A TikToker from Canada recently found herself hospitalized after attempting the viral fitness challenge known as "75 Hard."
The challenge, originally started by YouTuber Andy Frisella, gained popularity for its strict regimen, which includes following a structured diet, completing two 45-minute workouts daily, reading 10 pages a day, and taking a daily progress photo. However, one of the most concerning aspects of this challenge is the requirement to consume approximately four Liters of water each day for a gruelling 75 days.
Michelle Fairburn, a mom, and realtor from Toronto, enthusiastically took up the challenge but soon faced severe health consequences.
On the 12th day of her challenge, she began experiencing alarming symptoms, including feeling unwell, frequent trips to the bathroom, nausea, weakness, and an inability to eat.
Concerned that she might have water poisoning, a condition that can occur from drinking excessive amounts of water in a short period, she shared her struggles on TikTok. Water poisoning, scientifically known as hyponatremia, can be a life-threatening condition if left untreated. It occurs when the body's sodium levels become dangerously low due to overhydration. Fairburn's excessive water consumption led her to develop a severe sodium deficiency, prompting her to seek medical attention immediately.
At the hospital, Fairburn received critical advice from healthcare professionals. Instead of consuming four Liters of water per day, she was instructed to drink less than half a Liter of water daily. The severity of her sodium deficiency necessitated gradual sodium intake to avoid potential complications.
The "75 Hard" challenge has faced criticism from experts who worry about its potential for psychological and physical strain. The challenge's strict rules, including the absence of "cheat days," can lead to burnout and adverse health effects for some participants.
Reflecting on her experience, Fairburn emphasized the importance of listening to one's body and being cautious with extreme fitness challenges like "75 Hard."
She advised potential challengers to take the program "with a grain of salt" and be prepared to adjust or stop if necessary. Each individual's body is unique, and what proves effective for one may not yield the same results for another. This remains valid irrespective of age, gender, or any other influencing factor.
Hyponatremia is a condition in which the concentration of sodium in the blood is abnormally low. Sodium is an electrolyte that helps regulate the amount of water in and around cells. When sodium levels are low, the body tries to compensate by retaining water, which can lead to swelling and other problems.
The optimal blood sodium levels typically fall within the range of 135 to 145 milliequivalents per Liter (mEq/L). Hyponatremia manifests when the blood sodium level falls beneath 135 mEq/L.
There are many causes of hyponatremia, including:
Drinking too much water
Taking certain medications, such as diuretics
Vomiting or diarrhoea
Liver or kidney disease
Mild hyponatremia may not cause any symptoms. However, symptoms may appear when the sodium level in the blood drops too low or too quickly.
Hyponatremia treatment aims to address the underlying condition.
Treatment is determined by the cause and severity of your hyponatremia. If you have excess water in your body, you may need to reduce your liquid intake. Your healthcare provider may change the dosage or type of diuretic you take to help increase your blood sodium level. The other options are:
Intravenous (IV) fluids
The "75 Hard" challenge may offer benefits for some participants, but it is crucial to consult with healthcare professionals before undertaking such intense fitness programs. Health experts can provide personalized advice based on individual health conditions and goals.
Follow the Autor on MedBound: Iqra Batool (@iqrabatool)