TikTokers doing the ’75 Hard’ challenge say the high-intensity workout routine has strengthened their minds and bodies – but it’s not for everyone

TikTok screenshots of people taking on the challenge.

The hashtag #75Hard has over 1 billion TikTok views.Screenshots from TikTok

  • A five-step diet-and-exercise challenge has gone viral on TikTok in the past year.

  • The “75 Hard” challenge includes reading, eating, and fitness advice developed by a CEO.

  • A fitness expert told Insider that the challenge is based on “extreme” and may be too harsh for some.

On TikTok, a 75-day diet-and-exercise regimen is going viral, with creators documenting the challenge as they complete it each day.

The hashtag #75Hard currently has over 1 billion views on the platform.

The program was developed by Andy Frisella, the CEO of the supplement company 1st Phorm International† It involves spending 75 days following five rules: follow a structured diet (this can be any diet of your choice), do two 45-minute workouts a day, one of which is outdoors, drink a liter of water a day, read 10 pages of “educational non-fiction” a day and take a daily “progress photo”.

The regime has built up a reputation for being particularly intensive online, as its rules are much more extensive and detailed than other popular short-term challenges, such as the 30 Day Ab Challenge or 30 Day Plank Challenge

Short and intense training challenges often To go viral on social media, but experts have said that “fad” weight loss regimens can be ineffective and even dangerous because they create “unrealistic expectations” for fitness and body transformation.

The “75 Hard” challenge has been scrutinized in a similar way. While some participants say they’ve benefited from it, others say the trend promotes “diet culture” and makes people feel they have to take on the challenge for the sake of the trend.

A trainer told Insider that aspects of the challenge are unnecessarily extreme and, while it can produce flashy results for some people, it can cause burnout rather than progress for most.

A TikToker who completed the challenge said posting it on social media has held her accountable

Frisella’s program became popular on TikTok in late 2021, with creators typically posting fitness content creation daily videos to document their progress. Creators, who show their physical and mental improvements after the challenge, have often away viral.

A video posted in March by a couple who said they lost 45 pounds together after completing “75 Hard”, gaining 35 million views and 4 million likes on the platform.

Sydney Benjamin, a 26-year-old woman from California, told Insider that she completed the “75 Hard” challenge in December 2021.

While certain elements of the challenge were particularly difficult for her, such as having to exercise outside every day regardless of the weather, or finding time to complete all the tasks when her schedule was full, she said overall she liked the program and would recommend to anyone. others.

“It felt really good to complete it, and my body probably felt the best it’s ever felt in my entire life. I felt like I could do pretty much anything,” she said.

Sydney Benjamin's progress photos

Sydney Benjamin’s progress photos.Sydney Benjamin.

Benjamin, who is 427,000 . has TikTok Followers, added that filming the experience on the platform provided additional motivation. “If I hadn’t documented it on TikTok I don’t think I would have finished it because there were about 400,000 people watching me finish this, and personally I feel like I would have disappointed myself and other people if I hadn’t finished it,” she said.

The challenge has garnered mixed reactions on TikTok

Unlike many other viral exercise trends, which promise weight loss as their primary outcome, Frisella’s original blog post of the challenge, which dates back to February 2021, said the “75 Hard” challenge was designed to increase “mental toughness” and encourage people to “take control of their lives,” without talking about weight.

Still, some viewers of Benjamin said they disagreed with completing the challenge.

“I got a lot of negativity, like, ‘This is really bad for you,’ ‘You’re promoting a food culture and fad diets,’ and I feel like if they knew my intent behind it, it would be a different story,” Benjamin said. , who told Insider she took on the weight loss challenge but was determined not to start from scratch if she skipped a day to avoid falling into an “unhealthy” mindset.

In his blog post, Frisella stated that participants had to follow the rules for 75 consecutive days, and if they couldn’t complete all five steps on a given day, they had to start the challenge over from day one.

Benjamin told Insider that she thinks the challenge could become “toxic” if people feel like they have to start over again.

Some TikTokers have spoken out against the challenge on TikTok with comparable criticsA The March video, from a user who said the challenge was “too intense and perfectionistic,” currently has 200,000 views and 16,000 likes on the platform.

Frisella did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Experts say extreme diet and fitness changes can help you fail and prevent real progress

While the “75 Hard” challenge can produce eye-catching results, it’s more likely to cause frustration and burnout because of the unnecessary rigor, according to Noam Tamir, the founder and CEO of TS Fitness in New York City.

“I think it could be great for some people, but for most of us it’s not that great,” he said. “They created this idea based on extremes, and I’m all about being sustainable.”

For example, experienced athletes may benefit from the challenge of doing two 45-minute workouts a day, but high-intensity workouts can do more harm than good for novice fitness enthusiasts.

“Ninety minutes of exercise is good, but if you do two HIIT workouts a day, it’s an easy way to get injured or overdo it. And rest days are super important,” he said.

Instead, he recommends aiming for an exercise schedule you can stick to consistently to build good habits. Only one workout a day, two days a week is enough to build musclea strength coach previously told Insider.

Likewise, the diet and hydration components of the challenge are arbitrary and too strict, according to Tamir. A gallon of water a day can be too much for some people, not enough for others, he said, and some diets can be unhealthy, too strict or imbalanced.

Working on a healthier diettry adding an extra serving of vegetables to every meal, or replace one processed food a day with a more nutritious alternative, a dietitian previously told Insider.

“I’m not a fan of dieting, I’m a fan of good nutrition,” Tamir said. “The problem with many fad diets is that only a few people can keep up and the rest won’t learn anything when it’s over.”

The requirement to take progress photos is probably more of a marketing strategy than an accountability tool, he said. While the photos can be motivating for participants (and their social media audiences), it can put too much pressure on the aesthetic rather than actual self-improvement.

Finally, the daily shots and the requirement to start over when you miss a day can backfire and create a sense of guilt and self-punishment that prevents you from enjoying exercise and healthy habits in the long run.

“What people don’t see is how many people fail. I like to measure progress by what has the greatest impact on your life, and that could be how strong you feel or how much better your mental state is,” Tamir said.

Check out Insider’s Digital Culture team coverage here for more stories like this.

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