I’m a big fan of the 75 Hard Program – those of you that regularly read this blog already know that. I’ve seen a number of posts in recent weeks about whether 75 Hard is actually bad for you – some even call it dangerous. While the program is certainly challenging, I’m not sure that I’d call 75 Hard dangerous. But after reading some of the articles and reflecting on my own experience, I could see some situations where there are potential problems. While any program has the potential to be dangerous, there are things we can do to minimize the danger.
We’ll look at each component of 75 hard and determine whether or not they pose any danger, as well as the overall program. I’ll share my experiences as well as tips to make the program safer and more successful for you. Disclaimer: I have no connection with Andy Frisella, we’ve never met, and I don’t know if he’s ever seen my posts. I don’t get compensated for you reading this or participating in the program. But I have found the program beneficial and it’s helped me develop good habits over the past year.
Like any diet (or exercise) program, you should consult with your doctor. We’re all different and what’s safe for one person might be dangerous for another. So always check with your doctor and be very clear about what you intend to do. Your doctor might recommend certain supplements if you start excluding certain foods.
The 75 Hard diet has quite a bit of flexibility. You can pick whatever diet you want, with the only stipulations being no alcohol and no cheat meals. The infamous see-food diet (you can eat whatever you see) doesn’t apply here. You can go keto, paleo, or simply count calories. But your diet should be free of junk food and you can’t reward yourself on the weekends for good habits during the week.
Not drinking alcohol for 75 days is certainly not dangerous. The no cheat meals can be a sacrifice, but nothing I would consider dangerous. The one exception is if you’re severely limiting calories, it can become a problem. Again, your doctor can advise you on the safety of any diet.
75 Hard calls for two 45 minute workouts each day – one of which needs to be done outdoors. Chores such as mowing the lawn doesn’t count. This is the one area of 75 Hard that has the most potential to be dangerous, especially if you live in an area with extreme weather. Two 45 minute workouts can be a lot for people that are severely out of shape. If you have a heart condition, even walking up a flight of stairs can be dangerous. So again, your doctor can advise here as to whether this is something for you.
The outdoor workout certainly comes with its own set of risks. I usually do a walk, run, or combination in my neighborhood. I’ve walked in rain, snow, and very cold weather. I have waterproof boots and a rain jacket that I can wear, along with a jacket that’s rated for temperatures as low as -20F. I’ve also purchased a few sets of thermals, you can get them in any ski shop, to help stay warm. In the hot weather, I bring along a bottle of ice water to prevent overheating. But roads and sidewalks have plenty of other dangers such as distracted drivers, unleashed dogs (I was actually attacked by a dog on one of my walks), and ice. So just be careful when you’re out there and be aware of your surroundings. I’ve done hikes in the woods or just walked around my backyard for 45 minutes.
Indoor workouts are usually much safer. Again, make sure you’re not pushing yourself too hard. I use a fitbit to monitor my heart rate so I know when I get into the danger zone. I have an indoor bike that I use for my indoor workouts, but will occasionally do an aerobic program (most cable companies and streaming services have on demand workouts).
Just factoring in diet and exercise, there are certainly some ways that 75 Hard could be dangerous. But again, taking the proper precautions and speaking with your doctor will help you stay safe while you build mental toughness. In part two, we’ll review the rest of the 75 Hard components and talk about the psychological effects.