Does Adam Frisella’s 75 Hard program for mental toughness work?

The 75 Hard program was designed to challenge your mental toughness and discipline. As its name suggests, it was designed to be hard. It is according to its founder, Adam Frisellentrepreneur, podcaster, author, speaker and owner of supplement company 1st Phorm International.

Frisella launched 75 Hard in 2019; It was free then and it still is. If you register through his websiteyou will receive an e-mail explaining in more detail the program and the daily tasks that are required of you.

The hashtag #75hard appears on Instagram since 2019 and now has nearly 900,000 posts; #75hard challenge has more than 300,000 publications. More recently, on TikTok, #75hard has amassed over 990 million views, and #75hard challenge amassed 676 million views.

TikToker Gabby Vincent (1.2 million followers) posted a final result video (with 2.8 million likes) last month of the success of her and husband Dallas Vincent (35.2K followers) collectively losing 45 pounds during the program. Regan Vasquez (19.3K followers on TikTok) posted a video on March 25, garnering 1.3 million likes, after completing 75 Hard.

What is 75 hard?

As stated in an email you will receive from Frisella after registering, the 75 Hard Challenge asks you to follow these rules for 75 consecutive days. If you miss a task on a given day, you will have to start the challenge again.

  1. Go on a diet. You choose the diet, but it should be a “structured plan designed with physical enhancement in mind,” according to Frisella’s instructions.
  2. Complete two 45-minute workouts; you have to be outside.
  3. No cheat days or alcohol.
  4. Drink a gallon of water every day.
  5. Read 10 pages of a book. Audiobooks are not allowed.
  6. Take a progress photo every day.

You can download the 75 Hard Application (via the App Store or Google Play) to track your progress. There is also a book, 75 Hard: A Tactical Guide to Winning the War With Yourselfwritten by Frisella about the challenge.

What Mental Health Experts Say About 75 Hard

Despite its large following online, mental health and fitness experts have notable concerns about the program.

It’s not a healthy approach to building mental toughness and actually supports a misunderstanding of what mental toughness is, says Fern Kazlow, EdD, LCSW, a psychotherapist in New York who focuses on helping individuals and entrepreneurs with performance and personal growth. “Mental toughness is about greater resilience, the ability to handle stress, stay focused, cope with failure or other obstacles, and keep moving forward.”

Yes, mental toughness involves discipline, but it’s also important to follow your intuition, listen to your body, and adhere to your values, adds Dr. Kazlow. The nature of 75 Hard might instead push you to ignore the self-awareness that is mental toughness.

And while the idea of ​​taking pictures daily to see progress might seem motivating, this kind of hyper-focus on self-image can lead to heightened self-criticism and comparison with others, Kazlow says. (Dozens of studies suggest that the images we see on social media affect self-image, and exposure to unrealistic body ideals can contribute to negative body image.)

RELATED: How to have a healthier body image

Kristen Piering, Doctor of Psychology, a licensed clinical psychologist and board-certified school psychologist in New York City, similarly says the program’s “all-or-nothing” approach could cause people to fail. Missing a task and starting over is ineffective for behavior change, she says. Taking a more gradual, staged approach tends to work better, she says. (According to a review published in a 2018 issue of Family medicine management who reviewed several evidence-based health behavior change techniques, setting specific, achievable, and reasonable goals was common to many.)

This does not mean that all the principles of the program are dangerous. Dr Piering says reading 10 pages of non-fiction a day to support personal development and drinking more water can be really good for people’s health and well-being. But the lack of flexibility and direction for the program is problematic. “People should learn to listen to their bodies,” she says.

Component 75 of intense physical activity could be risky

It should be noted that the physical activity requirement for the program is rigorous, calling for 630 minutes of exercise per week – more than double the upper end of the weekly 300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity recommended by the US Department of Health and Human Services.

This amount of exercise is not inherently dangerous or risky, says Gina Newton, a National Academy of Sports Medicine-certified personal trainer and holistic health coach based in North Andover, Massachusetts. “But it depends on the individual and [the workouts] they do.

If you don’t exercise regularly and embark on such an intense training regimen, you increase the risk of injuries, such as muscle strains, as well as burnout, she says.

For anyone, training for 75 days straight without designated rest days may be too much. A review published in August 2017 in BMC Sports Science, Medicine and Rehabilitation found that an imbalance between training and recovery leads to physical fatigue and decreased performance.

According to Ian Simon, CSCS, an International Sport Science Association-certified personal trainer and owner of group training brand ReckFit, to exercise so much and to do it safely, you need to adjust the intensity of your workouts. your workouts to ensure that you re allow time for muscle and body recovery. For example, you can combine a morning weightlifting session with an outdoor walk as a form of recovery later in the day (rather than doing all the hard workouts every time). If you feel overall tired or sore, you can choose to make your workouts fairly easy and low intensity to give your body a break.

Paula D. Atkinson, LCSW, a psychotherapist in Washington, DC, who focuses on helping people with eating disorders, adds that a strict approach to diets or nutritional plans has been shown to stimulate unhealthy relationships with food. and food. Frequent dieting and rigid routines around food can be signs of eating disorders American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

“A sustainable diet is an immensely loving and extremely flexible diet. If we listen carefully and respect our body’s needs and wants, we’ll learn that it wants different things at different times,” says Atkinson.

Restrictive eating and rigid exercise can also interfere with your social relationships and your mood, according to the results of a study published in November 2018 in the Eating Disorders Journal.

Who should try it (and who should avoid it)

Although all of the experts interviewed for this article had qualms about the rigor of the program, it may be possible for some people to safely complete 75 Hard if they are generally healthy, enjoy a challenge and are not prone to to obsessive behavior, says Kazlow.

It’s probably not a good idea for people who have health issues, busy schedules (which would make it difficult to stick to the program), or significant family obligations, adds Kazlow. And if following the program is likely to harm your social life or your overall quality of life, it’s probably best to ignore it, she says. Avoid it if you have mental health issues or body image issues.

Simon says anyone starting the program, due to the rigorous physical demands it places, should discuss with their doctor how to do it safely. Health professionals can tailor an appropriate exercise and diet plan for you.

Both Simon and Kazlow say it’s a good idea to have an “aftercare plan” in place to prevent old habits from returning.

Summary

With just six rules, 75 Hard may seem like a straightforward challenge, but experts say its rigid and restrictive nature could cause unintended negative damage. They warn that it is also not suitable for people prone to anxiety or obsessive tendencies, as well as people with other mental health conditions.

For most people, this program probably isn’t the ideal way to achieve effective behavior change, says Piering. Instead, for many, it could fuel frustration, feelings of discouragement, and unnecessary ways of thinking about health and wellness.

Ryan H. Bowman