to incorporate these positive elements into your routine. If you have personal goals that are addressed in the challenge, like weight loss or healthier eating, it's typically more sustainable to make small changes to things you already do that can help you meet your health goals for the long term.

Up next: What Is the Dukan Diet? Here's What a Dietitian Has to Say

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