75 Hard Challenge: The ultimate test of self-improvement beyond wellness fads

Exercise for 45 minutes twice per day (one session must be outdoors). Picture: Yilmaz Akin /Unsplash

Exercise for 45 minutes twice per day (one session must be outdoors). Picture: Yilmaz Akin /Unsplash

Published Apr 8, 2024


Our wellness routines can quickly fall apart like a flimsy house of cards in the fast-paced hustle and bustle of modern life where maintaining a consistent gym schedule competes with learning the art of skincare and staying hydrated feels like a mission.

Enter 75 Hard, the wellness challenge sweeping the streets of social media, which wellness experts describe as the solution to transforming your life from the inside out while flexing your mental toughness and commitment muscles.

The 75 Hard challenge, which has taken social media by storm (1.3 million hashtags for #75hard and counting, not to mention the more than a billion TikTok views), is not your garden-variety, slim-down scheme or a get-fit-quick plan.

@myagibbons_ i love being home 🥰🥰 #fyp #75hard #75hardchallenge #nz ♬ walking on a dream by empire of the sun - sophie

It's not about counting almonds or achieving Schwarzenegger-esque biceps but rather about embarking on a journey of self-improvement through five rather unique "rules".

But in a world drowning in fitness fads and nutty nutrition advice, the burning question remains: is 75 Hard the real deal or just another flash in the wellness pan?

Is it safe, effective, and – most importantly – worth sacrificing your Netflix binges and late-night snack sessions for?

The 75 Hard Challenge was created in 2019 by Andy Frisella, a public speaker, entrepreneur, and podcast host. Picture:Ella Olsson/Pexels

As per the 75 Hard website, the appeal lies precisely in its rule-driven regime. However, whether it's the path to enlightenment or just another wellness wagon to fall off is up for debate.

The 75 Hard Challenge was created in 2019 by Andy Frisella, a public speaker, entrepreneur, and podcast host.

But what can you eat on 75 hard, exactly, and what does it all involve?

The 75 Hard challenge consists of a few components: following a specific diet, completing two 45-minute workouts, taking progress photos, staying hydrated, and reading daily.

Specifically, there are five core rules to follow:

  • Stick to a diet
  • Drink a gallon of water every day( equivalent to roughly 4 litres).
  • Exercise for 45 minutes twice per day (one session must be outdoors).
  • Read 10 pages of a book every day.
  • Take a progress picture every day.

75 Hard routine boasts that this intense challenge will "permanently change your life," focusing on mental toughness and discipline.

What is the best 75 Hard diet?

75 Hard does not feature a "diet" plan. The ideal eating diet is one that you decide on and try to follow through on for the entire challenge. Selecting a diet plan that complements your lifestyle and fitness goals is the aim, as there is no one "best" diet.

Sample 75 Hard Diet Meal Plan

Following an analysis and validation of the challenge's feasibility in a recent Yahoo post, Miami-based dietitian and nutritionist, Roxana Ehsani, RD, created seven complete days' worth of meal ideas that you can try:


Breakfast: Overnight oats made with low-fat milk, berries, almond butter and a coffee or cup of orange juice.

Lunch: Whole wheat wrap filled with lettuce, tomato, turkey and low-fat Swiss cheese.

Snacks: Apple and string cheese.

Dinner: Salmon with roasted broccoli, cauliflower and sweet potatoes.

Dessert: Strawberries dipped or drizzled with melted dark chocolate.


Breakfast: Whole wheat English muffin with scrambled eggs, avocado, spinach and tomatoes.

Lunch: Mixed green salad topped with grilled chicken and veggies of choice (like bell peppers, carrots, tomatoes, and cucumbers) with quinoa and olive oil vinegar-based dressing.

Snacks: Whole wheat naan with hummus.

Dinner: Lean turkey chilli with beans, veggies and a slice of whole-grain cornbread.

Dessert: Popcorn.


Breakfast: Chia seed pudding made with Greek yoghurt and topped with bananas, berries and walnuts.

Lunch: Tuna salad made with avocado oil-based mayo or mashed avocado, chopped carrots and celery.

Snacks: Guacamole, baby bell peppers and low-sodium tortilla chips.

Dinner: Tacos filled with cabbage slaw and mixed salad on the side.

Dessert: Trail mix.


Breakfast: Smoothie bowl made with a protein powder of choice or Greek yoghurt, baby spinach or kale, banana, strawberries, and topped with granola, dried fruit and nuts.

Lunch: Chicken tortilla soup topped with avocado and with mixed green salad on the side.

Snacks: Pears and cashews.

Dinner: Stir-fry with mixed veggies like snap peas, broccoli, tofu and brown rice.

Dessert: 2-ingredient cream made with frozen bananas and cocoa powder.


Breakfast: Scrambled eggs, tomatoes, mushrooms, spinach with whole wheat toast and low-fat cream cheese or avocado

Lunch: Snack plate consisting of veggies like bell peppers, carrots, Persian cucumbers, hummus or guacamole, almonds or pistachios, whole wheat pita bread, hard-boiled eggs and apple slices.

Snacks: Dates and walnuts.

Dinner: Grilled sirloin steak (or another protein of choice) with portobello mushrooms, zucchini and corn on the cob.

Dessert: Fruit popsicle with no added sugar.


Breakfast: Whole wheat bagel with smoked salmon, lettuce, tomatoes, red onion, capers and veggie low-fat cream cheese.

Lunch: Caesar kale salad with grilled chicken on top.

Snacks: Mixed fruit salad.

Dinner: Lentil soup with whole wheat dinner roll.

Dessert: Celery sticks dipped in peanut butter.


Breakfast: Whole wheat pancakes or waffles topped with nut or sunflower butter and bananas.

Lunch: Grain bowl made with brown rice or quinoa, chicken or tofu, avocado and veggies of choice.

Snacks: Greek yoghurt topped with berries.

Dinner: Veggie soup (like minestrone) and grilled cheese made with whole wheat bread and low-fat cheese.

Dessert: Yoghurt topped with dark chocolate chips.

So, if you're someone who thrives on strict schedules and clear-cut commands, 75 Hard might just be the challenge that turns your world upside down or adds a dash of excitement to your daily grind.