Is 75 Hard Safe? Here's What Experts Say About the Latest Health Program Blowing Up the Internet

Podcaster Andy Frisella didn't just create the program; he attributes his better health to it.

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Instagram has become the spot for before and after fitness photos, but there's one new program that's been showing up in captions everywhere. It's called 75 Hard, and it encourages followers to make dietary, fitness, and mental health changes.

With all the before and after photos jamming Instagram and TikTok, this is clearly a program people are into. But what's the deal with 75 Hard, and is it right for you? Here's what you need to know.

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What is 75 Hard, exactly?

75 Hard is a program created by Andy Frisella, of the Real AF podcast. "It's gaining a lot of momentum and a lot of steam, and the reason is that it works," he said on his podcast. Frisella explained that he decided to create his program after seeing so many people start and fail fitness programs. So he wrote his own.

Frisella didn't just come up with 75 Hard—he's had success with it, too. He shared before and after pictures on Instagram in June 2019, writing that he was "thankful" for the "perspective" his program helped him gain. He also said that he has "a big part of my life back" after going through the program. (Health reached out to Frisella but did not receive a response by the time of publication.)

How do you start 75 Hard?

There are six major rules of the program, and you need to do them daily; they're non-negotiable:

  • Choose a diet and stick to it.
  • No cheat meals and no alcohol.
  • Drink a gallon of water each day.
  • Take a daily progress photo.
  • Do two 45-minute workouts a day, and one of those has to be done outside, regardless of the weather.
  • Read 10 pages a day of a self-improvement book

Here's the huge caveat: If you skip a step, you have to start back at day one again.

Does 75 Hard work?

"I guarantee you after 75 days, you will look back and say, 'This is the greatest thing I ever did,'" Frisella said on his podcast. "We're talking about how you can go out and fix your brain to a point where all of these other programs that you want to buy and learn how to do will actually take care of themselves because you have the ability to execute consistently."

Plenty of people have created their own testimonials about the program on social media, sharing that they got in shape, improved their physical and mental health thanks to 75 Hard.

What do experts think?

Reactions from fitness and nutrition pros we spoke to were mixed. "It's really simple and straightforward," Albert Matheny, RD, CSCS, co-founder of SoHo Strength Lab, Promix Nutrition, and ARENA, tells Health. "People tend to be more compliant when there are only a few rules."

But Keri Gans, RD, author of The Small Change Diet, tells Health that the program "seems extremely difficult to do. One needs to ask themselves, 'Do I really want a program that labels itself as "hard?"' Because a healthy lifestyle shouldn't have to be hard."

Doug Sklar, a certified personal trainer and founder of PhilanthroFIT in New York City, is also wary of the program. "While mental strength challenges can certainly be beneficial, it's an important distinction here because, as it pertains to fitness and nutrition, there is virtually no guidance in a program that requires two workouts per day," he says. "Exercising incorrectly—poor form, inappropriate intensity, not accounting for rest days—over an extended period of time can be harmful."

While two-a-day workouts seem like a lot, Matheny says there's "nothing inherently wrong" with exercising that much. However, he recommends being aware of your own fitness level before you dive in, and adjusting your workout accordingly. "If you haven't worked out before, don't do two HIIT classes a day," Matheny says. "Even walking for 45 minutes twice a day is great."

Sklar points out that programs like this are "targeted towards beginners," and 90 minutes of exercise can be a lot for those who don't really work out much or at all. "Even though it's presented as a mental toughness program, the accompanying pictures are mostly testimonial style 'transformation' photos," Sklar says. "As a result, this presents as a fitness program. While there are benefits to mental strength training, there are safer and highly effective ways to create lifestyle change that is sustainable."

Experts generally agree that the alcohol-free lifestyle and sticking with a set eating plan are good moves for most people. But Matheny says that his "favorite" part of the program is the requirement that followers exercise outside at least once a day. "People in general are really soft in different areas of life—physically and mentally," he says. "This challenges that."

Overall, experts say that whether a program like this would work for everyone depends on several factors, including your personality type and your fitness level going into it. "This program may work for some, but they may be extremely type A or like having a 'drill sergeant' living with them," Gans says. "But there is no denying if you stick to a diet, eliminate cheat meals, and forgo alcohol you will probably lose weight." She adds this, though: "I'm curious about what happens after the 75 days."

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