Experts Question Safety of Trending Challenge | Kelly E.

Why experts think it may be bad for our health

The weight loss challenge “75Hard” is trending online again. It has been on and off for a few years now.

Hundreds of people on Tiktok, and other platforms, are still sharing their 75 days of dieting, exercise, reading, and photos with the world.

The hashtag #75Hard currently has over 1 billion views.

There are an endless stream of impressive before and after photos to prove it works. And it’s a completely free program.

What is there to lose? Apart from a bit of weight?

But there’s an issue with 75Hard that isn’t obvious at first.

The experts have valid concerns

Andy Frisella, the creator, admits he isn’t an expert. He’s not a personal trainer. He’s not a nutritionist or health expert of any kind.

There’s a health disclaimer at the top of the 75Hard site. But how many of the Tiktok-ers posting their daily progress have actually consulted their physician before trying it?

I’m guessing none.

The lack of guidelines within 75Hard is the main issue experts have with it.

Rule #1: Follow a diet. No alcohol. No cheat meals.

What dieting means to one person, is something quite different to another.

Not everyone will “diet” in a healthy way.

Considering the volume of exercise expected in 75Hard, food intake becomes quite important.

Body builders and athletes consider their diets carefully. They balance their nutritional needs and think about what their body requires during the muscle-building work they’re doing.

TikToks main user-base is younger and especially vulnerable when we start talking about dieting.

Dr. Luci Etheridge, is a Consultant Paediatrician for eating disorders at St. George’s Hospital. She says the strict dieting encouraged in 75Hard and bad-food, good-food idea can cause problems.

“A lot of the work we do in treatment is trying to get back to ‘normal adolescence’ and break those ideas of foods being inherently bad.”

Frisella’s exercise rules are also rather vague and lack good safety guidelines.

Rule #2: Work out twice a day for at least 45 minutes, one of those outside.

45minutes of exercise twice a day is a lot for most people.

And one of those 45 minute sessions has to be outside, regardless of temperature or weather?

With the air pollution, heat waves, and freezing temperatures we experienced in 2021, we can see the clear problem with that rule.

Note there are also no rest days. None. Not if you’re sick, exhausted, have an injury…

Even elite athletes don’t keep that kind of schedule.

“Exercising incorrectly — poor form, inappropriate intensity, not accounting for rest days — over an extended period of time can be harmful.” — says certified personal trainer, Doug Sklar.

Rule #3: Drink 4 liters of water

This rule also has experts shaking their heads. 4 liters — regardless of your gender, size, or body’s unique needs — is excessive for most of us.

Hydration is important, but around 8–12 glasses of liquid a day is all we need, often less, depending on your body’s size, etc. You need to remember some of your liquids also come from your food.

“…a ‘one size fits all’ fluid replacement strategy, such as drinking eight glasses of eight ounces of water per day, is inappropriate for everyone,” says exercise physiologist, Tamara Hew-Butler.

Rule #4: Take a photo every day

This seems innocent enough, but it could be an issue. A photo every day places a lot of emphasis on your looks.

We don’t make progress everyday. We have bloat days, and go up and down in any fitness/ weight loss program.

For someone who claims it’s all about inner growth, Frisella has put a lot of emphasis on outside appearances.

That doesn’t mean we can’t do something similar

You can easily design a tailored-to-you 75 day challenge, or better yet, design one with a personal trainer or nutritionist.

Here’s some to try:

  • Cut out alcohol. The experts agree with Frisella on this one — it’s no good for our health.
  • Cut out processed sugar higher than 7g per 100 for a month.
  • Drink an extra glass of water every morning.
  • Move for 30 minutes a day. Stretch, go for a walk, dance, do strength training. Mix it up and enjoy moving your body.
  • Read for 20 minutes a day.
  • Learn something for 15 minutes a day: a new language, general knowledge, take a course, or read interesting non-fiction.

Challenges are good but make sure they’re safe ones, not just a clever marketing campaign. The best kinds of challenges are ones that lead to long-term positive life-style changes.

Do you think challenges work? Let us know in the comments.

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