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!


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!



Related reading:

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

70 Responses

  1. 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!

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

  2. 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.

  3. 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!

    1. 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” ( Good luck – you got this!

  4. 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?

    1. 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!

  5. 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

    1. 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! 🙂

  6. 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!

    1. 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. 🙂

  7. 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 ???

    1. 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: 🙂

  8. 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

    1. 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!

    1. 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!

  9. 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.

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