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My 1040 Total Body Workout

POSTED ON April 14, 2014

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Tomorrow is April 15th—Tax Day—the day we all love to hate, and one that looms over us as soon as the clock strikes midnight on December 31st. So if you’re like millions of other Americans and have waited until the last minute to crunch all those numbers, here’s a tax day twist on our 9-Minute Missions workout to get you all warmed up and ready to go!

Taxes already done? Then let’s celebrate…by working out! The best part? You can add this workout into your current exercise regimen and do it any day of the year – not just on Tax Day!

One caution: Since this a total body workout, make sure to rest at least one day before performing it again. ;)

This entire workout (excluding warm up and cool down) takes only 10 minutes. Just a heads up, this one might be hard to follow! I packed it FULL of fun moves in hopes of taking your mind off of your taxes for a bit :). Now don’t worry if you can’t perform one of the moves in the suggested time…just do your best for the entire period of time, and you’ll get the calorie burn we are looking for.

TIP TO STAYING ON TRACK – write the workout on a piece of paper with a marker. Set it in front of you to follow while you are working out :).

Now, find a stopwatch and let’s go!

Warm up: Do some all over body stretches, walk in place, and spend a few minutes just moving!

1040 EZ:

  • Bench Dips (10 seconds)
  • Marching/jogging in place and/or high knees (aim to get your knees to 90* )(40 seconds)
  • Knees to Elbows (10 seconds)
  • Marching/jogging in place and/or high knees (aim to get your knees to 90* )(40 seconds)
  • Air Squats (10 seconds)
  • Marching/jogging in place and/or high knees (aim to get your knees to 90* )(40 seconds)

Repeat twice = 5 minutes



1040 Long:

Repeat twice = 5 minutes

Cool down: It only takes a few minutes—go for a short walk, walk in place, do some stretching.

Now get back to your taxes!!!!

Category: blog / fitness

Stressed Out?

POSTED ON April 10, 2014

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It’s a feeling experienced by everyone. Sometimes you might feel like you’re barely hanging on by a thread, and at other times you might be tempted to leave all your stress behind and go on an impromptu vacation with no return date. ;) Trust me, we’ve all been there at one time or another. And while some stress can have positive effects on your life, too much can really wreak havoc on your health and on your efforts to lose those extra pounds. This negative stress can stem from a seemingly endless list of culprits—relationships, work, finances, loneliness, depression, unmet expectations, an over-scheduled calendar, health problems, and so on—and if you’re not good at managing it, stress can cause all kinds of issues with your digestion, heart, immune system, brain, and blood vessels, as well as headaches, sleep problems, muscle aches, anxiety, restlessness, irritability, anger, sadness, depression, a lack of motivation or focus, changes in your sex drive, and many others.

That list alone is enough to cause some pretty serious stress!

Here are some sobering statistics on stress from WebMD:

  • Almost half of all adults experience health issues caused by stress.
  • Between 75-90% of all doctor’s visits are for symptoms and illnesses caused by stress.
  • The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) found that stress costs American companies more than $300 billion annually.

Stress is a natural response to the challenges you face every day, and when it hits, certain hormones are released to help you deal with it. If you’re trying to lose weight and you’re continually feeling stressed out, these hormones can cause you to gain weight or make it really difficult to lose weight if you don’t deal with stress in productive ways. It’s a vicious cycle: You feel stress, you’re too busy to eat healthy and/or you overeat because you’re stressed, you have a hard time reaching your weight loss goals, and this causes even more stress! :(

So how can you put the stresses of life in their proper place? Check out these stress-fighting tools:

  • Be aware of what causes your stress. It’s easier to do something about it if you’re aware of it. Make notes on a calendar, keep a journal, or whatever works best to track your stress levels and stressors.
  • Exercise regularly. Not only will you burn calories, but when you work out, biochemicals are released that help you feel better. And sometimes the worst thing about stress is feeling helpless to do anything to fix the problem, so exercising is something you can “do”! Promise yourself you’ll do at least 5 minutes of exercise every day, no matter what.
  • Get enough sleep. Believe me—I know how hard this can be. I also know life goes much better, no matter how stressful it is, when I get enough sleep.
  • Make time to relax. Even a few minutes here and there throughout your day can make a difference. Ever tried yoga? It’s a great way to relax and workout at the same time!
  • Be grateful. There is always something to be grateful for, and when you can focus on the positive, the negative gets put in its proper place.
  • Eat regular, healthy meals. Your blood sugar levels will stay steady, your body will have the nutrients it needs to function properly, and it’ll be easier to control your appetite. And you’ll just feel better. :)
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol, which can actually increase your stress and decrease your blood sugar levels.
  • Build strong relationships with family and friends. It’s always good to have people you can vent to, rely on, go to for advice, and simply have fun with!
  • Make time to do things you enjoy, and go for quality over quantity during stressful times.
  • Serve others. It’ll help put your own problems into their proper perspective, and it always feels awesome to help someone in need.

And lastly, remember these words of wisdom: “When we long for life without difficulty, remind us that oaks grow strong under contrary winds and diamonds are made under pressure” (Peter Marshall). The stresses of life can make you stronger, more giving, and an all-around better person when you’re able to deal with them in positive ways.

Category: blog / living

A Powell Packed Weekend

POSTED ON April 8, 2014

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What was the Powell Pack up to this weekend? Family, friends, film, photos, and fun!

First up? A visit by one of our favorite places on earth. Nope, not Disneyland ;). Vemma’s new headquarters for a few video shoots on how our Vemma Family can help enrich and transform the lives of others ☺.


Bob Brenner, from Extreme Weight Loss Season 3, graced us with his presence this weekend, and hit it hard with me on Saturday morning in hot yoga.

Great pose, Bob!

While I was doing happy baby, downward dog, and tree pose with my buddy, Bob, Chris was getting muddy at a local 12 miles race…full of walls, ropes, and electrocution. Not my idea of fun, but the boys tore it up and had some great bro bonding time ☺.


Sunday Funday to finish off the weekend! What did we do? A family photo shoot at an amazing local resort. The best part about this shoot? We got to swim, frolic, and play as a family as the kind photographer snapped away ☺.

Needless to say, we made a day of it…


Love my family fun time!


Category: blog / family

All About Calories

POSTED ON March 24, 2014

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Counting Calories

You’ll find them in 99.99% of everything you eat and drink. They can be your greatest friends or your worst enemies. Eat fewer than you need and you lose weight. Eat more than you need and you gain weight. Yes, it is that simple.

Since calories affect everyone everyday, it’s important to understand them: what they are, what they do, and how to make them work for you instead of against you.

Some basic facts about calories:

  • They represent the amount of energy in the foods you eat and drink.
  • They are not partial to certain types of foods. A calorie from a carrot is the same as a calorie from a doughnut (although the carrot calorie is much healthier, of course!).
  • Different types of foods are automatically higher in calories. Take 1 gram each of protein, carbohydrate, and fat. The grams of protein and carbohydrate each contain 4 calories, while the gram of fat has 9. Yes, that’s more than double the calories gram per gram. Yikes!
  • One pound of fat = 3500 calories.

So how do you get calories on your side in your weight loss battle? First of all you need to know your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR), which is the number of calories your body needs every day just to function properly—to breathe, circulate blood, adjust hormone levels, digest food, grow and repair cells, and so on. While there are several formulas to figure out your BMR, here’s an easy one:

Current body weight x 12 = BMR

150 pounds x 12 = 1,800 calories (BMR)

Simply put, if you eat more than your daily BMR, your body stores those extra calories as fat and you gain weight. If you stay below your BMR, you create a calorie deficit and you lose weight. One caution: women should never eat less than 1,200 calories a day, and men should never go below 1,500. Consuming too few calories sends your body into a protective starvation mode and slows down your metabolism, and a slow metabolism doesn’t burn calories as fast and can cause other problems as well.

There are three basic ways to create a calorie deficit:

  1. Eat fewer calories than your BMR.
  2. Exercise, because it burns calories and builds muscle, and bigger muscles burn even more calories!
  3. A combination of #1 and #2—the best option by far.

Here’s how this works:

  • If you create a daily 500-calorie deficit, you’ll lose 1 pound a week.
  • If you create a daily 1,000-calorie deficit, you’ll lose 2 pounds a week (remember that cutting too many calories from your diet is not good).

I know, I hear you: “But Heidi, I don’t like to count calories.” You’re not alone. Counting calories is so not fun. However, it’s really important to know what you’re taking into your body every time you open your mouth. Studies show that most people think they’ve eaten 20% fewer calories than they actually have, so trying to estimate your calorie intake is a recipe for disaster.

Until you have an opportunity to weigh and measure your food to figure what your “correct” portions look like, this simple graphic shows a safe and easy way to choose appropriate portion sizes without measuring cups or a scale. This should also help keep you from creating a calorie surplus:

How to make a proper meal using the Choose to Lose portion guide

Some final words of advice:

  • It’s important to recalculate your BMR as you lose weight.
  • Some calorie tracking apps add the calories you burn from exercise into your daily to-eat total, making it look like you can eat more than you actually can, and if you do eat all those calories, you won’t have a calorie deficit at the end of the day. Instead, eat the number of calories in your daily eating plan, and subtract the calories you burned to see your deficit. Remember: one pound of fat = 3500 calories, so work to eventually create a 3500 calorie deficit.
  • You can eat calories much faster than you can burn them, so don’t use those exercise-burned calories as permission to eat more food—“I burned 500 calories this morning, so I can eat this cupcake.” So not a good way to do it!

To learn more about our preferred and proven eating and exercise plan—Carb Cycling—check out Chris’s book, Choose More, Lose More for Life. And when you sign up for his FREE semiweekly enewsletter at chrispowell.com you’ll get a FREE printable handy food guide to help you win the calorie battle and reach your weight loss goals!

Category: blog / food

Family Circle: The 4-Minute Workout

POSTED ON February 5, 2014

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Family Circle has given us yet another, amazing opportunity to share a few of our fitness secrets with the world and we are SO excited!

Chris and I have designed a week’s worth of 4-minute workouts, making getting healthy and feeling great a realistic goal for even the busiest schedule. Check out the solution to your workout woes *here*.

What’s Your Excuse?

POSTED ON January 29, 2014

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Those words we speak to ourselves—either vocally or silently—are often the things we blame for not reaching our transformation goals! See if any of these sound familiar:

  • I’m too tired.
  • I’m too old, too fat, too…
  • I have little kids around all. day. long.
  • I work really long hours.
  • I don’t have time.
  • I can’t afford to join the gym.
  • I have an injury.
  • I have a health issue.
  • I travel a lot.
  • I don’t like to go to the gym.
  • I can’t, because…
  • I don’t have a support system.
  • I don’t like veggies.
  • This is just the way I am.
  • The treadmill is soooo boring!
  • And on, and on, and on…

We are brilliant excuse makers! But here’s what I know: Most excuses are rooted in fear—the fear of failure, of what others will think of us, of change, of hard work, of the unknown, of discomfort, and so on.

But you know what? There are really very few legitimate excuses. Injuries or health issues? Nope! Chris and I have never encountered an injury or health issue we can’t work around. And some of our Extreme Weight Loss peeps have dealt with some of the most horrible things imaginable—abuse, loss of a child or parent, eating disorders, loss of a limb, lack of feeling loved, and many others—and they were able to rise above these and reach their goals!

And what about those rationalizations—an excuse’s best friend? They can be just as damaging to reaching our goals! Here are some doozies:

  • I’ll start tomorrow—today’s not a good day because of … (and tomorrow never comes!).
  • I’ll start Monday—a new week will make all the difference this time!
  • I’ll eat this just this once.
  • It’s a holiday…my birthday…my anniversary…my vacation…(fill in the blank). I deserve it! (And then we often overindulge more than a little).
  • If I just finish this carton of ice cream, or this bag of chips…M&Ms…Oreos…etc., it will be all gone and I won’t be tempted to eat it anymore (that’s a classic!). ;-)
  • I exercised today so I can have “extra” calories.
  • And on, and on, and on…

So how do we eliminate excuses and rationalizations so we can reach our goals?

  • Make a list of every excuse and rationalization you think and speak. Besides being rather enlightening, you might even get a pretty good chuckle from how creative you are! Once you’re aware of what you’re doing, you’re better equipped to make changes.
  • Do one small thing today to reignite your fire to achieve your goals. One small success leads to many others!
  • Reevaluate how you spend your time. Let’s be honest—we make time for what’s important to us. Is your time filled with unimportant—but “fun”—time wasters that turn into excuses?
  • Get creative and think outside the box. Can’t workout because you have kids? Find ways to workout WITH the kids (see the video below for an idea!) Sometimes rethinking how we do something is all that is needed to overcome self imposed obstructions.
  • Likewise, remember this important thought: The person who really wants to do something finds a way; the other person finds an excuse (Unknown). ‘Nuff said. :-)

Let’s get to work and become doers, not excusers!

We can do this!

Category: blog / fitness / living

5-Minute Workout for Sculpting Sexy Arms

POSTED ON January 6, 2014

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While most of the country is in a cold spell, spring is not that far away! And nothing says spring like short sleeves and sleeveless tops :). Whether you’re looking to minimize the appearance of that “waving” skin of your underarm, or tone and build some beautifully sculpted shoulders, this 5-minute workout can help. Your shoulders, back, and arms will be in sexy, spring shape in no time at all!

Set the clock for 5 minutes, and do as many rounds as possible of:
10 Bench Dips
10 Commander Push-ups
10 Mountain Climbers

Record the number of rounds completed to set the bar for the next time you do this workout! You can safely repeat this workout twice a week.

Bench Dips:
1. Hold a seated position, shifted a couple of inches off of a bench. Hands should be directly beneath shoulders with elbows extended and knees straight and locked.
2. Lower down, bending elbows to a 90-degree angle.
3. Press upward through palms until elbows are fully extended.


Commander Push-Ups:
1. Begin lying facedown, hands underneath shoulders, with abs tight and body rigid.
2. Press upward, extending elbows while simultaneously driving right knee forward, touching it to your right elbow.
3. Lower body back to the ground, extending leg out and staying rigid from feet to shoulders.
4. Press upward again, extending elbows while simultaneously driving left knee forward, touching it to your left elbow.


Mountain Climbers:
1. Begin in a deep runner’s stance with both hands on the ground, shoulder-width apart.
2. Keeping abs tight, jump and switch feet as fast as you can.
3. Land gently with the opposite foot forward.
4. As soon as your feet touch down, jump quickly and switch feet again.
5. Land gently with the original foot forward.


Category: blog / fitness

My 1st Post Ruby Workout

POSTED ON December 13, 2013

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So many people are asking me if I am working out yet, post-baby. The answer is yes with some fine print ☺. While I have done a couple structured bouts of movement that could be considered “working out”, I am not yet allowing myself to push at the intensity that I am wishing I could, just to be safe.

Most doctors and reputable sources recommend waiting 4-6 weeks post-delivery before Mom gets back into her regular workouts. However, the same reputable sources and doctors also say the most important thing is to listen to your body (we are all different!). They say if you worked out before pregnancy, and continued to workout through your pregnancy, there is a good chance your body may be ready for exercise much quicker than if you didn’t workout before and/or during pregnancy.

My own personal rules of thumb are these:

1. Get my doctor’s okay to begin.
2. If I am experiencing vaginal bleeding still, I am not ready to workout. If at anytime after I start working out, bleeding resumes, I will stop until it subsides and doc says it’s okay to begin again.
3. If I experience any physical pain (unrelated to regular muscular soreness that follows any good workout), I will stop working out or modify the movement to eliminate the pain. I believe that our bodies talk to us this way, and we should listen!
4. If my breast milk production slows down at any point after resuming exercise, I will slow down my workouts, or stop altogether, until milk production ramps back up. Side note: this may also be a sign my calorie consumption and water intake need to increase.

There you have it. As long as these 4 things are in check, I will begin my workouts.

With every baby, this time period has been different. With Matix and Marley, I waited nearly a full 6 weeks because I didn’t do much (if any) exercise during pregnancy. After Cash, I waited about 2-3 weeks, and after Ruby I gave my body 2 weeks before I started “working out”.

I use quotes because, once again, the workouts were so light compared to my usual, but I know just how important it is to start light. More than anything, this was my structured way to move functionally like all new moms (and humans, for that matter) do each and every day. Think:

  • squats – like sitting and standing from couch or toilet,
  • presses – like we do to help our bodies off of the floor or how we push the stroller, and
  • pulling – like we do to lift our babies and hold them to our chest

Nice and basic. Easy and functional.

Time to share the workout! It was one of my favorites and can be done at ANY level of fitness, from beginner to advanced. By choosing a workout that is scalable, I knew I would be able to throttle it up or down at anytime, ensuring I didn’t overwork my body the first time back.

Disclaimer: If you plan to attempt this workout, please make sure you have your doctors approval, as every body is different post baby. Some are ready sooner than others. Your doctor can help you decide if YOU are ready to begin workouts again.

And…a side note: Even if you are NOT pregnant or postpartum, this workout could be great for you – don’t be scared to rev up the intensity! Give it a try.

My 1st Post-Ruby Workout: 12 Minutes of Tabata

What is Tabata? Four minute rounds of exercise. You perform a move for 20 seconds, followed by 10 second rest, repeating 8 times, totaling 4 minutes. Go at your own pace. If you are only able to get ONE repetition of move in during the allotted 20 second time period, then only do one repetition.

Moves I Tabata’d (4 minutes each move. 3 moves, totaling 12 minutes):

Air Squats – My first round I got 20 in, but by round 5 I was slowing down to about 10 squats in 20 seconds.
*These can be modified to be done from a couch or chair. You basically sit down and stand up from the couch or chair to complete one rep.

Pushups – Oh…I struggled with these. Round 1, I did 12. By round 7 and 8, I was happy to get in 1 or 2 pushups. I slowed down once I realized my core needed some attention.
*Feel free to modify this to pushups from your knees or even pushups from your waist.

Bent Over Rows – I used a 45 lbs weight for both arms (not for each arm ☺). These felt good, but worked muscles I seem to have been neglecting for the last little while.
*These were great to end with. I felt like I got the harder moves out of the way first, and got to end with something a tad lighter.

Moral of the story – listen to your body and your doctor. Move when you are ready, and don’t be discouraged to see your fitness levels aren’t where they were pre-pregnancy. Day by day, with some patience, hard work, and perseverance, we can all become even stronger than we were pre-baby!

Category: blog / fitness

Ask Heidi Anything: I’m Diabetic. Which Plan Should I Follow?

POSTED ON November 11, 2013

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I’m often asked about diabetes and how it relates to carb cycling and exercise, so let’s talk about diabetes!

Here are some interesting—and sobering—statistics straight from the American Diabetes Association:

  • As of January 2011, 25.8 million children and adults in the United States—8.3% of the population—have diabetes.
  • 18.8 million people are diagnosed.
  • 7.0 million people are undiagnosed.
  • 79 million people are pre-diabetic.
  • 1.9 million new cases of diabetes were diagnosed in people aged 20 years and older in 2010.

No wonder questions about diabetes and diabetes management are so common!

Let me say this up front: I am not a doctor or registered dietician, so if you have diabetes, please discuss carb cycling and exercise—and how both fit into your individual situation—with your health care team. They might decide carb cycling is the answer for you, or that it is not, or that it could be with a few modifications. That being said, here is some general diabetes-related information I’ve found that will hopefully help you and your team create the best plan for you!

If you’d like some very basic and easy to understand information about diabetes (what it is, symptoms, an explanation of the three types, etc.), check out the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ website.

Diet and Diabetes:

You’ll probably notice that a lot of these ideas apply to carb cycling in general (for diabetics and non-diabetics), with a few adjustments for Gestational Diabetes.

Here are a couple of personal observations from my own experience of working with diabetics (again, please discuss these with your health care team to see if they’re right for you):

  • Many of our show “peeps” have Type 2 Diabetes and have totally reversed this by following our most conservative carb cycle, The Easy Cycle.
  • Diabetics have insulin resistant cells, and carb cycling—alternating between high and low-carb days—can make cells insulin sensitive, which is the goal of any diabetic!

No matter what type of diabetes you have, the actual amount of food (carbs, protein, and fats) to eat at each meal depends on the number of calories you need, which is based on your age, sex, weight, activity level, and whether or not you take insulin. Work with your health care team to design the program that is best for you. To find a registered dietician in your area, go to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ website.

Exercise and Diabetes:

The guidelines for exercise and diabetes can depend on which type of diabetes you have, but here are some general tips:

Besides the manybenefits of exercise everyone can enjoy, the following are especially important for diabetics:

Always be sure to monitor your blood sugar levels before, during, and after exercise as outlined by your health care team, and follow their suggestions for what and when to eat while exercising.

Here are some awesome resources for even more information:

I know I’ve just touched the surface of the diabetes discussion, but the most important thing to remember is that you can have diabetes and reach your health and fitness goals. It might take some time, creativity, and a lot of communication with your healthcare team, but once you find the formula that works for you, the sky’s the limit! ☺

Category: blog / food

#BabyPowell Giveaway: Ergobaby Performance Carrier

POSTED ON October 20, 2013

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Congratulations to our Winner, Annie Browne
Watch for the next Labor Day to Labor Day 12-week Giveaway this coming Sunday.
More prizes coming your way!

Enter to win an #Ergobaby Performance Carrier at http://heidipowell.com/4334 in the #BabyPowell Giveaway #PowellPack #HeidiPowell

If there is one thing I wish I had from day one of Cash’s life, it would be an Ergobaby Performance Carrier. With all of the hiking, trekking, moving, and walking the Powell Pack does, this sure would have made our life easier.

I was introduced to the Ergobaby Carrier this last summer in Colorado. A friend and I were taking our combined 5 kids (6, if you include the baby on board ☺) for a hike in the beautiful mountains of Canon City, CO, and Cash – bless his heart – was being the usual Cashy Boy…super rambunctious! I didn’t have any desire to pull him up those mountains with the risk of him running over a ledge. Nor did I feel like carrying him on my hip the whole way. I was 6 months pregnant for crying out loud!

Ergobaby to the rescue! Much to my surprise, the Ergobaby Carrier my friend lent me not only carried Cash’s 2 year old body on my back, but carried him comfortably for both of us. And until this point, Cash had NEVER been a fan of carriers!! EVER.

I’m sold.

After doing some research of my own, I realized Ergobaby has a line specifically designed for active parents like us! I thought the one I wore was comfortable for hiking…I can only imagine how comfortable the Performance Carrier is. I can’t wait to try it out!

You can win one of these $135 amazing carriers for yourself!

Ergobaby has been kind enough to offer up a carrier from their Performance Carrier line for Baby Powell’s 12-week Baby Shower Giveaway for one of my lucky readers. Thank you, Ergobaby :)

Here’s what you had to do to win:

1. Comment on this post – tell me about your favorite hike, or how you plan to use the Ergobaby Performance Carrier.
2. Like, Share, and/or rePin my #BabyPowell Giveaway posts on as many social media channels as you can: Facebook , Instagram, Twitter, and/or Pinterest.
3. Follow Ergobaby on Pinterest  and/or on Twitter.

Random winner was announced on Wednesday, October 23, 2013. Thanks for participating!

Heidi :)

Enter to win an #Ergobaby Performance Carrier at http://heidipowell.com/?p=4334 in the #BabyPowell Giveaway #PowellPack #HeidiPowell

Category: blog / giveaways / living

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