75 Hard has a cult following. Is it worth it?

75 Hard has a cult following.  Is it worth it?

Two daily 45-minute workouts. A gallon of water. 10 pages of a non-fiction book. A diet. No “cheat meals” or alcohol. For 75 days.

And if you make a mistake, you have to start from the beginning.

Does that seem like a lot? It’s supposed to be. The program, called 75 hard, is intended to develop mental strength. Some say the rigidity is what makes it great, and others say it’s what makes it problematic.

Since its inception in 2019, 75 Hard has grown into a cult following, with practitioners posting daily photos and videos of their progress that sometimes rack up millions of views. on TikTok And Instagram. One of the biggest on Reddit subredditswith more than 44,000 members, is dedicated to the program.

But is it beneficial and are the changes lasting? Psychologists say that while the program may have mental health benefits, some vulnerable groups may go too far without benefiting. Exercise experts also say the diet could be too strenuous for those who aren’t already young and active, and could lead to physical injury.

“It might sound really cool and exciting and useful, but is it something that is actually really useful, lasting, good for the person? » asked Dr. Thea Gallagher, clinical psychologist and director of wellness programs at New York University.

“It would be great to continue more rigorous research around these exciting challenge programs,” she said.

Andy Frisella, creator of 75 Hard and motivational speaker, encourages people to speak with a healthcare professional before starting the program. His team did not respond to a request for comment.

According to Mr. Frisella, who said in a 2022 episode of his podcast Having spent 20 years developing 75 Hard, tens of thousands of people have gone through the program, which aims to help people develop resilience, courage and perseverance, among other characteristics.

“It’s the Iron Man equivalent of climbing Mount Everest,” Mr. Frisella said on the podcast. “Whatever you see all these other people doing that they’re so proud of, that’s your brain’s equivalent of that.”

People who followed the program said on social media that it helped them improve their self-confidence, lose weight, try new workouts and follow through on what they set out to do. TO DO. Many finish it within the first 75 days of the year, while others start it whenever they need a reset.

What is most difficult about the program varies from person to person. But many have balked at the requirement of two daily 45-minute workouts and the avoidance of “cheat meals” – that is, deviating from any diet you have chosen for yourself. even – and alcohol during the duration of the program.

Mr. Frisella explained that workouts can be of any intensity level, even a walk. At least one of the two daily workouts should be done outdoors.

A participant on TikTok went during a walk outdoors during a snowstorm, another took weight training training in the rainwhile another jumped rope to 45 minutes outside at night. Others varied their indoor workouts by alternating between running, weight training, yoga and much more.

By going outdoors, the program reinforces the lesson that “conditions are not always going to be perfect,” Mr. Frisella said in a 2019 episode of his podcast.

Daily workouts must be spaced at least three to four hours.

The program notably lacks built-in rest days.

The program also insists that participants follow a diet – for example a vegetarian, vegan or ketogenic diet – but Mr. Frisella doesn’t give much guidance on what that should be, only saying that people should choose ” a diet that will improve their health.” your physical health.

Participants must follow the diet they choose without deviation, or risk starting the program again.

Alcohol is strictly prohibited.

“Something like this could improve a person’s self-confidence or mental toughness,” said Dr. Kate Gapinski, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of San Francisco.

“When you see that you are able to accomplish something this difficult and maintain it for 75 days, which is long enough for a significant habit change, I can see that instilling confidence in you for others difficult tasks ahead,” she said. .

The program highlights certain behaviors that psychologists encourage their patients to adopt.

Tasks that can be accomplished quickly — namely 10 pages of reading a nonfiction book — are exactly the kind of bite-sized tasks that experts say can encourage people trying to change their life.

But challenges can arise when tasks are too big or seem unsustainable. “If you’re doing something that takes a lot of energy and motivation and commitment, the problem is that when you don’t succeed, people sometimes end up feeling demoralized and worse than when they started,” said Dr. Gallagher. .

Some participants take the program very seriously. Program ‘is difficult for a reason,’ poster says wrote on the subreddit. “If you don’t like it, go somewhere else or, at the very least, don’t get angry when people call you about your changes to the program.”

But several health experts were concerned about such strict diets.

The workout demands could be worrisome for inactive or frail people, said Patrick J. O’Connor, a professor of kinesiology at the University of Georgia.

“Ninety minutes a day would be excessive for some people and could lead to injury for some people,” he said. “Often the greatest risk of injury is if someone goes from very little to a lot.”

Mr O’Connor highlighted that the program required a total of 630 minutes of exercise each week, more than four times the amount recommended by federal officialsi.e. 150 minutes of “moderate intensity physical activity” and two days of weight training.

There are also concerns about the mental health consequences of such a program without exception.

“I would not recommend the program to anyone with an active eating disorder,” Dr. Gapinski said. “When it comes to eating disorders, we actually try to increase comfort around the types of foods eaten,” she said, adding that moderation is emphasized in treatment.

It may be more helpful for people to find small tasks that are meaningful to them instead of choosing a prescriptive program, said Dr. Alexandra Gold, a clinical psychologist at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

“I think if someone just gets a prescription like, ‘Oh, you do these things,’ it’s not necessarily coming from them, and that’s also an important factor in consistency and sustainability,” said Dr. Gold.

Unsurprisingly, a number of modified versions of the plan have emerged, including 75 Soft. In this version, water requirements are lower and only one daily workout of 45 minutes is required.

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Eric D. Eilerman

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