75 Hard Review
In the last couple of years, you've probably heard of the program 75 HARD created by entrepreneur and author, Andy Frisella.
According to Andy’s website, 75 HARD is “not a physical challenge. It is a mental challenge, designed to develop all of the characteristics you lack in life that have landed you where you are at.” So contrary to what I thought, this is not a diet plan, this is about discipline and mental toughness. Why this is confusing for me is that when you look at the website or look at anything related to the 75 HARD program, you see before and after photos of people who have obviously lost weight and that to me sounds like marketing for a diet plan.
Andy stresses that this challenge is about mental toughness and discipline and there are several components to this challenge that I’m about to go over.
The first requirement is that you follow any diet you want. This could be Whole 30, keto, paleo, or something else. This one is super vague but the idea is that you have to follow a structured diet plan that will help to support your goals.
So if this is supposed to be a mental toughness and discipline program, I personally don’t think you need to stick to a regimented diet plan to attain a level of discipline, you can attain discipline by just being mindful and making conscious effort around what you’re putting in your body. The second part of this non-dieting program is that there are no cheat foods or alcohol for the entire 75 days. This is where I’m going to poo poo this program a little bit.
The first thing I don’t care for the language he uses. He says no cheat food and I’m assuming that’s anything that the regimented program you choose doesn’t allow. So if you’re following keto, a conventional pizza would be considered cheat food.
The idea of a cheat food has a very negative connotation. When you label food as good or bad, you start to moralize food and the behavior of eating. This is where the disordered eating spiral begins or gets exacerbated. I don’t refer to food as good or bad. Some food has more nutritional value than others and some food is void of nutrients and is hyper palatable and can bring on dopamine hits and enjoyment. So I refer to these foods as treat or joy foods.
Here’s the thing: when you stick to a very regimented program like whole 30 or keto or Paleo that cut out entire food groups (especially for 75 days), of course you will lose weight. Anytime you pick up a program where there are entire food categories that are eliminated, essentially putting you in a calorie deficit, you’ll lose weight.
Let me clarify, I don’t have a problem with following a diet or program, what I have a problem with is anyone picking up a program to do for just 75 days, especially one that is so restrictive and doesn’t allow you to enjoy things like a glass of wine or a beer or treat foods and my concern with this is that I come from a world and work with people where when you cut out entire food groups and joy foods, or if for example you participate in dry January and you cut out alcohol for a month, you will start binging on everything you couldn’t have when this challenge is over.
If you lose weight with a program like 75 HARD, when you start eating like you used to and start reincorporating all of the food and alcohol, you’ll gain the weight back.
This taught you to be disciplined for 75 days, and if you felt deprived, you will probably want to eat everything you missed out on and your weight will rebound. To me that doesn’t sound like the greatest of plans.
The second component to this program is that you have to do two 45 minute workouts every single day, and one of them has to be outside. Again, for me personally and for what I see with my clients, that kind of rigidity is a big NO NO especially for a beginner.
Essentially, you are asking someone to potentially go from working out zero minutes a week to working out for 90 minutes a week, regardless of the weather or other factors.
Now, I like the idea of incorporating some sort of movement every single day but I think exercise should be a progression. You build on time and intensity.
I’m all about sustainability and sustainable programs and the big question is, will you be able to keep up with two 45 minute workout sessions every single day? As a personal trainer, I also encourage active rest days so that your muscles can recover. This program doesn’t allow for that.
With this program, you are training your body to expend more energy and rely on this energy expenditure, and when you stop doing all of this exercise, your body might pick up some of that fat that it lost because it got used to doing all these workouts. There is such a thing as too much exercise and you don’t want your body to get used to doing too much exercise, especially paired with being in a calorie deficit.
What this program also doesn’t factor in is peoples’ schedule limitations and professional or family obligations. What if you work 50-60 hour weeks, or a single parent of a young child? Do you think you’ll be able to do 90 minutes of activity every single day especially if you don’t have help? Absolutely not. So now we’re excluding people from this program because it’s not feasible for them whereas with a different program, people can succeed by just committing to 20 minutes of movement a day.
Now the last three components I think are good. Drink one gallon of water. Read 10 pages. Must be nonfiction and educational. Take progress photos every day. (I personally advise weekly progress photos, but that’s just me.)
So would I recommend 75 HARD to anyone? Probably not.
I believe that you can acquire mental toughness and discipline by doing hard things that don’t put you in such restrictive modes for such a long period of time.
So if you are new to exercise, discipline can look like exercising five times a week for 30 minutes and that in itself would be a commitment and require discipline. There will be moments where you will hate showing up for yourself, but by doing so, you will be working on that mental toughness and discipline. Same thing with eating. Making mindful choices and incorporating Whole Foods may require more discipline for you.
You don’t have to go extreme to see results and this is exactly what I’m going to show you for the next 12 weeks. For the next 12 weeks I am going to embark on my own little wellness journey and I am going to show you exactly why you don’t need to go extreme to see results but we will talk about that next time.
Have you tried 75 Hard? If you have, I’d love to hear from you. What was your experience during and after the program?