Chris Powell Takes You Down the Road to Extreme Weight Loss

Written by | Wellness

Chris Powell says that even though weight loss can take a while, you can learn the essentials in just a few weeks.

By Jeffrey James Keyes

Photo by Peter Lueders.

Photo by Peter Lueders.

Chris Powell helps people make dramatic body transformations on ABC’s highly-rated Extreme Weight Loss. His recent book, Extreme Transformation: Lifelong Weight Loss in 21 Days, prompted us to ask him about these crucial first weeks of getting healthy.

Can you explain the title of your book? How does someone achieve “lifelong weight loss” in just a few weeks

With Extreme Weight Loss, it’s over the course of a full year. These folks have got 150 to 250 pounds to lose. But it usually takes [about 21 days] for us not only to teach them everything they need to know about diet and exercise and adopting new lifestyle patterns, but really about the psychological and the emotional aspects of change as well. … We definitely thought we’d have fun with the book, and we said, “Ok, let’s take 21 days. We’ll give you 21 days of workouts, give you 21 days of nutrition;” so you can really see how the pattern flows.

And you start by asking people to make five promises?

Our “foundation five” power promises are:

  1. Drink a gallon of water a day.
  2. Eat breakfast.
  3. Eat protein at every meal.
  4. Reduce your sugar to less than 50g a day.
  5. Move deliberately for 5 minutes a day.

But you don’t suggest people start by doing all five?

We’ll say, “Start with one of these, and if you can keep this promise for the next seven days, we’ll go to the next one.”

Photo courtesy of ABC/Heidi Gutman

Photo courtesy of ABC/Heidi Gutman

What do you say to people who blame their weight on “having a slow metabolism”

So many people think that they’re stuck with this static metabolism. … The thing is, based on the patterns that you’ve followed for significant periods of time, your metabolism actually adjusts.

So how do we burn more calories?

What’s really cool is that the metabolic engine on our bodies — the most active living tissue on our bodies — is our muscles. Right? The more muscle you have, the greater your metabolism.

That’s actually good news for heavier people, right?

You know if you’re carrying 350 pounds on your body — or 400 pounds or 600 pounds — have you ever seen someone at the gym who squats 400 pounds twenty times? Guess what their legs look like? … These [overweight] people are sitting on glutes, quads and hamstrings that are the size of a V12 engine. I mean they’re sitting on a freakin rocket ship, and they don’t even realize it. Because they’re constantly getting up and down throughout the day, their muscles are humongous.

By that logic, it would seem like if they just cut their calories, all that muscle would just burn away the fat..

A lot of [people] will come into us, and [they’ve] cut their calories so drastically that their bodies are in hormonal chaos; so they’ve slowed their metabolism down. The first thing we do — it’s kind of counter-intuitive — is we re-feed people. … Some guys will say, “I’ve been on a liquid diet through my doctor [or] through this medical program, and I’ve been eating 1200 calories a day.” And I’m like, “Give us a couple weeks, and we’re going to have to reverse that. We’re going to have to re-feed you.” And we’ll usually try to get our guys up to about 2250.

Photo by Peter Lueders.

Photo by Peter Lueders.

And you have an app ready to launch that goes further

I do. I’ve been working on it this summer. The app is going to be releasing probably mid-fall, and it is everything that we’ve done in the book, but more. And it’s not just weight loss transformations, it’s all-inclusive. You’ll be able to jump on the app and pick where you want to go … whether you’re looking for perfection and you want to sculpt beautiful frame to be powerful — like “a man’s body” — or whether you want to get into crazy cross-training shape like the crossfit games athletes. We’ve got it all.

Last modified: June 22, 2017