10 Healthier Alternatives To The 75 Hard Challenge In 2022
Fitness challenges are exciting, but are they the healthiest way to get in shape? We don’t think so…
The start of a new year brings lots of things: goals, resolutions, and signing up to outlandish fitness challenges that you’d never agree to on a wet Wednesday in March. What is it about January that makes us forget everything we know about habit, routine and consistency? Maybe we just love a challenge.
And there are plenty to choose from, with hashtags and trending challenges offering tempting promises of transformation.
Let’s use 75 Hard as an example. This self-professed transformation programme talks a big talk about taking control of your life in 75 days. But it’s 75 days of rigid rules – and no long term plan.
What is 75 Hard (and should you do it?)
People who successfully complete 75 Hard will spend 75 days dieting, training twice a day for 45 minutes, drinking litres of water, reading, and taking cold showers. If they break any of the rules, it’s right back to day one. People can and do lose weight and get in shape doing 75 Hard. But what about life beyond the hashtag?
At best, you might identify the habits that can fit into your lifestyle, and figure out ways to keep them. At worst, you’ll slip right back into your old way of doing things.
The big problem with arbitrary self-improvement challenges
Most people have been drawn in by the hype around this kind of challenge. There’s a reason things go viral! But 75 Hard and similar challenges come with lots of problems, and could even set you back further than where you started.
They teach you nothing about the fundamentals of movement, activity, and good nutrition.
They don’t help you identify the personal habits that will slot into your life and work long term.
And they’re simply not sustainable, which means you could end up feeling burned out or injured – especially if you’re the perfectionist type.
10 ways to create your own fitness “challenge”
As you can guess, we’re not fans of doing extreme quick-fix challenges like 75 Hard, or the Whole 30 Challenge. But we totally understand the attraction of embarking on a time-bound challenge to kickstart some new habits. So how about this instead:
Be wary of any fitness or nutrition challenge that has its own hashtag or seems to have sprung up on social media
Steer clear of any challenge that has rigid rules that don’t account for real life situations like work, family, or social life
Get clear on your personal reasons for embarking on new habits. What do you want to improve in your life and health? Don’t be led by social media trends or guru-led fads.
Assess the habits and behaviours that are holding you back from making progress (late night snacking, too much alcohol) and create a small rule around this (for example, drinks only on Saturdays)
Focus on making positive changes, by creating rules that add to your life instead of removing or banning things
Start small and only add a new habit once you have honestly embedded the previous habit
Build new habits around the fundamentals, rather than arbitrary specifics. Think movement and activity (not a certain type of training), healthy eating (not a diet), and self-improvement (not necessarily reading or meditating)
Make sure the rules of your new habits are flexible enough to take into account real life: a home workout instead of your planned gym session isn’t a failure, it’s better than nothing.
Always focus on long term habit building and lifestyle improvement. Will you still be able to tick all of these boxes in 6 months, a year, 3 years?
If your new routine starts to make you feel pressured or overwhelmed, take your foot off the gas. The goal is long term health and fitness, not beating yourself up.
What do you think of 75 Hard and similar challenges? We’d love to hear from you at @gravityfitness
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