In the animated comedy Free Birds, Jake (voiced by True Detective star Woody Harrelson) is a turkey in top shape. To encourage others to explore a commitment to fitness just like Jake, BFTV hooked up with Extreme Weight Loss trainer Chris Powell for some advice, as well as some dish on the hit ABC series.
Extreme Weight Loss wrapped its third season in September, but there's another one on the way. "We're nine months into season four right now," Chris told us. "We're going to be airing, it's looking like late May is going to be the premiere. It's going to be 15 amazing transformations...They never cease to amaze us."
And when you watch Chris change people's lives on the show, know that what you're seeing isn't glammed up for TV. He told us that it's not that different from how he works with regular clients off-camera. "There's a reason why we take so long to do our transformations. We want to do a full year because we want this to be as real as possible," he explained. "It takes time. It's not a competition. There's no cash prize at the end."
But we can't all have a personal trainer in our corner, so what can we do to achieve our own goals at home? "When it comes to creating a lifestyle of fitness, we need to start out small," he encouraged. "We need to focus on something attainable that everyone can do."
To that end, you can start with as little as a five-minute commitment a day. "It can be anything from running around the block or just marching in place when you're watching television," Chris continued, adding that it's also important to keep whatever commitment you choose to make. "If you keep promises to yourself, and you honor your work and you honor your integrity, the exercise and the diet's going to fall into place."
"There are so many misconceptions that people have about fitness," he said. "One is the whole low-carb craze. We've spoken about this ad nauseum...Nevertheless, it continues to be this trend. Whenever anybody's trying to lose weight, if they haven't done their proper research, most people just through advertising and media, they go 'Oh, I'm going to cut carbs because I need to lose weight.' That's definitely got to be one of the biggest misconceptions.
"One other thing is that many of the folks that we work with, they already have an unhealthy relationship with food. Most of them, they think they've got to eat less and exercise more. It's really easy for people to undereat," he added. "Undereating and carb depleton are two major misconceptions that I want to remedy."
Here's another one: just because you're a fitness expert doesn't mean you're living an uber-perfect lifestyle. "We are more normal than most people imagine," Chris told us. "Let's get real. For those of us out there that need to live normal everyday lives, there's birthdays and there's pizza and there's hamburgers. As long as you're eating more healthy meals than unhealthy meals, you're heading in the right direction."
While health and fitness is a popular topic and major industry among adults, he also cautioned us not to forget about kids, too. Hopefully, Jake's interest in fitness in Free Birds will motivate kids and their parents to become more proactive themselves.
"My wife and I, we have so many parents coming up to us concerned about their children," he said. "You can tell your kids what to do until you are blue in the face, and it just goes in one ear and out the other. Once you realize that all your kids want to do is what you do, then you can begin to make a change in their lives. That's the biggest tip that I could give any parents out there. Simply be the change that you want to see in your children."
Free Birds is now available on Blu-Ray and DVD; you can click here to order your copy. Extreme Weight Loss returns to ABC later this year. For more on Chris, you can visit his website (chrispowell.com) and follow him on Twitter (@realchrispowell).