Carb Cycling 101: What Is It + How Does It Work?

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Carb cycling is the foundation of what I do every day and with every client. I know through years of experience with many different clients that carb cycling works, so I’m going to introduce you to the basics and the five different carb cycling plans—Easy, Classic, Turbo, and Fit, and Extreme. I’m stripping it down to the basics to get you started:

What is Carb Cycling + How Does it Work?

Carb cycling is an eating plan with alternating high carb and low carb days. It’s that simple. It also has built-in reward days or reward meals (depending on the plan you’re following), so you can still eat your favorite foods on a regular basis. Sounds pretty much perfect, right? You can eat healthy foods, enjoy foods you love, and still lose weight.

While each plan has a different mix of high carb and low carb days, each day works basically the same:

  • Eat five meals—no more, no less.
  • Eat breakfast within 60 minutes of waking or whenever your feeding window opens if you’re an intermittent faster.
  • For breakfast, you’ll eat a portion of protein, carbs, and fat.
  • For your next 3 meals (snack, lunch, snack), you’ll eat either a low or high carb meal depending on which day you’re on. So, if you’re on a low carb day, those three meals will be low carb. If you’re on a high carb day, those three meals will be high carb.
  • Your last meal of the day will ALWAYS be a low carb meal. Always.
  • Choose approved foods.
  • Drink ½ your body weight in ounces of water every day. So, if you weigh 150 lbs, you’ll drink 75 ounces a day.

How Does Carb Cycling Work?

Carb cycling is based on the right combination of proteins, carbs, and healthy fats. In order to lose weight, our bodies need the right combination. Here’s why:

  • Protein builds and maintains muscles and these muscles burn calories like an inferno. Protein also breaks down more slowly than carbs and fat, which burns even more calories and helps you feel fuller longer.
  • Carbs are the preferred fuel source for your muscles and organs, and they come in healthy versions (vegetables, fruits, grains, and legumes), and not-so-healthy versions (cakes, cookies, soda, doughnuts, candy, and many processed foods).  Healthy carbs are also crucial for burning calories, and since they break down more slowly than those not-so-healthy carbs, they keep your blood sugar and energy levels steady, and they also keep your calorie-burning furnace hot so it burns more calories!
  • Healthy fats (unsaturated fats) eaten in moderation help the development and function of your eyes and brain and help prevent heart disease, stroke, depression, and arthritis. Healthy fats also help keep your energy levels steady and keep you from feeling hungry.

Why do we alternate high carb + low carb days in carb cycling?

On high carb days you’re stocking your calorie-burning furnace so that on low carb days your furnace burns fat, and lots of it! This pattern tricks your metabolism into burning a lot of calories, even on those low carb days. It’s an amazing and well-proven process.

What are the Benefits of Carb Cycling?

Carb cycling has many benefits:

  • It fits any lifestyle.
  • You’ll learn how to shed weight and body fat and how to make smart lifestyle choices for the rest of your life. This puts YOU in control.
  • You’ll feel better and have more energy.
  • You’ll eat the foods you love.
  • You’ll build lean, strong muscles.
  • You’ll be empowered physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

I’ve only skimmed the surface of carb cycling, so learn more about our five carb cycling plans to find your ideal cycle, and let’s get cycling!

Get even more information on carb cycling in both or our books: Extreme Transformation (the newest edition to our carb cycline lineup featuring the Extreme Cycle) and Choose More, Lose More for Life (which features our other four cycles).


If you’d like some help creating your own meals, there’s a handy “Create Your Own Meals” chart in this post! To get a customized cycle for you and your goals + several workout programs (from gym-based to bodyweight to dance) + the all-important life lessons (the key to long-term transformation), check out The Transform App.

Note: If you’ve been carb cycling using our book, Choose Lose More, Lose More for Life, you’ll notice that we’ve changed a couple of things since that book was published: You now include a fat for breakfast, and every final meal of the day is a low carb meal. Like with a lot of things in life, the more you do them, the more you learn about how to do them even better!


1,381 Responses

  1. Hi I am a 50 yrs woman. I was slim and sexy all my life. I have been a size 8 and now a size 12 …..
    I hurt myself 3 years ago and stop any workout for few months. I gained weight from eating alot of sweets and not taking care of my food intake…
    The result is now not able to loose weight : try so far. 21 day fix. IF for 1 year = lost 12 lb gained it back.
    Try about anything so far.

    I am still sore in my hips , shoulder and got an tennis elbow. I use to workout min. 5 days a week and eat super well.
    But now at 50 I am hopeless and all my old tricks do not work. And sore for 2 days when doing a workout….sniff

    I eat well but my scale will add fat and lb . I don?t know if Carb Cycling is good for a mature woman. I am very discouraged at this point but I cannot give up.

    Please respond to me honestly I don?t want to loose my time and be deceived again. Is this program good for menopause woman???
    Thank you for your time and be safe .

  2. Hello! I work out 5 days a week. I do mostly strength training and some HIIT. I’m currently following Caroline Girvan’s 10 week epic challenge (which is AMAZING). I weigh 130lbs. I’m a Mom of 3. I’m currently on week 7 of my workout challenge. I feel like i should be toning up faster than what I am. I have a lot of muscle but also feel like i have a lot of fat over that muscle. I’ve been looking over your website here on carb cycling for the last hour and have printed some material. I have tried carb cycling in the past (for my wedding when i was working out like crazy.) The carb cycling program was really hard, keeping track of all the carbs, proteins, and fats in grams. I want to start carb cycling but I’m not sure which one of your carb cycling program i should follow of yours? the easy, fit, turbo etc.?

    1. Hi Michelle: We always recommend you follow the carb cycle that will work best for you, and all of them can help you achieve your goals. We often recommend people start with the Extreme Cycle, and to keep things simple, you can follow the meal creation chart in this post that uses your hand to help you create portion sizes: If you’d like to try out our app, The Transform App, for FREE for 14 days, go here: The app has all the carb cycles + over 550 meals you can choose from, which are scaled to your nutrition needs and your goals. You can add your own foods also, and when you choose any of our meals, all the counting is done for you. And remember, it can take time to build muscle, so keep being patient with yourself, and you’ll get there!

  3. Can you Carb Cycle with just 3 meals a day? Is the new book suitable for me if I need to loose a lot of weight? I remember Chris from years ago helping David, I’m there myself sadly but now I have to make some changes.

    1. Hi Jeremy: While we recommend eating your meals every 3 hours, plan your meals in the way that works best for you. And yes, the new book could work for you. If you’d like to try our app for free for 14 days (the app has customized nutrition and workout programs that are amazing), go here: We wish you all the best!

  4. Your original book had a high carb week every 3 weeks. Has that changed or is that still the case? Thank you!

    1. Hi Tara: In Chris and Heidi’s The Transform App, a slingshot week (a week of all high carb days) can be taken after several weeks of plateauing. However, you can still add a slingshot week every 3 weeks if you’d like. We recommend you do what works best for you. Hope that helps! 🙂

  5. I did low carbs (50 and less sometimes) for years and lost around 40lbs. My goal weight for a 5’5 and half ,female, is 127lbs. I keep coming down to 132 and going back up to 137/138. This happened 4 times in the last 1 year. Lately I have been very shaky, nauseated, lightheaded. My cardio performance derailed as well. I have started adding carbs to my diet. With so much information out there your article stands out with very clear and detailed information. Would you recommend carb cycling for my last 10lbs? If so which of the 5 plans you listed?

    1. Hi DK: Thank you for your comment, and congratulations on losing 40 lbs! Carb cycling could definitely be a good option for you. Since you have been on a low carb diet and have been trying to slowly reintroduce carbs into your diet, I’d start with the Turbo Cycle, the cycle which has the most low carb days. But most importantly, I’d follow the cycle that best works into your life AND that you can stick to. That cycle might change over time, and that’s totally okay! Healthy eating is a marathon, not a sprint. It’s a lifelong thing, not a short-term thing. Hope that helps! 🙂

    2. We have been following the Extreme transformation plan , 4 days high carb, followed by 2 low carb and then cheat day. We have been following the meal plan in the book and have a question about daily calorie goal. The daily meal plans in the book exceed recommended caloric totals of 1200 calories per day for low carb and 1500 for high carb.recommended for women. What are we missing?

    3. Hi Joan: You’re doing awesome! It’s almost impossible to hit those daily calories goals exactly, so we try and get as close as we can. Some days you’ll be under and some days you’ll be over. If you follow the meal plan in the book exactly, work out regularly, and drink all your water, you should be good to go!

  6. I have watched my fianc?e have successful results with carb cycling and am excited to start the journey myself l, but I?m still confused on a few things.

    1. Breakfast is always protein, carb, and fat. Dinner is always protein, veggie, fat. Are you supposed to eat veggies with every meal regardless of low or high carb days, or just on your low carb days?

    2. The portion size guide is helpful, but I?m looking for a more specific way to measure my food using a food scale and cups. Can you tell me how many ounces or protein I should be having with each meal, how many cups or veggies/ carbs, and how many teaspoons of fats?

    Thank you!

    1. Hi Ashley! Great questions!

      1) You can eat veggies (the non-root/non-starchy type) all day long on any day, in fact, we encourage it!
      2) There?s a link to an awesome macros calculator in this post: This calculator won?t break down your calories into low and high carb days, but there?s a ?Create Your Own Meals? chart in this post that can help you figure out low and high carb days: Just remember that each gram of protein and carbs = 4 calories, and each gram of fat = 9 calories. We also offer a customized nutrition program in our app, The Transform App (, which adjusts as you progress towards your goals. The app has several amazing workout programs too! Hope this helps!

  7. Dear Heidi,

    I have just quit the keto diet because it resulted in a hormonal disbalance and heavy menstrual bleeding (my estrogen has skyrocketed and my progesterone dropped below the normal level). I need to shed a lot of pounds (I am obese with 265 lbs) and start preparing for ivf. Also, I have a carotid disease i.e. clogged carotid arteries. Please, tell me whether carb cycling influences the levels of estrogen and progesterone and whether it is safe for people who have carotid disease. I would be grateful if you can help me chose the right plan (easy or classic, or maybe one of the others), considering my situation. I do not exercise, but I intend to start walking on my treadmill. Thanks for your time! Keep shining! xoxo

    1. Hi Irena: With your health issues, I’d definitely discuss carb cycling with your healthcare team and then follow their recommendations as to if it will work for you and which cycle to follow since each has a different combination of low and high carb days. We wish you all the best! 🙂

  8. Hi Heidi
    I’ve been reading all this information on your website and I would really like to start carb cycling. I’m 57 years old I think I weigh about 265 and would like to drop about 70 lb. The only problem I might find with any kind of program is that I’ve had gastric sleeve surgery about 5 years ago so it’s really difficult for me to eat a lot of food I initially lost 80 lb but feel like plateaued and can’t lose anymore I may have even gained a few pounds back I would really like your help in choosing which plan would work best for me.
    I look forward to hearing from you.

    1. Hi Diana: The best plan to choose is the one you can do long-term, and with your gastric sleeve, I’d discuss the different carb cycling programs with your healthcare team and have them help you decide which plan to try and if there are any modifications that might be needed. You can do this!

  9. Hello Heidi! This was a VERY informative post and I?m so inspired to learn more and try your app! I have a couple of questions:
    (1) is it a bad thing if we drink MORE than 1/2 our body weight in water? Can we do that?
    (2) I saw your YouTube video too where you mentioned that we can eat as much cruciferous veggies as we want – I?m assuming this is still true for Turbo mode of carb cycling?
    (3) do we have to have 5 meals even if we aren?t that hungry?

    Question (1) is the most important to me because I tend to drink a lot of water…especially in the evening.

    Thank you so much!

    1. Hi Lia: Let’s get you some answers! 1) It’s not a bad thing, but like with everything else, too much of a good thing can be not so good. Make sure you’re drinking 1/2 your body weight + any lost through working out. 2) Yes, this is true for any of our carb cycles. 3) You can space your meals out as you’d like/what works best for you. 🙂

  10. Hi I was wondering about just counting macros should I do carb cycling over counting macros? Which would be best? Does your plan just have macro counting or just carb cycling just starting this journey out and wonder which is best

    1. Hi Lisa: You can actually do both at the same time! There?s a link to an awesome calculator in this post: This calculator won?t break down your calories into low and high carb days, but there?s a ?Create a Meal? chart in this post that can help you figure out low and high carb days: Just remember that each gram of protein and carbs = 4 calories, and each gram of fat = 9 calories. We also offer a customized nutrition program in our app, The Transform App (, which adjusts as you progress towards your goals. The app has several amazing workout programs too! Hope this helps!

    2. Hi Heidi ,

      I joindre the “Transform App” only a few days ago.
      I’m 49y.o, 5’2″, weight start 190 lbs , I want to lose 45 lbs.
      Which Carb Cycle is better for me ?
      As I’m on my first week, can I change Carb Cycle program from “Classic” to one more suitable for me ?

    3. Hi Josee: You can change carb cycles at any time, but we do recommend that you give a carb cycle several weeks (4-6) before changing. It can take your body that long to adjust to a new plan. And if you want to change from the Classic Cycle, you might want to try the Extreme Cycle. Again, give it several weeks first. Hope that helps!

    4. Can you eat oatmeal for breakfast? I usually have 1/2 cup oatmeal with hemp seeds. Thanks

    5. Hi Elizabeth! Yes! Oatmeal can be the carb part of your breakfast, and the hemp seeds can be the fat. You just need to add protein for a carb cycling breakfast. 🙂

    6. Question… what does a “reward day” look like? I know it is not meant to be an all out feast but can you give an example. Thanks

    7. Hi Ginny: For your reward day, you’ll eat an extra 750 calories over your high carb day calories. These calories can be made up of foods you crave that might not be on plan (just make sure these foods won’t be triggers for overeating), healthy foods, or a combination of the two. The most important thing is to eat the extra calories, so choose what foods will work best for you. Ideally, you’ll still get in all your protein on your reward day too. Hope this helps!

  11. Hiii, im a fashion model
    I would like to have dry muscle but not lose weight. Which is right for me and how can I lose fat on a low-carb day?

    1. Hi Soheil: I’d begin with the Fit Cycle or the Extreme Cycle. Both of those cycles could work. Or, you could also try our app, The Transform App, which offers you a totally customized program that can help you with your specific goal. You can learn more about the app here: You got this! 🙂

    1. Hi Amelia: If you’re prone to building muscle in one area over others, then train that area a bit less and/or do compound movements instead of movements that isolate that muscle group. Hope that helps! 🙂

  12. Heidi,
    Love your info! Is it ok if I share aspects of the program with my clients or is that some kind of copy right infringement or something?

    1. Hi Whitney: As long as you share the source, share away! Lots of fitness professionals follow carb cycling, so no need to worry about copyright infringement. 😉

  13. Depending in which carb cycle I choose. – does it matter which days I do HIIT workouts? Which days should I avoid where I won?t have peak energy?

    1. Hi Rachel: Great question! It’s actually a personal thing. Some people like their high carb days the day before an intense workout, others like their high carb days the same day as an intense workout. Experiment a bit to see what works best for you. We hope you love carb cycling!

    2. Hello,

      I was looking into Carb Cycling and your post from 2012 came up. Is this something you still utilize? The reason I ask is because it seemed to be a core foundation of your program several years ago, but there’s no space on your website dedicated to it – and there are no current articles when I do a search on your website. It has me hesitant to to try it if times have changed and it’s not as beneficial in the long-term or something. I don’t want to assume either, but just noticed all this and would like some insight to help me decide.

      Thank you!

    3. Hey!
      I?m not meaning to comment directly on Rachel?s post but can?t figure out how to post a comment otherwise. I?m looking into carb cycling as someone who is wanting to Be healthier, become more active, and tone up and lose a a little weight. I?m 5?7? And weigh 145 pounds. I also started training for a half marathon and was wondering which option would Be the best for me.

    4. Hi Krista! Welcome to carb cycling! I’d start with the Extreme Cycle or the Fit Cycle since you’re training for a 1/2 marathon. For whichever one you choose, give it several weeks to make sure it’s a good fit for you before changing. It takes our bodies that long to adjust to a new plan. And good luck on your 1/2 marathon!

  14. I am 5’9, 127lbs and have good muscle, but i am wanting to put on better definition for the summer. I am 16 weeks post surgery and have been eating 5 meals a day and doing maintanance macros. I strength train 3 days a week and Hiit 2. Which ipen would be best for me. I’m feeling low energy, bored and fighting binges again with the post christmas detox and I want to change things up but not sure which plan to try and how low the low carb days are and how high the highs are

    1. Just wondering about eating 30 min. After awakening, I cant seem to get myself to eat that soon after will that mess things up if I wait longer to eat.

    2. Hi Leah: You can actually take up to an hour to eat after waking up, but we also recommend you do what works best for you! 🙂

    3. Okay, so have the app. Love it. Bit wondering if I chose the best nutrition plan. I do my strength training and do my accelators (I’m not 100% each week but at least 80% compliance on those) I have maybe 15 lbs to go and really want to tone and get more definition. Currently doing the phase 5 home body sculpting program. Which nutrition program would you recommend?

    4. Hi Lindsey: We love that you’re loving the app! I’d go with either the Fit Cycle or the Extreme Cycle, give the one you choose several weeks to make sure it’ll work best for you. 🙂

  15. Hi Team Powell 🙂

    I have about 60lbs to lose to my ultimate goal. Seems like each plan works better for one person than another-and I?m wondering which one you would recommend for me. I have a home gym set up, and recently diagnosed with PCOS which can interfere with insulin/carb intake. Thanks!

    1. Hi Sarah: We do have lots of women with PCOS who follow our plan, but we always recommend you discuss our different carb cycles with your healthcare team to see which one(s) is best for you and what modifications might need to be made specifically for you. If you’re using the app, choose whichever workout program you’ll do regularly. You can also change workout programs at any time. Hope that helps! 🙂

  16. I have been dieting low carb. I?m am very interested in carb cycling. I?m having foot surgery and will be down a minimum 6 weeks. Should I wait to carb cycle until I can exercise again?

    1. Hi Nancy: I’m so sorry to hear about your upcoming foot surgery, and I hope you recover quickly! You don’t need to wait to begin carb cycling, you can carb cycle any time and all the time. Hope that helps! 🙂

    1. Hi Mellony: With PCOS, we always recommend you discuss carb cycling with your healthcare team and have them help you figure out which cycle would be best for you as well as if you’ll need any additional modifications. We wish you all the very best!

    2. Two questions.. Should you eat high carb and do high intensity the day after… And alternative high and low carb days weekly?

    3. Hi Jessica: Great questions! The answers can be different for each person. Some do better doing their hardest workouts on high carb days, others the day after. I’d experiment and do what works best for you! Same for how you arrange your low and high carb days. It depends on what works best for your workouts and your goals. Hope that helps! 🙂

  17. Hi, I have the last twenty pounds to lose and I have chronic rib pain so it?s hard to do a lot of cardio or HIIT or Tabata at times. I am 33, 5?2?, 145lbs and I have an athletic build but I haven?t been able to get off the last 20lbs of baby weight. I started doing the extreme cycle and I was wondering if that is the best cycle for me and also for the low carb meals can I eat the same thing over and over (I?m a busy mom so meal prep is hard at times) like the vanilla almond Greek yogurt meal in the book and for high carb the apple and dip with carrots or green beans? I also usually do a Optimum Nutrition shake with almond milk, carrots, and 1 table spoon of almond butter for low carb and an Optimum Nutrition shake with almond milk, carrots or green beans, and a slice of Ezekiel bread for high carb or for breakfast, are those meals okay to go back and forth between for quick and easy clean eating?

    1. Hi Shannon: Yes, the Extreme Cycle is a great cycle! And yes, you can repeat meals as long as you do HC for HC, etc. For your Optimum shake, we consider carrots to be HC foods, so maybe use another option that’s non-starchy/non-root? And for any breakfast, be sure to include a protein + fat + carb. Hope that helps! You got this!

    2. Hi. I just have one question. I just read this and see that carrots are high carb which is ok. But I don?t see it in your book under 100 calorie foods at all. Under veggies or carbs.? I was just wondering why. I would have liked to eat them on my hc days…

    3. Hi Stephanie: That was a misprint in the book, and carrots should’ve been included in the carbs list. 🙂

  18. Hi, I’m interested in carb cycling and was wondering which plan would be best for me. I workout 4-5 days/wk. right now, but have about 40-50 lbs to lose.

  19. I need to lose about 20lbs. Which is better to follow, extreme cycle in the book or the app? I know the app changes the amount you eat as you lose weight. Will the book still be as effective as the app?

    Also, if I remember right, the app has you end the last meal of the day of a reset/cheat day with a low carb meal but the book has you eat every meal as the cheat or clean cheat. Which should I follow?
    Thank you!

    1. Hi Kelli: Both can work, but the book is not customized to your current stats and will not change as you progress towards your goals. The app has several more carb cycles than the book, so the days can be set up a bit differently. But no matter what cycle you follow in the app, your last meal of every day will be a low carb meal. I hope that helps! 🙂

  20. I never feel like I am full. It doesn?t matter what I eat or how much. Is this something normal that can be fixed with proper eating?

    1. Hi Cindy: Are you adding lots of non-root/non-starchy vegetables to your meals? These can often help you feel fuller longer with minimal calorie impact. Also, are you drinking all your water every day? Aim for 1/2 your body weight in ounces (150 lbs = 75 ounces/day). I hope this helps! 🙂

    2. Hi Chad: There used to be a family share option through itunes, but I’m not sure if that option is still available. Since you’ll each have different meal programs (and possibly different workout programs), it’s very, very difficult to share one app membership unless the family share option is available. Hope that helps! 🙂

    3. Hi Cheryl: We recommend beginning with the Extreme Cycle, and with any health issue, we also recommend you discuss any nutrition program with your healthcare team first and then follow any modifications they may recommend. 🙂

    1. Hi Friki: Yay! Some or Chris and Heidi’s books might already be in Spanish. I’d check to see! 🙂

  21. My husband isnt a big breakfast eater but does enjoy having bullet proof coffee in the morning before his workout. It is a cup of coffee, 1 tbls grass fed butter OR organic coconut oil and 1/4 cup heavy cream. He was doing Keto for a while and liked how he felt on it but has had a difficult time sticking with it the last couple of months.

    He liked doing the Extreme cycle in the past, and had great results, but does not like how much food he has to eat throughout the day. His job makes it VERY difficult for him to stop and eat every 3 hrs. He is a UPS driver and he literally works non stop all day! some days he is able to take a 10 minute minute break.

    How could he do the extreme cycle while still being able to have a bulletproof coffee and eat the correct amount of meals throughout the day?

    Once, he reaches is goal weight, is it ok to alternate high carb/low carb meals throughout the day and week?

    When he previously did the extreme cycle, he followed the book and then changed to the App. He had much more success with using the book. Which one is recommended to use; the book or the app?

    1. Hi Kelli: Here’s a post that can help him plan his meal times on a busy schedule: As for following the book or the app, we recommend he does whatever will work best for him AND that he can do long-term. This is also the recommendation for any nutrition program…it needs to be something he can do now and long-term. This might mean tweaking any program so that it works best for him. We do recommend eating a source of protein with every meal, so that might be one thing he could work on first. Hope that helps!

    2. Thank you! Is it ok to continue having the bulletproof coffee in the mornings as long as he adds a protein and carb source? How much fat to carb to protein ratio is needed? What food would you recommend adding to his morning bulletproof?

      Is there a guide to build your own meals following the extreme cycle format?

  22. Hi. I am 56, female. All my life I would have been described as an ectomorph. Ate what I wanted. Small boned and even after 4 children weighed at my most 120lbs. Along came the 40?s and I started gaining weight. And it has continued No Matter What. I did a doctor guided program and after 1 year lost only 10 pounds. I have worked out, done keto, hcg, intermittent fasting. Nothing. I have your book. At one point I downloaded the app but didn?t actually use it. I do know from the doctor and a medgem test that my BMR is 1000 calories so any program that starts me out at 1200-1500 calories is scary as heck. I cannot exercise off that calorie excess! So will
    This work. I expect some weight gain but how much before I get scared and bug out. I cannot afford to gain more weight. And knowing my BMR is 1000 which plan and workout would you suggest. Is the app my best option. Last question is there any room for NOT eating 5 meals? That?s a lot of food. Thanks in advance

    1. Hi Andrea: First of all, your BMR is the number of calories your body burns at rest, which means no movement at all throughout the day. It’s as if you laid in bed all day long. Since you don’t do that, you will burn more calories throughout your day just doing your daily activities, not including any workouts. Your body needs more calories than your BMR just to function properly and for good health and to sustain your workouts. For those reasons, a daily calorie range of 1200-1500 is very reasonable. You don’t mention what your current weight is, but we recommend no woman eat less than 1200 calories a day. As far as which cycle to choose, I’d choose the one that will work best for you and that can work long-term. I’d begin with the Extreme Cycle, and we do recommend eating 5 meals, spaced every 3 hours, throughout the day to keep your body fueled and to keep you feeling fuller. Hope that helps!

  23. Hello! Does it matter what body type that you are to be able to lose weight on carb cycling? I am 44 and seem to be stuck on losing weight. I?ve tried it all it seems like! I bought Chris? book on carb cycling and want to try if it will help. Thank you for your time and expertise!

    1. Hi Cindy: We feel that most people can benefit from carb cycling, no matter what their body type. Give it a try! 🙂

    2. I have the last 20 pounds to lose and I switched from lose weight to lean and shredded. I was on turbo up till now but it switched me to fit should I stay with turbo or do fit. I weight-lift at home 5-6 days a week and run 3-5 days a week.

    3. Hi Lisa: I’d try the Fit program for a few weeks based on your workout schedule. 🙂

    4. I?m 39 years old and have plenty of extra pounds. I am pretty active and crossfit 2 to 3 times a week. Is the classic plan ok to follow?

    5. Hi! I am a teacher and mom of four! I don’t have a lot of time in the day to work out, but can usually get in a morning or evening walk. I would love to attack my weight loss from all these babies through mostly diet. Currently, I just count calories. What do you suggest?

    6. Hi Whitney! Try carb cycling! There’s a chart in this post that shows you an easy way to put your meals together to begin: Or you might also be interested in checking our app, The Transform App, which offers you a customized meal plan, workouts, and over 500 recipes (many are super quick!): You can totally do this!

  24. In the past few years I was able to drop 36 pounds (not in the most healthy of ways), however it has slowly been creeping back on. I am very active and work out alternating days with Orange Theory and lifting 5 to 6 days weekly. My body responds well to lifting but the cardio has not changed my body from what I can see. From the reading I have been doing it seems that carb cycling may be exactly what I need to do, but I am unsure which plan to follow. I want to be sure I have energy to continue to work out!

  25. Hey Team Powell 🙂

    I have about 45lbs to lose, and am wondering which cycle would be best for me, working out 6 days per week-some of which involves hiking. Also for low and high carb days, what would be the percentage of daily calories coming from carbs? Thanks!

    1. Hi Sarah: I’d begin with the Extreme Cycle, and there’s a chart in this post that shows you how to create your own meals. You can get the percentages for all macros in this chart. Just remember that a gram of protein or carbs has 4 calories, and a gram of fat has 9 calories. Hope that helps! 🙂

  26. I am a teen (15) and want to do carb cycling. I want to do it 6 days a week. The first three days would be high carbs and low fats and the other three days would be low carbs and high fats?
    Am I correct or not. Would appreciate an answer thanks have a good rest of day!

    1. Hi Tan: With teens, we really don’t recommend carb cycling. Since you’re still growing and developing, we recommend you work with your healthcare team on any nutrition and exercise programs and follow their recommendations. The most important thing you can do is eat healthy, whole foods throughout your day. Try and have a protein, a carb (fruits, starchy/root vegetables, whole grains, legumes, etc,), vegetables (non-root/non-starchy), plus a healthy fat (olive oil, nuts, avocados, etc.). It really can be that simple! And make sure you’re also drinking 1/2 your body weight in ounces of water every day too (if you weigh 100 lbs, you’d aim for 50 ounces, for example). And also make sure you’re getting enough sleep! Hope that helps! 🙂

    2. I have lost 80 pounds in the last year and a half and have 10-15 more to lose. Haven?t lost any for 3 months. Which carb cycling plan would benefit me?

  27. Am I correct?? if I do three days of high carbs In those three days I do big workouts and in the other three days I do low carbs I would do a low to no work out?

    1. Hi: Which days you work out on can be different for each person. Some people do better working out on high carb days, others on low carb days, and for still others, it really doesn’t make any difference. Do what works best for you and your goals!

  28. Whats the difference between the turbo and extreme carb cycling? Which is better for weight loss and building muscle?

    1. Hi Cao: The difference in the two cycles is the number of low and high carb days. We recommend beginning with the Extreme Cycle, and then if your progress ever plateaus, switch to the Turbo Cycle for a few weeks. Hope that helps! 🙂

    2. Hi, Thanks for telling me about it. transform app as guided is customized and i want to know whether the workout plans need to be changed in every month as the 6th day rule and even nutritional plan for every month so as to achieve fat loss. If so can you tell me.
      Also the heart rate of mine required during cardio activities for achieveing the goal.
      Have a great day ahead.

    3. Hi Sumi: If you’re using the app, you’ll have a year + of workouts ready to go for you, and your nutrition program can change as you progress towards your goals. As for your ideal target heart rate range, that depends on your age and it can be a bit different for each person based on a few factors and how intense each workout is going to be. Here’s an article that can help:

      And you have a great day too! 🙂

  29. What is the reasoning behind the lower fat on the high carb days? I thought adding fat helped slow the glycemic impact of carbs. I?m reading your book and it may say all of this but I?m trying to wrap my head around the concepts.

    1. Hi Eve: Great question! On high carb days, you?re stocking your calorie-burning furnace so that on low carb days your furnace burns fat, and lots of it! This pattern tricks your metabolism into burning a lot of calories, even on those low carb days. And we do still include enough fat on high carb days (we now add a fat to every breakfast every day on all carb cycles) so it can play it’s appropriate function every day. Hope that helps! 🙂

  30. First of all, wow! I can?t believe you respond to all of the comments. I am 52, 5? tall and 122 pounds. For the past 2 years I have had weight loss and maintenance success with HCG diet but restrictive with carbs and fats. For the past few months I have hit a plateau. I was able to reach 113lbs but now struggle to maintain 120-122 because of cheating. I feel like I live by the scale everyday. I just came across V shred and carb cycling. My question is which program would you suggest and I?m deathly afraid of gaining weight again when HCG was the only thing that has worked for me in the past. Can I expect to see temporary weight gain initially? I just don?t want to get discouraged when I see the scale going up. It would be helpful to be reassured that weight gain is temporary and to stick with it. Or should I not necessarily see weight gain following this protocol after eating much lower calories in the past? Thank you so much!!!

    1. Hi Kirsten: Great questions! When you start following a non-restrictive program, you can see some initial weight gain as your metabolism resets after being restricted. Again, this should be temporary. And in our programs, we recommend only weighing yourself once a week (on the morning of your reset/reward day) since the scale can naturally fluctuate from day to day, even if you’re sticking to your program to a T. Here are a few posts from Heidi’s blog that might help:

      You got this! 🙂

  31. Hi! I just subscribed to the app and I?m trying to figure out what nutrition plan to select. I?m 38, with a 17 month old. I?m 191lbs and am at my comfort level at 135-140. I?m a pretty picky eater (specifically proteins) but want to commit 100% for me and my daughter.

    1. I should add, I love working out specially HIIT, weight training and elliptical for cardio

    2. Hi KJ: You can choose any of the carb cycles, and you can change cycles at any time also. However, we recommend sticking with a carb cycle for several weeks before changing since it can take our bodies a bit of time to adjust to a new nutrition plan. A good cycle to start with is the Extreme Cycle, or if the app recommended a cycle for you based on your profile, you could definitely start with that one too. We hope you love the app – you got this! 🙂

  32. Hello I have a question on what carb cycle process would be best for my needs. I am currently aiming to gain lean muscle and do HIIT as well as resistance training. Would the Fit cycle be best or should I start with the Classic cycle?

    1. Hi Morgan: I’d start with either the Extreme Cycle or the Fit Cycle. You got this! 🙂

  33. Hi Team Powell,
    I have all your books including Extreme Transformation. The question I have is how do I gain about 10 lbs. but shed fat in the lower half of my body and gain lean muscle. I am not sure which of the programs I should do. I am 5’2″ and weigh 95 lbs. Lost muscle but retained fat in the hips, thighs and buttocks. Dealing with Lupus and hence the weight loss. But the doctor told me to eat low carbs and be gluten free. Can you please help! Thank you so very much!

    1. Hi Connie: Thank you for your comment! Here’s a post from Heidi’s blog that can help you achieve your goals: And we always recommend you follow your doctor’s recommendations, but you could show our plans to your doctor and then have them help you make any necessary modifications to help you achieve your goals. You can do this! 🙂

    2. Hi, it’s great that you reply.
      I am 50 and after my 3 children i have been trying to lose the fat these years but gaining i am 5 ft, weigh 200 pounds. I want to lose the excess fat on my upper body mainly belly. Which carb cycle will be great to start and switch also the exercising plan with suitable carb cycle. I do Boxing, other sports too as well exercising in gym with HIIT plans. It will help me if you can tell about it. And how can we contact you for more questions. Thanks alot

    3. Hi Sumi: Unfortunately, you really can’t spot reduce–any extra fat will leave your body in its own unique way. We recommend doing the Extreme Cycle ( And you can follow any exercise program you’d like, and we recommend making sure you’re incorporating both cardio and strength training in your exercise program. It sounds like you’re already doing great there! We also have a complete and customized nutrition and workout programs in our app (The Transform App:, and so that might also be a great option for you. And you can ask any questions right here! 🙂

    4. I am a 57 year old Woman who eats too much Junk and I love to exercise but I am limited bc I have had 4 knee replacements. Can walk and ride a bike on good days. I also like to lift some weights 3 times a week. I weight 154. Really would love to lose 10 pounds . What plan would be best for me.

    5. Hi Kimberly: We recommend starting with the Extreme Cycle ( And our app, The Transform App ( offers you a customized nutrition program as well as several workout programs (with modified and alternate moves for every exercise), and it’s an amazing option! The app figures everything out for you and adjusts as you progress towards your goal. You can do this!

  34. Hi I am 154 lb and 5.4 ft I work out 6 days/week(PPL)
    Witch of your carb cycle type you recommend me ???

    1. Hi Shatha: I’d begin with either the Extreme Cycle or the Fit Cycle. You got this! 🙂

  35. Hi I am 53 yrs old post menopause and I was always my ideal weight. But around the age 49 I started gaining weight in the mid section all the around to my back. Losing weight has always been easy for me in the past and I was told this weight gain is from menopause and I let it pile on. Can carb cycling help me lose this mid section weight? I am constantly being told that I have to do a different approach to losing this mid section weight. I have diets, HCG and diet pills but no success

    1. Hi Cassandra: Unfortunately, you really can’t spot reduce. Any extra fat will leave your body in its own unique way. 🙁 Follow a sound nutrition program (like carb cycling), work out regularly, drink your water every day (we recommend 1/2 your body weight/day), and any problem areas should get better. You can totally do this! 🙂

  36. I only have half a thyroid and take thyroid medicine first thing in the morning and cannot eat for an hour after taking it. Therefore I will not be able to eat within 30 minutes of waking up . I am overweight by 75lbs and want to know if this is safe for those with thyroid issues. Do I start w/extreme? What do you suggest. #Motivated #IGotThis

    1. Thank you for your comment! With any health issue, we recommend you discuss any nutrition program with your healthcare team first and then follow their recommendations, including any modifications to the program and which carb cycle would be best for you! 🙂

  37. Hello,

    My name is Mariela and I recently turn 40. My daughter just turn 19 months. I started my pregnancy at 125 lbs and gained about 15-17 pounds during pregnancy. When my daughter was born I was roughly 140 lbs and lost my pregnancy weight in the first 2 weeks. From than on its been trending up…..sleep deprivation, food starvation, stress and exhaustion ?. and now I am 144 lbs (on last Check) and can’t stand my self. I work full time and after I get off work I try spending time with my daughter as much as I can. Meal prepping feels impossible and dieting is just not my thing. I may be able to squeeze a work out here and there but nothing consistent. So I saw an advertising about Vshred and from then on have been looking in to carb cycling. May be that will flip my metabolism back, if there is even any hope for me at all these day. Any advise or suggestion will be welcome ?.. it seems that there are so many options out there and so many pros and cons about all of them… easy to get lost!

  38. I just got your transform app and need to lose 50 lbs. it suggests my calories should be 2750 a day! I feel like I am going to just get even bigger. Is this really how much I should eat?

    1. Hi Kim: Welcome to the app! It is VERY common to be surprised at the amount of food you should be eating to reach your goals! Most people have the misconception (and ?old school? mentality) that you have to starve yourself to reach your goals?this is not the case at all. For our approach, we start you at the highest calorie intake possible to boost your metabolism and prime your body, then if you EVER plateau, the program will adjust your portions in a ?step-down? manner, to maximize your results and keep you losing. This is transformation the way it SHOULD be done! Your meal plan is totally customized to you and your goals, and so you can feel confident that if you eat all of that delicious food, you will achieve your goals!

    2. Hi
      I am 56 years old and post menopausal… I never had a weight problem until now … I gained 13 lbs over the winter and I feel terrible. I workout at the gym almost every day and I walk my dog twice daily… i feel like menopause has just punched me in the face … does this program help post menopausal women?
      I cannot get this extra weight off… please help before it gets out of hand!

    3. Hi Irene: Yes! We have many women who have found success with carb cycling. And remember, nutrition is 80% of weight loss, so stick to a sound nutrition program (like carb cycling), get in your exercise, and you can achieve your goals. If you continue to gain weight or have any concerns, I’d talk with your healthcare team and then follow their recommendations. You got this! 🙂

  39. HI Hedi!

    So I was wondering which book you would recommend for me. I am interested in carb cycling and would like something that pretty much TELLS me what to eat, such as a specific meal plan. I basically want something that tells me EXACTLY what to do. Also, any advice on how to exercise would be great too! Thoughts? Thanks!

  40. Good morning. A friend of mine suggested I try the Turbo Carb Cycling program. I am wondering what caloric intake should look like on the three types of days (low carb, high carb and reward). My friend had great success, not only with loss but with maintenance…which is very important to me. I want to be sure to do this right. I am 5’6″ and weigh 215.

    1. Hi Ann: For the turbo cycle in general, women aim for 1200 calories on low carb days and 1500 calories on high carb days. You’ll aim for 2500 calories on your reward day. If you’re interested in trying our app, it offers you a totally customized nutrition and workout program: You got this! 🙂

  41. Where can I purchase the carb cycle app? I’m interested in starting the Fit Carb Cycle but cannot find where to purchase. The only app I can find is the Transform app but I dont see any of the Carb Cycles there. Please advise.

  42. Hello,
    I am a female and have tried the program twice, but not full plan because each time I?ve had same thing happen. During week two day 4 of the plan I will get shivering cold and ice cold to the touch and feel very foggy headed. What could be happening…. do I need to up my calorie intake?

  43. Hello,

    I am getting married at the end of this month and I have lost about 6.5# counting macros. I want to incorporate carb cycling and wondered if you would recommend either turbo or extreme for me? I do crossfit 5 days a week and also a few days of running. I want to tighten up a bit more before my wedding and would love to lose about 10# total (obviously not all in 4 weeks).

  44. Hi Heidi, I am currently nursing my 5 month old and wanted to know if you would recommend carb cycling while nursing ?!

    Thank you, Nicole 🙂

  45. Hi!! I LOVE your program, but I?m trying to understand it fully. How do you feel about carb cycling for people with 75-100lbs to lose? What amount of protein and carbs would they need to eat? My understanding is that a 150 lb person should eat about 150 lbs of protein, but should a 250lb person eat 250g of protein? And what about carbs? It seems like that would be so much food! Do the calculations change for larger people? Thank you for your help!!! ?

    1. Hi Emily: Great questions! Yes, carb cycling can work no matter how many pounds you want to lose. If you’d like a customized carb cycling program that will adjust as you progress towards your goals AND that is based on you, your current stats, and your goals, you might want to check into Chris and Heidi’s app: If you’d like a general plan, you can choose any of the cycles in this post, and we would recommend you begin with the Extreme Cycle: And here’s a post that has a “Create Your Own Meals” chart that can help you understand how to put your meals together: I hope this helps – you can do this! 🙂

  46. Hi Heidi,

    I’m 5’3 and 150 pounds, I gained 10 pounds last winter and want to loose 20 pounds, to feel great again with my body and fit into my jumpsuit (I skydive).
    I got the book and started the lifelong weight loss in 21 days. After 2 weeks, it feels like I barely loose weight, I lost 2 pounds.
    It’s a big step for me to eat in the morning and so often, I’m used to eat twice a day: lunch and dinner time.
    I keep repeating myself, what’s written in the book: trust the program, but after 2 weeks and such little results, I struggle. Feels like I eat to much carbs and too often, too much, even if I count what I eat and follow recipes.
    I live in Paris, France, some of the products can’t be found here, or really hard to find. I’m careful with gluten and don’t drink milk (I have Crohn’s disease) so I tend to eat almost the same breakfast, might be to much eggs in my diet…?

    I hope, next week, after 21 days, it will show more results.

    I love the book, it helps for the commitment and the mental transformation on top of the being structured.

    I’m not counting on giving up 😉


    1. Hi Ingrid: You’re doing awesome! And a 1 lb weight loss/week, with a 20 lb weight loss goal, is right on track. You’re right – trust in the process, and you will get there! And remember, there is a learning curve to a new program, and since your body isn’t used to eating more than 2 meals a day, it will take some time for it to adjust to this new way of eating. You got this! 🙂

  47. I?ve been trying to see what type of eating lifestyle works for me. I have 30 lbs I want to loose. I think I?m going to give carb cycling a try.

    Insta: jtrujillo26

  48. I haven’t been eating healthy lately and I have about 75 lbs to lose. Would the turbo carb cycling be best for me? Thanks

  49. I love your carb cycling posts (and that you respond to people?s questions!) This is the for booty band giveaway. My insta name is @annienielson ??

  50. Hi! I just downloaded the app & am starting my program on Monday….will the workouts be unlocked? I wanted to make sure I have the equipment I need! I?m hoping to get out of my year-long plateau! I?m 37, mommy of 4, 4?11? 145 lb, I got down to 137 a year ago. My goal weight is 125. I really need to get there for health reasons. I hope this can help me!

    1. Hi Jennifer: Yes, your workouts will be unlocked once you officially start the program. We hope you love it!

  51. I?m about to start carb cycling the extreme version and am wondering what consists of a reset day? Is it a low carb day? Or high carb day? with a cheat meal?

    1. Hi Amy: Your reset day allows you to eat 1000 extra calories (so aim for 2500/day), and these calories can be healthy, treats, or a combo of both. We encourage you to get a portion of protein every meal, and here’s a post that can help with meal planning on the Extreme Cycle: You can totally do this!

  52. Hi Heidi,
    If I am going the extereme cycle and want to skip the reset day, should this be replaced with a high carb or low carb day?

    1. Hi Adam: We really recommend you don’t skip your reset day. The extra calories are important for resetting your metabolism, and it also helps to take care of any cravings you have during the week, especially for those treats. You can eat healthy foods, treats, or a combo of both on your reset day. We do encourage you to eat a serving of protein with every meal if possible. I hope this helps!

    1. Hi Kori: Basically, a high carb meal contains a portion of protein and a portion of carb. A low carb meal contains a portion of protein and a portion of fat. And you can add non-root/non-starchy vegetables to any meal if you’d like. Hope that helps!

  53. Hi Heidi, I?ve started my transformation a week ago. 211 5?5 30 female. I?ve been carb cycling. Since I?ve started carb cycling ive been getting night sweats is that normal? Thank you!

    1. Hi Nicole: Carb cycling really shouldn’t be causing night sweats, but if you’re noticing a change, it could be because your body is getting adjusted to low and high carb days, especially if this is your first time carb cycling. It should get better soon! 🙂

  54. hello..

    I am currently diagnosed of pre- diabetes..I am interested in the card cycling programs you are offering and would like to check which suits my condition.

    I am 173 CM Hight
    40 years of age
    I weight 117 KG- Reduced ( 15 Kilos in the past 6 months) by cutting all carbs from my diet.
    the diet is currently causing me fatigue , lots of food cravings that I can’t resist cause I am someone who can’t eat fatty food all the time.
    I am looking for a lifestyle diet to help me get in shape, enjoy the process and get rid of my diabetes symptoms.
    I am on Victoza 3mg and gluphage XR 1500 a day.

    please let me know if you can help.


    1. Hi Rula: Carb cycling can work for you, but as with any nutrition and exercise program, you’ll want to discuss it with your healthcare team first in case they want to modify the program in any way. Here’s a post from this blog that might help also: I hope this helps, and we wish you all the best! 🙂

  55. You like examples of carbs and proteins, but what kinds of fats do you choose for your fat portion on low carb days? What would a low carb meal look like?

    1. Hi Libby: You can choose nuts, nut butters, cheese, cream cheese, any healthy oils, etc. Does that help? And a low carb meal is made up of a protein, a fat, and veggies (the non-root/non-starchy types). 🙂

  56. I’m interested in carb cycling, but I eat dinner with my family. How would this program work in a situation like this? Thank you!

    1. I have this problem too and it is always what sabotages my progress! Can someone please also explain the best way to handle a mess-up at dinner? If the next day is a high carb day, should I let it be a low carb day instead?

    2. Hi Amy: Nope! Just move on. One little mess up won’t really affect anything. You got this!

    3. Hi Christine: Your family can eat what you do, and if you’re eating a low carb meal, just add in a carb for your kids. If you’re eating a high carb meal, add in a fat for your kids. They need protein, fat, and carbs at every meal. You can do this!

  57. I have the transform app and have been making great progress! But the other day during an ab move a felt a hernia! Going to doctor today for an ultrasound ?.. but anyway, should I still do squats and deadlifts etc…? I wanna keep progressing without further injuring myself. Help!

    1. Hi Charlene: I’d definitely wait to talk to your doctor before doing anything that could affect that hernia. Stick to your nutrition program, since nutrition is 80% of transformation, work out as you can, and you’ll be good to go! We hope you feel better soon!

  58. Hello, Just starting my 2nd week on the app. I have a question regarding the reward meal. I choose the Protein Style Hamburgers as my meal. I am curious where the carbs come from. I see two patties, lettuce, tomato, onion. Also, I keep seeing the term reset days. Can you explain? Thanks.

    1. Hi Kelley: For the protein style hamburger, we took this information straight from In N’ Out’s website. And the Reset Day is the same as the Reward Day – we use these terms interchangeably. On these days, we bump up your calories to help reset your metabolism for continued progress towards your goals AND to help you get rid of any “treat” cravings you may be having. On these days, you can either choose “treat” foods, healthy foods, or a combination of both. We hope you’re loving the app! 🙂

  59. Hi,

    I’m interested in trying carb cycling. Since Christmas i’ve been trying to stick to 1500cals (tracked using my fitnesspal)of which 30% is protein. Doing this as a base before trying carb cycling – though depsite running, not lost a single lb. Thing is, i eat a largely veggie diet (meat is expensive in UK and i’m barely covering bills at the moment), so i NEVER hit my protein target. And nearly always have a sugar crash mid morning.

    I’m a bit concerned if i try carb cycling, that i’ll not hit the protein quantities on the high or low days and therefore am setting myself up for failure. So where can i find the best sources of low carb high protein, cost efficient foods? (Really hoping you know of a reliable website or heidi has another super blog post i’ve missed)

    Thanks in advance

  60. I started the transformation program 2 days ago and so far so good! My biggest problem is that my work schedule doesn’t allow me to eat the 4 meals every three hours. This is my typical day:
    7:30am Breakfast
    11:00 Snack at work
    1:00 Lunch (my scheduled lunch break)
    4:30 snack (when I get home from job 1)
    8:30 dinner (after I get home from job 2)

    Is this ok? What are your tips for crazy work schedules?

  61. Hi Heidi,

    I am on day 10 of the transformation program. I feel wonderful. I thought I would be craving foods, but I don’t. This program is amazing. I do have a couple of questions:

    1) Is diet soda allowed? I normally don’t drink soda, but for some reason, I had cravings last night; and
    2) I sometimes skip a snack. Is this bad?

    1. Hi Nikki: Let’s get you some answers! 1. We recommend you save diet soda for your reset days if possible. But if you have a diet soda every now and then, that’s okay! 2. It’s best to eat all of the macros every day so your body gets all the nutrients it needs to get you closer to your goals! We so happy you’re loving the app!

  62. I recently bought the Extreme Transformation book and I am excited to get started. I was mostly interested in learning about the carb cycling process. However, I have learned to love the gym. I mainly lift weights and do different workouts to target different parts of the body (shoulders, legs, back, chest, and arms). I noticed that there are set workouts in your book that aren’t necessarily weight lifting workouts. Is it safe to still continue to lift weights instead of do the prescribed workouts in your book? Should I be doing something different than weights on low carb days? I want to make sure that I have enough energy to make it through my workout on high carb and low carb days. Thanks!

    1. Hi Michelle: Yes, you can totally do your own workouts! And working out on low carb days works differently for different people. Some do okay, some struggle a bit, so you may need to adjust your workouts based on how your body reacts to low carb days. And welcome to carb cycling! 🙂

  63. I was think of doing the Turbo …is this safe for type 2 diabetics? My blood sugar is currently Under control since I made some changes in my diet for the better.

    1. Hi Dee: We recommend you discuss any nutrition program with your healthcare team and then follow their recommendations. We wish you all the best 🙂

  64. I just started your Extreme Transformation carb cycling and I appreciate how laid out the shopping list and recipes are. The recipes are simple as well, but I’m having a difficult time preparing all of the meals throughout the day. A question I have is: Are the recipes interchangeable as long as you’re replacing a high-carb with high-carb and low-carb with low-carb? I’ve had to use some of the faster recipes like the protein shakes and triple berry treat in place of those that require a lot of prep/cooking. Will that still work? Thanks in advance for your reply.

  65. I have been using carb cycling/turbo for two weeks and have been faithful to all requirements. I’d been following another diet and had lost 58 pounds and hit a plateau. After about two months my doctor suggested I try carb cycling and I had lost 3.6 pounds in my first week. I just weighed myself and have gained .6 pounds back this week. I’d like to lose another 50 pounds. Can’t figure out what I am doing wrong.

    1. Hi Cheryl: You’re not doing anything wrong! Here’s a post that can help you understand what’s going on, and remember – weight fluctuations are totally normal, especially as your body is getting used to a new program. You got this! 🙂

  66. Hello Heidi – I am a newbie to Carb cycling . I have always consumed a Low carb diet . Over the last year I have gained 15 pounds due to pre- menopausal ugh……But so the last 5 days I have been doing very well on the Turbo cycle which I love. Any suggests on approx. how much weight will I shed in 28 days?

    1. Hi Wendy: You’re doing awesome! We recommend you aim to lose 10% of your body weight in the first 90 days. 🙂

  67. I have one last question:
    For breakfasts, protein and carb each day + 2 servings of veggies. On low carb days, do I still add a fat to this meal or no?

    Thank you so much! I start my first cycle on Monday!!

    1. Hi Jamie: It depends on which cycle you’re following. If you’re following the Easy, Classic, Turbo, or Fit cycle (from “Choose More, Lose More for Life”), there’s a chart in this post you’re commenting on that outlines how to put your meals together. If you’re following the Extreme Cycle, there’s a chart in this post that can help you put your meals together: Hope that helps – you can do this!

    2. Hi team Powell! I was wondering if our bodies act like we are going into ketosis when we do our low carb days or what is our bodies exactly doing on those days?! I used to do the turbo carb cycling and lost 20 pounds in 2 months! However,I gained it back at the start of high school because my life was over loaded and I wasn’t taking care of myself! But now I am back! Thank you so much Chris and Heidi you two have been such an inspiration for me! My parents aren’t into healthy eating or working out so its been tough for me to figure it out on my own. Chris and Heidi have helped me so much! They kinda have become my healthy lifestyle parents! Thanks again!

    3. Hi Faith: Here’s how the low and high carb days work: During high-carb days, there is a moderate to high insulin response after the meals, triggering a temporary anabolic state?driving nutrients into the muscles and boosting metabolic rate. During low-carb days, there is a minimal insulin response after the meals, keeping the body in a mostly catabolic state? breaking down and oxidizing fat. Long story short, high-carb days boost your metabolism (while still losing fat), and low-carb days turbocharge your fat loss. Hope that helps! 🙂

  68. Hi! I am new to carb cycling – I just bought “Choose More, Lose More for Life” and I am wondering, do you add the 2 servings of veggies to each meal and each snack or just to each meal? It looks like a LOT of food each day. I never thought I would say “I don’t know if I can eat all of that” but … lol

  69. I’m looking to purchase the Powell Perfect Protein Powder, but can’t find it in stock on Amazon and my local health food stores don’t have it. Can you please tell me where I can find this protein brand or another brand you recommend.

    Thank You

    1. Hi Veronica: You can try and see if the protein powder is available there. For protein powders in general, we recommend low fat (less than 3g), low carb (less than 5g), with around 20-25g of protein per serving. Hope that helps! 🙂

  70. Hi Hdidi,

    I love the thought of carb cycling but I was interested in knowing what your thoughts were on Keto Diets. There is a lot of hype on Keto diets lately. If I follow carb cycling correct, on those 2 LC days is that enough to put the body into ketosis so it starts burning fat? Should I significantly increase my healthy fats on those 2 days? Some internet articles talk about 70% healthy fats. Hope my question makes sense! LOL

    1. Hi Eileen: Your question totally makes sense! Chris and Heidi believe that carbs are a necessary part of any transformation journey no matter what your goal may be (including fat loss), so that’s why they regularly include them in their carb cycling program. But they also recommend you do what is best for you! Hope that helps. 🙂

  71. I’m going into my 3rd week of carb cycling (Fit Cycle) tomorrow and although Ive gained 5 lbs…I know it’s just temporary until my body gets used to this. Although I’m tempted to switch things up to the Turbo Cycle…I think I’ll just chill and give it a bit more time. Thank you so much for breaking down the diff kinds of carb cycling, Heidi. It is something I’ve never done before, and have yet to introduce it to my clients. I’m the guinea pig first hehe But I do see adding it to my coaching nutrition plans in the future.

  72. I am interest in carb cycling. I understand the 5 meals and eating within a half hour of waking idea but I get up for a full day at 4:00am. I usually work out and then eat so I don’t have so long between my breakfast and morning snack. Because of my schedule, I often don’t get to eat my evening meal until 7pm or so. How would this work with your carb cycling program?

  73. Hi,

    Love your program. Great Job you guys, thanks for motivating me. Switching up to classic carb cycling!! As per your plan we are supposed to have two fistful of veggies with every meal, can we substitute it with fruits? Like Apples, Watermelon? Also for fat my thumb size usually gets me 6-7 peanut or 3 almonds is that correct? Planning to go further hopefully and take up the challenge with the help of your books+DVD in the very near future. Love the app. Fingers crossed! Thank you Guys <3

    1. Hi Richa: Great questions! You won’t want to sub fruits for veggies because fruits fall into the carb category and should only be eaten as the carb portion of any meal including carbs. If you’re following the app, your macros and meals are figured for you (and you can add the veggies to every meal also). As for fats, you should be able to get more peanuts or almonds for a thumb-sized portion. On the app, go to ow carb, grab ‘n go, and then find a meal with almonds and that will show you how many to eat for that meal. Hope this helps! 🙂

  74. I started using the Transform app this week and I’m really loving it, but I’m struggling with the amount of food I have to eat each day. I have been eating it all and I’ve noticed a change in how good I feel and I’ve achieved a 6lb weight loss in my 1st week of using the app. This was after hitting a plateau after dropping 74 pounds over the last 14 months. I feel like I’m eating all the time and I’m struggling to eat it all which is causing me to worry that I may actually going to gain weight verses staying on track with my goals. Is it okay to eat this many meals a day and do I have to eat this much?

    1. Hi Chrisara: We get this question a lot! It is VERY common to be surprised at the amount of food you should be eating to reach your goals! Most people have the misconception (and ?old school? mentality) that you have to starve yourself to reach your goals?this is not the case at all. For our approach, we start you at the highest calorie intake possible to boost your metabolism and prime your body, then if you EVER plateau, the program will adjust your portions in a ?step-down? manner, to maximize your results and keep you losing. This is transformation the way it SHOULD be done! Your meal plan is totally customized to you and your goals, and so you can feel confident that if you eat all of that delicious food, you will achieve your goals!

  75. My husband & I have been doing the keto eating plan for 6 weeks with good results! I just found your carb cycling and we are interested! I just ordered the Extreme Transformation book. Do you think that we could handle the transformational cycle would be fine to start out on? I do moderate exercise 2-3 times per week, my husband does heavy weight lifting 3-4x/week.

    1. Hi Laura: If you’re purchasing “Extreme Transformation,” I’d start with the Extreme Cycle, and then use the Turbo Cycle later on as its outlined in the book. You both can do this! 🙂

    1. Hi Rocco: Since you are a teenager, we recommend you work with your healthcare team to put together any nutrition and exercise program since they can work with you personally now and in the future as you continue to grow and develop. We wish you the best as you work to achieve your goals – you can do this!

  76. Hey, so I just started the Transform (Cross Training Intermediate/Advanced for weight loss) and I have a question. Why shouldn’t someone looking to lose weight quickly use the Turbo Cycle? I see that in the app you suggest the Fit Cycle and that confuses me because the way I understand it is the low carb days burn fat and the high carb days are for refueling and recovery. Also how are my macros calculated on this app?

    1. Hi Haelie: Welcome to Transform! Since your program in the app is totally customized to your and your goals, you can be confident that the cycle it suggests will help you achieve your goals. Be sure and do your weekly progress updates, and if you’re ever prompted to let the program adjust for faster results, be sure and click on this option and let the program work its magic! As for how the macros are calculated for your program, this is based on the info you input into the app and on your goals. You can do this!

  77. Good morning, Heidi!

    I have just started the Classic Cycle today. I work a third shift, and I have a fractured tibia and sprained wrist from a fall last week. Doctor says a boot for probably three months, then a surgery on the other ankle to remove hardware from a serious break a few years ago. That’s when I sat in a wheelchair, got depressed, and gained weight. I don’t want to do that again, and my health coach recommended your program. I plan to do core exercise since I’m not going to be able to do upper or lower body anytime soon. Are there any other ways I can get in exercise?

    1. Hi Jeannie: I’m so sorry to hear about your injures. 🙁 Remember, 80% of weight loss is nutrition, so stick to the nutrition part of the Classic Cycle, exercise as recommended by your healthcare team, and you can still make some great progress towards your goals! They are the best ones to help you figure out what to do exercise-wise since they understand your exact issues and can work with you personally. You got this!

  78. Hi, I do a lot of HIIT and have pretty low body fat.(15%) Want to lean out(I’m still flabby) and maybe lose 5 pounds. What program should I do? Fit or turbo cycle. Thanks, karen

    1. Hi Karen: I’d start with the Fit Cycle, and you can change cycles at any time!

  79. One last question! (or maybe not, there may be more, who knows!) How does coffee fit into this plan? I haven’t seen a coffee recipe. Is it allowed? And if so, how do you recommend its preparation?

    1. Hi Alyssa: We recommend black coffee with 0 calorie natural sweeteners. 🙂

  80. I have just started the turbo cycle, and so far so good. I do not find it difficult to follow. However, my husband is following turbo cycle as well, and he has an extremely physical job (approximately 12 hours a day of physical labor). I have increased his portions as recommended for men, but it seems that he is always hungry and I am worried that he is not getting enough food. I am wondering if the turbo cycle is too extreme for him, and maybe he should have more carbs throughout the week? Or maybe I should just increase his protein portions? Any advice would be appreciated! Thank you.

    1. Hi Kendra: He can certainly change cycles at any time, and he can also add veggies (the non-root/non-starchy type) to any meal, which can also help. Also make sure he’s drinking all of his water every day. If you haven’t checked out Chris and Heidi’s new app, it customizes each user’s meal program based on his/her body stats and his/her goals, so the meal and nutrition programs are tailor-made to each user. The app will also adjust based on the progress updates from each user too. Your first week is free so you can check everything out – it’s a great option!

  81. Hi team Powell!
    I absolutely adore you guys!
    I’m really into getting fit (I’ve been wanting this for a while now, but I had a serious junk food addiction). Lately I’ve been doing really good, I work out often, I eat healthy, I still have a cheat meal every week. So I’m sure I’m on the right track.
    I’ve been reading different theories and all, to find the way that fits best with me.
    No worries I can already tell the difference between unhealthy and/or crash diets 🙂
    But I was wondering what you guys think of Intermittent Fasting? You still eat all your macro’s you need, but just in a smaller time frame.
    Thanks and keep up the good work!
    A fan from Belgium!

  82. Hi! I just bought the book and am gearing to start up carb cycling come this Tuesday, 5/30/17. I feel like I’m crazy, but does this program not focus on calorie intake? How do I figure that out? Or do I just focus on the meal plans from the book and less about macros. Thanks in advance!

    1. Hi Alyssa: Your macros and calories are figured out for you in the meal plan, so all you have to do is follow it! You’ll be eating around 1500 calories a day, and here’s a post that can help with meal planning on the Extreme Cycle: You can do this!

  83. I am just loving this app! How can I change my carb cycle program? I would like to try out the Turbo Cycle described on your website but I’m unsure if I can change the app to reflect that. Right now I think I am on the Fit Cycle, 2HC, 1LC, repeat. I would like to try the other program just to see how I feel doing more low carb days! Please advise.

    1. Hi Heather: You can totally change your cycle! Go to Me, then Program, then click on whichever cycle you’d like to follow. If you’re not following the Weight Loss program, then you can also change to that program on the same screen. 🙂

    1. Hi Teo: Heidi is following a carb cycling program that is a bit different than the one you’re referring to where she follows a daily macro plan instead of a per meal macro plan. Hope that helps!

  84. Question- Do you count net carbs or solely whole not subtracting fiber etc? thanks 🙂 Was trying to go through and find that answer but couldn’t find it.

    1. Hi Mandy: We count total carbs to make things easier, but we do recommend you aim for around 25 grams of fiber a day on high carb days. 🙂

    2. Is extreme cycle or turbo cycle best for the quickest weight loss without losing too much muscle?

    3. Hi Andrea: Either the Turbo Cycle or the Extreme Cycles are the cycles for the quickest weight loss. And you can change cycles at any time!

  85. I have a question about monitoring saturated fat intake while doing the turbo cycle. Depending on the meals I choose from the app, it is very likely that I am consuming 25-30 grams of saturated fat due mostly to coconut oil and butter. This seems high to me, and I am wondering what amount of saturated fat you recommend per day? The app only really tracks fat in general, not really the type of fat. Please advise. 🙂

    1. Hi Amanda: All of the macros in the meals on the app fall into acceptable percentages, and you can choose meals with unsaturated fats if you’d like. We tried to make the meal plan appealing for those who are already healthy eaters and for those who are trying to become healthy eaters. Hope that helps!

  86. Hi,
    So Easter Sunday is supposed to be a low carb day but also want to enjoy the holiday with my family. Should I change my reset day for this week or wing it tomorrow? I know how important the low carb days are and I only do 2 per week. I’ve already got my meals lined up for my work week, I just don’t want to mess up my metabolism by switching things around.

  87. I have never done carb cycling and I stumbled on your website. I’m going to give it a shot. Going with the classic cycle. I already track my macros at about 250C, 125P, and 56F (so 50, 25, 25). This was what was suggested for me since my workouts burn some serious calories. So given that…how many carbs for low carb days vs high carb days? Is there a ratio? I already use My Fitness Pal so I’m hoping to hear back from you guys on the gram amounts. Thanks!!

    1. Also, I eat about 2014 cals per day…so do I still eat that amount each day and just adjust the macros basically?

    2. Hi Lindsey: On the Classic Cycle, women eat around 1200 calories on low carb days and around 1500 calories on high carb days. If you use the app, these numbers are adjusted based on YOUR body and YOUR goals, so your numbers could very well be different. Hope this helps!

    3. Hi Lindsey: Since we’ve planned all your macros for you in this plan, we really don’t have numbers to offer. And your macros are different depending on whether or not it’s a high carb or low carb meal also, so a blanket number for a day needs to take that into account. If you’ll follow the portion sizes for each macro for each meal, you should be good to go! You also might be interested in Chris and Heidi’s new Transform with Chris and Heidi app, which offers a completely customized meal and workout program, and it will adjust your program as you progress towards your goal also. It’s amazing! You can learn more about it here:

    4. But in all honesty, If I’m burning 700 per workout… and am active through the day…I don’t think 1200 calories would cut it. Right? I’ll take a look at the app and download it. Thanks for the response. 🙂

  88. Hello, my sister and I are both following this plan. We are having a debate: Where does cottage cheese fit in? Thanks!

  89. Hi there. I am 143 pounds (5’6). I am looking to lose a bit of bodyfat and be a steady 138-140 pounds. I have worked hard to gain a good amount of muscle and I train 5 days a week (cardio and lifting). I am on my second week of the Transform App (woohoo)… but I am a bit confused. I am on the “fit cycle”, but it has me at 1950 calories on high carb days and 1800 on low carb days. This is much higher than the 1200-1500 that I have seen in many comments for all women in the carb cycles. Is this accurate for me??

    1. Hi Abby: You’re doing awesome! The recommendations in Chris and Heidi’s books and are very general and while they do work, they are for a wide range of people. In the app, your program is customized to YOUR body and YOUR goals, so these numbers will naturally be different. And it is VERY common to be surprised at the amount of food you should be eating to reach your goals! Most people have the misconception (and “old school” mentality) that you have to starve yourself to reach your goals – this is not the case at all in both the books and this program. For our approach, we start you at the highest calorie intake possible to boost your metabolism and prime your body, then if you EVER plateau, the program will adjust your portions in a “step-down” manner, to maximize your results and keep you losing. This is transformation the way it SHOULD be done! Your meal plan is totally customized to you and your goals, and so you can feel confident that if you eat all of that delicious food, you will achieve your goals!

  90. What is the best way to go about the meals as a Vegetarian? Is there a particular Carb Cycle that would work better? I do eat eggs and dairy products, but no other animal products. I use to eat seafood when I followed the Extreme Transformation program last year, but I would prefer not to eat meat this time around. Thank you in advance!

    1. Hi! There are several vegetarian options you can use in carb cycling: tofu, plant proteins, tempeh, seitan, and TVP, to name a few. And eggs and dairy products are great also!

  91. Hi there! I’m following carb cycling with the new Transform app, with two high carb and one low carb day. I want to be lean and shredded and wouldn’t mind building a little more muscle. Would it be detrimental to my carb cycling to add in a supplement protein shake (20 G protein) with my am snack so I can try to build more? Or just trust and stick with plan and forget the supplement protein powder unless it’s included in my meals for the day automatically? Thank you!

    1. Hi Melissa: Protein is the foundation of every single meal in this program, and it’s been included in the program at the correct quantities, so you won’t want to add any additional protein to any meals. Instead, we have many meals that do include a protein shake, so you could choose one of those. Hope that helps! 🙂

  92. I’m confused as to which cycle I need and the quiz I took had three in a tie. I’m looking to drop about 20lbs and lose fat. But I’m also an obstacle course racer and need to build lean muscle/have energy.
    I have the book choose more, lose more.

    1. Hi Erin: Since you are active, you might want to start with the Fit Cycle. And you can change cycles at any time! 🙂

    1. Hi Wendy: There are 21 days’ of menus in Chris and Heidi’s book, “Extreme Transformation” (, and in their other books, you’re able to put your own meals together based on your food preferences. There are also lots of awesome recipes in all of their books. And there are charts in these posts that outline how to put meals together in each of the carb cycles: and Hope that helps! 🙂

  93. Today is the first day of my transformation. My goal is to loose
    150 lbs. I have 2 questions.
    1. I’m a little confused between the turbo vs extreme options. I would love to get a quick start and build some momentum. Which option is best for me?
    2. Due to a work emergency I missed my 2nd meal and it was 5 hrs between breakfast and lunch. Is it more important that I get all 5 meals in or should I just skip that meal all together.
    (This is a bump in the road and a learning opportunity not something that will derail me at all)
    I’m so EXCITED!!!!!

    1. Hi Betsy: Let’s get you some answers to your questions! 1. I’d start with the Extreme Cycle. 2. Things like this happen #reallife, so you should be fine to just skip it. You might try keeping some healthy options in your purse, or at your desk (or some place handy at work) just in case this happens again. You’re doing awesome! 🙂

  94. I am really struggling and need you help with this diet plan. I don’t usually even eat 1200 calories a day so now doing this diet I feel like I am over eating. I have only been on this diet 2 days and I feel like I am gaining weight. What do you suggest?

    1. Hi Wendy: This is totally understandable! The minimum number of calories required for women for good health is 1200, so do your best to reach that number on those low carb days. If you’re still struggling, try increasing your calories by 100/day, and you will get to that 1200 calorie number! You can do this!

    2. Okay thank you all good info. One last question on high carb day can you also include “fat” carbs also or just good carbs low in fat??

    3. Hi Wendy: You are so welcome! Since some carbs naturally have a bit of fat in them, just keep things simple. Eat carbs for high carb meals, fats for low carb meals (some fats do have a bit of carb in them), and protein with every meal. Chris and Heidi have tried to make this program as simple as possible! 🙂

  95. I really don’t understand this plan. First I don’t think I am use to eating this many calories which maybe my reason for not loosing weight. How within the 5 times you eat the portions do you fit them in your hands measurement wise and accumulate 1200 and 1500 calories. Am I missing something here? I can’t get to this calorie in take. Am I making sense?

    1. Hi Wendy: If you’re having trouble hitting those calorie recommendations, there is a 100 calorie chart in “Choose More, Lose More for Life” that can help you put your meals together to achieve those daily calories. Using the portion guides also works, especially since you’re eating 5 meals a day. You can do this!

    1. Hi Wendy: Great question! Chris and Heidi recommend nuts, all-natural nut butters, oils (fish, flaxseed, and olive), cheeses, mayonnaise, seeds, avocado, olives, butter, and some others. I hope that helps!

    2. Okay so on low carb day for morning snack its protein and fat. I had almonds and a few slices of sharp cheddar cheese. According to your comment that would actually be two fats right? What should I consider a low fat protein then confused?

    3. Hi Wendy: Yes, you are correct. Both cheese and almonds are fats. Choose one of these and pair it with a protein (lean meats, protein powders, nonfat/low-fat Greek yogurts, egg whites, low-fat cottage cheese, etc.), and you’re good to go!

  96. Does it matter which days are high carb/low carb? It sounds like it should be tailored to my schedule. For example my heaviest days are T/Wed/Th/F Sat/Sun rest Mon light. So I should high carb the 4 heavy days low carb 2 days and make 1 day a reward day. Should I low carb Sat/Mon and Reward day Sun? Also, reward day? Unclear as to how many calories, macro % on this day or are you saying to throw it all out the window in this day and do what you feel?

    1. Hi Jami: All of the carb cycles take into account your workouts, but if you find that you need to adjust the schedule, do your hardest workouts on high carb days. And you can totally follow the schedule you’ve suggested in your comment, just be sure to keep the HC and LC days in the order as outlined. For your reward day, you’ll eat up to 1000 extra calories, so 2500 total for that day. You’re welcome to track these calories if you’d like to, but you don’t need to follow any specific macro percentages. Hope that helps!

  97. Hello, I’ve been scouring through your articles and book. With the information I’ve read and the calculators I’ve used in confused what my intakes sound be. I’m a46yo female. I weigh 179 and am 5’4. Right now I am moderately active at the gym but would like to get better. I am looking for what my protein, carb and fat intakes/macros should be for my low carb/ high carb days. I was looking at trying the turbo plan. I was looking into the extreme plan but I’m not sure which would be better for me. Could you please help me on this? Thank you…

    1. Hi Connie: Chris and Heidi have figured out all of your macros for you in all of their cycles, which makes things super simple! I’d do the Extreme Cycle, and here’s a post that outlines several meal prep options for this cycle as well as a “Create Your Own Meals” chart that can help you put your own meals together: Just remember that each gram of protein or carb = 4 calories, and each gram of fat = 9 calories. Hope this helps!

  98. Heidi,
    Ive been working out for the past 2 month 4 days a week. I am down 7 lbs and several inches but i have felt my diet needs to be tweaked. I am interested in starting the TURBO CYCLE but I am worried about having 4 low carb days. I suffer from gout and struggle to get lower carb days in when I worry about setting off my gout due to potential higher protein days. I know what foods to eat in moderation but do you think the TURBO CYCLE is a good plan for me?

    1. Hi Kelly: I’d do what is best for you medically, and if you’re worried about the two low carb days in a row, you can try the Easy, Classic, or Fit Cycles, and you’ll do great!

  99. If Im using an app, like MyFitnessPal, to track macros and caloric intake would the non-root, non-starchy vegetables be deducted from my daily allowance of macros and calories?

    1. Hi Michael: You’ll want to track everything you eat – it keeps you accountable. And these types of veggies really don’t carry a big calorie load. We wish you the best!

  100. Hi team powell,

    Can I still follow the plan if I’m vegetarian. Will swapping meats for tofu or lentils effect whether it falls into proteins or cards? Any help would be appreciated.

    Kind regards,

    1. Hi Chris: Yes, it can still work for you! Here are some vegetarian options: Soy protein sources such as tofu and tempeh and other vegetarian protein options such as hemp, bean, and pea protein. You can do this!

  101. I am very interested in learning more about carb cycling. I have about 35 lbs left to loose and really struggling. I keep yoyoing back and forth and its starting to frustrate me. I should say I have already lost 80 lbs.
    What I am curious about is how many calories a day to consume during both low carb and high carb days.
    Is there a guidline somewhere I could follow? Also what is the percentage of macros for both low and high carb days?

    1. Hi Angie: For the Easy, Classic, Turbo, and Fit Cycles, women eat 1200 cals on low carb days and 1500 cals on high carb days. For the Extreme Cycle, women eat around 1500 cals/day. And congratulations on losing 80 pounds – that’s awesome! 🙂

  102. What would you recommend for someone that works Midnight shifts and wants to carb cycle. Also how do you suggest one decreases/increases macros on high and low carb days. For example if the default macro count percentages are 40:20:40 (Carbs:Fats:Proteins) how would these numbers change on a high carb day and a low carb day.

    1. Hi Michael: Here’s a post that can help you figure out how to structure your meals on a crazy schedule: And if you’re following one of Chris and Heidi’s carb cycling plans, they’ve figured out all of your macros for you for both low and high carb days. You just need to follow your chosen carb cycle, and you’ll be good to go! You can totally do this!

  103. Hi so sorry I also forgot to ask.. I would like for Sunday to be my reset day since this is my day off from the gym and our family day.. I started your extreme cycle on Tuesday so my rest day shouldn’t be till Monday. How do I change my days of high and low without screwing things up?
    Also is it ok to be on a low carb day on a leg day with 30-45min of cardio after? I ask because the extreme cycle will have me on a low carb day on a day I weight train doing legs for a hour followed by 30/45 min of cardio after.. thankyou so much again!

    1. Hi April: No problem! Make Sundays your Reset Day/Day 7, then begin Day 1 on Mondays. And you should be okay to do legs/cardio on a low carb day, but if you find it’s not working, then move your leg day to a high carb day. 🙂

  104. Hi just started the extreme cycle and was wondering if the Walden farms pancake syrup and jelly ok to use? Are there certain artificial sweeteners that we should avoid ? Monk fruit ?
    Also I weight train and do cardio Mon,tues, wed Friday and Saturday , Thursday’s I do just cardio and sundays are my off days .. would I be ok with the extreme cycle ? So reset day is usually the day you would add a additional 1000 calories on top a typical high carb day which would probably be around 2500 calories and we don’t worry about how many carbs, fats or protein we eat? I just want to make sure I do it right .. is there any drawback on putting reset day and then highcarb day back to back? Thankyou again ..

    1. Hi April: Chris and Heidi recommend all natural sweeteners like stevia, Truvia, and xylitol. Any other sweeteners with calories need to be included in your daily totals. You should be good to go with the Extreme Cycle! And your Reset Day is extra calories for a total of no more than 2500 for that day, and you can eat anything you’d like to eat. Lastly, you’ll want to keep the order of the days (low and high carb) as outlined. You can do this!

    1. Hi Dana: All of your macros (proteins, carbs, and fats) are figured out for you in the Extreme Cycle, you simply need to follow the plan! Chris and Heidi have tried to make things super easy. You can do this!

  105. Hi! I am just going to be starting my carb cycling journey tomorrow and I was wondering if adding Crystal Light to my water was an option to help get through the gallon per day?! Thanks! 🙂

  106. Hey! So all the macro calculators give me different values and seem to be higher in carbs? Help not sure which one to go off as I keep hearing lower carb and higher fat is best? Is that true

    1. Hi Jillian: Yes, each calculator can give you different numbers depending on how they’re set up. Chris and Heidi incorporate both low and high carb days into their carb cycles since both carbs and fat are important for not only weight loss, but good health as well. Unless you’re carb cycling, you’ll want to make sure to get enough carbs and fat into every day. I’d try one out and see how it goes and go from there. 🙂

  107. Currently doing the Extreme Cycle and am loving it- I think it’s working ;)… how do you know what is the best cycle for you? I just chose it because I’m reading the book Extreme Transformation.

    Also, my hubby and I were confused this morning as he was making his oatmeal. The container says that 1/2 cup of dry oats 150 calories. The Extreme Cycle plan says that 3/4 cup is 100 calories. We went with our gut and followed the sheet but in that instance, should we always just follow the plan even if the container of something says it’s way more calories? We didn’t want to de-rail ourselves so we went with the plan. Also, are there brand specific items that Heidi and Chris recommend that they get their specific calories from? Or are they rounding up and down for easy math?


    PS… Team Powell does a FANTASTIC job at keeping up with these blog comments. I love knowing I’ll have an answer in a couple days at the least. Is there a way to get an alert when a question has been answered via email? I figured that was what the email box was for.

    1. Hi Nicole: I’d stick with the Extreme Cycle, it’s the most up-to-date of the carb cycles, although all of them are awesome! As for your oatmeal question, similar food items can be a bit different in calories and macros, so I’d always go with what the label says. And Chris and Heidi use general information when they put together the food lists for their books, but the true numbers can be a bit different depending on which specific item you choose. You guys are doing awesome! And to be honest, I’m not exactly sure if you’ll receive an email alert when a comment is answered – it depends on how the comments were set up, and that’s handled by our technical team. (And thank you! ?)

  108. Hi! I’m so excited to start? What are some on the go snack options or brands of granola? I’m a busy mom and teacher & need a few quick meals/snacks to bring along that I can throw in my bag.

    1. Hi Chrissy: Go for low-fat, low-sugar granolas. Other than that, choose the ones you like the best!

  109. what is your recommendation and/or tricks and tips to feeding three small kiddos (ages 4.5, 3, and 17 months) while my hubby and I carb cycle?

    I am half way through Extreme Transformation and am absolutely LOVING it. Seriously inspiring. Even though my hubby and I already eat pretty and we’re only looking to tone up and build muscle, I still find your book super helpful and informative. You guys rock.

    I’m torn between following the weekly shopping lists in the back of the book and the recipes and then meal prepping OR just meal prepping while picking away at the approved foods in the back of the book while staying within the guidelines of carb cycling. What do you find is easiest for you and your family?


    1. Hi Nicole: For meal prepping, here’s a post with several options that might be helpful: As for including your kids in carb cycling, they can eat what you eat, but make sure they have a protein, fat, AND carb with every meal. And here’s another post with some fun and healthy snacks for kids: Hope this helps! 🙂

  110. Hello, lately I’ve been super interested in trying out carb cycling but can’t seem to figure out which program would fit my schedule. My daily 5 sometimes 6 days a week is strength training (med/heavy usually 3-4 sets 8-10 reps) on Mon, Weds, and Fridays all starting with a 15min warmup and ending with a 20 min cardio session. Tues. Thurs and sometime Saturdays are my boxing training class. I really want to do carb cycling as I tend to hold onto my B/F around my midsection 🙁 I am in my early 50’s. Thank you much and hope to hear from you soon.

  111. Hi! I started the Turbo Cycle 2 weeks ago and am down 4.6 lbs since I started dieting 3 weeks ago. Should you expect to lose some kind of weight on the scale each week? I made the mistake of stepping on the scale this morning after I had already eaten breakfast and saw that I was up 2 lbs from last weeks weigh in. I am a little nervous to weigh myself on Saturday to see that my weight is either up or I didn’t lose at all. What are the general weekly weight loss expectations when doing this kind of diet? Thanks!!

    1. Hi Ashton: Chris and Heidi recommend that you weigh once a week, and for the Turbo Cycle, you’ll weigh first thing the morning of your Reward Day. As far as a rate of weight loss, that’s hard to say since each person has a different body composition, starting weight, weight loss goal, and other factors that can affect a weekly rate of weight loss. Stick to your plan exactly, and you’ll be good to go!

  112. Hi! I was wondering, i read on your book choose to lose that after every three weeks you should do one week where everyday is high carb. Is the every fourth week from the very start or you only should do the full week of high carb if you have hit a plateau?

    1. Hi Janet: You’ll do a slingshot week (a full week of high carb days) every 4th week no matter what. 🙂

  113. Heidi,

    I’ve recently purchased you and your husband’s book Extreme Transformation after doing many days of research on carb cycling. I implemented the strategies outline in the week just over a week ago. I’ve lost 2.5 pounds in my first week and am relieved to finally see some results. I LOVE how easy the recipes are and how fast I can prepare them. I’m not much for cooking…

    As someone who considers myself to be in good health and very active, I’ve struggled in the last year to maintain my fitness as a result of recent hormonal changes due to a newly developed physical ailment. I am not someone who is extremely over weight and my goal although really big to me, is to lose less than 10 pounds. I do however wish to maintain wellness and fitness well into my senior years and had been seeking a method for which was sustainable for me.

    I travel VERY frequently for work (2-3 days a week) and find it hard at times to adhere to really strict programs that require a regimented plan of cooking your own meals. I hope to find more solutions as I progress in knowledge and understanding of carb cycling and would love any advice you can give me.

    I currently prepare breakfasts and snacks to take on the road with me to minimize the high calorie impact eating out usually consists of. I read a couple articles on your site that are very helpful in identifying restaurants that offer meals that comply with carb cycling. Do you have any other tips to add.

    Best wishes and thank you for being real!,


  114. I’ve started the Extreme Carb Cycle on Monday. I am prone to migraines which are normally controlled but each day so far I have had multiple headaches and am on my second migraine. Is this common when moving from processed sugar and foods to this program?

    1. Hi Darcy: Headaches can be a by product of a new program, especially if you’re eating differently than you’re used to; however, what causes headaches can be different for each person. Some people experience headaches at first on low carb days, but you’ve only done high carb days so far. If you know what usually triggers your headaches and it’s something in the program, you can definitely modify the program if necessary. And if they continue, you might want to chat with your healthcare team and then follow any recommendations they might have. We wish you all the best!

  115. Hello,
    I’ve been following the Classic Carb Cycle guide and it’s working really well but I’ve just changed to late night workouts and didn’t know what/when to eat. I finish training at 9.30pm and normally go to bed at 10.30pm so don’t have time for 2 meals – should I have a fast digesting shake after working out, a slow digesting meal or combine both (i.e. dextrose, protein, creatine & porridge)?

  116. Hey Heidi! I watched Chris show so many times and it was awesome! I have been trying to figure out a macro ratio for me to follow. I have PCOS, Insulin resistance, high blood sugars and it seems like everything I do to loose weight isn’t working. I only seem to gain unless I don’t eat that much. I am very sensitive to carbs and feel better the protein I eat. I have been weight lifting 3-4 times a week. I love it but nothing has changed other than I realized that I gain muscle very fast lol. Can you recommend a ratio for me to follow or a link to give me an idea? Or which Carb cycle would be best for me to follow. I know when I have done Atkins before I felt so sick! I am going whole and clean for the most part withy Jyms Pre and post workout powders! Thanks!!

    1. Hi Dustyann: If you follow any of Chris and Heidi’s carb cycling programs, they’ve figured out all your macros for you – you just follow the plan! If you want more information on macros, including a link to an awesome macros calculator, please check out this post: And please discuss any nutrition and exercise program with your healthcare team first and then follow their recommendations. Hope that helps – you can do this!

  117. Hi I’m just about to start your diet bet and wanted to carb cycle, do you have any advice for a vegan who wants to carb cycle. Thank you

    1. Hi Laura: There are several vegan options for proteins for carb cycling including soy protein sources such as tofu and tempeh
      and other vegetarian protein options such as hemp, bean, and pea protein, so you should be good to go! And good luck in the DietBet game!

  118. Hi,
    I want to start with carb cycling and I am used to count calories and macros, but now I am bit confused – according to your answer from September 2016 “Easy, Classic, Fit, and Turbo Cycles: High Carb Meal (including EVERY breakfast): Protein: 40%, Carbs: 40%, Fats: 20%, Low Carb Meal: Protein: 40%, Carbs: 20%, Fats: 40%.” – is it true, that a man should eat 200 g netto proteins a day on hi-carb days? Isn?t it a bit much? Thanks!

    1. Hi Eva: Yes, that is correct. It’s recommended that a man eat 2000 calories on high carb days, which equates to 800 calories from both protein and carbs plus 400 calories from fats for a total of 2000 calories. I hope this helps!

  119. Can you tell me when I should eat and what? My workout is Mon-Thurs Hiit fit at 5 am and random weight lifting and some cardio on weekends. I cannot eat 30 mins after waking. What do you recommend?

  120. hi! I hope i didn’t miss this skimming through the comments but how do you actually track your macros? pen and paper? app?

  121. Hi so how do the workouts relate to the program do i do cardio on high carb days or lifting on low carb days is there a particular way to work out

  122. I’m ready to start tomorrow! But I need protein powder. What is the best powder to purchase? What should the breakdown be of protein, carbs, etc?

    1. I’m a huge fan of Shakeology! Protein PLUS tons of super foods like chia, flax, quinoa, Maca root, etc. I workout from home every day, 3 busy kids and run an at home business and Shakeo is SO convenient!
      Running a FB fitness/health group starting Monday if you want to join, totally free, just some awesome accountability through the holidays ???

  123. Hello! I have about 5-10lbs I would like to lose and I’m trying to figure out which method of carb cycling would be best. I’ve never done the cycling before but I think it would really work with my lifestyle. I train 5-6 days per week and fairly fit but just would like to lean out a little more.

  124. Hey! I’ve just finished reading Extreme Transformation. I’m excited to start and try all of the recipes. However to make my life easier and to be sure to stick to the plan, I was wondering if I can repeat meals through out the week. That way I can prep less food, but more of it, to last for the specific meal during the week.
    Thanks in advance!

  125. I want to start the carb cycling. I am a runner and run 6 days a week and weight train 3 to 4 days a week. My problem would be that I do not eat meat. I will eat Chicken maybe 2 times a month and Fish maybe once a week. Do you have any advice for protein on low carb days. I drink smoothies everyday with plant based protein. I would like to lose 15 to 20 lbs and its been a struggle since I have turned 50. Thanks for your help.

    1. Hi Sue: There are several protein options in Chris and Heidi’s carb cycling program, and fish and chicken are two great ones as often as you can eat them. You can also do dairy products like nonfat/low fat Greek yogurts and cottage cheese, as well as eggs in addition to protein powders. Hope that helps! 🙂

  126. I workout 5 times a week with a trainer, I’m 34, 5’3, 140lbs and I’m a size 2/4. I’m going to start doing more heavy lifting, wanting to get some major toned/muscle definition. I’m new to carb cycling, which one do you recommend?

  127. Hi there — I have dug through several of your posts and even through the comments sections to see if my question has already been addressed. Wondering what to do with pre/post-workout meals, low carb days especially. I’m looking at doing Turbo and I am a runner. My workouts usually either fall in the early morning (start time 5am) or closer to 6pm if I’m working out with my team. I like to eat something prior to the key workouts (intervals, tempo, long runs) and I know carbs are essential for post-workout recovery. So, how do you address eating around workouts when carb cycling, especially on the low carb/high fat days?

  128. Hi! My husband and I are on your “Fit Cycle” through the America’s Fittest Couple Challenge (love it so far!). My goal is to lost fat and gain lean muscle (seriously Heidi your bod is #goals lol) & my husband’s (end) goal is to honestly be similar to Chris’. My question is kind of multi-layered, but here it goes! If we wanted to order your Chef’d meals, could these be incorporated onto this plan as substitutes for dinners? — I couldn’t find the Macros so I couldn’t compare to the plan we have. In addition, if we have meals that meet (or are very similar) in macros to those on the plan, can we sub those out for more variety?

    1. Hi Kelli: Any recipes/meals that match the macros in the challenge recipes are great options to use to add more variety into your meals. 🙂

  129. Hi there!

    I’m just 3 weeks out from my first figure competition and want to implement carb cycling when I am done, specifically the fit carb cycle.
    Is there a calculator I can use to determine my macros/calories for my high and low days? I’m sure its here somewhere but perhaps I missed it 🙂

    1. Hi Jordyn: There’s a macro calculator in this post: For macros for low and high carb days, it’s really best to work with a macro coach who can help you figure out what works best for you based on your body composition and goals, since these are different for each person. In general, here are the macro percentages for the Fit Cycle: High Carb Meal (including EVERY breakfast): Protein: 40%, Carbs: 40%, Fats: 20%, Low Carb Meal: Protein: 40%, Carbs: 20%, Fats: 40%. But again, these are very general percentages. Good luck on your competition! 🙂

  130. Hi!

    First off, love love love this article!!! Second, I am just about to compete in a bikini competition this Saturday and I have been implementing carb cycling throughout my entire prep. My last 3 weeks of prep have involved 3 NO carb days back to back followed by a HIGH carb day and I had 2 of those a week. This last week I only have 1 LOW carb day (the day before the show) and my show day will involve carbs in the morning.

    My question is, I want to slowly find my maintenance calories while still doing carb cycling. Should I slowly reverse my cycle so that I can get back to a normal amount of food? I am so depleted right now that I am stuck on how to gradually bring myself back up to more amounts of carbs.

    1. Hi Megan: Since figuring out how to adjust carb cycling and macros as you’re wanting to do is a very individualized thing (it’s based on your current body composition and goals), it’s best to work with a macros coach who can work with you personally now and in the future to make any necessary adjustments as you go along. There’s a link in this post (as well as some other helpful information) to Heidi’s coaches: And good luck on your competition! 🙂

  131. Hi Heidi,

    I started the Turbo Carb Cycling program about a month and a half ago. I’ve lost about 4 pounds so far, but now I’m plateauing. The scale hasn’t moved since the last few times I’ve stepped onto it and it really stinks. I’m working out 5 times a week, (alternating between barre and cardio kickboxing) and I strictly follow the plan. What’s your recommendation to get the scale moving again? Thanks!

    1. Hi Shannon: PCOS can make it harder to lose weight, so you might chat with your doctor about the program and see if he/she has any modifications that might help. And don’t forget to do the Slingshot Week every 4th week too. 🙂

    2. I was actually wondering if it matters which days I kickbox? I tend to do it a few times a week and I am about to start carb cycling so I was wondering if I should focus on doing it on low carb days or high carb days?

      Hope you can help! Thanks!

    3. Hi Sasha: Up to an hour of cardio is figured into the program Monday-Friday, so you should be okay to kickbox on any day. If you find that this is difficult, you can kickbox on high carb days. 🙂

  132. I’m hearing its extremely bad to eat a lot of broccoli. Is it safe to consume 2 cups of broccoli at each meal on low carb days? I currently eat 8 cups a day (2 cups per meal not counting breakfast) on low carb days during the turbo cycle. Am i doing anything wrong?

    1. Hi Rich: Broccoli is an awesome veggie, and 2 cups at one meal is totally okay. However, it is important to eat other veggies also, so you might choose to eat different ones for different meals. We recommend going for all the colors of the rainbow throughout your day – yellow, green, red, orange, purple, white – to make sure you’re getting all the different nutrients you can. Hope that helps!

  133. I came across this carb cycling program and macro-patterning. What is the difference between the two? How long can you safely stay on either of these programs?

    1. Hi Stacy: Carb cycling is alternating between low and high carb days. Macro tracking involves tracking the proteins, carbs, and fats you eat daily. You can do both at the same time, and both can be followed for life! Here’s a post about macro tracking that might help: 🙂

    1. Hi Erin Z: As you continue to do something, you find even better ways to do it, so the new Extreme Cycle in “Extreme Transformation” is the result of Chris and Heidi’s experiences working with their contestants and clients since “Choose More, Lose More for Life” was published. Any of the carb cycles can help you achieve your goals, so choose whichever one you’d like to follow. And remember, you can change cycles at any time!

  134. I have been looking into carb cycling for sometime now, I have tried programs such as the 21 DayFix and quite enjoyed it, but looking for something new. My biggest question is that my day starts at 5:00 am in which I go straight to the OrangeTheory for a 60 min workout. Your meal plans all clearly state to start with breakfast within 30 mins of waking, but I cannot eat before I go or I feel nauseous. I usually have a banana or an egg frittata muffin, something small and then when I come home I have shake consisting of skim milk, peanut butter, banana and protein powder. Can you let me know if this okay, or what should I do. Also what is you opinion on energy powders for for before, during after a workout (for ex BCAA aminocore)?

    1. this question is for Chris and Heidi
      I am 64 years old. I only have about 5 lbs to lose but would like to tighten and tone. should I start with the classic? and I also cannot eat within 30 minutes after waking up. I workout before I eat.

    2. Hi Beth! You can begin with any carb cycle, but we usually recommend starting with the extreme cycle. And eat whenever you can in the morning, whatever works best for you! We hope you love carb cycling!

  135. I had been carb cycling for a few weeks when I happened across a few days straight where I was unable to control my meal choices (camping retreat). What is the best way to ‘restart’ the classic cycle.

    I was thinking of just viewing the last few days as reward/lost days and beginning again tomorrow with a Low Carb day and then classic cycling away from there.

    Thanks for any input!

  136. I am just about to start carb cycling. I just received my book Choose More , Lose More for Life. My question is what protein powder do you recommend for the shakes? I have lupus so I try to use a powder that is as clean as possible.

    1. Hi Christine: In general, Chris and Heidi recommend low-fat, low-carb powders with around 20 grams of protein per serving. And welcome to carb cycling! 🙂

  137. Hello Heidi and Chris,

    My husband and I are starting the classic cycle, inspired by reading Choose more, lose more. New to carb cycling we want to follow the sample weeks at first. The samples for week 1 and two aren’t translated well in the book, meanig the printing in very light and difficult to read. Week 3 and 4 are readable. Is it possible to get these sample weeks anywhere?

    Thanks for reading

    1. Hi Barbara: All of the charts look great in my book, so I’m not sure why you’re having this issue with your book. I’d try contacting the customer service department where you purchased your book and see if they can help you with this issue. Unfortunately, we don’t have these charts available for download. We wish you both the best on the Classic Cycle – you can do this!

  138. Team Powell,

    Please help! I am 53, going through menopause and seeking to lose 10 pounds. I have done the classic and turbo cycles and lost only 1 pound on each. I exercise 5-6 times per week doing both cardio (cycling) and strength training classes. I’ve maintained this level of activity for since losing 30 pounds 14 years ago. I only recently started gaining weight which I believe is due to menopause. What do you suggest? Is your recommendation for 1200 calories on low carb days and 1500 calories on high carb days next exercise?

    1. Hi Sharna: It can be more difficult to lose weight during menopause, and the weight can come off more slowly. You might want to try the new Extreme Cycle, which recommends about 1500 calories each day. You might also discuss carb cycling with your healthcare team and see if they have any helpful modifications to suggest. And the calorie recommendations for all cycles are formulated with the exercise recommendations in mind. You lose weight through a calorie deficit – burning more calories than you consume. You might also want to check out the new Extreme Cycle and see if that might help: You can do this!

    2. Sharna, if you’ve hit a plateau, it might be your choice of exercise. Cycling is a good source of cardio, but after a while, choosing the same exercise will stall your progress. I would look more towards challenging yourself with free weights if possible. Strength classes are a good start, but you may need to up your weight and change up how you train.

  139. I purchased the Extreme Transformation and am excited to get started. I lost 125 pounds in a year eating healthy and starting to exercise, then in January I hit a plateau. I have tried increasing exercise, changing up exercise, adding grains (I wasn’t eating them before), increasing calories, and nothing seems to budge the plateau. I am hopeful that this will be the ticket. I have a couple of questions: I have had my RMR tested and know for my body what the calorie range for weight loss is, which is a little higher than the 1500 you suggest for women, should I go with the 1500 or the 1650 from my RMR test? Second question, I do Orangetheory workouts 6 days a week, they burn at least 500 calories with EPOC, with this amount of working out/calorie burn do I need to adjust my calories? I’ve been told if you don’t eat enough your body will hold on to whatever you give it and I want it to let go! Thanks in advance for your suggestions.

    1. Hi Sabrena: Wow! Congratulations on losing 125 lbs! That’s awesome! You should be good to go with the 1500 calories/day recommendation, and cardio is included in the program 6 days a week, so you should you be fine doing your Orangetheory also. You can do this!

  140. Thank you for your explanation on how to break through a plateau. At age 43 I was having difficulty for about two weeks, not losing any weight. Its been tough because my body’s natural response to working out also includes suppressing my appetite. So I kept up on my calorie count, making sure I ate enough. Though I did not understand it, I did a slingshot week of carbs and additional meal. Altered my workout a little… By the end of the week, BAM! I lost 5 lbs. Thank you.

  141. Team Powell,

    Me again. I’m confused on the difference between sugar free syrup and pure maple syrup.. Maybe a silly question but the only think I can find for sugar free syrup is like coffee flavorings..

    Help 🙂

    1. Hi Allie: You can find sugar-free maple syrup with the other pancake/waffle syrups. It’s sweetened with artificial sweeteners, and one sweetened with stevia is your best choice. 🙂

  142. Hi Heidi,

    I’m on day 3 of the extreme cycle and I love it! I am never hungry and learning some awesome recipes with healthy foods!

    I am curious what I am allowed to drink on the extreme cycle. Obviously water is unlimited but what about coffee? Tea? Alcohol?

    Thank you!

    1. Hi Allie: Welcome to the Extreme Cycle! You have black coffee or tea, but be sure to only use 0 calorie sweeteners. Alcohol is considered a reset/reward day drink. Hope that helps!

    2. I am looking for a printable of the 21-Day Tracking sheet from my book…Appendix A. The book pages are tiny and I want to duplicate but they are set up two a day…I want it larger so I can make notes as I track my progress. Just starting program Monday with a friend…very excited and hopeful! Thanks!

    3. Hi Shelly: Unfortunately, we don’t have any of the charts available for download at this time. And welcome to carb cycling – you can do this!

  143. Hello,
    i have lost 50lbs doing Whole30 and working out. I have added something back, make overall healthy choice, i still have an occasional treat. I am looking to add muscle now and tone the rest. I am a little nervous about carb cycling.. i do not want to have to count calories or marco(????)

    I currently eat.. a lot of protein, veggies, avacoado, but i eat as much as I want and do not count.. can i do carb cycling without counting?

  144. Hi Hedi,

    I have been reading your blog post on Macro eat and carb cycling. Already being an avid user of MyfitnessPal this peaked my interest. I do have a question- Is Carb cycling and Macro eating two different eating lifestyles or do they go hand and hand? My Macro calcualtions differ from you Classic cycling Macros given for women above. How do I know how many told macros I get per day on low and high carb days for the Classic Cycling? Thanks!

    1. Hi Melissa: Carb cycling takes macro counting to a new level, and you count macros in carb cycling. If you’re following one of Chris and Heidi’s carb cycles, here are the recommended macro percentages: Easy, Classic, Fit, and Turbo Cycles: High Carb Meal (including EVERY breakfast): Protein: 40%, Carbs: 40%, Fats: 20%, Low Carb Meal: Protein: 40%, Carbs: 20%, Fats: 40%. Extreme Cycle: Breakfast (EVERY day): Protein: 30%, Carb: 40%, Fat: 30%, High Carb Meal: Protein: 40%, Carb: 50%, Fat: 10%, Low Carb Meal: Protein: 40%, Carb: 10%, Fat: 50%. If you’re wanting to put together your own carb cycles, it’s best to work with a macro coach who can put your plan together based on your body composition and goals. 🙂

  145. Hi Heidi,

    I love all your blogs! Two quick questions, based on weight, what is the basic calculation for High and Low days for Carbs, Protein and Fats? And do you count total carbs or net carbs?

    Thank you for your time! Your page has been my go to since carb cycling.

    1. Hi S: On the Extreme Cycle, women eat around 1500 calories a day, and men eat around 2000 calories a day. For the other four cycles, women eat 1200 calories on low carb days and 1500 calories on high carb days, and men eat 1500 calories on low carb days and 2000 calories on high carb days. Here are the macro percentage breakdowns for all of the carb cycles: Easy, Classic, Fit, and Turbo Cycles: High Carb Meal (including EVERY breakfast): Protein: 40%, Carbs: 40%, Fats: 20%, Low Carb Meal: Protein: 40%, Carbs: 20%, Fats: 40%. Extreme Cycle: Breakfast (EVERY day): Protein: 30%, Carb: 40%, Fat: 30%, High Carb Meal: Protein: 40%, Carb: 50%, Fat: 10%, Low Carb Meal: Protein: 40%, Carb: 10%, Fat: 50%. And we count total carbs. Hope this helps!

    2. If I can not exercise for a few days on the extreme cycle due to surgery, should I lower my daily calorie intake?

    3. Hi Jennifer: You should be okay leaving your calories the same for a few days. Your body does need good, healthy calories to heal, and we hope you recover quickly!

  146. Hi guys,

    I’ve just read ‘chose more lose more’. I’m intrigued by carb cycling. I actually train 3x a week weights and 1-2 cardio. I am currently 67kgs. This weight had been unchanged for a year but I am much happier with my shape and have quite a lot of muscle mass. I am at the frustrating ‘last 15lbs’ stage and can’t seem to get the last few pounds to budge! I note in the book the recommendation for females is 1200.
    Currently I track macros and have tried weaning up to 1750 kcals And also down to 1400. I really think I’d struggle to train on 1200.
    Would there be some wiggle room for me to carb cycle on 1400-1500 and still lose those ‘vanity pounds’?


    Thanks guys, am a huge fan X

  147. Hi,
    It’s day 5 for me and I’m feeling absolutely amazing! Have a question. I’m wondering if you have any suggestions for a *low cost* lactose free or vegan protein powder that tastes great that would work with this program? The ones I can find either have 15 carbs 5 fat etc.
    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
    Thank You!

    1. Hi Pam: You’re doing awesome! We don’t have any brands to recommend, but yes, go for low-carb, low-fat versions (if 5 grams is the lowest you can find, that’s totally okay!) that have around 20 grams of protein per serving. You can totally do this! 🙂

  148. Hi, I am new to all this. Just wondering if the reward day allows to eat anything all day, or is it just for one meal? Thank you.

    1. Hi Chuck: For your reward day, you can eat anything you want up to an extra 1,000 calories for that day.

  149. I Have been a big fan of Chris & Heidi’s for years! With every episode of Extreme Weight Loss I get more inspired to lead a healthier lifestyle! I just purchased Choose More, Loose More book which I am about to begin reading. I walk 2 1/2 miles 5 days a week. I have lost 44 pounds so far by making better decisions about food and switching to drinking just water, but I still have 67 pounds to go to make my goal weight. Any input would be greatly appreciated and which Cycle to start with would help as well! Thanks so much!

    1. Hi Elle: Congratulations on losing 44 pounds! That’s awesome! I’d start with the Turbo Cycle in “Choose More, Lose More for Life.” You can totally do this!

  150. Hello I just purchased choose more, lose more for life. I’m trying to wrap my mind around this whole carb cycling thing. The idea of eating 5 servings of veggies a day I”m concerned is going to be unmanageable in the long term. I have to force myself to eat 2 a day because I don’t enjoy them. Are there any actual meal plans that I can follow to help me visually understand this?

    1. Hi Charity: I’d move up to the 5 servings of vegetables a day gradually. We don’t have meal plans, but there’s an awesome graphic (and other helpful info) in this post that can help you put your meals together, as well as some awesome recipes in the book: You can do this!

  151. Hey guys,

    Quick question. I have lost over 220lbs over the course of three diets. All moderate carb of 100-150g.

    However, now at 33 years of age, I am trying to lose again! (I am now siting at 313lbs at 6″ tall). I am positive that I have messed up my metabolism from the first diet at 21. Sitting at 900KCal a day. Second at the same, and third at the same as well. I was under eating!

    I have tried LCHF this past time (Did not finish due to the restrictions placed onto the diet), and lost 20Lbs in a week. Obviously water, but there was something moving on the scales. This last week, after a month break from LCHF, I have been doing a higher Calorie diet with carbs, but lost 0lbs. I was bloated the whole time.

    I have forgotten how long it takes for the bloat to go away, I think it is 2 weeks? But nevertheless, I felt extremely uneasy in body, as if I was doing nothing to try and sort myself out. I see that you do a carb cycling program. Is there a reason as to why it s not solely a LCHF diet? I sit due to the fact that the body would be more satisfied n the food choices?

    I have also been a massive fan of your show, and have always wondered what the contestants eat throughout the program. I know that the competition show that is on the TV for years, they tend to starve the contestants, and when they go ack to their everyday lives, they blow back up to their regular sizes, and more. This is exactly what happened to me.

    Any advice in getting my body back to burning the calories that it should? (I stay 100% on plan when dieting, hence the 70lb lose in each spell which has never gone over 6 months).

    Thank you ever so much! I am a father of a 5 year old, and I seriously just want to be the best dad I can be while he is still young and is forming memories.

    1. Hi Darryl: I think Chris and Heidi’s carb cycling program could work for you, and it’s a lifestyle, not a program that you’ll go off of once you achieve your transformation goals. It’s the right combination of proteins, fats, and carbs in the right portions at the right times to keep your body healthy, and it gives your body the calories it needs to function properly and lose weight. I’d start with the Extreme Cycle ( You can do this!

  152. Hi, I have 2 questions. 1) Is fruit considered a carb? For my LC days, I was having low fat greek yogurt and pineapple. 2) Is Hummus low fat enough to have on HC days? I’m currently on a HC day, eating a salad, and instead of dressing, I had a side of hummus.

    1. Hi Shannon: Let’s get you some answers to your questions! 1) Yes, all fruits are carbs, so you’ll not want to eat them for a low carb meal. 2) Hummus can count as a carb, just watch the portion size. 🙂

  153. Hi Team Powell!

    I just want to check in and make sure I am on the right plan… any advice you have would be awesome!

    So, here’s my situation. I had my 31st birthday last week and decided I’m sick of carrying around the extra 30 pounds that I’ve gained in the last 3 years. Time to start keeping those promises! So, on a whim, I bought the extreme carb cycling book late on Sunday evening, headed to the grocery and then started Monday morning. Awesome so far – I can’t believe I got to eat chips and salsa today!

    Now that I have had time to sit and read your blog a bit more, I just want to make sure that I am on the optimal plan to achieve my goals. I currently weigh 154 and would like to get back to somewhere in the low 120s, really as quickly as possible. I am 5’6″.

    Would love your input!


  154. Hello Heidi
    I’ve hit a plateau in my weight lose, and I’m very curious abut carb cycling.
    My question is how do I figure out my calories for my low and high carb days??
    Thank you, Victoria

    1. Hi Victoria: It depends on which cycle you follow. Everything is figured out for you in all 5 cycles, and you can learn about each one by following the links in this post. For the Extreme Cycle, you’ll eat around 1500 calories a day. For the other cycles, you’ll eat 1200 calories on low carb days and 1500 calories on high carb days. You can do this!

  155. Hi heidi

    I am 26 year old guy who has struggled alot with weight and muscles .i am 227.076 lbs i want to loose more but every time i have problem with diet and carbs if i start loosing i loose muscles as well.So which cycle would you prefer for me and is their any additional suggestion would you suggest me ??

  156. Hi Heidi, I am intrigued by the concept of carb cycling. I am not sure which cycle would be best for me. I have been running in 5ks, but I feel that my weight is inhibiting my progress. I’m 5’4″, female and 193 lbs. I jog 2-3 miles three times a week and I’m also doing Hip Hop Abs 6 days a week. Which cycle should I do?

  157. Hello,

    I have a 4 month old baby and I am still strictly breastfeeding. I’ve seen great results with macro eating and exercising and am down to my pre baby weight but really want to start toning more (especially wanting my abs to pop more). Will carb cycling be good for me? Will it mess with my milk supply at all? Thanks for your help!

  158. Hi Team Powell 🙂

    I’ve been following the turbo cycle for 3 weeks…I lost 7.4 lbs week 1 & then 1.2 lbs week two but now I’m up 2 lbs after week 3 (I am weighing myself on the recommended day as per your book).
    I workout a minimum of 9 times a week (1 hr sessions each) & sometimes 2 hrs at a time & train with a personal trainer five times a week as well as do bootcamp & boxing/kickboxing classes. My question for you is if I should be increasing my calories since I’m working out quite a bit & increasing my water to even more than what is suggested in the book? My goal is to lose 80-100 lbs in total. Currenlty I’m doing a personal 8 week challenge. Thanks in advance! 🙂

    1. Hi Silvia: The recommendations in the book should work, but since you are working out more than what is recommended (yay for you!), you might need to adjust your calorie intake accordingly, as well as you water intake. You’re doing awesome!

  159. Hi Heidi,

    I am just starting out with the turbo carb cycling and I have a question. Sorry if you’ve addressed this previously. I like having yogurt and kashi cereal to start my day. Is it a problem then to have yogurt again later in the day, like adding it to a protein powder? Im thinking since it’s a protein, it would be okay, but then again, technically it’s dairy. Thanks for your advice 🙂

    1. Hi Kellie: Nonfat plain Greek yogurt is considered a protein in carb cycling, so it could potentially be the protein portion of any meal. Regular dairy yogurts don’t have enough protein to be considered a protein, and they do have quite a few carbs. Hope that helps!

    2. Thanks! Very happy about that! So if I wanted to make a smoothy with both a whey powder ( a protein source with less 4 g of carbs) and add nf plain greek yogurt to it, (another protein source) how would I proportion all that protein to equal a fist full? 1 scoop of the whey powder is equal to 36 grams. Thanks again 🙂

    3. Hi Kellie: You can use part of a portion of protein powder and part of a portion of Greek yogurt so that combined they equal a serving of protein (around 20 grams). 🙂

  160. Hi Heidi do you have any recommendations for travelling? I want to follow the plan but don’t have access to normal foods! Are protein bars like mission one or quest good options? Thanks

  161. Hi! I am interested in buying the books on carb cycling and wondered if there are vegan options or if it’s strictly meat based? I only eat whole, plant based foods and no dairy or processed oils or fats. Many thanks!

    1. Did you find carb cycling options for your plant based diet? If so, where? I’ve been looking & have only had people tell me that the options exist, not actually give me any concrete ideas. If you could point me in the direction of some actual recipes that would be awesome!

    2. Hi Tiffany: You can substitute most any plant-based protein source for any meat-based protein source in most of the recipes. Some options are soy protein sources such as tofu and tempeh and other vegetarian protein options such as hemp, bean, and pea protein. Hope that helps!

  162. Hi, I was wondering if there was a certain amount of carbs I should stay within with the high and low carb days?

    1. Hi Nancy: It depends on which carb cycle you’re following. Here are the recommended macro percentages for all of the carb cycles: Easy, Classic, Turbo, or Fit Cycles: High Carb Meal (including EVERY breakfast): Protein: 40%, Carbs: 40%, Fats: 20%. Low Carb Meal: Protein: 40%, Carbs: 20%, Fats: 40%. The Extreme Cycle: Breakfast (EVERY day): Protein: 30%, Carb: 40%, Fat: 30%. High Carb Meal: Protein: 40%
      Carb: 50%, Fat: 10%. Low Carb Meal: Protein: 40%, Carb: 10%, Fat: 50%. Or there are some helpful graphics in both of these posts: and Hope this helps!

  163. Hi,

    I workout early in the morning and preferably do fasted cardio as I feel that burns more fat but seeing as carb cycling says we should Eat breakfast within 30 minutes of waking what do I do??

    1. You can do whatever works best for you as far as eating and working out go. So if you like to work out before eating, go for it!

  164. Hi there, I’ve decided that I want to give carb cycling a try to see if I can help kick myself off a plateau. I’ve lost 70 pounds over the last 2 years with proper diet and exercise, but I still have about 40 pounds to go. I’ve been completely stalled as far as the scale goes for about 3 months. I have lost a few inches, and I do know the scale actually means very little in the scheme of things, my muscle definition is much better, but I still have fat to lose.

    Currently I follow a plan of macro counting and carb bracketing, eating carbs around my morning workouts. My macros have been 40% Protein, 30% Carbs, and 30% fat with a calorie goal of 1400-1600 per day. I weight train 4x per week and spin 1-3 times per week (depending on class schedules), and walk nearly everyday.

    I do have a few questions regarding how the carb cycling may help me…

    1 – do you think it will help me break the plateau? Instead of eating carbs only in the morning each day, will it help me to do a plan like this where my macros are changing on alternate days? I’m a little afraid of eating more carbs.

    2 – on Spin days I have class at 6am. I’m getting up a 5:15 am to get myself ready and drive to class. I do spin classes fasted, (and have zero problem with energy). Will it be ok to eat within 30 minutes of class instead of 30 min of waking since I can’t get myself up early enough to eat and digest before class?

    3 – I was going to start on the Classic cycle, but do you think there is a different cycle that would work better for me?

    4 – is it important to have the cheat day each week and have more calories on that day or can we just do a regular high carb day? Of course I will have a “Sunday Funday” once in a while, but I find I do better if I don’t let myself indulge too much, even after 2 years of this lifestyle my off switch doesn’t work very well once I start indulging.

    Thanks very much, love the books and all that Heidi and Chris do and looking forward to trying this.

    1. Hi Sharlene: Congratulations on losing 70 pounds! That’s awesome! 1. Yes, I do think carb cycling could help you as it’s outlined in Chris and Heidi’s program. 2. Here’s a post that can help you figure out the eating and working out thing: 3. You can use whichever cycle you think will work best for you, and you can change cycles at any time! 4. Yes, the cheat/reward day is super important for weight loss on these carb cycles. I know, it’s hard to trust in it, but it does work! If you’re afraid you’ll overindulge, you can eat healthy foods all day if you’d like. The main thing is to eat the 1000 extra calories on that day. You can do this!

  165. Hello Heidi,
    I am planning to start your carb cycling plan but have a couple of questions. First, I know you (and your books) say that it is important to eat within 30 minutes of waking. My problem is that I wake at 4am to go to work. If I eat at 4:15, that means my next meal would have to be at 7:15, then 10:15, then 1:15, then 4:15. I am just wondering if it would make a big difference if meals were 4 hours apart or if I could snack on veggies or something in between to extend the time – only because I do like to eat with my kids at least in the evening! Also, I see you suggest protein shakes but I have difficulty tolerating protein powders. Any suggestions? Thanks so much,

    1. Hi Wendy: Welcome to carb cycling! Here’s a post that can help you structure your meals on a crazy schedule: And you don’t have to use protein shakes at all, there are several other protein options you can choose from! You can do this!

  166. I’m just trying to get started on the turbo cycle and I’m confused with the cheese part. I generally make wraps or pita pizzas on whole grain. However, I always added a little shredded cheese on each of these. Grains are high carb days and my cheese looks like it’s under fat on the low carb day. Am I wrong? Also, I’m a huge deli ham fan and bacon bits fan on my wraps…where do these fall?

    1. Hi Kendra: Cheese and bacon are fats so you won’t want to eat them on high carb days. Ham can be eaten as a protein, but look for low-fat, low-sodium versions. Hope that helps – you can do this!

  167. I struggle with protein in my diet, I eat turkey and chicken but not red meat or pork and I don’t like eggs. Any advice?

    1. Hi Brenda: You can also eat seafood, Greek yogurt, protein powders, and cottage cheese as protein sources. Hope that helps!

    2. Hi Heidi
      I’m needing some help I recently got your book Extreme Transformation and I’m having trouble figuring out what I can eat because I’m a picky eater so I wanted to use the create your own meals and I know you can use the Appendix D that are in 100 calorie but how do I figure out a low carb meal when it saids <30 I really want to do this the right way. Thanks for any help

    3. Hi Tera: Welcome to carb cycling! Use the foods in Appendix D as a guide to what you should eat on the Extreme Cycle, then portion out your foods to hit those calorie recommendations in the “Create Your Own Meals” chart. And for low carb meals, just make sure your carbs are less than 30 calories for each low carb meal. The “Meal Planning Guide” chart can be helpful when putting your meals together also. You can do this!

  168. I’m a week into the program and feel energized and optimistic. I do have a question, however. I think I understand that I should eliminate fats during the high carb days. If that is the case, does that mean I eliminate fats during the entire sling shot week?

    1. Hi Lin: For the Easy, Classic, Turbo, and Fit Cycles, you will eliminate fats during the Slingshot Week. For the Extreme Cycle, you will still eat your fat for breakfast, just like on any other high carb day. Hope that helps!

  169. Hello! After hearing a lot of hype about carb cycling (and after reading Chris’ book) I decided to give carb cycling a try. I am on day 5 and so far so good! I have more energy, I have been in a better mood, and I am already seeing a difference in my belly bloat! : )

    My questions is about my upcoming “Cheat” day on Sunday. Do I still follow the 5 structured meal times and just add a few extra calories here or there or is the day also less structured? I feel like I have done a lot of great work so far, so I am really nervous about cheating. Any guidance would be greatly appreciated!

    Thank you,

    1. Hi Alex: On your cheat day you can eat anything you’d like to up to an extra 1000 calories over the calorie recommendation for a high carb day. Enjoy!

  170. Hi,
    I purchased your husbands books and I just started turbo this week and I’m finding that on my low day after a high day I’m very tired. I get the same amount of sleep every night (which isn’t enough) but for some reason today more than most I’m very tired.

    1. Hi Julie: This can be common as your body is getting used to a new way of doing things, and it should get better. Getting more sleep can definitely help, and be sure you’re eating those two fist fulls of veggies with every meal and your carb for breakfast on your low carb days. Welcome to carb cycling!

  171. Hello! I am not sure if anyone already posted this question, but I was planning on doing the turbo cycling. This will be my first cycle that I actually understand lol. However one question I do have is, I know my macro count on a normal basis. But when I cycle… How do I meet my macro count on low and high days? And how do I calculate the total amount for low and high days? Right now I am on a lower carb higher far due to breast feeding. And trying to lose my “baby” weight. Lol I have 3 little boys and two of them are 14 months apart. Just unsure how to calculate ?

    1. Hi Jessica: Here are some general macro percentage recommendations for the Easy, Classic, Turbo, and Fit Cycles: High Carb Meal:
      Protein: 40%, Carbs: 40%, Fats: 20%. Low Carb Meal: Protein: 40%, Carbs: 20%, Fats: 40%. And remember that a gram of carb or protein = 4 calories and a gram of fat = 9 calories. And here’s a post that outlines Heidi’s breastfeeding carb cycling program: Hope this helps!

  172. Hi! I’ve been doing carb cycling for a week and I have lost 9.2 pounds! Now, I know that is a skewed number as much of it is water weight and all, but I am so stoked and excited to keep going. I am having a little trouble figuring out how to build recipes in this different way, but while I work it all out, I’m keeping it super simple, filling my meals with the approved foods, and its been not-so-bad.. I’m really quite enjoying it. (Except carrots. We’re still working on building a friendship) I had been eating so bad for so long, I had a tough time the first couple of days, like, super flu like symptoms but I didn’t give up! And that’s something I would have done DAY ONE in the past! I’ve counted points in the past and had major success but I gained all the weight back and then some.. I’ve been feeling bad about myself for a long time- partly anger and even more embarrassment that I allowed myself to go back to that. I’ve been hiding from my life. I’ve been skipping vacations and outing with friends because I have been uncomfortable in my own skin But reading the book and making a plan and after some scale movement I feel good about my new start. It’s a complete 180? for me, from how I’ve tried it in the past and I’m actually excited about that. I’m a strong girl and have always been proud of that… In the past trying to lose weight, I’ve never focused on my strength, it’s always been about that smaller size (which is part of it, no lie), but I feel different about it this time, to explore and learn and push my body to see how I can transform. I haven’t admitted that to anyone in my close proximity, but i feel comfortable proclaiming here for some reason. So, looooong story short, thanks for all the inspirational posts and tips and support for people you don’t even know. I’ve been in a rut for a long, long time and I have a long way to go, but I really think, no, I know, I’m going to be able to do it. Oh, and seriously, has anyone else had trouble on “cheat day”? This is my first one and none of my previous go-to foods sound good. ?

    1. You’re an inspiration! Go you! I am just reading this all and thinking about starting.

  173. Thank you so much for your reply to my earlier question. I have another area of concern you could assist me with! How do you determine the percentage of calories of the protein vs. the carbohydrates when deciding which protein shake or snack bar to select. When I read the labels I find the number of calories from fat specified along with then total number of calories. I assume there is a way to calculate calories per gram for the protein and carbohydrates, but am at a loss as to how to do that. Also, when dietary fiber is included in the carbs, is there yet another adjustment that needs to be calculated?

    1. Hi Lin: For protein shakes, Chris and Heidi recommend low-fat, low-carb shakes with around 20 grams of protein per serving. In general, each gram of protein or carb = 4 calories, and each gram of fat = 9 calories. And we go by the total carb count of a food, which makes things much easier. Hope that helps!

  174. Hello – I think I posed this question about a week ago but cannot seem to find the question or potential response… I am following the turbo cycle per the book chose more, lose more and being a numbers person, I tend to follow the 1200/1500 calorie intake and the 40/40/20, 40/20/40 much more so than the portion sizes. My question is whether I need to add the 2 servings of vegetables in to my counts if I am using the calories/macros or if they truly are “free”. If I add in the veggies to the macros, it is near impossible to achieve the 20% carbs on LC days.

    Thanks for your help!

    1. Hi Laurie: Hi Laurie: It?s best to count everything you put in your mouth, but if your veggies are throwing your counts over a tiny bit, you should be fine.:)

  175. Hi guys! Im finding low carb days extremely hard! Could I add a protein portion or a fat to help me? Thanks

    1. Hi Jessica: It’s best to stick to the program as outlined if at all possible. Sometimes it just takes your body a bit of time to adjust to a new way of doing things, and remember, you can have veggies with every meal, which can really help. You can do this!

  176. Hello!

    Will there be a Carb Cycling recipe book in the (hopefully near) future? I am on board with the carb-cycling, just getting started actually (I’ve got 70 lbs to lose, hubby has about 20), and I love getting ideas for meals when I sometimes can’t figure it out on my own – or I’m just too tired from work. My awesome hubby and I are also new to meal-prepping, I think it would be awesome if you could put a recipe book out to accompany your books 🙂 Love the show, love your books. Keep up the awesomeness!!

  177. Hello Heidi! I’m thinking about doing the Turbo plan. I’m currently training for a marathon (about 40-50miles/wk), but am 7 months post baby (nursing) and trying to lose the last baby pounds. Trying to find a good balance in caloric intake to fuel my running and nursing but low enough to lose weight. I’m hoping carb cycling can help! I’m 5’6, 30y/o, 130 lbs. Do you have a recommended caloric intake and low/high carb # to hit? Thanks in advance and sorry for the information overload… Happy Independence Day 🙂

  178. Hi team Powell! I have both books.. I was wondering what cycle you would suggest to do out of all your cycles to lose the last 5-10 pounds!
    Thanks 🙂

    1. Hi Alexa: Any can work, but I’d do the Extreme Cycle (in “Extreme Transformation”). And welcome to carb cycling!

  179. Your carb cycling plans really appeal to me and I appreciate the open communication I find here on your web sites. In selecting a carb cycling plan, should age be a consideration? I am a young at heart 69 year old who is about 70 lbs. overweight. My hobbies are largely sedentary which I know isn’t great but I participate in an intense aqua aerobics class for three hours a week and average about 7600 steps per day, every day.. My overall health is good – no need for prescriptions (yea!). I simply need to get busy on a plan to lose weight safely.

    1. Hi Lin: All comments have to be approved before they post, so that’s why you didn’t see your comment. These carb cycles can work for any age! And it sounds like you’re already on the right track to achieve your transformation goals! You can do this!

  180. First off I want to say Thank you. Extreme Transformation and carb cycling has done more than just allowed me to lose weight.
    I started carb cycling in March and was really really successful for 3 month then fell off the wagon, broke promises left right and center. So I’ve stalled, not lost and even regained a couple pounds. It’s hard for me because I am new to where I live and don’t have a support system or transformation team to keep me on track and accountable. So I make silent promises again, and of course breaking them.
    I reread the book and learn a few more skills especially Lesson 10 and 11. Letting go of things is hard for me, and definitely acknowledging any successes I have. I grew up being told where’s the A+ if I got an A. So the idea of I should have done better regardless of how well I did, is hard wired. I’m still working on that. I have been successful and even hit my goal weight, but then said, I could do better and added another 10 pounds to my goal.
    I have been eating primarily the recipes out of extreme transformation, but I love cooking, and wanted to try to make some of my old favorites (a lot of them from Skinny Taste, others just my own concoctions ) and have some questions about macros. I know each gram of protein and carb have 4 calories and fat has 9, but when I’m looking at a recipe how do I calculate how much to eat so it fits in my daily goal. (right now I’m doing 40% carb, (158g) 40% protein (109g) and 20% fat (48g) on a high carb day and switching the fats and carb on Low carb days.
    How do I calculate macros easily or use carb cycling with different recipes?
    Also, (and sort of more importantly) is there any group, blog, FB page for support and group discussion? Somewhere I can go when I am struggling?
    Thanks again! You’ve helped me change my life.

    1. Hi Jennifer: Thank you so much for your comment, and we’re so excited carb cycling has been working so well for you!!!! Here’s a post that can help you figure out how to create your own meals: And you can find great support right here and on Chris and Heidi’s Facebook pages too. 🙂

  181. Hi Heidi! Doing the extreme cycle! On low carb days I struggle to even walk up the stairs I lack so much energy.. Would it be detrimental to my results if I didn’t work out on low carb days?

    1. Hi Rachel: If you’re new to the Extreme Cycle, it can take your body a bit of time to adjust to this new way of doing things. And be sure and eat that carb portion for breakfast, and then veggies throughout your day (which also have some carbs in them). And feel free to adjust your workouts to match the LC and HC days. You might do an easier workout on LC days until your body gets adjusted. You can do this!

  182. Hi Team Powell. I am trying to go from 195 to 140. Should I start off carb cycling or should I just start off with a basic low calorie diet?
    I am vegan and I am having the most difficult time finding examples of Carb Cycling meal options for vegans.

    1. Hi Aidan: You can go right into carb cycling! There are 5 cycles to choose from (links to each are in this post), and there are several vegan options too.

  183. I have a question. When you are tracking your water consumption, do you include the water that you put into your protein shakes? Thank you

    1. Hi Leah: Yes, you can count that water towards your daily total, but try to drink your recommended water in addition to what’s in your shakes. 🙂

  184. Hi Team Powell,
    I am on my 6th week of carb cycling- turbo. The first week I lost 4 lbs., 2nd- 2 lbs., 3rd- 2 lbs, 4th- 2lbs. I guess by the end of my slingshot week (I still watched what I ate), I gained 2 lbs back. And for the whole 5th week I just maintained. I thought “damn I was right I shouldn’t have done the slingshot week!!”. But this week I started back like to week 1, and in two days I’ve lost 2lbs. + 1!!!! I feel completely different this week. Now, I’m craving veggies like crazy. I look forward to my “cheat day”, but I don’t want some crappy McDonalds or something. I want like a slice of pizza from a REAL pizza place or a burger from a legit burger joint. I want something that will be worth it. I’ve never been happier on a diet EVER. I feel that it’s easy once you find some good recipes. I’ve been finding sooooo much on Pinterest, things to keep the food fun and not the same old boring stuff every night. Anyway my problem is, I’m not eating enough calories. I’m maybe eating 800-almost 1000. But im eating breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. Which I NEVER did before. But it’s all good stuff, more protein than what is recommended and a lot of veggies. I use cheeses often in a lot our dinner recipes. But on my macros my fat is always high, protein is high and carbs are low, which is what I want right? So how can I make the calories without eating too much fat but low carbs. For fatty stuff I’ll eat avocados, nuts, cheese, stuff like that. With all that said I’ve lost approx 10-11 lbs. and I could not be happier with this lifestyle change. I do not deprive myself, I just pay attention to what I’m putting in my mouth and HOW MUCH!!! I look forward to my reward days so it makes it more exciting to think about what I want to eat for that one day all week! Love this diet, I’ve NEVER stuck to a diet like this and I don’t even like to call it a “diet”, more of a conscious way of eating. Thanks for the inspiration, I was miserable before and I still have a ways to go but seeing the results is really motivating me!!!

    1. Hi Erika: You’re doing awesome!!! As far as hitting those calorie recommendations, it is important that you aim for 1200 on LC days and 1500 on HC days so your body has the nutrients it needs to function properly AND lose any extra pounds. If you follow the portion size guides for the cycle, you should be good to go. And here are some macro percentage recommendations that might help too: High Carb Meal:
      Protein: 40%, Carbs: 40%, Fats: 20%, Low Carb Meal: Protein: 40%, Carbs: 20%, Fats: 40%. Hope that helps!

  185. Hello,

    I am going to try the Turbo Cycle. I already eat very clean, watch my macros, and am in the gym lifting with a trainer 3x per week. I also do my own cardio and/or yoga on the days I do not lift (another 3x per week) and then take a rest day usually on Saturday or Sunday depending on my weekend plans.

    In general, I usually end up eating out and/or going out for drinks about 2-3x per week for work and social occasions. I do my best to stick to the healthier options and arrive with a sense of my remaining macros but I also really hate being a stick in the mud when out and it is always during these times that I find macro and cycling mentally burdensome.

    My question is this: instead of having a free day during my weekly cycle, can I just count it as another LC day and consider the few meals and drinks I have during the week as my freebies? Within reason of course…

  186. Loving the book! I’m a big fan of protein powders as I have used them for years and years. I get mine here that was recommended from a friend:

    I’ve been experiencing some amazing results and am super happy I’ve paired this program with healthy eating and my protein shakes. Thanks you guys!

  187. Hello, I have a question that I haven’t been able to find an answer to in the book. When measuring out a portion of chicken, should I be weighing it raw or cooked? For instance, if a portion is 3oz of chicken, is it 3oz raw or 3oz cooked? If it matters, I’m on the Turbo cycle. Thanks!

    1. Hi Jen: If a recipe calls for cooked chicken, measure it after you’ve cooked it. If it doesn’t specify, measure it raw. Hope that helps!

  188. Hello. I have a question about the Turbo plan. On week 4, 8, etc. do you still slingshot and do high carb weeks? I’ve been on the classic cycle for about 1.5 weeks and thinking about switching over to Turbo on week 3. Any insight or advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

    1. Hi CE: On the Easy, Classic, Turbo, and Fit Cycles, every 4th week is a Slingshot Week – a week of all high carb days. Hope that helps!

  189. Hi Heidi, my husband and I are just starting out. We’re going to do Turbo Cycle together. We are very confused about breakfast. It seams that we are two have two fistfulls of vegetables for breakfast every day but the breakfast recipes in the book sometimes have no vegetables at all. Can you help clear this up please? Thanks!

    1. Hi Jaci: You can add two fist fulls of veggies to any meal, and they might not always be listed in the recipes in the book, but it’s totally okay to add them! You both can do this!

  190. Hello – I am interested in carb cycling. Is there a food list/grocery list available. What book is best to purchase to get started?

    Thank you, Lynne

  191. Hi Heidi and Chris,

    I wrote to you guys last week here on this blog and unfortunately did not get a reply back. What I was asking was this how often can you change from each of your 5 carb cycle plans? Can you do 2 weeks of 1 and change to another? I want to start my own transformation but want to make sure I am doing it right. I would greatly appreciate some advise so I know that I am going on the right path!

    Thank you so much!

    1. Hi Mira: I did reply to your comment, but sometimes it’s hard to find replies. 😉 It?s best to stay with the same carb cycle for several weeks, as outlined in Chris and Heidi’s program. Yes, you can change cycles at any time, but for the most part, it’s best to stick with one cycle for at least a month or two so your body can get used to it and then start losing weight. If after a month or two of following a cycle to a T and you’re not losing weight, then you can change to another cycle. I hope that helps!

  192. Ok, last question. So I’m attempting to do zuchinni pasta, however, looking at nutritional facts I’m noticing most of the sauces are around 10g carbs. Haven’t been able to find anything lower. Even looking at roasting garlic and using tomato sauce and some chopped tomatoes, however it still comes out around 11g carbs. Any suggestions or is this ok, being it’s from vegetables. I have choose to lose and carb cycling and the recipes just say use marinara sauce.

    1. Hi John: Marinara sauces are fine, just watch the sodium and choose the lowest carb one you can. And keep an eye on serving sizes too.

  193. Hi Team Powell

    I’ve seen this low carb pasta made by isolator fitness. Wanted to try and implement it on low carb days. It’s made out of protein, but does have 7grams of carbs. Was curious as to whether or not that was ok. Thanks so much.

    1. Hi John: This pasta has 7 g of net carbs, so it has too many carbs to be considered low carb in Chris and Heidi’s carb cycling program. Hope that helps!

  194. Hi Team Powell
    I have tried many different diets but I can’t seem to stick to one. I have decided to give your classic carb cycle a try. I do boxing and functional training three times a week, I also run twice a week. I find both workouts equally strenuous so I am not sure which I should pair with my high carb days. I would also like to know if you can have protein shakes on low carb days as they contain carbs. Thank you for the great posts !

    1. Hi Sheereen: Since up to 60 minutes a day (Monday-Friday) of cardio are included in this plan, you should be good to go as the plan is outlined. If you find you need to move your workouts around to better fit the HC and LC days in your carb cycle, that is okay too. What works for one person may not work for another, so it’s hard to give a one-size-fits-all answer to what would work best for you. If you find that the LC days aren’t working with your workouts and the Classic Cycle, you might want to try the Fit Cycle ( or the new Extreme Cycle ( As far as protein powders, Chris and Heidi recommend low-fat, whey-based powders with between 15-20 grams of protein and less than 5 grams of carbs per serving, and this powder can count as the protein portion of any meal. Hope this helps, and we wish you the best! You can do this!

  195. Hi there 🙂 What are some good choices of protein powder? Do you have like a week sample of carb cycling? Just to try and get someone started?

    1. Hi Kimberly: Chris and Heidi recommend low-fat, whey-based powders with between 15-20 grams of protein and less than 5 grams of carbs per serving. We really don’t have a week of carb cycling menus available. On the Easy, Classic, Turbo, and Fit Cycles you have the flexibility to plan your meals as you’d like to. There are 21 days’ worth of meals for the new Extreme Cycle, and there are other options for meal planning on this cycle too: For the other 4 cycles, there is an awesome graphic in this post that can help you put your meals together: Hope this helps!

  196. How many grams of carbs should I stay under on low carb days? Does it go by weight or is there a “magic number”. My husband and I just started carb cycling today so we’re new at this.

    1. Hi Deborah: That depends on which cycle you’re following. For the Extreme Cycle, there’s a chart at the end of this post that outlines recommended macros for each meal: For the Easy, Classic, Turbo, or Fit Cycles, here are some general recommendations: High-Carb Meal: Protein: 40%. Carbs: 40%, Fats: 20%, Low-Carb Meal: Protein: 40%, Carbs: 20%, Fats: 40%. Hope this helps! 🙂

  197. If I purchase the book about the 4 carb cycles, does it also help with when and how you should work out on what days? I lift/exercise about 5-6 days a week and want to maximize my fat loss without losing my muscle. I am looking for lean muscle/

    1. Yes! Both books (“Choose More, Lose More for Life,” and the new book, “Extreme Transformation”) both have complete exercise programs!

  198. I just purchased and read most of your Extreme Transformation book already. You guys are amazing and I’m so excited (and nervous) to be going on this weight loss journey. As I am trying to bestly prepare myself so I do not fail this time I wondered if there was a place every to connect with other people starting this journey like myself. Also, I was hoping their was a printable 21-day daily tracker.

    1. Hi Kristin: Heidi and Chris’ FB pages are a great community of support, so that’s an option. And unfortunately, we don’t have a printable daily tracker. Welcome to carb cycling – you can do this!

  199. Team Powell! I have to share my excitement with y’all–I started carb cycling 1 month ago and am LOVING it! I started with your classic cycle for the first 3 weeks, fell off the bandwagon last weekend (food and drink temptations at bachelorette party and wedding got the best of me ?) so started the turbo this week instead of my slingshot week. I have to say, even with 3 cheat days last weekend, I’m overall still down 5-6# since starting. My body is getting more defined and efficient, it’s crazy! I’m getting in much better shape now doing this with a 9 minute morning mission + 10-20 min shredder than I was training for and running marathons in the past few years. PLUS I have wayyyy more time margin in my life. It’s fabulous ?. I ate predominately whole and fresh foods before carb cycling, but my portions and frequency of fruit over veggies and protein was WAY off and I had no idea!
    So thank you guys sooo much for sharing your passion with us in such an approachable way…and for allowing/demanding cheat days ?????

    1. Hi Jennie: We love to get posts like your! Congratulations! Carb cycling is amazing, and we’re so excited it’s helping you achieve your goals! ???

  200. Hi. I am starting the turbo cycle next week. I plan on working out 6 days a week. I will be doing a combo of strength training and cardio. Do I need to adjust my calorie intake. On the more strenuous days?

    1. Hi Maggie: You should be good to go with the program as it’s outlined! You can do this!

  201. Hi Heidi,

    I’m a registered dietitian and have been carb cycling (turbo) for the past 4 weeks. I started at around 110# (5’1″), hoping to trim down some. I stepped on the scale today and had gained 5#!?! What the heck could I be doing wrong? I crossfit 6 days/week and do some running (2-3 miles) a couple of times a week. After my daughter was born 3 years ago, I seem to just keep gaining weight. I was at 100# when I got pregnant, gained 20# with her, and lost that easily after she was born. And now it just keeps climbing…

    I’ve felt like I haven’t been as bloated since starting the turbo cycle, but now I’m all freaked out about the scale. Any recommendations?


    1. Hi Sara: It sounds like you’re doing awesome! Did you do the Slingshot Week for week 4 as recommended? If so, since carbs (even the healthy ones) can cause you to retain water, this could simply be water weight and it should go away in a few days.

    2. I have not done the slingshot week yet. This is the start of my 4th week, sorry, I should have clarified better.

    3. Hi Kathy: Every four weeks in carb cycling you do a slingshot week which is an entire week of high carb days. This helps to get your body out of any routine, which can lead to plateaus. Hope that helps!

  202. Hi Heidi and Chris
    I live in the UK and have just bought your ‘Extreme Transformation Lifelong Weight Loss in 21 days’ book which I love. The only problem I have is trying to convert the recipes to UK weight and measures. I’ve looked at a few weights/measures conversion sites on the web and I’m getting different conversion amounts from different sites….so I’m totally confused as to how much to eat.
    How do you recommend I convert cups of dry and wet ingredients into grams and mls, please? I want to get going but I’m afraid I’ll be eating the wrong amounts. HELP!!!!

    1. Hi Michele: I’m so sorry you’re having this issue. I don’t have any resources to share for converting recipes from US measurements to UK measurements. We really don’t differentiate between measuring wet and dry ingredients, so that might help you figure things out. And if there are any minor differences between conversion charts, these really shouldn’t affect your calorie count or taste at all. Since the vast majority of the recipes in “Extreme Transformation” are for one person, the ingredient amounts are small, which should also help keep things consistent calorie and taste-wise during conversion.

  203. Hi Team Powell!

    I’m excited to get started. I’m having trouble deciding which cycle to follow. I have been working out with a personal trainer 3x a week for over 2 years now. We do mainly, crossfit style metcon workouts. I have a paleo background… recently doing a carb cycling following a 5 day LC / 3 day HC cycle.

    I was thinking I should start with Turbo, given my LC/Paleo background, but wonder if I should do fit instead?


    1. Hi Trisha: You can do whichever cycle you think will work best for you, and you can change cycles at any time!

    2. Your background sounds similar to mine. I’m just beginning carb cycling and not sure which cycle to follow. What did you try and how did it work?

  204. Hi Chris/Heidi can you please explain fruits.. do I eat them on HC or LC day and what kind of fruits should i eat

    1. Hi Barbara: All fruits are considered carbs, and you can eat any fruits as the carb portion of any high-carb meal. 🙂

  205. Just starting the Turbo Cycle and had 2 questions (not sure if I’m overthinking some of this).

    In Choose More, Lose More for life, under the list of Smart Food, carrots, corn, and peas are listed under carbs. So can we not eat these as part of the “2 handfuls of veggies at each meal” and only count them as carbs on HC days?

    Also, for the weekly cheat day, if we want to plan this day for a particular day of the week (say I want a cheat day this Friday for a party, and then next Saturday for a wedding), is there any rule about how to arrange the other days around it? Should a cheat day always be followed by a low carb day?

    1. Hi Jen: Let’s get you some answers to your questions: 1. Corn and peas are considered carbs so they should only be eaten for high-carb meals. Carrots can be eaten as both a carb and a veggie (this is a change since the book was published). 2. It’s best to not change your cheat day unless absolutely necessary, and yes, your cheat day is followed by a low-carb day. If you do change your cheat day, keep the days in the order as they’re outlined.

  206. Hi Heidi! I have been following carb cycling and on low carb days I am genuine hungry all day. I don’t struggle on days I eat carbs. I have a fast metabolism and struggle to stay at 1,200 calories. Is there flexibility to increase my calories on low carb days and still lose weight?

  207. I work 3 days a week then off 4. I usually strength train the four off days. I was wondering how to fit this into carb cycling. Is there a certain way to structure workouts around carb cycling? Such as leg day on high carb and arms on low carb. Any help would be appreciated!

    1. Hi Jonathan: You can try any of the carb cycles to find out which one will work best for your workout schedule, and you can change cycles at any time. What works for one person might not work so well for another (some people do great doing a leg workout on a low-carb day while others don’t, for example), and a lot does depend on the intensity and duration of your workouts too. And don’t forget the importance of cardio, as this is a great way to burn off calories to get you one step closer to achieving your weight loss goals!

  208. Hi team Powell,
    I have gout can do the carb cycling? Which?
    When you coming in Italy with extreme makeover? My weight is 260 lbs.
    Best regards.

    1. Hi Gainluca: It would be best to discuss the program with your healthcare team and then follow any modifications they might recommend. And I’m not aware of any plans to come to Italy.

  209. Dear Powell Team
    I have been on South Beach But I am changing to your plan, my question is about eggs. so you always say egg whites. Do we not eat yolks at all?

    1. Hi Natasha: Egg yolks are considered fats on the Easy, Classic, Turbo, and Fit Cycles, and 2 egg yolks are a fat portion. In these cycles, 4 egg whites are a protein portion. On the Extreme Cycle, 5 egg whites or 2 egg yolks are both considered protein portions. Hope that helps!

  210. Hi! I’m super excited to have gotten your book from Amazon this week and to start the classic cycle Monday!
    I’m a bit confused about the palm/fist/thumb size references compared to the 100cal listings/recipe amounts. I’m confused in particular with veggies, spinach for example. Is 2 fists of spinach not enough? Or is it supposed to be 3 cups of spinach plus 1 carrot equals 2 veggie servings (like at end of protein shake recipe)? Or 10 cups (!!) like in the 100cal list??
    I know I can’t overeat veggies on this plan but don’t want to undereat them either.

    1. Hi Jennie: It’s best to go by the palm/fist/thumb measurements. The calorie lists at the back of the book are for reference purposes only for those people who also like to count calories, and those amounts do not match up with the palm/fist/thumb measurements for the most part. Doing the list in 70-100 calories segments made it much easier for reference purposes also. For veggies, aim for 2 fist fulls with all low-carb meals and with high-carb meals if you’re still hungry. Here are some macro percentages that can help you make sure you’re staying on track too: High-Carb Meal: Protein: 40%, Carbs: 40%, Fats: 20%. Low-Carb Meal: Protein: 40%, Carbs: 20%, Fats: 40%. You can do this!

  211. Hey team Powell. I read that on the extreme cycle you should eat around 1500 kcal daily. Is it possible (beneficial) to do as the other cycles ? 1200 on low carb and 1500 on high Carb days ? I have a lot to lose and trying to get the best start 🙂

    1. Hi Linda: It’s best to follow the Extreme Cycle as it’s outlined. You can do this!

  212. Hello Team Powell,

    I purchased Extreme Transformation: Lifelong Weigh Loss in 21 Days in audio form and am having a difficult time following the meal plans auditory. Is there anyway I can get the PDF in hard copy?

    1. Hi Iddette: It can be tricky to find the PDFs for “Extreme Transformation.” You can 1) contact the help center where you purchased your audio book or 2) if that doesn’t work, you can contact the publisher directly at [email protected] and they will be happy to help you!

  213. Hi Team Powell,

    I love your work and I am just trying to decide which book to buy. I know Extreme Transformation has the most up to date information, but does this include all of the carb cycles or just the Extreme Cycle? I would like to option to choose which one works best for me! Thanks 🙂

    1. Hi Wendy: “Extreme Transformation” only has the Extreme Cycle. “Choose More, Lose More for Life” ( the other four cycles. And you can change cycles at any time too!

  214. Hi,
    I just started the Carb Cycle and I noticed after entering my meals for a low carb day that I’m at over 1500 calories. I’m afraid that I’m not getting my portion size right. I’m basing it off of the portion sizes but is there a recommendation for grams? I know that you recommend we only use portion size but I think I’m failing at that. 😛



    1. Hi Tara: Here’s how you can count your own macros, which might help with your meal planning: High-Carb Meal: Protein: 40%, Carbs: 40%, Fats: 20%. Low-Carb Meal: Protein: 40%, Carbs: 20%, Fats: 40%. And it’s difficult to hit 1500 calories exactly, so just aim to get as close as you can.

  215. Hello Heidi, Love you and your family.

    I am thinking about trying carb cycling but let’s talk coffee. I LOVE coffee. I typically have a latte every day, either at home or a venti at Starbucks. Does this fit at all? I don’t use any sweetener, just espresso and milk. It honestly doesn’t give me a boost and I don’t get headaches if I don’t drink it, I just love it and love to start my day with this hot delicious beverage. If I need to give that up, what are my options for both low carb and high carb days? I don’t love just plain black coffee. I will be honest, this has been one of the main reasons I haven’t started. 😀

    1. Hi Kelli: Coffee is okay in carb cycling, but you’ll want to drink it black with natural sweeteners if possible.

  216. Dear Chris and Heidi. I just started your book, after purchasing it at least two years ago. But I’m in t and getting the cycles going. I have 3 questions: I know water is critical. Is diet soda out completely, or just try and limit it?
    2. What if meal #5 comes along 30 minutes before bedtime. Eat it or skip it?
    3. I work occasional long days, meaning it could be 22 hours before I get back to bed. During that 22 hour work period… just keep eating every three hours?

  217. Hi ! First off thank you so much for the very informative and clear idea how to carb cycle. A brief history, I’m 30 y/p female 5’6 and 130 lbs. I had knee surgery 4 months ago that hasn’t gone well and has completely made me go from a competitive runner (50-60 mile weeks with high intensity/weight lifting) to the most sedentary u have ever been:( I struggle just walking around the grocery store….. So I hardly walk and sit most the day. I am able to do about 30 mins biking (HR doesn’t go above 100 though, single leg activities on my good leg, core and upper body weight lifting). Of course my normal steady (5 years +) body composition always had been 125 with about 16% body fat without eating sensibly but not tracking macronutrients/calories. I tried to not eat as much while struggling with this injury, but a few weeks ago started tracking my nutrients and realized I was eating over 2000 calories with living a very sedentary life! I want to feel better about myself, and not being able to exercise/walk pain free has had me go into some depression. I’ve decided to take control of what I can and that being nutrition! In saying this, I want to maybe loose a couple pounds, but more importantly I want to try to change my body composition to what I’m mores to without being able to do cardio or heavy leg weights. Any suggestions which carb cycle to do/calorie intake….I know it was stated at 1500 for women, but if one is very sedentary due to injury would this change? Thanks so much!

    1. Hi Leslie: Any of the carb cycles you’d like, and you can change cycles at any time. On the Extreme Cycle, you’ll consume around 1500 calories a day, and on the other four cycles, you’ll consume 1200 calories on low-carb days and 1500 calories on high-carb days. You never want to go below 1200 calories a day also. Since a huge majority of weight loss is good nutrition, follow the cycle you choose, work out as you can, and you can achieve your goals!

  218. I’m still confused about which carb cycle I should do.. I do 40 min of 6 days per week, and I do Heidi’s booty building program 2 days per week. I also try to fit in some yoga and stretch every day trying to improve flexibility.. Which cycle can work for all this? So confused- want to build muscle but still stay lean for yoga and flexibility!

  219. On average I burn between 500-750 calories per workout (3-4 times per week) on the days that I workout, do I need to add more calories to my diet? I am following the Classic Carb Cycling 1200 low carb, 1500 high carb. I use my fitness pal to keep track of macros, but when I plug in my workouts it adds more calories to eat. Should I stay in the deficit or make sure to eat more?

    1. Hi Taryn: You don’t want to add any calories to make up for calories burned. These add to your calorie deficit, which leads to lost pounds. It’s like this: calories consumed – calories burned = calorie deficit (lose weight) -or- calorie surplus (gain weight). You can do this!

  220. I read that while nursing you’re supposed to eat between 2000 to 2500 cal per day but I wanted to do your extreme carb cycling program what would you advise?

    1. Hi Rachael: Chris and Heidi have figured out all of your macros for you in carb cycling (for both low- and high-carb meals) for the Easy, Classic, Turbo, and Fit Cycles, so you don’t need to worry about tracking them. However, if you’d like to count your own macros, here are some general recommendations: High-Carb Meal: Protein: 40%, Carbs: 40%, Fats: 20%. Low-Carb Meal: Protein: 40%, Carbs: 20%, Fats: 40%.
      I hope this helps!

  221. Hello! I’ve decided to follow the Turbo Cycling Plan but my confusion is around the reward day. Obviously, this day isn’t for eating 5,000 calories but how much of a reward day should this be? I know that’s a very general question but are there any “general rule of thumb” ideas behind reward day? Also, could this day be a break from work outs or should I definitely get a work out in on reward day? I would assume yes but might as well ask 🙂 Thanks!

    1. Hi Katie: Welcome to carb cycling! On your reward day, you can eat up to 1,000 extra calories for a total of 2,500 calories for that day. Since your reward day is scheduled on Sundays, and since there are no workouts scheduled for those days, you can take a rest day. Hope that helps!

  222. Hi Heidi and Chris!
    First of all, I love the new book from what I am through so far. I know for your carb cycling plan you provide a portions list that will help for high/low carb days. I feel like I am where I want to be in terms of weight, but I would like to continue to gain muscle and cut fat. Is there a certain calculation or method you use to get your specific macros that is more fine tuned when working towards those goals? I have looked online at a few different calculators and the results vary slightly from each. I definitely like your information on carb cycling best, but I looking now to burn fat and continue to see definition. Thank you both so much for being so inspirational!

    1. Hi Kelly: Congratulations! Here’s a post that might help: You’ll have to tweak what you’re doing depending on the results you’re getting, but you can add in more strength training to build muscle, keep doing cardio to burn calories, and make sure that you stay on point with your nutrition. There’s not really a hard/fast equation since each person is at a different place with a different body composition. Hope this helps!

  223. quick question!
    Any help or advice for anyone who works 12-16 hour night shifts? Sometimes i am up almost 18 hours a day so can i add an extra snack/meal in for my nights to get me through?
    Thank you!!!!!!

  224. Hi. I have a question regarding the 100 calorie portion food lists.

    After 3 weeks on the Extreme cycle, I didn’t lose anything during week 2 or 3 so I decided to switch to the Turbo cycle and after 1 week I finally had a loss. The recipes in Choose To Lose are pretty simple giving the exact amount of each ingredient to use. In choose More Lose More, the recipes use hand portions. I use Myfitnesspal and I’m kind of anal about knowing exactly how many calories each item has so I’ve always measured and weighed everything. I don’t use hand portions.

    In the recipe section of Choose More Lose More it has a “Carb-Cycling Portion Conversion: Average Per-Meal Estimates” chart using hand portions that says for a woman a protein portion is 3 oz, carbs is 1 cup, veggies 2 cups and fats is 1 Tbsp. It then gives food lists in 100 calorie portions. The recipes include a protein and then I have to add a carb or fat (depending on the day). For whatever food I choose to add, do I use the specific amount shown in the 100-calorie lists? I’m confused because that first chart says a hand portion for carbs is 1 cup but in the list rice for example is 1/2 cup. Also the protein weights (2 oz salmon, 2.5 oz white fish, etc) seem so low it seems it would be hard to reach the 40% target for the day. Unless those are cooked weights.

    Hopefully that wasn’t too confusing to follow. 🙂


    1. Hi Leslie: You’ll use the portion size guides when putting your meals together. The 100 calorie guide is for general reference, and it was less confusing to list everything in those calorie amounts than to have many different calorie amounts. Here are some macro guidelines for the Turbo Cycle that might be helpful for you: High-Carb Meal: Protein: 40%, Carbs: 40%, Fats: 20%. Low-Carb Meal:
      Protein: 40%, Carbs: 20%, Fats: 40%. And congratulations on losing some lbs! ?

    1. Hi Brandee: There are links within this post to each of the cycles so you can read through each one and see which one will work best for you and your goals. And you can change cycles at any time, so the program is totally flexible!

  225. Hi there, I’m based in the UK, watch the show and own choose to lose. I have coeliacs and hashimotos and due to this 30lbs to shift. I’m a bit unsure about how many carbs I should be aiming for on low carb days and high carb days as I try to keep track. Also due to my medication I can’t eat anything for an hour upon waking as that’s how I have to take my med does this have a big impact as I normally skip breakfast altogether but am trying to eat now? Any advice would be fab xxx

  226. I just bought a couple of the carb cycling books, but I have a silly question…what is “Spray Butter?” (I ended up here after doing a Google search for it). I found an artificial “butter-flavored” spray (I Can’t Believe it’s NOT Butter), but nothing that is “spray butter.” I’m just not sure this stuff is “Spray Butter.” Thanks!

    1. Hi Connie: So sorry for the confusion! Do a Google search for “butter spray” instead, and then use the image option. You’ll find several options to choose from and most should be at any grocery store. Hope that helps!

  227. I absolutely love to follow Heidi and Chris and the amazing work they do with helping individuals lose weight. I am currently looking to lose 75-85 pounds. My doctor has suggested a low card diet, but it seems to do all low carb will cause me to feel drained of energy all the time. I have stubborn visceral fat that needs gone. Would carb cycling work for me? And as a beginner where should I start? Any help would be greatly appreciated!

    1. Hi Kristi: I think it could work, but you’d want to discuss the program with your healthcare team first. This post outlines the nutrition basics, and this other post outlines all parts of the programs: You can do this!

    2. I too am wondering which book I should purchase, the “Choose to Lose” or one of the other books, please give me your advice. I also have 75# to lose but want to purchase the correct book that works best for me.

    3. Hi Margie: I’d purchase Chris and Heidi’s new book, “Extreme Transformation.” It has the most up-to-date information and cycle based on their experience over the past few years working with their contestants on the show. You can do this!

  228. Hi! I’m going to be doing the turbo carb cycling plan and I know in the book it gives calories per servings for each type of food criteria. However, I wanted to know if there were any already made meal plans for the turbo cycle for a woman?

  229. Hey Powell Team,
    My friend and I are starting the turbo carb cycling this week. I have both books- Choose More Lose More & Extreme Transformation. We are stuck with snack options since your books list mostly meals. Can you provide some snack options? Thanks so much!

  230. I have a question. It was mentioned in the replies earlier that women should eat 1200 calories. However, on the “All About Calories” article, it says I should be eating 1700 calories and that is with a 1000 calorie deficit to lose 2 pounds a week. How would this change apply to the carb cycling diets in the books? Please help me understand! 🙂

    1. Hi Marisela: For the Easy, Classic, Turbo, and Fit Cycles, women eat 1200 calories on low-carb days and 1500 calories on high-carb days. On the Extreme Cycle, women eat 1500 calories every day. The only difference is the extra calories eaten for reward meals, reward days, or reset days (depending on the cycle you’re following). These are the recommendations for all women. The information in the “All About Exercise” post, and the numbers you get from the formula, is for general information. If you’re doing carb cycling, then you’ll follow the calorie recommendations for the cycle you’re following. I hope that helps!

    2. Do you have meal plans for the turbo plan? I know in the back of the book it gave calorie breakdowns for each food group, but is there a sample meal plan for the turbo plan for a woman?

    3. Unfortunately, that link does not work. Also, how do fruits fit into carb cycling? are they considered a carb?

    1. That depends…if the flour is the entire fat serving for a meal, the serving size would be different than if it is part of the serving size for a meal. If you’re following the Extreme Cycle, there’s a chart at the bottom of this post that outlines how many calories of each macro to include in each meal, and this could help you figure this out. If you’re following one of the other four cycles, here’s a macro percentage breakdown for each type of meal:

      High-Carb Meal:
      Protein: 40%
      Carbs: 40%
      Fats: 20%

      Low-Carb Meal:
      Protein: 40%
      Carbs: 20%
      Fats: 40%

  231. Before I found out about your Carb Cycling Plan I started a low carb diet with 20g of carbs, or less, per day. It was super tough the first three days but now I fell less hungry and have more energy. I’m afraid that if I add in the carb cycling it will throw me off. I was actually going to stay on the low carb induction for two weeks and then add in some healthy carbs such as berries, etc… What are your thoughts and suggestions for me? I love you and your husband and value your opinion. Thank you!

    1. Hi Terri: Carbs (the healthy type) are super important for weight loss. They are the kindling that stoke your weight loss fire, so that’s why they’re included as they are in Chris and Heidi’s carb cycling program. Give their program a try!

  232. Hi Team Powell!

    I’ve read the book “Choose to Lose” and read about the Turbo Cycle on Heidi’s blog, and am SO excited to get started! A few questions I have that I hope you can help me with:

    1) Is there a time of night you should’t eat past? I am a SAHM with three small children and we all get up by 7:30am and eat breakfast at 8 or 8:15am. That puts my last meal at 8pm, but if my daytime meals get off schedule at all (meaning 4 hrs go by instead of 3 because of kid activities or my work out classes), then my last meal will be at 9pm… is that too late? I typically go to bed at 11pm.

    2) Which protein bars and protein shakes do you recommend for HC and LC days? I think I need to have some on hand for on-the-go meals with the busy schedules we have, we are always on the go!

    3) Should I be tracking my calories? Or should I just trust the portion sizes that are listed in the book and go for it? Tracking takes up so much time!!

    4) And my bonus question for you today – we are about to start a kitchen remodel next week and we won’t have a sink, stove top or dishwasher for about 2 weeks, maybe 3. Any ideas for eating on this plan with only a microwave and oven to cook with? No sink to wash veggies, stove to brown meat, etc… There may even be some days we can’t walk on the floors to the oven????? I’m dying over here!

    Thanks! Love everything I’ve read and seen from you guys. And my littlest’s name is Ruby too! 🙂

    1. Hi Leigh: Let’s get you some answers to your questions! 1) The main thing is to begin eating within 30 minutes after waking and then every 3 hours for a total of 5 meals. 2) For protein powders, look for low-fat, whey-based powders with between 15-20 grams of protein and less than 5 grams of carbs per serving. For protein bars, the key to knowing which bar is best for which type of meal is to look at both the carb and fat content. If more calories come from fat than carbs, then that bar is a good option for a low-carb meal. If the reverse is true, then that bar is a good option for a high-carb meal. 3) You can track your calories if you’d like to, or simply go by the portion size guide. 4) This can be tricky! Meal prep will be key. You can pre-cook your proteins and do any other prepping ahead of time, freeze some meals ahead of time, basically do all you can ahead of time. A meal plan will be key! Good luck!

    2. Thank you so much! Another question I have is in regards to frozen veggie burgers – are they proteins or carbs or what? Could you have one with a whole wheat bun, lettuce, tomato, and salsa on a HC day? And could you have one with cheese or avocado on a LC day? The brand I’m looking at is Morning Star – the “Roasted Garlic & Quinoa” and “Spicy Black Bean Burger”…. thoughts?

    3. Hi Leigh: These veggie burgers count towards a protein serving. They are a bit short of protein to count as an entire serving, so you’d need to add some additional protein. Here’s a post that offers more meal planning tips, including how many calories of each macro to include in each meal (to learn how many grams of each macro to include in each meal, divide the calories for protein and carbs by 4, and the calories for fat by 9): And your ideas for high- and low-carb meals are awesome!

    4. Thank you again! I’m not sure I understand how to calculate the macros though. The link you sent says 100 calories of protein for a HC meal. Those veggie burgers are over 100 calories each, so they should be ok, right? Maybe I’m missing something though?

    5. Hi Leigh: I’m so sorry for your confusion. The chart refers to 100 calories for protein, not 100 calories total for the burgers. 100 calories of protein equates to 25 grams of protein per serving. Hope this clears things up!

    6. Aw… thank you! I’m new to this for sure… this is going to get much harder or more interesting… thanks!

    7. So, just to make sure I understand this…. Based on that chart, for a LC meal, I should be having 37.5g of Protein, less than 7.5g of Carbs and 11g of Fat. Is that right? If so, then the Kind+ bars I bought for LC meal replacements for on-the-go days don’t have anywhere near enough Protein. They only have 4g Protein and 190 calories total. Right? Thank you again for your help with this healthy eating transition!

    8. Yes these numbers are correct. And you’re right about these bars. You’re so welcome!

  233. Hello my name is Ghadeer and I’m 17 years old and im 88kg overweight.157cm.I’ve been on my own weight loss journey but not on a straight way like I binged a lot but worked out heavily. when I was 12 i weighted 73kg, after a year I lost 16 kg and then it was the battle of losing weight and gaining it for million times. in 2014 my appetite exploded all I want to eat a lot of food so i gained 36 kg.i really really just need a simple answers I’m so tired and depressed and exhausted not forgetting the fact that last year i had a disk on my back so my workouts can’t be too my questions are, what is the carb cycling type for weight loss?? and can I go on a normal diet ( like eating normal healthy numbers of carbs ,protein,fats) when I finish my weight loss journey ?? can I workout like cardio abs workouts and lifting if I have a back disk?? does carb cycling have a certain numbers of calories ??

    1. Hi Ghadeer: Since you are still in your teens, it’s best to discuss any nutrition and exercise program with your healthcare team and then follow their recommendations, especially with your back issue. They are the best ones to help you since they know your health history and can work with you on a one-on-one basis. You might also get some other tips in this post: We wish you the best!

  234. Heidi and Chris I am 25 weeks pregnant and I am 5ft 4 in and 180 pounds my starting weight was 170 which is according to my BMI obese for someone who wants to start after baby is born is it safe to do while breastfeeding and what is the first step I should take to start?

    1. Hi Hannah: Congratulations! Here’s a post that outlines Heidi’s breastfeeding nutrition program: As for exercise, it’s best to get your doctor’s okay before exercising postpartum. We wish you the best!

  235. Hi,
    I have a question about portions. I started on the Turbo Cycle but moved to the Extreme Cycle and I am in week four and I lost 17.8lbs! My question is I am getting fuller, quicker so I can’t finish a whole portion for women. I know I shouldn’t eat once I’m full (I mean satisfied) but then I worry that I’m not eating enough calories. Is this normal? Is it okay to not finish the whole meal? Thanks!

    1. Hi Joi: Congratulations on losing 17.8 pounds! That’s awesome! It’s best to eat the entire portion, but if you can’t, that’s okay too. You body should adjust to eating all these healthy and tasty meals, it just takes some time for some people. We with you the best!

    1. Hi Britt: You really don’t need to do that, but do what works best for you and your goals!

  236. Hi Team Powell, I have 2 questions. I have a bunch of Muscletech Mission 1 Protein Bars at Home. Is there a way to fit part (a quarter or half) or a full bar someplace(s) in the Turbo Cycle Plan?
    Is it beneficial to limit the non-fat Greek yogurt and low fat cottage cheese to reduce the stomach bloating. Please let me know your thoughts. Thanks so much!

    1. Hi Cathy: Each bar would count for the protein and fat portion of a low-carb meal. As for the Greek yogurt and cottage cheese, do what works best for you. Many people don’t have any issues with bloating. Hope that helps!

  237. Is there a brand of low-sugar BBQ sauce and low sodium cottage cheese that Chris and Heidi recommend/use? For cottage cheese the lowest I’ve found in my area is Daisy Brand and that has 350. Is there one lower than that?

  238. Do you have any recommendations of which cycle someone participating in track or other sports could benefit from? I am not looking to lose weight.

    1. Hi Amy: There are some soup/chili recipes on this blog that could work: And you can make your own soups by adding a protein, carb, and veggies (high-carb meal), or a protein, fat, and veggies (low-carb meal). Try and use low-sodium or sodium-free products when you can.

  239. Like Heidi, I really like my Quest bars and typically will have one as a snack (baking into cookies – yum!) almost every day. Are they acceptable and should they only be on a high carb day? Should I add anything to it to round out the meal? Is a Larabar okay on high carb days?

    1. Hi Leslie: Quest-like bars are great options for low-carb meals, and would count as both the protein and fat portions of that meal. ?

  240. I would like to try carb cycling but am not sure where to begin. I would like to build muscle and work on body recomposition. I do not want to lose any weight. I currently do workouts like black fire from daily burn and have also done p90x3 but I need to stay in shape for field hockey in the fall. I think the carb cycling could really help me but I just need some guidance on things like which cycle to start with and how to go about it. I am a teenage female who is about 5’7 and 136 lb. Thanks for any help you can give.

    1. Hi Molly: Thank you for your post, you have some awesome goals! Since you are a teenager, it’s best to discuss any nutrition program with your healthcare team and then follow their recommendations. We wish you the best as you work to achieve your goals – you got this!

  241. I have read the new book and I have a few questions that aren’t clearly answered in the book. First, for a food like peanut butter for example is it solely counted as a fat even though there is protein in it? Where would a whole hard boiled egg fall (protein, fat, or both)? I saw on the website here that egg yolks are fats but in the Extreme Transformation book they are listed under protein but a whole egg is not listed at all. I eat a lot of specialty low carb things like pasta that has a net carb count of 8g and bagels that have a net carb count of 6g the rest is made up of a lot fiber and some protein. So where would something like these fall into the program? Is there a way to take into account net carbs vs total carbs? Like the bagel is 100 calories but only 6g net carbs so only 24 calories are coming from digestible carbs so how would I count this food, still as a carb? A macro count would be so helpful if Chris and Heidi could provide that for people who don’t want to make their complicated recipes or don’t like the recipes they offer. If we had the guidance of macros per meal rather than calories per meal it would make it so much easier to plan your own meals! And I may be missing it but I did not see a guide or calorie count for the reward/recharge day. There was a chart on page 72 that only shows breakfast and high carb and low carb meal calorie counts per protein, carb and fat. No real guidance anywhere on the recharge day other than the fact that it’s a high carb day. Are you supposed to eat extra that day or just things that are more “junk foody” but still within a regular high carb day total? Thanks for any help with this.

    1. Hi Erin: Let’s get you some answers to your questions! 1) Yes, peanut butter is counted only as a fat. Peanut butter does have some protein, but not enough to count as a protein serving. 2) 2 egg yolks or 5 egg whites count as a protein serving, so if you want to eat whole eggs, use these recommendations to do so. 3) To make things easier, we go by the total carb count in carb cycling, so any pastas and bagels would count as carbs, even though they do have some protein in them. 3) You are welcome to follow the recipes as outlined in the book, or you can put your own meals together also. There is info on how to do this on page 28 and in Day 4. 4) For your Reset Day, aim for 1000 extra calories, so 2500 calories tops on these days, and you can eat anything you want on these days–healthy foods, “cheat” foods, or both. Hope this helps!

  242. I loved the book. I still just have a question though. What are the calories you are supposed to be eating at each meal. The Hand guide is cool, but I am looking to make dishes that combine the ingredients, so if I knew the calories I would know the proportions to add of each.
    I saw the post that gave the caloric breakdown for breakfast! Thank you! Because that helped me know how to make my protein oatmeal with chia seeds. I want to make a tofu, sweet potato mash for high carb meals. So knowing what proportion of tofu to sweet potato would be great.

    High Carb Breakfast: X calories from protein food, x calories from carb food
    High Carb other meals: X calories from protein food, x calories from carb food

    Low Carb Breakfast: X calories from protein food, x calories from carb food
    Low Carb other meals: X calories from protein food, x calories from fat food

    1. Hi David: For the Easy, Classic, Turbo, and Fit Cycles, we really don’t have a calorie breakdown for each meal, but for men, aim for 5 ounces of protein, 1.5 cups of carbs, 3 cups of veggies, and 2 tablespoons of fat. You can also use the food list in both books for examples of 70-100 calories portions. If you have “Extreme Transformation,” there’s a per meal calorie breakdown on page 72. Hope this helps!

  243. Hey there team Powell. I just finished Kickstarter with you guys, and won, losing 6.4 lbs with diet change. I always work out! I currently weigh 142. I really want to tone up and be totally fit my 40th bday this August. How does one determine the carbs for high/low carbs days? I’ve tried every calculator out there. Lol. When I did kickstarted, I ate roughly 132g a day kicking it up to 160 on high intensity work outs (orange theory fitness) to prevent lethargy. This seems too high for carb cycling? BTW I have looked for your book at Walmart and Targrt abd can’t find it. Strange considering we both live in the Phoenix area. You are an inspiration Heidi. And I have also have the crazy blended family thing going on, it’s all about the kids at this point.

    1. Hi Katrina: Congratulations! In Chris and Heidi’s new book (which you can order here:, all your macros are figured out for you, which makes it so easy. There is an amazing meal plan, or you can put your own meals together (there are guidelines for this), or a combo of the two. It’s awesome! ?

  244. Hey!
    Thanks so much for all of this! I do mix heavy weight with Metcon training 6 days a week but have always felt at a loss with which nutrition plan to follow. Question…I workout at 530am each morning. When is a good time for breakfast??

  245. Good Day ,

    I have been doing the extreme cycling for about 3 weeks , my question is my fourth week is approaching but I am confused.. I would like to try the turbo cycle next ,should I do a sling shot week before I start (4 th week) or get into the turbo cycle for my next step . Does sling shot week breakfast include any fat?


    1. Hi Lina: You can do whichever one you’d like. For the Slingshot Week, you do not include fats with breakfasts – all your meals during that week are high-carb meals. And congratulations on completing a whole Extreme Cycle cycle! ?

    2. Thank you for your quick reply.. okay one more question I have a wedding on Saturday being Italian the feast never ends.. so I am on day 4 of extreme high carb day was wondering if I can switch my this around meaning day 4 and 5 low carb and reward day on Saturday and start turbo on sunday??

      thanks for all the help

    3. Hi Lina: Yes, it is okay to switch your reward day occasionally, but you really don’t want to do it very often. Have a fun time! ?

  246. Hi Team Powell,

    I have a couple questions I need clarification on. I just read 3 of your books and I have a few questions.:

    Question 1)
    Trader Joes sells a Natural 100% whey based protein that has 18G protein and is 100 calories per serving and has Total Carbohydrate is 6g with Dietary Fiber 3g and sugars 2g. Is this an okay protein to use or do I need to find another Whey protein with 5 or less total Carbohydrates? The brand I purchased is called Designer Whey gourmet chocolate and also purchase a vanilla one?
    Can you recommend some brands?

    Question 2)
    Drinking a lot of water is super hard in the cold winters can I put a lemon or lime wedge in my water?

    Question 3) Is it okay to use Crystal light artificial flavors in my water they do have 5 calories with 0 carbs and 0 g of sugar if no can you recommend a brand that I could use?

    Thank you so much!

    1. Hi Anka: Let’s get you some answers! 1) This powder should be okay since it does have some fiber in it. 2) Yes! You can put a lemon or lime in your water – that’s an awesome option! 2) I’d try and find a brand sweetened with stevia or xylitol. There are some available on the market. You can totally do this!

    2. Team Powell thank you for the quick answers. Should I or do I need to count the Lemon or Lime in my gallon of water as anything for additional calories or carbs?

      Also do you know of any brand for flavoring of the water that you would recommend similar to a crystal light?

    3. Hi Anka: You don’t need to count the lemons or limes if you’re using them simply for flavoring. And I’m so sorry, but I don’t have any water flavoring brands to recommend.

  247. Hi.
    I’ve just started the turbo cycle and I have a couple of questions. I don’t see cream of wheat on the list of carbs and was wondering if it would be acceptable to have cream of wheat instead of oatmeal. Also I noticed hummus listed under condiments. Does it have to be low fat or can we have regular hummus and also how much of it and on which days and which meals. I usually use it to dip my veggies in it but not sure if it’s acceptable and if it would count as a fat or protein or only a condiment. Thank you so much. I’m loving this program.

    1. Hi Mary: Cream of wheat is an acceptable carb. For hummus, you can have 2 tablespoons, which count as a carb. You can do this! 🙂

  248. I am an avid runner and lift/run around 6 day a week with some two-a-days. I was looking for a way to lean up and lose fat without compromising my muscles. I ran competitively for 8 years, but never achieved the lean mass I wanted despite high mileage weeks. Ive been reading your books, and thought it might be the one to try. However, I am worried about the calorie defects….1200-1500 calories is really low and how do you decide the best carb cycle?

    1. Hi Lindsay: You might want to start with the new Extreme Cycle ( The daily calorie recommendations for women on this cycle are 1500 a day. And the best calorie range for you if you have very little to lose and simply want to lean up could be different depending on your current height and weight. You might find some helpful information here: I hope this helps!

  249. First – read the book and LOVED it. Things finally make sense, and I am getting more comfortable eating carbs again (yessssssss!). But I am confused.

    I get that low carb days = 1200 calories and high carb = 1500 calories… but if, for example, I burn 600 calories at the gym on low carb day… am I supposed to eat back any of those carbs?
    (I get that I am not “eating them back” per se, but I don’t know how else to phrase the question.)
    In my head, that equates to me basically consuming 600 calories that day… which seems to be in bad form. So, at the end of the day, do I eat 1800, burn 600 and arrive at 1200 for the day? Do i eat 1600, burn 600 and arrive at 1000 for the day to work towards my defecit?

    Help. 😐

    1. Hi Becky: Great question! No, you don’t eat back any calories you burn through activity. Those calories go towards your daily calorie deficit, which leads to lost pounds. It works like this: calories consumed – calories burned = calorie deficit (lose weight) -or- calorie surplus (gain weight). I hope that helps – you can do this! ?

  250. Hi Team Powell – quick question here. I just bought and devoured “Choose More, Lose More for Life” and am working on making my meal plan for next week. I love omelettes but hate plain egg whites. Is it possible to use whole eggs? Why do you have just egg whites listed? My cholesterol is fine (I do have low HDL which I’m trying to work on with exercise). Also, any tips for staying motivated and disciplined? I wish you had a “Moderate Weight Loss” show, haha. I’d apply in a heart beat! Here’s hoping I lose the weight before my goal day (I’m in a wedding!) Any additional tips/words of encouragement are greatly appreciated! Thanks!


    1. Hi Emily: We’re so excited you love “Choose More, Lose More for Life”! In the carb cycles in “Choose More, Lose More for Life,” egg yolks are considered fats and egg whites are proteins, so that’s why egg yolks are separated from egg whites. And here’s Chris and Heidi’s #1 transformation tool, and it’s awesome at helping you stay motivated and disciplined: Give it a try – it works! We wish you the best – you can totally do this! ?

  251. Hi!
    I am a college student, which kind of goes with staying up for a long period of time. Since I will be eating my first meal around 7:30am and not going to bed until about midnight, would 3 1/2 hours between meals be okay? Or would this be an obstacle to my weight loss?
    Also, do you have any ideas for on the go meal options that contain all three elements (protein, carb and veggie or protein fat and veggie)?
    Thank you!

  252. Hi Heidi.
    I am reading more about carb cycling in Choose more to lose more for life and I was wondering if you have advice about incorporating this into Myfitnesspal. I’ve used the app for years and I love it. How would I change my macros for a high carb day vs a low carb day?


    1. Hi Megan: While we don’t have macro counts, you can input the recipes you use into MyFitnessPal and it will figure out the macros for you. Hope that helps!

  253. Hi Heidi,
    I was in Sam’s Club looking at pants. I am on the verge of going up to a size 38. In a twist of fate your book Extreme Transformation was on top of the pile of 38 inch pants. I bought the book instead and cannot put it down. I like the way everything is laid out covering the days , the mental aspect,the setting of goals, the commitment and of course the meals.
    I’m only on my first week and enjoying it so far. My only problem is that there is a lot of preparation involved in making the meals . Iv’e done all of the 1st weeks shopping. I had to go to 3 different stores to get the list completed also , after completing the meal prep for the first 3 days I found that there still is a lot of prep work involved in most meals spending way to much time getting meals ready. So I was wondering if you had a meal plan with less complicated recipes for 21 days .

    1. Hi John: We’re so excited you’re loving the book! As far as meal planning goes, you can totally substitute recipes within the plan. Just make sure you sub a high-carb meal for a high-carb meal, and so forth. If you want to bulk prep some meals and eat the some of the same meals throughout the week, that is totally okay. If you want to bulk prep your meals and freeze some for later, that’s totally okay too! If you want to put your own meals together, there’s some info on this in day 4 and on page 28. You can also use any of the recipes in any of their other books. Chris and Heidi had so many requests for a detailed meal plan with a variety of foods, so that’s where this meal plan came from. But you can tweak it to fit you and your schedule, as long as you keep the meal types the same (high-carb, low-carb). I hope that helps!

  254. Hello Team Powell,

    I left a comment earlier and unfortunately Im not seeing it 🙁 Im a little confused with reward day. On page 89 of your “Choose more, Lose more” a diagram shows “Carb Cycling- Week at a Glance”. With the Classic Cycle, reward day would fall on a Sunday for me since Im starting on Monday. Am I correct that Sunday would be a low carb day? I would still eat 5 low carb meals on Sunday, BUT can add 1000 EXTRA calories on top of my daily caloric intake for a low carb day?

    thank you – Jessica

    1. Hi Jessica: All comments have to be approved before they’re posted, so that’s why you’re not seeing your comment yet. I’ll go ahead and reply to your first comment.?

  255. Hello–I have just learned about carb cycling and just this morning ordered your “Choose more, lose more” and have been reading it on my Macbook. I first learned of Chris from watching Jacqui on Extreme Makeover and I was so amazed at her transformation!

    After deciding that the Classic Cycle is for me, Im still a little confused on my reward day. On page 89, there is a diagram- “Carb Cycling -Week at a Glance.” I would like to start my cycle on a Monday and reward day on a Sunday. With that being said, my reward day would still require me to eat 5 meals. My confusion is would those meals be high carb or low carb? I was assuming it would be low carb because according to the diagram, Saturday is a high carb day. Also, just so Im understanding correctly, 1,000 EXTRA calories is what Im allowed ON TOP of my daily caloric intake on reward day, is that correct?

    I think Im understanding everything else!
    Im so excited to start!

    1. Hi Jessica: Great question! On your reward day, you can eat anything you want up to 1,000 extra calories for a total daily calorie count of 2,500 calories. These can be healthy foods, treat foods, a combination of the two – anything you’d like! Hope that helps!

  256. Hi! I am really excited to start this diet. I just have a few quick questions. I read thru the comments before and found that one serving of fats is about 1/3 cup! I was so excited about this! As a mom I KNOW measuring cups! It is a measurement I am very familiar with! I would LOVE to know if there are comparable cup measurements for the other portions? If 1 fat portion is about 1/3 cup what would the carb and the protein measurement be? Also if I got a good whey protein as recommended could that replace a meal (say breakfast or lunch)? Thank you so much for your help and God bless y’all and your work!

    1. Hi Rochelle: I don’t believe that 1/3 cup for fats measurements came from one of our team members (I looked back through all the comments from our team…). A fat portion is the size of your thumb, or around 2 tablespoons. As for the other macros, a carb portion is around a cup (the size of your fist), veggies are around 2 cups (the size of both fists), and it gets a bit trickier for proteins since some are more dense than others. Shoot for a 3-4 oz size for meats, and the palm of your hand is a good gauge too. And a good whey-based protein powder with between 15-20 grams of protein and less than 5 grams of carbs can count as the protein part of any meal. If the powder has added carbs, it can count as both a protein and a carb. Hope that helps!

  257. Good morning Team Powell!!

    Thank you for taking the guess work out of carb cycling. you made the options simple and easy to do.

    My question is…numbers wise what is considered low-card vs. high carb? I mean when I low carb how many carbs are the target vs. on a high carb day?
    Thank you for your help.

    1. Hi Katerine: In the Easy, Classic, Turbo, and Classic cycles, since they’re based off of portion sizes, we really don’t have any grams counts available. For the Extreme Cycle, all the macros are figured out for you in the meal plan. If you’ll follow the portion size guide, all your macros will be taken care of. Here’s another post with a graphic that explains the portions sizes: Hope that helps!

  258. Hello team Powell I bought the choose to lose 7 day carb cycle and we are trying to get started with it but are a bit confused. It says to find our portions based on your current weight see master portion list? So I looked and am still confused as to how to figure it out how many calories do my husband and I need?!! Am I overlooking it? Please help so I can get started!! Thanks in advance!

    1. Hello team Powell I haven’t got a response yet to my question. Can someone help me figure out how many calories I’m supposed to have?

    2. Hi Monica: I’m so sorry, but your first comment must not have gone through. For the Easy, Classic, Turbo, and Fit Cycles, you’ll eat 1200 calories on low-carb days and 1500 calories on high-carb days. For the Extreme Cycle, you’ll eat around 1500 calories a day. Hope that helps!

  259. Hey Team Powell,

    I am a night shift (7p-7a) nurse and after reading Chose To Lose, have a few questions on how to adapt carb cycling to my day.

    1. If I wake at 3pm, start eating my 5 meals by 3:30 I would be done eating by 3:30am and would not eat again per plan until after I go home, sleep and wake up again around 3pm. That seems like its going against what the plan is trying to do and while going 12 hours without eating would be my norm, I am trying to avoid the habits that got me here.

    2. On a day I didn’t work the night before and wake up early and start my eating (i.e. 10am), then go back to sleep in the afternoon, get up and work all night I could potentially be going all night on my shift without having any meals left to eat, then well into the next day while I sleep. (greater than 15 hours without eating).

    3. On a day I work, come home, go to bed in the am and get up around 3pm (eat by 3:30p) yet don’t have to go to work that night, I am not sure how to get all my food in as I try to go to bed at a normal time and not stay up until 3:30 am trying get my 5 meals in.

    Any guidance would be appreciated. Its hard enough trying to lose weight when your body has been on nights for 12 years and never knows when it is time to eat, sleep, wake etc! Thank you so much for the help!


    1. Hi Kara: It can be a bit tricky to schedule your meals when you work a crazy schedule for sure! Here are some tips that might help: 1. Instead of eating every 3 hours like Chris and Heidi recommend, spread that in between meals time to every 3? to 4 hours. 2. Split your meals in ? and space these ? meals every 2? to 3 hours. Eat ? each of your protein, carb, and veggies for a high-carb meal, and ? each of your protein, fat, and veggies for a low-carb meal, then eat the other halves later. 3. If you find yourself getting hungry in between meals, then ?volumize? your meals. Add in non-root/non-starchy veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, peppers, asparagus, etc., which are super low in calories but high in nutrition. Bonus tip: Prep those veggies ahead of time so you simply have to grab and go! Hope that helps – you got this!

  260. Been following you and Chris since the amazing transformation of my college friend, Mike Epstein. I recently lost 20 lbs. but not in a very healthy manner. Just started carb cycling to lose the last 15 without compromising my health. I am confused about whether or not i count the calories from the veggies at every meal. I will not lose weight if i eat any more than 1200 calories a day so I am checking just to make sure. I am working out with a structured weight training husband put together by my husband who has been weight lifting for the past 30 years. Also, do you have a recommended protein powder for shakes? I am a 1st grade teacher so two of my five meals a day will be shakes because it is too difficult to eat meals with 21 busy little 6 year olds and the tight schedule of a teacher. Thank you so much for your inspiration and role modeling!!!

    1. Hi Tracy: It’s a good idea to track the calories of everything you eat. As for protein powders, Chris and Heidi recommend whey-based powders with between 15-20 grams of protein and less than 5 grams of carbs per serving. Hope that helps – you got this!

  261. Hi, I bought your latest book as a gift to myself this Christmas and I am very excited to start. I am reading the book, however the meals seem so complicated and not what I normally eat, are there any simpler recipes of usual things, like I don’t have time on a work day to make French toast for example.

  262. So I am officially starting Carb cycling next week. Doing a practice run this week though to get in the flow. Some things can be a bit confusing for me….like why some cheese is a protein & some a fat. All and all it has been a good 3 days of practice. I do have a few questions though:
    1) I am not a huge eater in the morning. I get up at 6 and leave for the gym by 630. I started drinking a low carb prot shake on my way to the gym and then eating my HC breakfast as my “2nd” meal. Do you think this is okay?
    2) Today I started to eat lunch at 1230 but didn’t get through it till about 2. Totally spaced my 330 meal because frankly I was so busy and not hungry. This may happen frequently based on my job. Any thoughts on how to handle?
    3) Every 3rd weekend I work 4a-4p. I get up at 0230. There is no way I am eating breakfast at 0300. I am wondering if it is okay to stick with my weekday routine and eat when I would “normally” get up?
    Thanks in advance.

    1. Hi Angela: Welcome to carb cycling! Let’s get you some answers to your questions: 1) Yes, this is totally okay. Different things work for different people as far as eating our before working out goes, so do what works best for you. 2) Just do the best you can! Make sure you’re getting in all your portions at some point during the day, and try to eat every 3 hours. 3) Yes, this would work. Crazy things will always come up, so just do the best you can. You got this! ?

  263. Can you eat the same meal plan for two days in a row? For example if Mon and Tues are both high carb days can you eat the exact same meals both days? Or, will this slow progress?

  264. Hi Heidi.
    I work out early in the morning and typcially do not eat prior to working out. I prefer to workout on an empty stomach. How do you navigate through eating within 30 minutes of waking and working out early in the morning? THANKS!

  265. Hi, I am 5′ 4 1/2″ and I weigh 125 Ibs. I def want to gain muscle. However I do not want to loose weight nor gain weight. Would this cycle be best for me? Secondly I noticed that you suggest 1200 on low day and 1500 calories on high days, I was curious to how this works if someone has a BMR with a higher calorie number than that suggested to intake on low and high calorie days? Which should they follow the carb cycle calorie intake or the BMR calorie intake?

    1. Hi Leilani: Here are a couple of blog posts that might help you figure out what will work best for you:

      In a nutshell, you’ll want to make sure your calories consumed and calories burned are as equal as possible, and add in strength training over and above the 9 minutes recommended in the 9-Minute Missions (strength training) part of Chris and Heidi’s plan. It might also be a great option to work with a Certified Personal Trainer for a bit who can help you put a program in place that will help you reach your goals. You can totally do this! 🙂

  266. Hi, I actually struggle with high-carb days. It is so hard to cook with no oil whatsoever; I wind up burning things or they don’t taste good. Is it possible to cook with a tiny bit of oil on high-carb days and just limit my intake?

    1. Hi Caroline: Have you tried using cooking spray? That’s a great option to use. Or you can use oil in a spritzer too. Hope that helps!

  267. Very excited about trying this, do you have an approved food list??? I think that would help me … Thanks you both rock..

  268. Hi Heidi, I work long shifts in the hospital and sometimes don’t have time to sit down for a meal and a protein or nutrition bar works best. I was looking for some suggestions for bars that would work on LC or HC days. I know you have mentioned QUEST bars before, but I truly cannot stomach them or any bar that has any of the artificial sweetners like mallitol, sorbitol, xylitol, etc 🙁 Wondering what you thought about the following (I know I should limit to one/day):

    Kind + Protein for a LC day : 200cal, 14g fat, 13g carbs, 10g protein
    Cliff bar for a HC day: 260 cal, 7g fat, 43g carbs, 9g protein

    Is there a min/max number of carbs/fat/protein the bars should contain?


    1. Hi Heather: For low-carb meals, Chris and Heidi prefer Quest and Kind + Protein bars, so you’re good to go there. For high-carb meals, they recommend Think Thin and Cliff Builder, even though they do have some fat content. The key to knowing which bar is best for which type of meal is to look at both the carb and fat content. If more calories come from fat than carbs, then that bar is a good option for a low-carb meal. If the reverse is true, then that bar is a good option for a high-carb meal. Chris and Heidi do recommend consuming only one protein bar a day, since it is best to eat whole foods whenever possible. 🙂

  269. My previous post got deleted and I’m not sure why so I’ll try again.

    My husband and I are getting ready to start the Turbo cycle. I have 100lbs to lose and he has 200+ to lose. We both need it for our health…Not to mention we want a baby! I have PCOS and he has some issues as well but weight can help both factors. My questions are:

    1. How fast do most see results? I know it is a lifestyle change but I’m just curious what we can expect. Obviously the quicker the better but we want to be smart about it too.
    2. Am I correct in thinking that I don’t have to count any macros? Just eat from the list in the book and the correct portions? I don’t need to worry about carbs, calories, protein, fat or anything?

    Thanks so much for putting this out there for people like me. You are both amazing!

    1. Hi Dana: Your post didn’t get deleted – all posts have to be approved before they’re posted. 😉

  270. My husband and I are doing this together and getting ready to start the Turbo cycle tomorrow (after we go to the grocery store and clear all the bad food our of our house)

    1. I have about 100lbs to lose and my husband has about 200+lbs to lose and I was curious what results we should see? I know this is a lifestyle change but I am still curious about how quick we should see the pounds and inches start to disappear.

    2. Am I correct in thinking that I do not have to count macros? I only need to stay within the portion size on the plan and watch calories? I am very confused on what I need to track.

    1. Hi Dana: Let’s get you some answers to your questions! 1. Your rate of weight loss depends on body composition, current weight, and how well you adhere to the program. How quickly you’ll see pounds and inches disappear can be different for every person. Stick to your cycle, and you should be successful! 2. No, you do not have to count macros, just portion sizes (and calories if you’d like to). This makes it so much simpler! You both can do this! 🙂

  271. hi! I do a lot of heavy weight training and I would like to do the carb cycling, but how much calories do I have to take? In the scedual I saw it was 1500 for the man, 1200 for woman, but that is way to low when I train 6 days a week. And how much f/c/p on hi and low days? thnx!!

    1. Hi Rosa: The daily calorie recommendations for women are 1200 on low-carb days and 1500 on high-carb days. If you feel you need more calories to meet your needs, you can use the men’s portion sizes and calorie recommendations: 1500 on low-carb days and 2000 on high-carb days. Another idea would be to use the Fit Cycle: And here’s another post that might help also: And we don’t count grams of anything in carb cycling – just portions sizes and calories (if you’d like). Hope this helps!

  272. Hi Heidi,

    Many thanks fro yours and chris’s book and work, its very useful 🙂

    Quick question, for the calories level, is this a universal 1500 / 2000 regardless of starting weight?e.g. if someone is 200kg, would they still only have 1500 cals on a low carb day?



    1. Hi Niall: Yes, those are the calorie recommendations for all males. Good luck – you can do this!

  273. I am interested in carb cycling. I am about 200 pounds and really need to lose 30 plus pounds. I am trying to get ,y macros just right, there are so may different numbers out there. Can you please confirm what the percentages should be, is it 1 gram of protein per pound. 200 grams just seems so high.

    1. Hi Lindsey: In carb cycling, we don’t count macros or grams, just portions sizes (and calories, if you’d like). It makes things so much easier! If you follow the meal outlines, you’ll be getting in all your macros. There’s an awesome graphic in this post (as well as some other helpful info) that you can use as a quick reference for meal planning: Hope that helps – you can do this!

  274. I was wondering how would i do this since i am a vegan (for ethical reasons). What foods would i add in. I also do not consume gluten.

  275. Dear Team Powell,

    Are Quest Bars and protein powders (Im taking Horleys Sculpt for women) permitted during the turbo plan?


    1. Hi Carmen: Yes, Quest bars (and similar bars) are a great option for your protein + fat portions of a low-carb meal. As far as protein powders go, choose whey-based ones with between 15-20 grams of protein and less than 5 grams of carbs per servings. This would count as the protein portion of any meal. Hope that helps!

  276. Hello,

    I saw a video of Chris on Dr. Oz, talking about carb cycling, he was giving an example of what you can eat on a high and low carb day. The example he was showing for a low carb day for a snack was celery with peanut butter and a cheese string. I’m trying to understand carb cycling, but for that snack wouldn’t that example be two fats? Instead of a protein and a fat. Wouldn’t the cheese string and peanut butter both be fats? Thank you for helping me understand.

    1. Hi Michelle: Great question! If the cheese is reduced/low fat, it can count as a protein. Hope that helps!

  277. Hello Team “you’re gonna make me skinny”,

    Where do I find the chart in chapter 15 that tells me how much to eat for my age and weight? Chapter 10 says I’ll find it there but I must be blind.

    I’ve watched you guys on ABC for a few years and I must say the transformations are amazing.

    I’m a professional dieter and have lost as much as 100 pounds but it always finds a way to creep back on (maybe not all of the 100 but 1/3 at least). Now I know why and I’m so excited to Carb Cycle to get and keep the weight off for good!

    Thanks a bunch and I’ll keep you updated on my progress!

    1. Hi Ruth: Check on pages 164 and 165 for calorie and portion size recommendations. Women will eat 1200 calories on low-carb days and 1500 calories on high-carb days. You can do this!

  278. Hello,

    I have a question about the carb cycling graph, first it?s so great that Chris and Heidi put this together so helpful. For the high carb day, lets say for the dinner meal, I have chicken and whole grain pasta, because chicken is my protein and the pasta would be my carb, does that mean I can?t put anything on the pasta? In the graph is it one serving of each protein and carb? So by doing my protein (chicken) and carb (pasta) I?ve used up the serving for protein and carb?

    On a high carb day where I wouldn?t eat fat, because my protein and carb foods would have some fat in them, is there a certain amount of fat grams I should be staying under on a high carb day? And same thing for a low carb day, where I need to stay under a certain amount of carbs when I eat the protein and fat?

    If I did zero fat greek yogurt with granola for a snack on high carb day, because I used the granola as my carb and the yogurt as my protein, I couldn?t put fruit in it because that would be a carb and I used my carb for granola, is that right?

    I saw Chris recently on Doctor Oz and he was celery and peanut butter with a string cheese for snack, I’m having a hard time understanding, wouldn’t the peanut butter and string cheese both be the fat? As they are both in the fat column in the approved foods and then he is missing the protein in this snack?

    Can you please help me understand, thank you so much for your help:)

  279. Hi!
    I am 5’3′, 120 pounds and trying to lose a few pounds to lean out and see all of those muscles I work so hard for. I am active and work out.
    Here are my problems:
    I feel like I am starving at 1200/1500 calories.
    I am eating lots of veggies.
    Will this huger go away? Like, my hunger pains are CRAZY mid day and even after dinner.
    I feel like I’m eating a lot at each meal (like i am full, but then I am hungry an hour later.).

    1. Hi Whitney: I’m not sure which cycle you’re following, but you might try the Fit Cycle: And if you’re just beginning carb cycling, your body should get used to this new way of doing things. Make sure you’re drinking your water every day (1/2 your body weight, so 60 oz), and hopefully those hunger pains will go away. If not, please post again, and we’ll go from there. 🙂

  280. I have been on the Turbo plan for 8 weeks now, i am down 15 lbs. I am very happy with that. I have made it through 2 rounds of full week of HC meals. On these (2) weeks i have lost more weight than i have on the regular turbo weeks. I am wondering if this is normal or does by body need more carns to lose weight? Should i switch to classic? I am thinking that i may not be getting all of my calories on my LC days. Any advice?

    1. Hi Krysten: This can be very normal! Just be sure you are getting in all 1200 calories on low carb days, and remember, veggies are technically carbs, so you are getting in great carbs even on low-carb days. And congrats on those 15 lbs gone – that’s so exciting!