The 75 Hard Challenge vs. The 75 Soft Challenge – Which is Better for You?

by Brianna Allison

75 soft challenge

This article was written by The Zillennial Zine’s fall editorial intern Brianna Allison. Find her on Instagram at @ballison7. If you would like to share an article with The Zillennial, send us an email at thezillennialzine@gmail.com.

New year, new you – at least that’s how it always goes. But it can be intimidating to go into the new year without any idea of how to achieve these goals to better ourselves. But I think I have two options for you that might help: The 75 Hard Challenge and the 75 Soft Challenge!

You may have heard of these or seen videos about them on TikTok because they’ve been a viral sensation recently. But you might not fully understand what each program entails or the rules that you need to follow for each. So, let’s break them down, and you can determine which fitness trend is best for you and your life!

What is the 75 Hard Challenge?

I would describe the 75 Hard Challenge to be a fitness program to help improve your life, but creator Andy Frisella describes it as a “transformative mental toughness program” that can “change your life.”

Frisella, an entrepreneur, public speaker and best-selling author, created the program in 2019. However, within the past year or so it’s gained popularity through TikTok. Although many are trying it to help with weight loss or gaining muscle, Frisella says that’s not what it’s about. He claims that completing the program helps with:

  • Confidence
  • Self-worth
  • Self-esteem
  • Discipline
  • Fortitude
  • Perserverance
  • Grittiness

So what are the rules?

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There are 5 rules that you need to follow to be a part of the 75 Hard Challenge. And although the rules don’t seem too hard, the program is not easy. The rules are to be followed entirely for 75 days, no cheat days allowed! And if you mess up, miss a day or do cheat you’re supposed to restart the 75 days until you’re able to complete them all correctly! So let’s take a look at the rules:

  • Follow a diet! You’ll want to pick a diet based on what you want to achieve and what your goals are. But, you’re not allowed any cheat meals and absolutely no alcohol! Frisella says doing this will allow you to detox your body for 75 days and in turn introduce healthier habits.
  • Drink a gallon of water daily. You’ll want to start drinking early in the day and be consistent with it so you don’t end up chugging all of the water at 10 p.m. before you go to bed. No one wants to be up all night peeing.
  • Complete two 45-minutes workouts each day. One of the workouts needs to be done outside, regardless of the weather. This can be difficult because it’s starting to get pretty cold, so make sure to dress warm and be careful! The workouts can be whatever you want them to be and at any point in the day, as long as you take the time to do both of them. Because this is one of the most time-consuming parts of the challenge, it can be easy to find excuses but try your best!
  • Read 10 pages of a non-fiction book per day. The book needs to be some kind of self-development book that will help with personal growth. Frisella also emphasized that the book cannot be an e-book or audiobook, but a physical book.
  • Take a progress photo every day. These photos don’t need to be posted online unless you want to share them! They’re for you to see the various details that change each day as you progress through the 75 days. They’ll help you recognize progress and reflect on where you started.

What is the 75 Soft Challenge?

If you read the 75 Hard Challenge rules and thought that might be a little too strict or unattainable for you, then the 75 Soft Challenge might be a better fit. The two challenges are similar in their rules, but the soft challenge is a little more realistic.

Stephen Gallagher, a TikTok creator, took the original challenge and created a softer version of it. It encourages healthy habits without as many restrictions. So although it might not be as intense you can still lose weight and gain muscle. But, don’t forget that this challenge still requires time management and commitment!

What are the rules?

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There are only 4 rules for the 75 Soft Challenged compared to the 5 rules of the Hard Challenge. The missing rule is taking progress pictures of yourself each day. So this is definitely one that you can easily add to your 75 Soft Challenge if you find it important or think that it might help motivate you. Because, just like the 75 Hard, if you mess up or skip a day you still need to restart your 75 days.

  • Eat well and only drink alcohol on social occasions. The 75 Soft Challenge essentially focuses on healthy eating. So you can decide if you feel like you want to follow a diet plan strictly or if you’d like to make your own plan. Now, the alcohol rule is a big change between the challenges. The Soft program allows you to drink on special occasions which could include going out with old friends, a holiday, or maybe an anniversary – just as long as it’s not a regular thing.
  • Workout for 45 minutes each day, but make sure to include one day of active recovery. Like the 75 hard challenge, there are no specific requirements or workouts that you need to do. Unlike the 75 hard program, you don’t need to workout outside at all (which is great for the colder months). The soft program also includes an active rest day which could be something as simple as walking or using super light weights.
  • Drink 3 liters of water every day. This is a little bit less than the gallon that the 75 Hard, but it’s a little bit more of an attainable amount of water to consume. Now, you still want to start drinking the water early and be consistent with it; however, there is no specification on whether you can add powders or flavors to your water. But, the 75 Soft challenge is all about flexibility and doing what you can, so if you need that flavor to drink more water, then I say go for it!
  • Read 10 pages of any book per day. The important part of this rule is that the book can be any book that you want- non-fiction, fiction, memoir, or whatever you enjoy reading! This allows you to take time for yourself and do something that you enjoy but might not always set aside part of your day to do.

Which one is better for you?

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So I can’t officially answer this for you because everyone is different. However, I will say that when the 75 Hard Challenge first came out, some trainers were first concerned about the program that it was too harsh. And if someone had issues with obsessive behavior, then it could potentially cause them to form dangerous habits. Some also had issues with the program emphasizing daily photos because it can lead to people focusing only on the changes in their body and appearance rather than their overall well-being.

However, sometimes people thrive when they have discipline. It might help people stay on track with a healthy lifestyle and learn the best way to take care of themselves. So if you have the time and think you can follow all of the rules for 75 days then take up the challenge!

If you’re not sure about the restrictions then consider doing the 75 Soft Challenge! This program is meant to be a little more specific to you and your life. It allows for some mess up and requires less time commitment. Because of its adaptability, it can help create new healthy habits and lifestyle changes since it’s not as strict.

But, sometimes people may fall off track of the program because of its flexibility. So, it’s important to hold yourself accountable and keep track of your growth.

If you’re looking for a new habit or way to better yourself for the new year, I think that start the 75 Hard Challenge or the 75 Soft Challenge are the perfect options! And if you want to start, but want a little more guidance and a way to hold yourself accountable, then make yourself a challenge tracker or checklist. Or, if you don’t feel like developing your own, there are plenty online that you can print out. They help you track your days, what you’ve completed and a journal section to write about anything you want while you’re working on the program! 

It might also help motivate you to keep going. So, pick your program, get to tracking and start your 75 days. You’ve got this!

Which challenge do you think you’ll try, the 75 Hard Challenge or the 75 Soft Challenge? Do you have any tips to stay motivated while following one of the programs? Let us know in the comments below!

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