I Tried The Viral 75 Hard Challenge And Was Met With Disappointing Results

“This isn’t a weight loss challenge, it’s a mental strength challenge.” Yeah, sure it is. I turned off my third podcast explaining the 75 Hard Challenge and rolled over in my bed. This was going to be an interesting week. 

If you’ve never heard about the 75 Hard Challenge, let me explain. The challenge was invented by Andy Frisella, a speaker, podcaster, author, and supplement company owner. While those accomplishments are nothing to sniff at, this man is lacking in a few. He is not a certified trainer, dietitian, doctor, licensed therapist, or anything that one would expect a man who creates workout and lifestyle trends to be. The lack of any professional training or licenses often makes people doubt this challenge’s credibility. 

So, what is the 75 Hard Challenge? It’s essentially a list of rules to follow every day for 75 days straight in order to prep your brain and set your mindset to bigger and better things.

  • Rule #1: Follow a diet. It doesn’t matter what diet you follow, just find one and stick with it. And you’re not allowed cheat days.

  • Rule #2: No alcohol. This isn’t necessarily included in the ‘diet’ part, it’s just an extra bit. 

  • Rule #3: Work out twice a day for 45 minutes. One of these workouts has to be outside. It doesn’t matter if it’s raining, snowing, or sleeting. Go outside. And these two workouts need to be at least three hours apart. 

  • Rule #4: Drink 4 liters of water a day. Considering women should only drink 2.7 liters a day, this is an interesting choice. 

  • Rule #5: Read 10 pages of a nonfiction self-help book a day. The book cannot be on a screen or an audiobook, we’re going old school. 

  • Rule #6: Take a 5-minute cold shower. There are a ton of benefits to taking a cold shower, but maybe not year-round. 

  • Rule #7: Take progress photos every day. He most likely added this step so any transformation would be documented and he would be tagged. 

  • Rule #8: If you forget any of these steps, start over. Even if you forget to take a picture on day 71 or only read 9 pages on day 55, you have to start over.

If you’re feeling a little queasy or skipped over the list after you read two of the rules, we’re in the same boat. After researching this challenge, the general consensus is that most people hate it. When I told my friends I was trying it out this week, they all thought I was insane.  

Personally, I have no faith in strict diets. I’ve been on many, whether for previous Markey Tries It challenges or for my own personal reasons. In my experience, the stricter the diet, the more likely you’re going to go off it, fail it, or binge because of it. Not to mention, diets and restrictive mindsets are factors that can cause or worsen eating disorders. 

But I will argue one thing in favor of the 75 Hard Challenge: It’s not a fitness challenge where you’re ‘guaranteed’ a better body at the end of it. Most fitness or well-being challenges will ‘promise’ you amazing results that they can’t actually promise because every body and everyone is different. 

The 75 Hard Challenge isn’t about weight loss. It’s restrictive and a bit haphazard in that there seems to be no rhyme or reason to the rules, but it’s not about losing weight. That being said, it’s also not a meditative practice. So what is it?

My Opinion

I know that some people adore this challenge. I know that some people’s lives have been transformed by the 75 Hard Challenge. My TikTok ‘For You Page’ is currently full of those people. That’s amazing. Some people love diets, routines, and regimes. Honestly, I do too. I have made my own routine that centers around habits and methods that work for me and help me. That’s one of the reasons why I love trying new things so much. 

But I can’t argue that, at first glance, the 75 Hard Challenge seems pretty toxic and unrealistic. Honestly, I don’t think anyone in my circle of friends would be willing to try it and have the time to spare. 

While the challenge looks overwhelming, at first glance, it should only take two hours of your day. One hour and 30 minutes of exercise, five minutes to shower, drink water all day, and about 10-15 minutes to read your book.

But ‘only two hours’ is a luxury few can afford. 

I thought I’d be fine to just add this challenge to my already pretty scheduled life. I was very wrong. 

I struggled with the time this challenge took, more than anything. I’d wake up earlier than I was used to, do my normal workout and count it as the first one, but then I wouldn’t be done. And I couldn’t finish because I had to wait three more hours until I could walk outside. 

Diets and workout plans need to fit into your schedule. They ought to be built around your life. You’re already challenging yourself enough by starting and doing the challenge; you shouldn’t need to restructure your life around it. 

I was listening to a nursing student talk about doing the 75 Hard Challenge. This girl wakes up at 2:30 every morning in order to do it. I simply don’t love anything enough to wake up at 2:30 am to do it. 

And let’s go back to the lack of research with the challenge. There are some glaring concerns, specifically that this challenge is the same for everyone. Male, female, 20-somethings, and 60 plus. There are no modifiers and no grace given if you miss a day.

I was going to start this challenge on January 1st, so I could get a better gauge on how I felt after a month of doing it, but I got sick and it wasn’t possible for me to do half of these things. When someone’s creating a diet or a plan, they need to realize that we’re not machines, and going too hard can and will cause more damage than transformation.

My Week

I gave the 75 Hard Challenge everything I had this week. And it really wasn’t easy. 

Every day, I woke up and debated shirking out on the challenge, but I kept the mindset that if I missed one thing, I’d have to start all over. And that was a big motivator. I also knew that my seven days were way more possible than most people’s 75. 

That being said, I hated this challenge and think it did way more harm than good. 

On a personal level, I work out four or five hours a day no matter what. So the exercise element wasn’t challenging, but more annoying. I hated waiting three hours after my initial workout to walk outside in the 16° weather for 45 minutes. 

I also woke up dreading the cold shower. I used to take a cold shower every day for a year. I no longer know that girl. I am now the girl who turns the dial all the way up to hot and boils in the shower for 30 minutes. 

I’m not trying to shit on this challenge. There were small aspects I loved. I enjoyed spending a few minutes every morning reading my book. And, while it was cold, there was one day it got up to 50° and that was a beautiful walking day. 

But all in all, this challenge was more bad than good for me. 

I do want to state that I took progress photos every day and can see the benefit of them. But if you have any history of disordered eating or body images, having half-naked photos of yourself on your phone is not the move.

From Now On

I’ve loved the last few challenges, so I think it was time for a dud. If I were to take anything away from this challenge, it would be to read more and to get outside if it’s a beautiful day. 

I understand that I didn’t do the ‘full’ challenge — maybe on day 43 everyone falls in love with it and it becomes the best part of their day, but it’s day seven now, and if anyone ever makes me get into a cold shower again, I will scream. 

If you have read to this point and you want to try some part of this challenge but not all of it, I’d suggest the 75 Soft Challenge. This challenge’s rules are much less restrictive and easier to follow: 

  1. Eat well and only drink if you’re in social situations. 

  2. Move for 45 minutes every day, but one day a week should be about active recovery. 

  3. Drink three liters of water a day. 

  4. Read 10 pages of any book a day. 

Doesn’t that description feel like a hug to you? The 75 Soft Challenge might be the perfect way to stay mentally- and wellness-focused but isn’t as damaging as the restrictive nature of the 75 Hard Challenge. 

I also told my friends about this challenge and we began a wellness challenge of our own. I would highly suggest doing that. We keep each other accountable and each of us chooses six to eight options on a list to keep in mind and practice every day.

And, honestly, if you love a challenge and you’re in a good mental space with your diet and your physical health, give the 75 Hard Challenge a try. I just wanted to review my personal thoughts and feelings about this challenge, and it was not for me.


Have you tried the 75 Hard Challenge? Are there other fitness or wellness challenges I should try? Comment below!

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