The "75 Hard Challenge" Rules: A New Approach to Mental Toughness

The Six "75 Hard Challenge" Rules

Fitness challenges are a popular new trend in our current culture. Whether it’s the latest dieting regimen for weight loss or a strength training program for muscle building, there always seems to be something circulating on our social media newsfeed. 

Recently, the 75 Hard Program has surfaced in mainstream media as a way to encourage discipline, adopt healthy habits, and promote permanent change in the area of self-improvement. 

Read on as we explore the six 75 Hard Challenge rules, some of the benefits and risks of this challenge, and whether you should consider trying it. 

What is the 75 Hard Challenge?

The 75 Hard Challenge is a "hardcore," structured diet and fitness program designed to help individuals develop self-discipline, positive habits, and a whole lot of mental toughness. 

Created by entrepreneur, author, and podcaster Andy Frisella, 75 Hard is not just a “fitness challenge” but rather a “transformative mental toughness program.” The idea came to mind after Frisella interviewed James Lawrence (“The Iron Cowboy”), a high-performing athlete known for completing 50 Ironman races on 50 consecutive days across 50 states. 

After discussing the nature of self-growth and how you must intentionally put your mind and body into a place of discomfort to develop mental fortitude, Frisella was inspired to create the 75 Hard Challenge. 

The goal of this challenge is to make intentional changes on a daily basis and stick to them even in the face of obstacles or temptations. Essentially, you strive to break old habits and create positive/healthy change in not only your fitness but your life. 

75 Hard Challenge Official Rules

The 75 Hard Challenge consists of six rules to follow over the course of 75 consecutive days. 

Here are the 75 Hard rules: 

1. If you skip a day, you must start over 

No matter what your day looks like, the first rule of the 75 Hard Challenge is that if you miss a single task on the list, you must start the entire challenge over from day one. 

As Frisella mentions, “It’s supposed to be inconvenient, and it’s supposed to be hard.” So, if you feel a bit inconvenienced in the beginning, recognize that these feelings are normal. 

2. Pick a diet and follow it (without cheat meals or alcohol) 

The next rule is that you must select a structured diet of your liking that is based on your current fitness goals and stick to it! 

For example, if you’re looking to build more muscle, then it’s recommended to create a healthy diet regimen that helps you achieve these goals. 

Additionally, there is no allowance for any alcohol or cheat meals throughout the duration of the 75 Hard Challenge. 

3. Drink a gallon of water every day

According to research, being properly hydrated has a significant impact on our cognition, physical performance, digestion, circulation, skin health, and so much more [1].

For these reasons, among many others, Frisella has made it one of his six rules to consume a full gallon (or 3.7 liters) of water daily. 

4. Complete two 45-minute workouts

75 hard challenge

Throughout the duration of the 75 Hard Challenge, individuals are expected to complete two 45-minute workouts every day, one inside and one outside (regardless of the weather). Not only will this type of fitness plan help you get into peak physical shape, but it will require mental toughness and grit in order to reach the finish line. 

5. Read 10 pages of any non-fictional book

The next rule in this challenge is to work on your mental endurance by reading 10 pages of a nonfiction novel. Any book that is focused on personal growth in some capacity is ideal.

Reading these types of books can help you develop other positive habits that you’ll be more willing to integrate into your life once you’ve discovered the art of self-discipline.

6. Take daily progress photos 

Taking progress pictures is an essential component of this challenge. Not only will it show your physical transformation, but each progress picture will provide tangible evidence of your journey, which can help you stay motivated and unwavering throughout. 

Benefits of 75 Hard

Depending on an individual’s fitness levels, there is a range of potential benefits they may experience during and after the 75 Hard Challenge, including:

  • Improved physical fitness: the combination of two full workouts and strict diet requirements can lead to increased muscle mass gains, weight loss, and improved overall health – all of which can lead to more confidence and self-esteem

  • Mental toughness: committing to this challenge requires prolonged effort, resilience, and discipline 

  • Improved cognitive ability: reading 10 pages and drinking a gallon of water per day are two important tasks that can help improve knowledge and mental functioning [2, 3]

  • Better habits: studies suggest that it takes 66 days to form a new habit, which can be made possible by completing each task for 75 consecutive days [4]

Are There Any Downsides of the 75 Hard Challenge?

Despite there being a number of benefits to the 75 Hard Challenge, it’s important to be mindful of the potential risks involved as well. Some drawbacks may include: 

  • Risk of injury: being the only program (or one of few) that requires multiple workout sessions in a day, there is a high risk of physical injury caused by excess strain on the muscles, joints, and aerobic system

  • Nutritional deficiency: strict dieting may limit an individual from food variety, possibly leading to nutritional deficiencies

  • Dehydration: drinking significantly more water than the body requires can cause “overhydration,” which can paradoxically result in dehydration [5]

  • Mental strain: due to the high demand to avoid failure and risk restarting from day one, you may experience increased strain on your mental health and well-being 

  • Sleep deprivation:  having a long list of tasks to complete within a day can be difficult to juggle, alongside having to socialize with friends, perform well in a full-time job, and get a full 7-8 hours of restful sleep

It’s important to consult with a health-care professional before taking on any new physical or dietary regimen to help you avoid injury or other negative repercussions.

The Bottom Line on the 75 Hard Challenge

Considering the intensity of this "transformational mental toughness program," it may be less suitable for beginners. Certified personal trainer and nutrition coach Stephanie Thomas mentioned that this list of strict rules may feel daunting for someone who is just starting on their fitness journey. 

It’s important to approach the 75 Hard Challenge with the right mindset. If you struggle to stay on track, don’t beat yourself up. You can even adapt the 75 Hard Challenge rules to fit your needs in a way that will still develop your mental toughness and help you grow healthy habits that you can maintain throughout your entire life.

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