May 19, 2024

MedicalCentre

Great Health is a Choice

What To Eat On 75 Hard Challenge To Stay Fueled

If you’re feeling blah about your wellness routine, sometimes a fitness or diet change can give you a boost. One of the most popular “reset” trends these days? The 75 Hard challenge, which involves following various rules including a 75 Hard diet plan, twice-a-day workouts, and more. But what can you eat on 75 hard, exactly, and what does it all involve?

The 75 Hard challenge was created in by Andy Frisella in 2019 and is touted as a “transformative mental toughness program,” per the official website. There are five main pillars to the 75 Hard challenge: nutrition, movement, self-evolution, hydration, and mental discipline (more on these soon). One significant element of the challenge, however, is the 75 Hard diet—a meal plan that’s totally up to you, as long as you stick to it for 75 days straight.

Whether your goal is to lose weight, cut out alcohol (a 75 Hard requirement), or commit to eating a more balanced diet, the 75-day challenge can give you the motivational boost you need to get started (although it’s not easy!). Ahead, dietitians share everything you need to know about the 75 Hard diet, along with a beginner-friendly sample meal plan to try.

Meet the experts: Roxana Ehsani, RD, is a dietitian nutritionist based in Miami, Florida. Bonnie Taub-Dix, RDN, is a dietitian and author of Read It Before You Eat It: Taking You from Label to Table.

What is 75 Hard?

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, says Miami-based dietitian Roxana Ehsani, RD. Specifically, there are five core rules to follow:

  • Stick to a diet (no “cheat meals” or alcohol) for 75 days
  • Drink a gallon of water every day
  • 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

You’re probably noticing the every day trend here—perhaps the most difficult part of the program itself is the rigidness and requirement for consistency. “If you miss any of these ‘challenges’ on any day, you have to start over on day one,” says Ehsani. The 75 Hard website claims that the intense challenge will “permanently change your life,” emphasizing discipline and mental toughness above all.

What is the best 75 Hard diet?

Rather than having an exact meal plan to follow, 75 Hard does not feature a “diet” plan. The best eating plan is one that you choose and aim to stick with for the duration of the challenge. Because the “best” diet will vary for everyone, the goal is to choose a routine that supports your lifestyle and workout objectives.

“The diet you are following should not be too low in calories or restrict certain micronutrients,” Ehsani says. “It shouldn’t be too low carb or too high protein that it’s cutting out other food groups or causing you to become low or even deficient in other micronutrients.” If you’re doing 75 hard, the Mediterranean diet and DASH diet might be good options to try since they are well-studied, non-restrictive, include macronutrients, and are heart-healthy, Ehsani says.

Sample 75 Hard Diet Meal Plan

Doing 75 hard is demanding enough, and figuring out what to eat can be overwhelming, too. Looking for a balanced meal plan to follow that will actually keep you satiated? Here are seven full days of meals to try and modify, created by Ehsani. Each day includes a nourishing combo of fruits, veggies, carbs, and even snacks and sweets to enjoy. Modify the plan as you like, and repeat throughout the 75-day challenge.

Monday

  • Breakfast: Overnight oats made with low-fat milk, berries, almond butter, and a latte or cup of OJ
  • 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

Tuesday

  • 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 chili with beans, veggies, and a slice of whole grain cornbread
  • Dessert: Popcorn

Wednesday

  • Breakfast: Chia seed pudding made with Greek yogurt and topped with bananas, berries, and walnuts
  • Lunch: Tuna salad made with avocado oil-based mayo or a mashed avocado, chopped carrots, and celery
  • Snacks: Guacamole, baby bell peppers, and low-sodium tortilla chips.
  • Dinner: Mahi-mahi tacos filled with cabbage slaw and mixed salad on the side
  • Dessert: Trail mix

Thursday

  • Breakfast: Smoothie bowl made with a protein powder of choice or Greek yogurt, 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 bok choy, snap peas, broccoli, tofu and brown rice
  • Dessert: 2-ingredient “nice” cream made with frozen bananas and cocoa powder

Friday

  • 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, guac, 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

Saturday

  • 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 and a side of farro
  • Snacks: Mixed fruit salad
  • Dinner: Lentil soup with whole wheat dinner roll
  • Dessert: Celery sticks dipped in peanut butter

Sunday

  • 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 yogurt topped with berries
  • Dinner: Veggie soup (like minestrone) and grilled cheese made with whole wheat bread and low-fat cheese
  • Dessert: Skyr yogurt topped with dark chocolate chips

Is it safe to follow a 75 Hard diet?

While the 75 Hard structure may work for some, it can be restrictive—so experts say to exercise caution. “Although many of us like structure in our diets, the 75 Hard challenge seems more like a drill sergeant commanding us to eat in a certain way for a given period of time rather than a coach guiding us to learn to eat for life,” says Bonnie Taub-Dix, RDN, a dietitian and author of Read It Before You Eat It: Taking You from Label to Table. “75 days is [also] a long time to go without encountering a holiday, a birthday, or a vacation celebration where your favorite foods may call to you,” she says—which is why it’s important to follow well-balanced eating plans like the one above.

Apart from being potentially restrictive, the inclusion of language like “cheat days” can also be problematic since it implies that straying from your diet is “bad” in some way. (There are also no clear guidelines from 75 Hard for what constitutes a “cheat” meal). Plus, the requirement to take regular photos of yourself during 75 hard places emphasis on changing physical appearance and making “improvements”—which may be a harmful idea for some people, Taub-Dix says.

That said, there are potential benefits to following a particular diet for 75 days—especially if it consists of healthy, satiating meals like the ones recommended above. “This diet does include whole grains including beans and legumes, fruits and vegetables, healthy fats and lean proteins,” says Taub-Dix. But you may also find other plans and food choices that feel more realistic for you, she says. It all depends on your dietary needs and lifestyle, she says.

The bottom line? Aim for well-rounded meals containing macronutrients that will give you energy and help you sustain your 75 Hard challenge, no matter how you choose to approach it. And when it comes to your 75 Hard diet, be mindful of what nutrients your body needs to feel good. “A balanced diet should focus more on what your body [feels] like [on the] inside, showing health-related improvements both mentally and physically,” says Taub-Dix.

Emily Shiffer is a freelance health and wellness writer living in Pennsylvania.