“Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe.” ~ Albert Einstein
I’ve been quiet lately because I’ve been delving into some research in a topic that interests me. I believe that life experiences can either break you . . . or make you. I don’t mean make you famous, or make you better than anyone else. I believe that when bad things happen, you can take the circumstances or the results, or both . . . learn from them and develop traits like tenacity, perseverance and strength.
If you Google the term “mental toughness” you will eventually find a reference to ‘75 Hard‘ – a “mental toughness challenge” set forth by Andy Frisella, CEO of 1st Phorm supplements. Apparently, this has garnered quite a following on TikTok (of which I am not a subscriber) and has led to some discussion among the healthcare industry as to the pros and cons.
Before, going any further, let me set down the five rules of the 75 Hard Challenge. They are very easy but purposely vague to allow individuals to customize the challenge up to a point. (Yes, I know there are six listed because I broke the first rule into two parts.)
- Follow a diet.
- Do not cheat on this diet or consume alcohol.
- Drink 1 gallon of water each day.
- Read 10 pages of a non-fiction, self-help or motivational book.
- Do two workouts each day – 45 minutes each with one of those being outside.
- Take a progress picture every day.
There are those articles written by authors who slam Andy Frisella and the challenge for differing reasons. If you read these articles, it is apparent they have neither researched the material, listened to his podcast to hear his reasoning, read the book by the same name which can be purchased from his website, or perused the website which I linked above.
If you choose to participate in a challenge that you’ve seen on TikTok without doing some digging into the background, without searching for a website, without reading the book or without getting reliable information from somewhere other than a TikTok video — YOU ARE STUPID!!
Before looking at the five simple rules individually, let’s discuss who Andy Frisella is, what is posted on the website and why he created this challenge. Andy Frisella is not a physician, not a nutritionist, and he point blank says that in the book and in his podcast. He is the CEO of a nutritional supplement company who has worked his way as an entrepreneur from the ground-up to a multi-million dollar company – good old American work value. Go to the 75 Hard website and the first sentence at the top of the page states, “DISCLAIMER – You should consult your physician or other healthcare professional before starting 75 HARD or any other fitness program to determine if it is right for your needs. Do not start 75 HARD if your physician or health care provider advises against it.” After interviewing James Lawrence (aka The Iron Cowboy – for doing 50 Ironmans in 50 states in 50 days), Mr. Frisella came up with the challenge based on a statement made by Mr. Lawrence during the interview, “To be successful at the highest level, you have to do things you don’t like. That’s part of the formula.” Mr. Lawrence also gave a word of encouragement by saying, “Those who have their WHY to live for, can bear almost any HOW.”
If you have watched a TikTok video of some random social media influencer talking about 75 HARD and it is NOT Andy Frisella and you choose to jump in and start a challenge without consulting your doctor – YOU ARE STUPID!!
Now, let’s look at the five rules individually –
- Follow a diet – well, gee, that’s a little vague. Yeah, it is. Why? Because everyone is different!! Differing people have differing nutritional needs, health issues, and activity levels — that’s why. A 30 y/o person with celiac disease is going to have a different diet than a 65 y/o diabetic than a 21 y/o with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis than a 48 y/o triathlete with cardiac issues. Again, Andy Frisella is not a nutritionist, that’s why he doesn’t prescribe a set diet for anyone. That is part of the discussion you should be having with your physician that you are consulting before starting the challenge! Contact a registered dietician or nutritionist if you have questions about what you should be eating but don’t go by what a TikTok video shows you, or YOU ARE STUPID!!!
- Do not cheat on this diet or consume alcohol – pretty self explanatory, unless you haven’t consulted your doctor and determined a proper diet for your individual health issues or goals. Do not consume alcohol is pretty clear. If you are on a diabetic diet and you go over your allotted caloric intake or macros, you have cheated. If you are on a gluten free diet and eat a sandwich with wheat bread, you have cheated. It’s not rocket science.
- Drink 1 gallon of water each day – Oooooohhhhh that’s a lot of water! Not really. What about water intoxication? Water intoxication is a rare occurrence that happens when someone drinks a buttload of water in a short period of time and waters down (pardon the pun) essential electrolytes. Does it say drink it all at once? No. Drink it all in an 8-hour period of time? No. You have 24 hours to drink 128 oz. of water. Most bottled water comes in a 20 oz. bottle – that’s 6 bottles of water and another 8 oz. glass in 24 hours. Let’s break it down even further – If you sleep for 8 hours, that gives you 16 hours awake (but I don’t know many adults who actually sleep 8 hours). If you can’t manage to drink a bottle of water every two hours plus one cup during one of those two hour periods – you shouldn’t be doing the challenge. Nor does the rule say you can only drink water. Read the rule again . . . do you see the word ONLY in there? No? Then don’t put it in there.
- Read 10 pages of a self-help or motivational book – Why? Because this is a MENTAL TOUGHNESS challenge. It’s not about losing weight, getting fit, or eating better. Those are all components of the challenge, but the end goal is to achieve the mental toughness to do each of these steps every day, for 75 days. Creating new habits is not a natural thing, it takes repitition . . . it takes mental toughness. Don’t know what to read? Google “75 hard book list” — there are several including Amazon and Goodreads. Ten pages. Even if you are a slow reader, you can read 10 pages if you keep the book by the toilet. If you have time to scroll thru social media on your phone, you have time to read a page or two. Ohhhh but I like audiobooks – too bad. Active reading engages the eyes and the brain while taking notes or highlighting sections helps you remember what you’ve read.
- Two workouts a day – 45 minutes each with one being outside – I can’t lift weights for 1.5 hours each day!!!! Show me where in that rule it says anything about lifting any weights. Workout is defined as “a session of vigorous exercise or physical training.” Read that again . . . not a mention of lifting weights. None. The stipulation is that there must be at least 3 hours between workouts – no 1.5 hour consecutive workouts. Let me suggest alternatives to lifting weights – walking, jogging, running, plyometrics, weightlifting, aerobics, dance, yoga, rucking (get your mind out of the gutter – it’s simply running, walking, or hiking with a weighted backpack), hiking, swimming, pole dancing, baseball, basketball, racquetball, tennis, squash, lacrosse, field hockey, hockey, ice skating, roller skating and many others. If you’re assuming that workout = weights, you need to expand your thought processes (see the step above or get a little creative) The next complaint . . . but it’s raining, it’s cold, it’s hot, it’s humid, it’s snowing, it’s too sunny. Ohhhhh puhleeeeeaseee! Stop whining, this is part of the challenge, if you can’t handle it, then don’t do the challenge. Walking or running in the rain does not cause the common cold, it won’t hurt you and you won’t melt. Common sense (which seems to be frighteningly in short supply) is supposed to kick in here. If it’s thundering and lightning, or tornado warnings are in effect or tropical storm whosie-whatsit is making landfall in your neighborhood – you should not be outside. However, there are plenty of weather apps and forecasts available that you should be able to PLAN when to do your workouts. If it’s cold, dress accordingly. If the sun is shining, use sunscreen and take water with you – hey! you could drink one of your 20 oz right there in 45 minutes. Being uncomfortable is part of life and part of the challenge is to develop the mental capacity to endure thru uncomfortable conditions.
- Take a progress picture each day – but I Haaaate having my picture taken. Get real and listen up here! Looking at yourself in the mirror every day you get accustomed to what you look like and gradual changes go unnoticed. You may not see a change from Day 1 to Day 5 but if you look at Day 1 compared to Day 35 and then Day 75, you will see changes.
Okay . . . makes sense, but what’s the catch? There’s always a catch.
The catch is, if you forget any one of those 5 rules (6 if you want to keep the diet one separated), you start over and go back to Day 1. Doesn’t matter if you’re on Day 5, Day 26, Day 57, Day 74 . . . if you miss one of the steps, you go back and start over again. Now these health articles that are bashing the challenge are insisting that failure will cause deep-seated depression. Failure is not final. You can start again. It’s simply a challenge, not the be all and end all of anyone’s existence. If your mental health is so fragile that failing a challenge can cause you to be deeply depressed, you should be seeing a counselor and definitely never play Chutes and Ladders – landing on the space that causes you to descend a ladder to the start of the game could just about do you in. (I am not making fun of those with clinical depression btw, I am serious — if your mental health is extremely fragile, doing a challenge should not be a priority until you are more stable in your thought process. Again, something that should come up in the discussion with your physician.)
If you’d like to listen to the podcast, you can find it here (there is quite a bit of adult language)
Don’t want to scroll up to find the earlier link to the website, look here (and stop being lazy)
Interested in reading some of the articles for and against 75 Hard?
What is the 75 Hard Challenge? – this refers to a 5 minute cold shower which is NOT in the original 75 Hard Challenge – this is in Phase 1 which is the next step for those who complete 75 Hard and want additional challenges. Pfffft.
As 75 Hard Fitness Program Trends on TikTok, Experts Raise Red Flags – yeah . . . and those red flags are pointed towards the folks who ignore the initial disclaimer on the site — “One of the concerns about 75 Hard, according to many experts, is many may opt to ignore the 75 Hard recommendations and begin the workout plan without seeking advice from a physician first, and this can be dangerous.” Again . . . if YOU ARE STUPID and attempt this challenge without consulting a physician or reading the expectations and requirements, the fault is yours.
75 Hard Challenge and Phases – the author discusses the 75 Hard Challenge and the individual phases of the Live Hard challenge which is to be completed in a year’s time. “The 75-hard challenge is customizable, adaptable, and catered to your specific dietary needs and your physical ability. There are only a few parts of the challenge that are not adaptable.”
I don’t deal well with stupidity, laziness, insufferable fools or idiots. For the sake of the saints, use the head God gave you full of brain cells and do your own research into things before jumping in with both feet.