'80 Strong' TikTok Challenge: A Nutritionist Weighs in on Benefits

A nutritionist shares her thoughts on TikTok’s "80 Strong" challenge, which was created to be a less extreme version of ‘75 Hard.’

As summer fast approaches, a new fitness and nutrition challenge is making its way across TikTok — it's called "80 Strong."

Invented by content creator @jada__nicohl, the challenge is similar to the viral “75 Hard” challenge in that it requires participants to stick to a list of daily rules for a set period of time in an effort to improve their health and fitness, but it’s intended to be a more accessible, enjoyable, and less extreme option.

The trend has taken off in recent weeks, with many TikTok users partaking in the challenge and documenting their experiences on the platform.

The challenge includes both physical and mental components. For a period of 80 days, participants must take at least 5,000 steps per day, which is lower than the typical 10,000-step recommendation, and engage in 30 minutes of exercise at least five times per week. The challenge also involves eating a source of protein with every meal and drinking at least 2.5 liters of water each day. It also asks participants to practice 15 minutes of mindfulness each day and to take 15 minutes daily to work on learning something new.

@jada__nicohl Day 1 of 80 Strong is upon us 😅 you can join/re-join this challenge at any point!! #80strong #fitnesschallege #summerbody #getsnatched #75hard #75soft #walkingexercise ♬ original sound - WALKING BESTIE

A nutritionist’s thoughts on ‘80 Strong’

Sarah Herrington, MS, CNC, CPT, a nutritionist at Brio-Medical, tells Healthnews that having structure can be incredibly helpful to ensure you stick to your plan when making lifestyle changes, so challenges like this can be a great starting point.

But some challenges — such as “75 Hard” — may be too strict and structured for some to follow, she says, which is why a more attainable challenge such as "80 Strong" may be a better choice.

“‘75 hard’ is intimidating for a lot of people, and working out twice per day or outside might be unrealistic for some,” Herrington tells Healthnews.

Herrington says she particularly likes that this challenge includes both a mindfulness and learning component. While “75 Hard” does involve reading each day, this rendition allows participants to choose how to exercise mindfulness and learning, encouraging people to focus on things they enjoy.

“These are both skills that we tend to lose sight of in our normal day-to-day lives,” Herrington says.

Practicing these skills for just 15 minutes per day means they can easily be done during a commute to work or before bed to unwind, she says. She adds that mindful eating, which involves using all your senses to focus on what you’re eating without distraction, is one easy and beneficial way to integrate the mindfulness requirement.

While this challenge may be far more accessible than others circulating online, Herrington says people should still make amendments to it if needed.

For example, if you currently don’t work out at all and five days seems like a lot for you to commit to, she says you could easily reduce the goal to exercise three days per week for 60 minutes.

She also says drinking half your body weight in ounces of water would be a better hydration target for most, as these needs are a little more individualized in nature, and you should also account for an increase in activity level and the climate when determining how much water to drink.

“This structure is a lot more achievable for those looking to make small changes to their daily routine,” she says. “It’s important that people feel empowered to make things like this work for them.”

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