Home Health A TikToker was hospitalized doing the viral ’75 Hard’ challenge that calls for drinking a gallon of water a day

A TikToker was hospitalized doing the viral ’75 Hard’ challenge that calls for drinking a gallon of water a day

A TikToker was hospitalized doing the viral ’75 Hard’ challenge that calls for drinking a gallon of water a day


  • A TikToker said she had to go to hospital while attempting a fitness challenge called “75 Hard.”
  • It requires 75 days of a strict diet, working out twice a day, and drinking a gallon of water.
  • She said she thought she had water poisoning, but the doctor said she could be sodium deficient.

A TikToker said she had to go to the hospital while attempting the viral fitness challenge “75 Hard.”

Michelle Fairburn was attempting the 75-day challenge, which calls for working out twice a day, following a strict diet, and drinking a gallon of water every day.

Fairburn said the excessive water consumption made her feel unwell.

Fairburn, who is a mom and realtor in Toronto, posted a TikTok on Monday where she speculated that she might have got “water poisoning” from drinking so much.

Per Scientific American, water poisoning is a real condition that can come from drinking excessive amounts of water, and in the most extreme cases is fatal.

Fairburn posted on the 12th day of her challenge, saying she didn’t feel good when she was going to bed the night before, and had woken up several times in the night to go to the bathroom.

She said she couldn’t eat, was nauseous, felt weak, and had been “on the toilet all morning.”

“I’m doing the 75 Hard, so I’m drinking an excessive amount of water,” she said. “I don’t know what to do.”

The 75 Hard challenge, while popular on TikTok, has been criticized by some as too extreme, with the potential to lead to burnout rather than improved health.

Most expert concerns focused not on water-drinking, but on the psychological toughness of the challenge, which doesn’t allow “cheat days” or other mechanisms to give people a break. If people miss a day on the challenge, they are supposed to start again from day 1.

Fairburn asked her followers who had tried the challenge whether she should skip the water aspect. She said the creator of the challenge, supplement company CEO Andy Frisella, advised people “listen” to their bodies while attempting 75 Hard. But, she added she didn’t “want to fail.”

“I don’t want to go back to day 1,” she said. “I cannot drink another gallon of water today.”

Later that day, Fairburn posted an update from her car, saying she had just left the doctor’s office and had to go to the hospital after being told she had severe sodium deficiency.

“Which actually can be fatal,” she said. “So now I’m going to the hospital and they’re going to check everything and then apparently they can raise my sodium gradually.”

She said she was going to continue working out but had been told she had to drink less than half a litre of water per day, which is about one eighth of a gallon.

“I cannot believe this is actually happening,” she said.

Fairburn updated her followers again on Tuesday, saying she was feeling much better. She also explained some of her symptoms further, which included an intense lack of energy, flu-like symptoms, a painful abdomen and lower back, and diarrhea.

“I kept thinking I was going to vomit, I never actually did vomit,” she said. “My skin was so sensitive to touch, headache, fever, and just feeling like crap.”

Fairburn said all she could eat was a tiny amount of bread with vegan butter, and that she was scared to have any more fluids.

“I knew something was wrong, I was really emotional, I was crying,” she said, adding that she already struggled with health anxiety. “I get really emotional about these things.”

She said her doctor told her these symptoms were indicative of low sodium levels, which can be deadly. According to the Mayo Clinic, drinking too much water while exercising can lower sodium levels by sweating.

“Because you lose sodium through sweat, drinking too much water during endurance activities, such as marathons and triathlons, can also dilute the sodium content of your blood,” it says. So it is possible that such an intense fitness regime could have made Fairburn more susceptible.

However, when Fairburn had her blood work done at the hospital, the results were inconclusive.

“I don’t know, I don’t know what it was,” Fairburn said. “But they said not to drink that much water and to drink 32 ounces, so that’s what I’m going to do. And today I’m OK, so I don’t know.” (32 fluid ounces is a quarter of a gallon.)

While Fairburn did not want to blame the 75 Hard challenge for her illness, she did say it “was not for the faint-hearted.”

She said while she was at the hospital, she obviously couldn’t complete that one day of the challenge. And her 75 Hard app made sure to remind her.

“You didn’t mark everything complete,” the notification read. “That means either you did the work and forgot to check everything off, or you let your inner bitch voice beat you. Which is it?”

Fairburn said anyone who wanted to give the challenge a try should take it “with a grain of salt.”

“Always listen to your body,” she said. “These challenges are not for everybody, and don’t take it too seriously. And pivot when you need to pivot, stop when you need to stop.

“Obviously you’re not a failure if you’ve been in the hospital and you need to stop something.”


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