75 Hard vs CrossFit

Before we get too far into this, I want to put this out there:  I am not bashing on 75 Hard.  Rather, my goal is to illustrate upsides, downsides, and similarities to what we do in CrossFit.  If that seems worthwhile to you, read on.

If not, look for the bullet points, comment TLDR, and get back to your TikTok.

The reason I appreciate 75 Hard boils down to three main things:

  1. There is a definitive start and end date meaning you can ‘make yourself’ focus for a defined amount of time
  2. You have the potential to develop good habits as there is somewhat a template for long-term change
  3. And during the 75 days, you can certainly improve your health markers (ex:  blood pressure, fasting blood glucose, cholesterol, etc.) as well as weight and body fat

Ready for the potential [devastating] downsides?  Read on but first let’s take a look at what makes 75 Hard, 75 Hard.

What Is 75 Hard

The 75 Hard challenge is made up of several different tenants which need to be accomplished every single day for 75 days.  If you miss one of these things, you are supposed to start back at day 1 until you complete all 75 days in a row.

It is a challenge after all and challenges are meant to be, well, challenging.

What are these rules?

  • Follow a diet
    • This can be any diet but the point is to stick to it for 75 days in a row
  • Drink 1 gallon of water
  • Complete two 45 minute workouts
    • One of these workouts must be outdoors
  • Take a daily progress pic
  • No alcohol or cheat meals
  • Read 10 pages
    • This needs to be from a non-fiction book

Follow A Diet

My main issue with this is actually two main issues:

First, the word diet is restrictive and does not set the groundwork for a life-long habit of healthy eating and decision making.  Instead, it suggests the only way to get the results you want out of your body is to restrict things.  In my eyes, this can create an unhealthy relationship with food once the challenge is completed.

Don’t get it twisted.  I realize this is not everybody but the majority are ill-equipped to handle these transitions.

Second, is just that – your relationship with food.  While I am very on board with challenges, ‘getting ready’ for big events in your life, and transforming your body, I am not ok with creating problems as a byproduct of being on a “diet.”  In our nutrition and habits based challenges, we have conversations on how to apply these things after the challenge is completed.

Our goal is to get your results and make it as simple [and sustainable] as possible.

For me, life-long habits are built on the 80/20 rule or the 90/10 rule [depending on where your line in the sand is].  Be 100% most of the time.  The remainder is open for those ‘oops’ meals, going out on dates, or just living your life.  A single meal does not make or break you.

Drink 1 Gallon of Water

Peeing clear is not the goal.  The goal is to be hydrated and adding a little bit of salt to your water (not enough to change the taste) will help you utilize the gallon you’re drinking.

An arbitrary gallon of water for every person?  Probably not where you should go but I also understand in marketing how to make it work for the masses.

A better way to start is somewhere around 2 liters (roughly a half a gallon).  And, to make sure you’re making the best use of this water, add that little pinch of table salt when you’re not having a meal.

Two 45 Minute Workouts

I hate it.  Don’t teach this.  I hate it.  Do not teach people that adding more and more exercise is the secret to success.

Not what you expected?  A CrossFit guy who says, “don’t work out more.”

“Volume” of work is not the key to success.  “Intensity” is.  Now, I get it… part of the magic of the second workout being outdoors is that you get to enjoy vitamin D, you’re separated from distractions, and it’s you time.  But for someone who is struggling with their time in the first place, this is not where I would start it.

Like the word “diet,” you’re likely setting yourself up for the all or nothing mentality.

I do like the idea of keeping workouts to 45 minutes, though!  Kudos on that!

No Alcohol or Cheat Meals

A challenge is a challenge.  75 Hard is not supposed to be easy and this falls in that category.

At Iron Hero, we also do challenges.  We also make sure to tell people, “find some takeaways and stick with it going forward.  This way, you are better in the long-run.”  Don’t go all in and then fall off the wagon completely.

This is also why we offer accountability for our clients after everything is said and done:  we want you to continue to foster your healthy relationship with food and habits.

Master one or two things and then move onto the next.

Progress Pictures

While a picture may not be necessary, tracking your progress is.  This includes from the very beginning, in the state that prompted you to want to start something in the first place.  Don’t shy away.

While a picture every day may be overkill, the principal makes sense to me:  there is accountability in knowing you’re taking your shirt off and snapping a picture of yourself each and every day.

What might be better?  I might suggest biweekly.  It’s enough time to make some physical changes and potentially see some of those changes.

Better than that?  Be accountable to someONE:  picture check ins, body composition checks, weight checks, etc. sent to someone who is on your side.

Read 10 Pages

“Every man I meet is my superior in some way, and in that I learn from him.”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Everybody should be reading some sort of non-fiction something most days of the week.  If, for no other reason, than to get away from your screen.  Bigger picture, however, is for self-improvement.

Do something which is good for you and your family.

Shots Fired

If you skipped all of my previous points, here is a summary of why 75 Hard may not be the way to go for most people:

  • All or nothing thinking with regard to nutrition and fitness is a terrible way to approach it [for the long-term]
    • “Diet” is a nasty 4 letter word
  • You could create a headspace of, “I am not doing enough” when it is done
    • Take the wins and bring the workout intensity [not volume]
  • A gallon of water per day for everyone?
    • Hyponatremia anyone?
  • Making yourself worse-off than when you started
    • Under eating, over exercising, and a definitive end date is a recipe for going hard [in the worst way] in the paint when you finish your 75 days

75 Hard vs CrossFit

Let’s do a side by side with 75 Hard…

75 HardCrossFit
Follow a DietBuild sustainable healthy eating habits to last a lifetime with the help of a nutrition coach
Drink 1 gallon of waterDrink at least 2 liters of water with a little pinch of table salt in it
First 45 minute workout1 workout supervised by a CrossFit coach or personal trainer.  Moving well and with intensity
Second 45 minute workoutPractice or learn a new skill or sport.  The application of your improved fitness
No alcohol or cheat mealsUnless doing a challenge, think 80/20 or 90/10.  Build in room to be human
Progress pictures dailyBody composition and progress pics done monthly with accountability conversations with your coach
Read 10 pagesYou should do this anyway
“We are not so different, you and I.”
-Any Batman villain, probably

Is 75 Hard Good or Bad?

I believe there are some really great pieces to it and I also believe it works really well for a specific type of person.  If you’re reading this, that may not be you.

If you’re someone who has done it, has had great results from it, and still has a great relationship with food and exercise:  congratulations!  I am excited for you and genuinely love the fact you are bettering yourself!

Normally I would end one of these with a “contact me for your free consult” or something but as my goal with this was to create an awareness for you to make your own decision, well…

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