I recently came across the 75 Hard Challenge, a popular and trending challenge on both Tik Tok and Instagram. While I love the idea of challenge and look to them often for motivation, I was a bit turned off by the idea of the 75 Hard Challenge. But it had me thinking, did a similar but more sustainable challenge exist? But first, what exactly is the 75 Hard Challenge
What is the 75 Hard Challenge?
The 75 Hard Challenge was created by popular podcaster, Andy Frisella. He describes the challenge as not another fitness challenge but instead it is a “transformative mental toughness program”. A program to build confidence, self-esteem, fortitude, and grittiness. Sounds good right?
What are the rules of the 75 Hard Challenge?
The idea behind the challenge is to stick to a few daily tasks for 75 days. The tasks are as follows:
- Follow any nutrition plan designed for your goals, with zero alcohol and no cheat meals.
- Complete two 45-minute workouts every day, one of which must be outside.
- Drink a gallon of water every day.
- Read 10 pages of an educational or self-improvement book every day.
- Take a progress picture every day.
If you miss any of the tasks or cheat, then you are to go back to Day One and start all over again. While there are benefits of creating any new lifestyle change for the better, and some people have had great results finishing the 75 Hard Challenge, I must wonder if this is really sustainable for most people.
The Problem with the 75 Hard Challenge
The problem I see with most of these challenges is that they focus on extreme lifestyle changes but only for a few days. Sure, any new habit can be formed in 21 days as the saying goes, and maybe even some of these tasks can help you create new and healthier habits. However, most people complete these types of challenges and go right back to the lifestyle they are accustomed to. As I mentioned, is this sustainable?
The other problem I see is that the creator of the challenge is not a certified personal trainer, coach, nutritionist, or an expert in health and fitness in anyway. So, the challenge lacks real concrete and specific plans in order to complete the challenge. What kind of diet is best for me? What type of exercise should I do be doing? How do I make this measurable? To me this is comparable to being given a piece of furniture from Ikea without the directions. Figure it all out on your own.
Also, this challenge is pretty time consuming and not everyone is going to be able to fit this into their busy life. I know, personally, I don’t have the time for two 45-minute workouts, EVERY DAY?! It also does not take into consideration all areas of Health and Wellness such as stress management, recovery times, etc.
And lastly, I can see some real dangers with this program. As someone who struggled with disordered eating and orthorexia, I can see this becoming a real issue with anyone that has a negative body image, eating disorder, etc. And the idea of taking daily progress photos will surely given anyone body dysmorphia, so think about someone who already has issues with this. The challenge could lead to feelings of failure causing deeper issues. If you struggle with any of these and decide to try the challenge, I highly recommend working with a fitness professional and mental health counselor to guide you.
I know, that for me, the idea of multiple workouts kicks me into orthorexia overload, and I would probably injury myself trying to work out that much every day, instead of listening to my body and giving it the workout it actually needs. I think the 75 Hard Challenge will push anyone with obsessive behaviors that are not under control into making unhealthy choices.
Are there alternatives to the 75 Hard Challenge?
There are a few alternatives to the 75 Hard Challenge out there, including one known as the 75 Soft Challenge created by Tik Tokker, @StephenGFitness. The rules are a bit more doable and relaxed. As I mentioned, I find the tasks of the 75 Hard Challenge to be a bit extreme and could be potentially risky for some.
However, I do believe that a good challenge can help you to kickstart some healthy habits. I’m also a huge believe in everything in moderation. Everything! I agree that make some of these choices and following the tasks can be beneficial to your health, but again, we don’t want to go to extremes and over do it. In the long run, it will be better for our health and wellness to create habits that we can sustain. So, I have decided to create my own version of 75 Soft that will focus on creating some attainable and sustainable healthier habits.
I want to create a challenge where the tasks encompass more than physical health and cover all four of the Wellness Pillars: physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. So, the daily tasks I have chosen for the 75 Soft Challenge are the same as the daily consistent activities I have already chosen for the year and include (I will further expand on these below):
- Eat healthy
- Move your body for 30 minutes daily
- Drink a gallon of water daily
- Read 10 pages a day of a personal growth book
- Meditate daily for 5-10 minutes
- 10 – 15 minutes of journaling daily
- Starting a daily gratitude practice
- Daily videos/photos etc. to hold yourself accountable
So let’s further break these down to give you more specific and measurable plans to complete the challenge.
Eat healthy – I prefer a cleaner eating plan that focuses on eating mostly plant based and whole foods. I am currently following the Mediterranean Diet which meets those requirements. Don’t’ be hard on yourself, don’t restrict too many foods, and give yourself grace if you “cheat”. Just let it go and move on.
Move your body for 30 minutes daily – notice that I said “move” and not “exercise”. I believe movement is health, and that can be anything. So, take daily walks, do some yoga, play with the kids, or clean the house. Any way you can actively move your body throughout the day will be beneficial.
Drink a gallon of water daily – the recommendation is to drink half of body weight in ounces of water. I think a gallon is a good and achievable goal. Water will also help your skin glow!
Read 10 pages of a personal growth book a day – I also think anything that helps you learn will be beneficial. So maybe listen to a personal growth podcast, YouTube videos, etc. Even small steps of bettering ourselves daily is a step in the right direction, so taking some time each to learn something new is perfect!
Meditate 5 -10 minutes daily – this is a no brainer. Meditation helps us manage stress, improve our health, us sleep better, and keep our brain sharp.
Journaling – I suggest journaling in the morning if you can. It allows you to brain dump your thoughts onto paper so you can start your day with a clear mind. You can also incorporate the next step, gratitude, into your journaling practice. Taking some time each morning to write down what you are grateful for. Try the 5 Minute Journal as it is perfect for this activity. Journaling is beneficial for both your mental and emotional wellbeing.
Attitude of Gratitude – After starting my own gratitude practice a few years ago, I have noticed a huge shift in my life. It helps me appreciate everything and everyone in my life, keeps me focused on the positive in my life, and even makes room for me to welcome new things.
Daily photos – now I know I said that this could be bad as you could start to pick yourself apart. If you feel like taking daily progress photos seem too much, then take a photo on Day One and another on Day 75. Personally, I will be doing short reels on my Instagram account, @the.christopher.dior, in order to hold myself accountable. Plus, it will allow me to share my wellness habits and routine with others.
So, join me in the challenge by following and tagging me on Instagram! Let’s use this challenge, adapted to your needs, to create lifelong health and wellness habits!