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.

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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!

Xoxo,

Heidi

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!

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640 Responses

  1. I have been doing the Classic Cycle for 2 1/2 weeks. I have lost 8 lbs so far and really like the plan. I see in the new book it suggests carbs for 4 days in a row and the 2 no carb days as opposed to the every other day switch in Classic. Why the change/should I change?

    1. Thank you so much. That really does clarify things, but leads me to one more question. I drink a Vemma bode shake for breakfast – am I supposed to be adding a fat to that? I do believe it has all the carbs and proteins I need.

    2. Yes, for the Extreme Cycle, you would eat a fat with your Vemma Bode shake.

  2. I bought your book and started reading. The meals sound great but I’m a little overwhelmed by the numbers. Going to the store with a list that has blank amount of ounces or this or that. Plus I’m on a very tight budget so I don’t want to by too much and have things go to waste. Any tips on shopping. Also I’ve noticed in many photos you are using a food scale with a container on it can you explain how you use that with your prep.

    And one final question I take a medication that requires I wait a full hour after taking it to eat. Which means i can’t follow the morning rule of eating within a half hour of waking. Will this change have a negative effect?

    1. Hi Heather: The shopping lists in the back of the book do have the amounts you’ll need to purchase if you’re following the 21 days’ of meals. If you’re not, then you can choose which recipes you’ll make and use those ingredient amounts to put your own lists together. Since you’re just starting out, make a meal plan (based on the options in this post) for a few days, and go from there. We don’t want this to be overwhelming! As for the food scale, on many food scales you can put a container on the scale and zero it out so you’re only measuring your foods, and a food scale is handy if you’re measuring foods in ounces. With medications, it’s best to follow the instructions and plan your meals around that. This should have no negative effect on your results – it’s more important to take your medications properly. You can do this!

  3. Hi! I’m just starting my first cycle of the Extreme Transformation and I have a couple questions about the meal planning. I usually plan on my meals weekly (except for weekends) and for ease I usually eat the same things each day for a week then switch it up the next week (ie same thing for breakfast each day, same thing for lunch, and something different for dinner each night – I never really used to “snack” or have meals 2 and 4 before). My question is, as long as I am using a High carb meal for meals 1-4 and a low carb meal for meal 5 – does it matter if they are all the same?
    Thank you so much! Jennifer

  4. Hi. I’m on the extreme cycle right now. But I have a terrible cold at the moment so I’m not going to the gym this week ( normally I go 4 to 5 times a week). Do I need to change what I eat? Maybe more low carb days since I’m not using much energy on working out? Thanks for your help!

    1. Hi Stephanie: You’ll want to keep things the same since the high- and low-carb days are arranged the way they are for specific reasons. I hope you feel better soon!

  5. I lost 50lbs last year with Vemma Bode shakes and the Turbo cycle….now I have the last 30 to lose and was beyond excited to find the new book and plan! I *LOVE* food and cooking (girl, I’ve got 7 children, so we know how to cook!) and this meal plan is outstanding! However, the prep can be overwhelming. I had already realized I could substitute or, if short on time I could swap out quicker recipes (sticking to the guidelines). Thank you SO MUCH for this book!

  6. Hi- I have a question that may be tmi. I recently finished my first cycle of the extreme transformation. I am very happy with the results and the knowledge I now have. I have always been active but this last month I really stepped it up, exercising between 90-120 mins a day. My period has stopped. I am not pregnant but this has never happened. Could this way of eating /caloric intake/ and exercising stop my cycle?

    1. Hi Claire: This is something you might want to discuss with your healthcare team, and then follow their recommendations. We wish you the best!

  7. I have found the recipes to be to much for me. I am a mom of four who works full time and needs a simple meal plan. Are there any recommendations for easy high carb meal plan samples and also low carb. Could you share an example of a meal plan that would be quick to prepare and store to be on the go?

    1. Hi Shonda: You can use the recipes in any of Chris and Heidi’s books (“Choose to Lose” and “Choose More, Lose More for Life”) and many are very simple. Or you can choose one of the other meal planning options in this post. Pay special attention to the chart in this post that shows you how to put your own meals together using proteins, carbs, fats, and veggies, and this can be very simple. Hope this helps!

  8. Hey guys 🙂

    Just thought you should know….I’m in the middle of phase FOUR! And I’ve lost 20 lbs 🙂

    Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge. You’ve changed another life!

  9. Hi- I just started the extreme transformation, so far I love the recipes and feel really full. I just have some questions, for the reset day you can add one “cheat meal”? and make it a high carb day for the rest of the meals besides dinner? I know you can do the clean cheats, but can you also do one cheat meal plus the clean cheats?
    Also I am training for a half marathon, i usually do my long run on saturday which would be a low carb day, do you see any downside to that?
    Thank you and I think you all are awesome!

    1. Hi Nicole: For your Reset Day, you can eat anything you want up to an extra 1000 calories. These foods can be healthy, or clean cheat-type meals, or a combination of the two. Really, anything you want! For a long run day, what works can be different for each person, and a lot of people find that having all of those high-carb days in a row before a long run day works pretty well, so give it a try. If you find that a low-carb day on that day isn’t working, you can move the weekly eating schedule so you have a high-carb day on that day. Just be sure and leave the days (high- and low-carb) in the same order. Hope that helps!

  10. Hi Team Powell, I wanted to let you know I think your book Extreme Transformation has been really informative and insightful as well as clear and simplified. I lost 6 pounds in the first week and down to 115lbs, love those metabolic missions!!. Thank you for the dedication and hard work you put into the book as well as to your clients and fans in helping achieve their goals.I can only speak for myself that it has really helped change and enhanced my lifestyle, health and well being. All the best and wish you both continued success!!!

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