Ask the Powells: How Do I Gain Healthy Weight?

The holidays are wrapping up, the New Year is beginning, and so many of us—myself included—are turning our attention to new health and fitness resolutions. Although we most often associate transformation goals with weight loss or trimming down, for me, gaining healthy weight has been a huge key in achieving my fitness goals. And I know many of you have similar goals, since I’m often asked the question, “How can I gain healthy weight?” The truth is that it can be just as difficult and frustrating to gain healthy pounds as it is to lose that unwanted weight, and adding healthy weight can be tricky since there’s really not a one-size-fits-all program.

Just as with weight loss, healthy weight gain takes planning, focus, and dedication. As much as I wish gaining some extra healthy pounds was as easy as reaching for those tasty french fries or an extra scoop of ice cream, it requires just as much commitment to nutrition and exercise as with weight loss.

For me, the key to my success has been tracking my caloric intake pre-weight gain and continuing with my carb cycling—adding calories from fats and proteins on low-carb days and calories from carbs on high-carb days. I’ve been so excited to see—with my own eyes!—how well this has worked for me! I’ve shared my program with a few others who have also had success, but the best program to follow is the one that will work for you and your goals. Just remember that nutrition is not the only key component to gaining healthy weight—weight lifting is also essential because it tells the body where to send those extra calories so they can do their best to help you build that toned, fit body you’re working for!

HP_GainingWeightHealthyWay

Watch the video above for more tips and tools to help you gain those healthy pounds, and if you haven’t already done so, subscribe to my YouTube channel for more healthy tips, recipes, and so much more!

Xoxo,

Heidi

Related reading:

Why I Transitioned From CrossFit to Bodybuilding
My 11-Week Booty Building Workout
The Scoop on Supplements
Carb Cycling 101


68 Comments

  1. Robin Ramm - January 24, 2017

    I meant to add, that I’m 5’6, about 144 lbs. I have muscular legs – it’s just the belly that needs work…I guess after 2 BIG kids and a hysterectomy (abdominal) it’s not an easy fix.

  2. Robin Ramm - January 24, 2017

    I know you stress weight lifting in your coaching and books. I am a 56 year old female, a long distance runner and very active. I’m new to the carb cycling thing and wanted to see if I could get rid of my poochy belly by doing this. I have tried lifting light weights but suffer with back issues the moment I add them back in. I have had herniated disks in the past as well.

    Without joining a gym, do you have a plan that would be appropriate for a beginner to try that would not affect my lower back? I have weights that are 3-25 lbs at home in my gym.

    Also, currently I run 25-40 miles a week according to my training plan. I’m really not wanting to bulk up as much as I want to keep fit for running and loose the pooch.

    I appreciate your advice.

    • Team Powell - January 24, 2017

      Hi Robin: It would be a good idea to discuss any strength training program with your healthcare team since you do have back issues. Since each back issue can be different, we’d hate to recommend something that wouldn’t be good for your back. All of the strength training exercises in Chris and Heidi’s books use body weight only, so that makes things very simple. You could discuss their program with your team and then go from there. And remember, weight loss it 80% nutrition, so stick to your nutrition program, workout as you can, and you can achieve your goals!

  3. TweenMom - August 13, 2016

    Any suggestions on how to help a tween gain weight and consume more fat and protein? Specifically, I have a tween diagnosed with abnormal weight loss (due to ADD meds) who is rarely hungry. When she is, she only wants to eat fruits and vegetables. (She’s always been small and has always preferred healthy foods). We’re working with a pediatric nutritionist where she will agree to the eating plan, but when we get home, she won’t follow it. We’ve managed to stop the scale number from dropping,, however, she’s started growing height wise. We’re thrilled she’s getting enough nutrients to grow, but we are struggling to get actual pounds on her body and to increase her protein and fat intake. Given her age and stage (tween) , we are also watching closely to make sure this doesn’t blossom into an eating disorder or a food control issue. Any suggestions?

  4. Anne King - July 15, 2016

    SOMETHING NICE! WATCHING show motivated me to do my upper body! Thanks Chris you motivator you!

    Question.. any special suggestions for post menopausal women?

  5. gentry - May 20, 2016

    How often do you workout Heidi? and what body areas (Shoulders, legs, arm etc.) What days??

    • Team Powell - May 21, 2016

      Hi Gentry: I don’t have access to Heidi’s workout schedule, but I do know the time she works out every day varies depending on her schedule and the workout routine her coaches give her. I’m so sorry I’m not more help!

  6. Sydney Bomar - April 20, 2016

    Which of your recommended carb cycles did you choose for your situation? (mine is very similar to yours)… classic? fit?

    • Team Powell - April 20, 2016

      Hi Sydney: Heidi uses a modified carb cycling program based on her goals, body composition, workouts, etc.

  7. Deborah England - April 19, 2016

    I’m 59 I lost 100 lbs but still need to lose more. I had a knee replacement and three shoulder surgeries. I’m having a hard time getting the weight off. It’s hard to find to find a good workout. I had lap band surgery but still cant get the rest of the weight off. I had three surgeries in a yesr and a half. I would love to be on the show I want to get the rest of the weight off. Please help.

    • Team Powell - April 19, 2016

      Hi Deborah: Congratulations on losing 100 pounds – that’s awesome! Casting for “Extreme Weight Loss” is currently closed, but you can continue on your transformation journey with the same program Chris and Heidi use on the show. You can learn about their carb cycling program here: http://heidipowell.net/9060. And it would be best to discuss this program with your healthcare team first and then follow any modifications they might recommend. You can do this!

  8. Jennifer Wall - February 18, 2016

    I know this is a few months after you wrote this but I don’t really get online much but to play game or so. I’ve been a runner for on and off since I was in the Navy in 96. Unfortunately, time, age, laziness, and injuries have sidelined me about 3 years ago and now I am trying to get back to it. The one thing about running is I never reached my goal weight, but that really wasn’t why I was doing it. I enjoyed it and had hoped to complete a marathon by the time I was 40 but oh well, some day. Anyway, I’ve decided to go a new way to lose weight then maybe go back to running and see if that helps. I’ve done reading and I like weights but to be honest I’m new at it. I’ve tried the machines but they don’t fit me, I’m short and most are meant to work for taller people. So I am looking for freehand weights but I lot more clueless on that. I don’t want to be one of those people that take a book to the gym. Do you recommend a website or any ideas that I can may be print off a page or two and not look like a newbie at the gym. I have avoided the gym for years and am trying really hard to get myself out there. Any advice I’d appreciate. You are a wonderful role model for all ages.

    Jennifer

  9. Doreath Riccio - February 17, 2016

    I have so much awe for the both of you I need to gain weight I am 55 and have recently lost 10lbs over emotional upset and currently weigh 91 I have been going to gym 3-4 days a week increased my protein to 125+ grams a day but I’m am not gaining I feel like I look terrible even at 91 lbs I have some loose skin and of course my mind set is I’m fat I want and need to gain in a healthy way any suggestions would be very much appreciated ,I am so tired of comments when I’m at the gym I had a dome. Roll her eyes at me and another said “really ” so now I’m uncomfortable and feel very self conscious

    • Team Powell - February 18, 2016

      Hi Doreath: Thank you for your comment! And please don’t let what others say, or what you think they’re thinking, affect you and your desires and work to achieve your goals. As for how to gain healthy weight, there are some great tips in this post, and you might also chat with your healthcare team and then follow their recommendations. For gaining healthy weight, there aren’t really any one-size-fits-all answers since what will work best can be different for each person. We believe in you – you can do this! ?

  10. Jessica pudivitr - February 11, 2016

    How do we calculate the number of carbs we should intake. I was always told when counting macronutrients that it’s that’s it’s the amount of grams in the body weight you want to be at. If that’s true but we want to carb cycle how do we figure the amount of grams and fats we should increase and decrease to! Thank you! 🙂

    • Team Powell - February 12, 2016

      Hi Jessica: If you’re wanting to lose weight, all the macros are figured out for you in carb cycling. We try and make it as easy as possible! If you’re looking to gain healthy weight, there are some great tips in this video. There’s really not a one-size-fits-all answer to how many macros you need, since it’s a very individualized thing and changes as your muscle mass/healthy weight increases. Heidi works with a team of coaches who help her figure out her macros and make changes along the way. We wish you the best as you work to achieve your goals – you can do this!

  11. Ty - February 4, 2016

    Would you show a video of how you built your shoulders up? Kinda like you did the booty one.

  12. Linda - January 15, 2016

    Hi! I’m 49 & have been doing crossfit for almost 3 years. I also do bootcamp from time to time. It’s offered 3x per week at the box & I do it most weeks after a wod but not always. I also have learned to enjoy running as of about a year ago. I have ran many 10K’s, 5K’s & 2 half marathons. I’m small framed, 5’2″ (almost) & about 115#. My peers tell me I look fit, especially for being one of the oldest at our box. But, I don’t yet have the results I would like. I just ordered the 3 supplements you mentioned. My diet is pretty decent. I really want to look lean & fit, & feel comfortable/confident in shorts, whether they are workout or stylish shorts. What do you suggest? Would love love love to have a body like Heidi’s!!

    • Adrienne Jackson - January 23, 2016

      I am so impressed by your dedication and compassion towards what you BOTH do to make other lives more productively happy…healthy and wise! I am 61 years old; weigh approximately 120lbs and have been trying to GAIN weight ALL my life. My exercise is walking and I had been a track runner in school? On an average…when I graduated from high school, my weight was about 123lbs. After the birth of my daughter I weighed 127. My eating habits are sparatic being that I no longer find the need to cook full course meals now that I live alone. I cook what I want to eat at the time…a piece of fish..chicken…etc. My highest weight having been about 150, I felt like a porker!! OINK! Takes me forever to gain 2 pounds and one missed meal to lose it. I’m not fond of sweets. Most of my sugar intake, (I THINK) comes from powdered drinks. I have a problem eating regular fruits like apples; bananas; oranges and prefer seasonal fruits like bing cherries, mangos, nectarines, kiwi, etc. I love healthy foods like veggies, …but lack the knowledge of how to prepare them in a healthy way. Fried foods are my enemy because they are so quick and tasty and I usually suffer for it in the middle of the night. I’ve drank ENSURE in an attempt to compensate for the meals or vitamins that I miss when I don’t eat properly but…can’t make myself eat when I’m not hungry. Can you guys please help me with the opposite dilemma or refer me to someone who can? I am going to continue to watch your stories of encouragement….I’m at tears at the end of them all! Please keep up your good works and….hopefully you can help me too!!

    • Team Powell - January 23, 2016

      Hi Adrienne: Chris and Heidi’s focus is not so much on adding healthy weights as on helping others lose weight; however, many of the same principles apply to both adding healthy weight and losing weight. You can utilize some of their weight loss tools found in their books, “Extreme Transformation” and “Choose More, Lose More for Life,” to help you develop a healthier lifestyle. You can find links to purchase these books here: http://heidipowell.net/books-dvds/. Here’s one helpful hint: When adding healthy weight, you’ll want to consume more healthy lean protein. Get a list of approved foods on their plan – lean proteins, smart carbs, veggies, and healthy fats – in their books, as well as lots of healthy and quick recipes! And as Chris and Heidi discuss in this video, add in healthy calories a bit at a time to find what works best for you. The key is to make those calories you do consume as healthy as possible, and you can get more info about calories in this other blog post: http://heidipowell.net/5366/all-about-calories/. You can do this!

  13. Desiree Kantande - January 7, 2016

    hello my name is Desiree, im 23 and a mother of a nine month old baby!! i have been a cross country runner for 11+ years. since i had baby boy i have not been running much because im losing weight. ive always had a hard time keep on weight and maintaining a weight. i have a high metabolism and im also nursing which burns calories as well. i want to gain weight. i have been reading everyone on your page. my question is which carb cycle plan would best fit me?

    • Team Powell - January 7, 2016

      Hi Desiree: And congratulations on your new little boy! Here’s another post from this blog that outlines Heidi’s nursing nutrition program – I hope it will help! http://heidipowell.net/2275.

  14. Marci - January 4, 2016

    Thank you for this, I have recently finished breastfeeding and in the process I have lost a TON of muscle which translates to weight, I am about 10 lbs less than pre-pregnancy weight. I know I need to gain weight and muscle back but is the a websit/app or program you use to input foods to know calorie/carb counts? We eat a lot of whole foods and eat clean 90% of the time so the websites/apps I have tried usually only list packaged items and I have a hard time finding whole foods. Thank you

    • Team Powell - January 4, 2016

      Hi Marci: Heidi uses MyFitnessPal – it’s awesome!

  15. Brittany Pavelka - January 1, 2016

    Hi Heidi and Chris,
    For 2 yrs now I have been working out very consistently every week 5 days a week and I was pretty obsessed for a while and then started to become obsessed with every thing I was eating as well and terrified of certain foods and totally cut out breads and dairy. I got so wrapped up with all of this and eventually lost my cycle and my happiness and it’s a battle that I have been trying to turn around because I have been married for going on 5 yrs and am 25 yrs old and my husband and I have been wanting kids asap & it’s because of my selfish self centered self I was that at this moment we are not able too. I have been to the doctor of course for it and they all tell me the same thing. Gain weight! And it seems like I go to the gym less now(holiday time) and eat more and I am weighing less and less to where I am now right at about 100lbs. A normal healthy weight I usually am at is 108-110 and I guess I am just asking for your help and if there is any advice to getting my body back in balance so we can have a family! Thank u!

    • Team Powell - January 1, 2016

      Hi Brittany: I’d continue to work with your healthcare team and make sure your diet is full of proteins, carbs (whole grains, fruits, veggies, legumes, etc.), and healthy fats. You need all of these for your body to get the nutrients it needs and so you can achieve your health and fitness goals. Look at food for your body like fuel for your car: When you don’t get enough fuel or the right kind of fuel, your car won’t function properly. It’s the same with food. You need the right kinds in the right amounts so your body can function properly. And try to find balance in life between working towards your goals and everything else. It can be tricky, but you can do it! ?

  16. Carrie - December 31, 2015

    I’m planning on tracking my food more consistently. Do you guys use a food scale for meal prep? If so any recommendations?

    • Carrie - December 31, 2015

      Tracking macros actually and then maybe after I get the hang out f that I’ll move into carb cycling as well.

  17. Bri - December 31, 2015

    Heidi, I love your tips and advice, thank you! I am pregnant with my third baby. I am a distance runner and have lifted weights a few times a week for years now but since my second baby I put a little more effort into building muscle. I’ve continued to exercise throughout both my pregnancies before and just tapered down as I got further along, just depending on what my body felt like it could do. The thing is, during my pregnancies I have really low energy and my muscle mass seems to deplete very quickly. This pregnancy it’s happening really early. I get really sore from doing runs/workouts that I’ve been doing on a regular basis. Do you think I need to eat more? Carbs? Protein? Should I take a supplement besides a prenatal vitamin? I didn’t gain much weight with my other pregnancies and I prefer that, but I don’t want to lose the muscle I’ve worked for either. TIA!

    • Team Powell - December 31, 2015

      Hi Bri: Congratulations on your pregnancy! That’s so exciting! It would be best if you discuss your questions with your healthcare team and then follow their recommendations. They are the best ones to help you since they know your health history and can work with you personally throughout your pregnancy. We wish you the best! ?

  18. Diana Whitehead - December 30, 2015

    I love following Chris and Heidi! I love watching the videos, reading the books, and following them on social media. Which carb cycle plan – extreme, turbo, fit, classic – etc, is Heidi currently following? Thank you!

    • Team Powell - December 31, 2015

      Hi Diana: Heidi’s following a revised version of carb cycling (not really one of the 5 cycles) based on her current goals.

  19. Tamara - December 30, 2015

    My question is when I’m weight training, how much should I increase the weight that I’m lifting. I have this issue of not being able to lift heavier over months and I’m not sure what the problem is. Basically I can’t seem to make progress in the gym.

  20. chris - December 30, 2015

    Great video on how to gain healthy weight/muscle! I weigh 157 and workout with weights every week and have been trying to get to 175. I would like to to know if you would be able to send a list of healthy foods that might help me in my goal? As a side note, when I was a kid I weighed close to 200 lbs when I was 14. I ate all the wrong foods in large quantities. I quickly learned that I was going to have a hard time getting a girlfriend so I decided to try to change my eating habits and focus more on healthy choices. It took a while, but I was able to fight through the obstacles and lost 30 lbs. I started to get into weight lifting at age 16 and have loved it ever since. I am 36 now and always wake up at 4:30 every morning to workout before I go to work. My wife and I have watched your show since the first time it aired and it makes me want to hit the weights harder and keep that positive attitude everyone needs to live a great life. thanks for all you and Chris do!

    • Team Powell - December 30, 2015

      Hi Chris: We don’t have a foods list available, but you can get an extensive list of foods to choose from in Chris and Heidi’s new book, “Extreme Transformation” (http://amzn.to/1RKDIgo). Good luck – you got this!

  21. Krista Hatch - December 30, 2015

    Hey Heidi and Chris
    I am a fitness instructor– and on Tuesday I teach 2 cardio classes-one which is Cycling. I have just started your turbo cycle and I am thinking that should be a high carb day instead of Low. I teach 5 cardio classes right now — I also can’t eat before I teach. I have always had trouble getting food in first thing in the morning. So I am usually not eating until around 11:30 or noon. Now that I am 50 I am just wanting to make sure I keep my muscle and just lose the 5lbs of fat . I am petite and small frame. Would like to know if you think I should do the extreme cycle instead of turbo?

    • Team Powell - December 30, 2015

      Hi Krista: The awesome thing about carb cycling is that you can change cycles at any time. So try one, and if you need to make a change, go for it! I all depends on your goals, schedule, and what will work best for you. You can do this!

  22. Allie - December 29, 2015

    This is Allie AGAINN!! SORRY I WON’T BOTHER YOU AGAIN ! I don’t know if you have any ideas but I only have one arm making it difficult to work both them out. My right arm is naturally stronger than everyone else’s cause its the only one I have to use. Using only one arm it works only one side of my body making the other still not as correct as the other side. I have more fat on one side than the other. One side of my bad is muscular the other not so much !! I don’t know if you can help but do you have any ideas

    • Team Powell - December 30, 2015

      Hi Allie: I’d work with a coach or physical therapist who can help you figure out what will work best for you since they can work with you one-on-one. You can do this! 🙂

  23. Allie - December 29, 2015

    Hi I’m Allie ( AGAIN! ) and I have another question? My problem is when I work out I work till my body can’t go anymore! Whether it’s running, doing excersizes. I’ll get so determined I don’t let my body rest , I just keep going. I work my body where my muscles stretch making as everyone knows stretcharks! Is their a way to make a schedule or what ever? I do volleyball, track, cross country, basketball, and cheer!! After all that practice I still go home and work more! I’m a WORKAHOLIC!

    • Team Powell - December 30, 2015

      Hi Allie: It’s important to have balance between working out and other things in life. I’d shoot for 60-90 minutes a day of various types of activities (or whatever the length of your practices are), and then do other things besides working out. 🙂

  24. Allie - December 29, 2015

    Hi I’m Allie and I’m 13! I’m a big work out kind of girl.. getting abs Is no problem.. getting BIG muscular thighs is no problem… my problem is having huge muscular thighs.. I’ve seen your legs and their muscular but skinny in a way? I want at least medium sized thighs. I do squats and that gives me a big butt and unfortunately big thighs too. What are excersizes to help me ???

    • Team Powell - December 30, 2015

      Hi Allie: You’ll want to make sure you’re working out all your major muscle groups throughout the week. For your legs/butt, try using lighter weight and doing more reps/set. Heidi has lots of awesome workouts on her blog you can choose from: http://heidipowell.net/?s=workout. 🙂

  25. Danielle - December 29, 2015

    Hey on your lower carb days how do you get your blood sugar to stay in control. I find that I have episodes that my blood sugar will drop when trying to eat lower carb 150g. Even if I eat more fats and protein

    • Team Powell - December 29, 2015

      Are you incorporating vegetables (the non-root/non-starchy type) into your diet on your low-carb days? These do have small amounts of carbs and could help, and they are unlimited in Chris and Heidi’s carb cycling program. And in their program, you have a carb with every breakfast on both low- and high-carb days. Hope that helps!

  26. Patricia - December 29, 2015

    There are so many “coaches” out there, what is the best way to find a reputable strength coach.

    • Team Powell - December 29, 2015

      Many of the top trainer certification organizations (ACE, NASM, ACSM, NSCA, and others) have trainer directories, so that could be a good place to start. Good luck!

  27. Rose - December 29, 2015

    I would love to know more about how you put on your muscle in your upper body. Personally, I need more guns and shoulders to balance out my lower body. I have been working a weight program for the last 5 months, but I’m just not seeing gains in my upper body. You look fantastic and I love how you’ve ‘muscled up’ over the past year. Congratulations to you both on a great year and looking forward to what you both will bring us in the New Year.

  28. Kathy - December 29, 2015

    How many carbs are you eating on your low carb days? Would love to know your complete macro breakdown for both your high and low carb days. Thanks!

    • Team Powell - December 29, 2015

      Hi Kathy: I’m so sorry, but I don’t have that info available. I do know that that number changes regularly depending on Heidi’s progress towards her goals.

  29. Maggie - December 28, 2015

    Love watching your blogs and videos!!!!!

  30. Mackenzie - December 28, 2015

    What exercises and diet plans would you recommend for losing weight?

  31. Michelle - December 28, 2015

    Hu guys. I just love both of you. I am just like u Heidi. I have trouble gaining weight. I would love to gain some weight in my upper body. I crossfit train now.
    I am just getting back on my routine after hernia surgery.
    I am 45 yrs old 5’9 and weigh 125 lbs.
    I grew up a runner . I dont run as much now. Just looking to build up and hopefully look like you one day ☺️ I am a busy mom of 4 boys. But am very dedicated ti keeping fit
    My question is Is there any websites or an easy way to calculate the calories. I have no clue how to keep track.
    Thanks so much

  32. Kelly Barnett - December 28, 2015

    Hello,
    I enjoyed listening to your program you’ve changed to get the gains you’ve wanted.
    My question is when you said you were eating 425 carbs is that calories or grams? I hate to assume you meant calories since 425 grams would be on the high side .

    Best regards,
    Kelly Barnett

  33. Joanna M. - December 28, 2015

    I’ve been weightlifting for a while and am at the point that my clothes fit better and my appearance is improving – YAY! My weight doesn’t seem to be dropping though. I’m on the opposite spectrum of you Heidi, where I do have some weight to lose because it’s fat. Any tips on how to gauge if I’m losing weight, while still gaining muscle? Also, if you can provide tips on leaning out arms to create more muscle definition, I’d so appreciate it!

    • Team Powell - December 28, 2015

      Hi Joanna: It sounds like you’re doing great! Here’s an arm workout you can add to what you’re already doing: http://heidipowell.net/6054/5-minute-workout-for-sculpting-sexy-arms/. Since you do have some fat you’d like to lose, I’d make sure you have a calorie deficit every day (you burn more calories than you consume), do up to an hour of cardio 5 days a week, and continue with your strength training routine too. As for how to gauge gaining muscle and losing fat, your clothes will continue to fit better, and you’ll notice that muscle definition coming through. And be patient – sometimes it’s hard to see those subtle changes!

  34. Sarah - December 28, 2015

    Thank you Heidi, it’s so nice to read an article by someone who has the same struggle to gain weight, it’s so refreshing to read that it’s ok to want to gain, not lose. You’re such a beautiful inspiration 🙂

  35. Jennifer Reifman - December 28, 2015

    I was just wondering if you guys ever do any training sessions when you’re in Colorado I would love to work with you guys and get some tips I’m hoping to step on stage this year but has had a lot of medical problems in the last two years so just curious
    thanks for all you guys do

    • Team Powell - December 28, 2015

      Hi Jennifer: I’m so sorry, but while Chris and Heidi would love to personally work with everyone, they aren’t taking on clients right now. Good luck with your goals! 🙂

  36. Christine Weise - December 28, 2015

    I have been plagued with an eating disorder my entire life. I have worked out since as long as I could walk (just kidding, but that is what it feels like). I have done many marathons, half marathons, century bike rides, you get the picture, lots, and lots of cardio. I have always thought that being thin was the only way I could look good at 5 foot tall. I have dabbled in weight training but never really anything heavy again because thinner has always “felt” better. I have been controlled by my eating every single day of my life with counting calories, and fat, and being mindful of not putting more than 1400 calories or so in my body no matter how many hours I would run or cycle. This year in September I was training for a marathon and decided that after I completed that marathon in November (which I did successfully) I was going to enter a world that is very scary for me and look to compete in a bikini or figure competiion. This world has always intrigued me, but scared the daylights out of me because I know at 5 foot tall and 93 lbs, I would most certainly have to gain weight. Scared the pants off me. I prayed and prayed about it and asked God to give me the strength and the will to finally overcome my insecurities with food and weight and to try something new and challenge my body in a way that I didnt’ think I could mentally or physically. I started with a coach/trainer that I selected after much research and interviewing many that I felt needed to understand my eating disorder, and body dysmorpich disorder and work with me to make gains slowly and reasonably for my small frame. I also wanted someone that was willing to accept and understand that mentally my state of mind was very fragile and gaining weight is one of my biggest fears in life. I started in September with my coach and started a nutrition plan where she actually had me stop counting calories and just eating food to fuel my new workout and weight lifting plan. I started at 93 lbs, and have gained about 5 lbs since then. most of which I know is muscle coupled with a little fat. I am writing because of 2 reasons. Heidi and her story and pictures of just a few short years ago to now is what started the ball rolling for me. our body types in the height of our eating disorders could be mirrors of one another. as I have watched you gain muscle and size I have longed to be able to do the same. you have given me strength and courage and let me know that gaining weight in the correct way is ok, and just a new fitness and personal goal that I can strive for just like running those marathons, or doing those triathlons. The other reason I write is because I would like to learn more about carb cycling the way you use it to gain weight. my coach has me on a pretty strict eating plan that I feel is sustainable for contest prep, however, I want to continue this journey and see where it takes, but fear this way of eating will get old, and I want to do it the right way. my day looks like this: breakfast-2 hardboiled egg whites with 1/3 cup of oatmeal with water and cinnamon, meal 2: 3 scrambled egg whites with 1/4 avocado and 2 slices ezekial toast with black coffee splash almond milk, meal 3: protein shake with small piece of fruit (I use level 1 protein powder), meal 4: 5 oz. protein, 3 oz. sweet potato or whole grain rice, and raw veggies as many as I desire, meal 5: 3 oz. protein, 15 nuts, and apple or pear, meal 6: 5 oz. protein, salad with 1 tbsp. olive oil, vinegar, and veggies, meal 7: protein shake and 15 nuts. as many ways as I can think to get creative with my protein, this way of eating, as mentioned seems like it might get a little monotonous. I want to understand carb cycling for my needs better and was hoping you could help. please email me with some ideas, and help with the thought in mind of my competing in figure in april 2016….thanks so much, you guys are amazing. your faith, your family and your dedication to fitness are all part of the reason I follow you. you keep it real and are truly incredible and Heidi, I cannot express enough how much alike we are and again even so much as at one point could have shared the same body, but now I too, am no longer afraid of the booty, and the weight gain of muscle mass. I feel stronger, more bad a**, and like I am finally coming into my own. I am excited about my first competition, and hope I am successful on that stage, but more than anything, that I have been able to transform my mind and soul into a peaceful place!

    • Team Powell - December 28, 2015

      Hi Christine: What an awesome goal! Heidi works with an amazing group of coaches who help her with her eating plan since it’s constantly changing. Her coaches are at azprophysiques.com. Here’s a basic post about carb cycling, and coupled with the info Heidi shares in this post and video about gaining healthy weight, hopefully it can help you figure out what will work best for you: http://heidipowell.net/2713. Good luck – you got this!

  37. kim - December 28, 2015

    i just recently started my weight loss journey, it been a difficult 3 years for me. We lost our house in Hurricane Sandy, and we are finally back home 3 years and about 40 lbs later and i feel i am really motivated to do this! I stopped all processed foods and sugar but i need a bit of help with meal plan suggestions, how many times a day i should be eating, and some snacks i can eat for a quick fill me up.

    • Team Powell - December 28, 2015

      Hi Kim: You can get 21 days’ worth of meal plans (5 meals a day) in Chris and Heidi’s new book, “Extreme Transformation” (http://amzn.to/1RKDIgo). And I’m so happy to hear that you’re back home!

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