Fitness expert unpacks rules of the viral 75-Day Hard Challenge

The 75-Day Hard Challenge requires participants to complete one of their two workouts outdoors. l INSTAGRAM

The 75-Day Hard Challenge requires participants to complete one of their two workouts outdoors. l INSTAGRAM

Published May 22, 2024


The viral 75-Day Hard Challenge is causing a stir online and has amassed around a whopping 44.7 million views on TikTok so far.

Robbie Puddick, a registered nutritionist from weight-loss and lifestyle programme, Second Nature, explained that the fitness trend, also known as 75 Hard, involves participants engaging in a series of strict rules for 75 uninterrupted days.

If a participant slips up, they are forced to restart the challenge from day one.

And while many might be deterred from participating in such a strenuous fitness trend, others believe that the challenge is a quick way to form positive habits.

Although the 75-Day Hard Challenge is not a new fitness trend, its popularity has recently spiked as scores have taken to social media to post their participation and consequent transformations.

Here are the five rules around 75 Hard:

Eating a healthy diet is part of the 75-Day Hard challenge. l VANESSA LORING/PEXELS

1. Follow a strict diet

The types of healthy foods that a participant eats is their choice but their meals must revolve around the goal of physical improvement.

“No cheat meals or alcohol are allowed throughout the duration of the challenge,” Puddick explained.

2. Complete two 45-minute workouts a day

He added that the challenge specifies that one of these workouts must be completed outdoors.

The challenge requires participants to drink almost four litres of water daily. l FILE

3. Drink one gallon (about 3.7 litres) of water a day

While most health organisation recommend drinking around 1.2 litres of water daily, the challenge instructs that participants must drink almost four litres daily.

4. Take a progress picture every day

In compliance with the challenge’s goal of physical transformation, Puddick said that participants must take a picture of themselves daily throughout the challenge.

“Many participants choose to upload these progress pictures on social media, particularly on TikTok.”

5. Read at least 10 pages of a book daily

To boost mental well-being, the challenge specifies that participants must read at least ten pages of a book daily.

While the choice of book is up to the participant, the challenge specifies that audiobooks are not included.

What are the benefits of the 75-Day Hard Challenge?

Puddick explained that the fitness trend focuses on implementing positive habits into your lifestyle. It revolves around physical activity, which is why many participants may see a physical transformation throughout the 75 days.

“75 Hard’s daily challenges could act as an intense ‘reset’ period, forcing individuals to consider their habits and prioritise health,” he added.

The challenge’s consistency is also a great way for participants to keep their fitness journey, as they may notice that certain areas of the challenge get easier day by day.

“However, it’s important to note that 75 Hard may come with some risks and setbacks to your fitness journey.

What are the risks of the challenge?

Like many viral challenges, Puddick warned that there were some concerning setbacks to the 75-Day Hard Challenge which were essential to know before deciding to partake in the fitness trend.

1. Following a strict diet

While healthy eating is an essential component of mental wellness, following a strict diet has many downsides, particularly forming an unhealthy relationship with food.

“This challenge ultimately promotes calorie counting, which may lead to undesirable outcomes.”

Puddick also believes that developing an unhealthy relationship with food is particularly concerning for younger and more impressionable participants.

2. Completing two 45-minute workouts

Moving your body is an excellent way to improve our health, but the 75-Day Hard challenge has the potential to put too much pressure on working out.

‘This part of the challenge fails to consider an individual’s other commitments, such as work and childcare,” Puddick said.

He suggested that fitness enthusiasts rather complete shorter bursts of exercise.

“‘The 75-Hard Challenge can cause participants to feel guilty if they do not meet this goal, which ultimately creates a negative mindset around working out.”

3. Drinking one gallon of water

While drinking water is hugely important for your physical health, Puddick warned that there can occasionally be side-effects from drinking a large amount of water in a short-time span.

“In some rare cases, drinking too much water can lower the body’s electrolyte levels, which can lead to symptoms such as fatigue and nausea.”

Should you participate in the 75-Day Hard Challenge?

Like the majority of viral fitness trends, the 75-Day Hard Challenge is not all positive and Puddick called for research to be done before deciding whether to participate in viral fitness challenges.

“As previously suggested, 75 Hard may not be suitable for younger individuals, such as teenagers who have seen the trend on TikTok, mainly due to the challenge’s harsh rules around dieting and working out.”

He believes that, ultimately, the 75-Day Hard Challenge has the potential to place participants under too much pressure, causing them to drop out and lose track of their fitness journey entirely.

“Participating in viral challenges can often be a great way to motivate yourself, but short-term fitness trends rarely work out in the long run.

“Instead, it’s important to focus on developing sustainable habits sustainability.”

He added that for those who want to challenge themselves, taking a more measured approach to exercise could prove to be more effective.

“For example, if you’re currently walking 5 000 steps a day, you could challenge yourself to walk 6 000 steps a day.

“Setting more manageable targets is a much more realistic approach to fitness and you may often find yourself beating these targets, which will boost your motivation even further.

“Ultimately, it’s about discovering what works best for you and building healthy habits sustainably over the long-term.

“So try to ignore the pressures, quick fixes, and high expectations of social media as they can often cause more harm than good,” Puddick concluded.