The Extreme Cycle | Meal Planning Tips

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Chris and I have been so excited and touched by the positive feedback we’ve received on our new book, Extreme Transformation! We seriously poured our lives—and lots of blood, sweat, and tears—into this book with the hope that it would help you begin and achieve your transformation goals, whatever they may be. And…we included 21 days? worth of amazing meals in this book after so many of you asked for a daily meal plan. We aim to please! 😉

Many of you have loved the daily meal plans, but we’ve heard that some of you are a little overwhelmed with all of the shopping, prepping, and cooking involved with some of the amazing recipes in the Extreme Cycle. We know it is a lot to take in all at once, and we did not mean for this new way of doing things to be a “do it all now” type of experience. We recognize that it takes just small baby steps to begin to incorporate new healthy habits into your lifestyle, and that’s exactly how we expect it to be with this new carb cycle. That being said, here are five options we’ve laid out for you to help simplify your meal planning on the Extreme Cycle:

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Option 1: Follow the 21 day’s worth of meal plans as outlined in Extreme Transformation.

We’ve outlined the shopping list, meal prep, and other tips for you to use to prepare and cook your meals for 21 days. We tried our best to include a variety of recipes each week, because variety is huge when you’re trying to incorporate new habits into your life.


Option 2: Follow the daily outline of low- or high-carb meals in Extreme Transformation with some substitutions.

If you find a day’s plan that works well for you, do it again! You can double up the same meals during the week to cut down on meal prep (eat the same dinner on Monday and Thursday, for example), or swap meals (high-carb for high carb, low-carb for low-carb, clean cheat for clean cheat, breakfast for breakfast) to make meal planning and prep easier. If you find that some recipes are easier to prepare than others, then go for those!

Option 3: Use other high-and low-carb recipes.

If you have our other books, Choose to Lose and/or Choose More, Lose More for Life, you can use any of the high-carb and low-carb meals from these books in the Extreme Cycle. And if you have your own low- and high carb recipes, you can use those too.

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Option 4: Put your own meals together.

We know there are times when you’re out and about and need a quick, healthy meal. Or you need a fast ‘n easy meal made in 5 minutes or less, and simply don’t have time to put one of our recipes together. Be sure to scroll to the end of this post for some guides straight from Extreme Transformation that will help you design your own meals!

Option 5: A combination of the other 4 options.

We want this meal plan to be very user friendly, which is crucial to long-term carb cycling success, so do what works best for you and your schedule! If cooking is your thing, we’ve got you covered for 21 days! If meal prepping and cooking different meals doesn’t fit into your life, then bulk prep meals. You can even freeze many of our meals for a quick option later. If you like to put your own meals together, that works too. And it’s always a good idea to keep quick options with you wherever you go so that you don’t derail your eating plan because you don’t have healthy options available. And what about eating out? Our guides in option 4 will help you navigate any menu so you can make the best choices for your goals.

And no matter which option you choose, remember that this is a life-long journey! You’re not expected to do everything at once—perfectly. One of the best things about any transformation journey is all the things we learn along the way, so it’s 100% okay—and absolutely normal—to encounter some bumps on the path. With practice and patience, you will figure out what works best for you!

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If you have any other questions about meal planning on the Extreme Cycle, please leave me a comment below. And please share what’s worked for you so we can all learn from each other!



Related reading:

Carb Confusion
The Power of Protein
Protein Powder: It’s Not Just for Shakes Anymore!
Ask the Powells: How Can I Structure My Meals?
Pre-Workout Problem: To Eat or Not To Eat?
Avoiding Road Trip Road Blocks!

Are you ready to begin your own Extreme Transformation? Grab a copy of our book today, and let’s go!


Create Your Own Meals Cal Macro Chart p 72



640 Responses

  1. What is the cookie dough looking like cookie in the pictures at the top of thi article?
    May I have the recipe?

    1. Hi Carla: It’s Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, and the recipe is in Chris and Heidi’s new book, “Extreme Transformation.”

  2. Team Powell:
    I just finished my first cycle of extreme transformation. I lost 5 lbs in my first week, 1 lb. In my second week, but I didn’t loose anything the last week. I have been working out to Chris’s Extreme Weight loss DVD and going to the gym for 30-45 mins to the gym on the days I haven’t used the DVD.
    I have followed the diet exactly and I think I am missing something. I’m not following the exact workout regimen, but i feel like I’m doing more since I’m using the DVD.
    I started day one today of my second cycle, is there something that I can do to help Jumpstart my weight loss on the program again? I’m feeling a little discouraged.

    1. Hi Kim: Have you been doing the metabolic missions or your own strength training program? And I’d aim for 60 minutes of cardio/accelerators 6 days a week if you can, and make sure you’re working out in your fat burning heart rate zone. You might also want to double check your water intake, because that’s super important too. How many pounds are you wanting to lose?

    2. I have been doing some of thee metabolic missions but have mostly been following your DVD levels 1, 2 and 3. I do at least 30 minutes of cardio at the gym 2 to 3 nights a week and the DVD the other nights in between. I monitor my water intake with an app on my phone called plant nanny and drink at least 5,000 ml of water a day. I started my weight loss regimen on January 14, 2016 but started the extreme transformation on February 15, 2016. I have lost 17 lbs so far but want to loose 41 more pounds.

  3. Hi! I’m excited to start this program! I’m also going to be training for a half marathon and possible a full (fingers crossed I get in the lottery for the Chicago marathon!) I was wondering should I do more reps of the metabolic missions to start or just follow program as is? I’ve always had a hard time getting the strength training in and am hoping this cycle program will help with my marathon times! The recipes all look so good, I have a dairy allergy so what do you suggest to substitute for the cheeses and yogurt? Thanks so much for all you do!!

    1. Hi Katie: If you’d like to do more of the metabolic missions each day, you can. For the recipes with dairy in them, you can substitute any other like recipes for those with dairy (low-carb for low-carb, high-carb for high-carb, etc.). Good luck – you can do this! ?

  4. I love your new book, thanks for the prep ideas! I have finished the first 3 weeks and am starting over this week but picking and choosing from my favorite recipes. I am struggling with the Accelerators as I have bone on bone arthritis in my knees and am not able to do a lot of those exercises (getting down on the floor, jumping). Any suggestions or link to other blogs? I am down 12 lbs in 3 weeks and know I can do even more if I can just up my activity. Love the program!

  5. We’re currently on our 4th cycle of the Extreme Transformation book already and love it! Thank you so much for these tips- it will help keep the program fresh and help us stick with it!
    My husband has lost 30lbs since January when we started this and he doesn’t want to lose any more weight- he’s now looking to find out how to stick with this meal plan but GAIN lean muscle. Any tips??

    Please let us know – this book has been life changing!

  6. Hello Team Powell!

    I am on day 1 of the Extreme Transformation and I have more questions ? SORRY, but I am a little confused.

    1. I asked the other day about a breakfast smoothie I make, and I want to confirm I have the correct breakfast breakdown according to the book:

    ? 1 Cup Unsweetened Almond Milk
    ? 1 Cup Blueberries
    ? 1 Scoop Smart Protein Natural Vanilla Whey
    ? 1 Tbsp Barlean?s Flax-Chia-Coconut blend
    ? 1 Tsp Vanilla Extract

    2. For HC meals I made the chili (delish), the parfait (pg. 228) and the muffins (pg. 238). My question is, how are these covering the ?Protein, Carbs, Vegetable? when these don?t have veggies in them? Am I missing something?

    3. At times I purchase Gardein products such as the 7 grain chicken tenders or fishless filets. What would a serving of these be considered?

    4. I like to drink decaf coffee at times. I assume I can?t use powdered creamer, is there anything I can use versus black coffee?

    5. At times I like an unsweet green tea from Starbucks which online states 0 calories, but I like it with their matcha powder which I just found out is mixed with cane sugar ? is this a no?

    6. I love the recipe for the PB&J Rice cakes, but at work I don?t have time to make any shakes ? is there something else I can pair with this to make it appropriate? Maybe hardboiled eggs?

    7. Speaking of eggs I found a recipe for pancakes: 1 banana and 2 whole eggs ? how does this count? Again, I am a little confused with what counts as what. I read eggs count as both a fat and/or protein.

    8. Are there any readymade items that can be purchased for both HC and LC days? I need something I can pack and travel with at times.

    9. I was told to look at some Paleo recipes to make snacks, but I get confused when there are no veggies ? but the parfait as I stated and the muffins don?t fit the mold I don?t think.

    10. Is there a specific way I should structure my reset day for 2500 calories? I don?t have to eat 5 meals correct? I can enjoy breakfast and then have a burger and fries later as long as it doesn?t exceed the calories, right? Also, am I allowed an alcoholic beverage on a cheat day or is that out of the question?

    I apologize in advance for all the questions, but I can’t promise I won’t have more 🙁


    1. Hi Nicole: Let’s get you some answers to your questions! 1. You’ll need to add a bit of fat to this meal, as the Tbsp Barlean?s Flax-Chia-Coconut blend in this amount really isn’t a full fat. 2. For high-carb meals, the veggies are optional if you’re full. 3. For any protein source, you’ll want it to be very low in carbs (if any at all) and follow the protein guidelines in this post. 4. We recommend you don’t add anything to your coffee except natural sweeteners. 5. Again, it’s best to use natural sweeteners. 6. You can use any protein source that will help you reach the same grams of total protein in this recipe. 7. This would count as the protein and carb parts of a high-carb meal. 8. Any of the quick items on the list at the bottom of this post could work. 9. Veggies are optional for high-carb meals, but not optional for low-carb meals. 10. For your Reset Day, you can eat anything you want! Hope that helps!

  7. Hi!! I started extreme transformation today!! The recipes look great and I look forward to trying many of them. I truly appreciate all you and Chris do to ? I’m praying That God uses this program to help me conquer the addiction to food.
    Thanks again!

  8. Thank you SO MUCH! I’m trying the variety in week 1 so I can see what works best for me and is the easiest to prepare. It’s a little overwhelming when you’re used to doing so much less cooking, but I’m committed!

    The image of the shopping list above Option 2 looks MUCH easier to use than scrolling back and forth through my Kindle at the crowded grocery store. Is that full shopping list image available somewhere so I can print it out and take it with me to the store?

    1. Hi Brian: I’m so sorry, but we don’t have any of the forms available for download. We’re so excited the post will be helpful!

  9. I just bought your newest book a few days ago and started the Extreme Transformation with my husband. I have loved the book so far and find it very helpful that you have everything laid out so well! My husband is still a little weary, however, he thinks the portions are way too big! I assured him that I measured out everything according to the recipe. But he isnt used to eating such a large portion of food at once. He also has found it hard to carve out time during his work day to eat the meals that I’ve prepared ahead of time for him (he is in car sales) Do you have any advice or tips I can pass on to him to help him be successful for the next 21 days?

  10. I love all the books, and have had amazing success with carb cycling. I was curious is the Extreme Cycle usable for marathon training, or would it be better to follow the Fit Cycle?

    1. Hi MacKenzie: You could actually try either one, and you can change cycles at any time.

    2. what books do you have MacKenzie? Im going to start back soon and i cold use as much help as possible.

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