ShareTV: Exclusive Interview: Chris & Heidi Powell of ‘Extreme Weight Loss’

Originally published on ShareTV.com.

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The 4th season premiere of Extreme Weight Loss (formerly known as Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition) aired on ABC last night! And yesterday we got to talk to Transformation Specialists, Chris and Heidi Powell, all about the show, fitness tips and even daily indulgences! Read the Exclusive Interview below and get to know the Powell Pack (aka The 6 Pack- how cute, right!?!) and their amazing and positive take on life. Plus, Find out what’s coming next for the energetic duo and juicy details from season 4!

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ShareTV: First off, your show is premiering tonight!
Heidi: I know, we are so excited!
Chris: Yes! Tonight we have a nonprofit foundation we started, it’s called The Best Foundation. We’re actually having a viewing party with a couple hundred people that are all coming together and that are going through the transformation journey themselves. We are all going to get together tonight and watch it with a few hundred of us!
ShareTV: That’s exciting! So I’ll dive right in and ask a couple of question about you both and the show. I’m really curious and I’m sure a lot of our fans are too: what’s the most exciting part of helping a new client transform their life?
Heidi: The most exciting part for me is that we really do gain our best friends through this (selfishly speaking), we go through so much with them. We help them with so much throughout the year, and they in turn help us with quite a bit. We really are living life with these people. It’s not like we are just there to train them. We’re in each other’s lives and a big part. To be able to experience so much with such wonderful people and help them through these amazing victories is so incredibly rewarding and fulfilling, and gosh we find our best friends and I guess our extended family through this process.
Chris: Over the journey of their transformation, there’s typically a moment when they get it. They see it from that different perspective, and all of the sudden the light bulb goes on. It’s so awesome gaining lifelong friends, because what we do is so personal too. But, for me I love experiencing that moment with those people. And that’s where the magic really starts to happen and that’s what’s so cool.

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ShareTV: I love that! Is there anything that stands out as difficult to get clients to do before they reach that point? Is there anything they initially they resist in any way?
Heidi: Chris might have a different response, that’s why we love working together because we have such different perspectives and we are able to touch different people in different ways. One of the biggest things that they almost always resist at the beginning is anything that it scares them. We’re all plagued with fears of some kind, but for a lot of them it’s something as simple as exercise. Just the thought of working out and reaching a certain limit is terrifying, because they really do feel like they’re going to die; they’ve never experienced it. Helping them through that physical breakthroughs is incredible. One of the girls, I believe her episode will be on July 1st., Melissa; her biggest fear was dealing with the death of her husband. During that year we helped her face that, and it proved to be the biggest thing in her transformation. Once she was able to unload and face that fear the pounds dropped off. She realized there was nothing to be scared of FEAR is False Evidence Appearing Real, it’s that we are scared of something that hasn’t happened that isn’t going to happen we’re just scared to face certain parts of life, and so helping people through that is amazing it’s by far and away the thing that I feel stops people the most.
Chris: I’m with you 100% on that one.
ShareTV: So for the contestants on the show, fear may be the hardest part, but have any of them expressed their favorite part?
Chris: Oh yea, good question. For most, they, like us, really do cherish the friendship that we develop. That’s one thing we hear over and over, is how much they appreciate us really bringing them into our family. I mean, last year on Christmas four or five of them spent Christmas with us, we have a person living with us right now (literally one room away from us right now!). It’s bringing them into our family and opening up and letting them see that we’re all human and all in this together. I believe they really appreciate that and that’s what we appreciate about them as well.
Heidi: And to add on to that, because Chris is right, the reason it becomes their favorite part is because it’s so unexpected. We always hear, ‘We thought it’d be like boot camp, just exercising and dealing with the physical aspect of it, but that’s the smallest thing we got out of it.’ They say, ‘We gained friends and conquered all these incredible things in our life. How we changed inside is the most unexpected, but the best part of the journey, and the friendships we’ve gained.’
ShareTV: I think that’s what sets you apart from other transformation series. Because it seems like you have incredible fans on your Facebook pages and everything.
Chris: Our fans are so amazing; some of them are really in touch with the psychological and emotional aspect of the journey and it’s really cool because they get it. They understand what we’re doing and they’re so supportive. It’s such a wonderful journey for all of us.

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ShareTV: Once you finish your goal, it’s hard to keep yourself on task. What do you tell your clients after the show is finished, and how do that maintain that lifestyle when you’re still friends but not working with them on a daily basis?
Heidi: We tell them to continue training for something. Truly set a goal, because if you don’t have a physical fitness goal, chances are you’re probably not going to put in the work and the time, especially when Chris and I aren’t there pushing you. You don’t have the weekly weigh-ins that you have to send to the production team every week showing how much you’re losing anymore. So always have a goal whether it’s a Cross fit competition, Triathlon, marathon, or whatever it is, do something you’ve always wanted to accomplish and continually train for it.
Chris: It’s really cool because we are just wrapping up our season 4 finales. Our season 4 people are going through the transition to maintain right now. It’s really neat because they’ve all joined together on this Facebook accountability page and they are all logging on. They’ve all signed up for 5ks, Spartan races and tough mutters and they are signing up because it’s that thing to keep them going. And actually there’s an on going bet between all of them- if anyone gains back they have to put in $100 per pound they gain back. So everyone who didn’t gain back will split the pot, there are 17 individuals and they’re all in, it’s really cool. So there’s all these neat accountability ways, number one: training for an event, number two: betting. Gamble on it, it’s not really a gamble though because you’re in control of it.
ShareTV: That’s really cool! I’ve never heard of anything like that, I’m going to try that myself… so you guys seem like you’ve been in fitness forever! How did you know this was a passion of yours, and when did it turn into extreme weight loss and transformation specialists?
Chris: I started hearing weight loss transformation back in 2003. And that was the first time I really started working with morbidly obese and super obese individuals, and it was one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done. That was really what kind of opened the doors to everything. A few of the individuals I worked with, some of the weight losses were so significant that they went viral- people were posting before and after pictures and everything kind of took off. It was 5 ½ years ago, we were contacted by a production company that was interested in what we were doing out here. So my wife and I drove out to L.A. and sat down with a creative team and developed a show. A couple months later we got a call and they said ABC just bought your show. So, that’s kind of how everything took off. It’s something that we’ve been doing that we’re passionate about for over a decade now. We did it before the show and we’ll be doing it after the show. This is our calling; it’s what we do.
ShareTV: So I’m sure you can’t be good 100% of the time, are there any desserts you just can’t resist or any cheat days that you let yourself have?
Chris: Yes, yes and yes. Of course.
Heidi: I should clarify because it’s not something we can’t resist, because we could if we wanted to. But chances are if it’s something we’re going to resist and deprive ourselves of, all we’re going to think about, all we’re going to want is those foods or those things we can’t have, that’s just the nature of living. We do build it into our plan. Believe it or not I reward myself every single day with a Starbucks morning bun, there’s like 390 calories in that one bun, but by allowing myself that indulgence everyday I can eat totally 100% clean the rest of the time. Whereas for some of our people they do better with a reward day, so by building rewards into our programs, we’re much more likely to maintain it for life. Chris and I call it the 80/20 rule: 80% of the time you’re spot on clean and 20% you enjoy- and it works!

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ShareTV: Are your kids on board, are they interested too?
Heidi: For the most part they don’t know the difference. I was a personal trainer right out of high school and grew up in a fit family. Maddox our oldest is 9, so he only knows his mom into health and nutrition. Marly, Cash and Ruby don’t know any different. So, the same goes with them, we don’t deprive them. You give them a cookie they might finish half of it and be done. But if you deprive, they’ll binge on it.
ShreTV: Yea, I had done the South beach diet at some point (you can’t have fruit for two weeks) and was so upset that I couldn’t have fruit!
Chris: That sounds exactly like Cash. Our whole bottom of the refrigerator is stocked with every berry you can imagine. He loves berries and wants to eat them all day long!
Heidi: Cash is a fruit king, we have to limit him! He’ll eat an entire carton of strawberries, like a big one if we let him.
Chris: We were at a celebratory event the other day. There were tarts with berries on top. They were stacked on a plate and we saw him just eating the berries off the top, and I was like ‘That’s cool, that’s my boy.’
ShareTV: That’s pretty cool! A couple more questions, because I’m sure you have to go, you have a big day with the premiere tonight! I know a lot of people can’t have a personal trainer with them at all times, so what do you think about workout videos like P90X, Hip Hop Abs, Insanity and Zumba Fitness? Do they work for people?
Chris: We love it, absolutely. We’re huge fans of any vehicle for fitness that people can actually do. You know what’s really cool are these walking groups, cross fit, yoga. Any opportunity to get people off the couch and moving, great. DVDs, some of these online programs now are amazing: you can stream videos and follow along and work out with groups.

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ShareTV: Do you have anything else coming in the future that you can share?
Heidi: No more babies, 4 is enough haha! There is a lot of stuff in the works and happening! What I will say is that there is some stuff in collaboration with the show, tools and resources for everybody out there. It will be available within a month or two.
Chris: Basically the transformations that people see on TV, they will be able to experience it at home.
Heidi & Chris: But that’s all we’re going to say for now!
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Watch clips from Extreme Weight Loss on ShareTV here. Plus, connect with Chris on Twitter and Facebook and Heidi on Twitter andFacebook.

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