Extreme Makeover trainer aims for enormous changes

Mon Jun 13, 2011 6:49am EDT
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By Dorene Internicola

New York (Reuters Life!) - Chris Powell, trainer for the U.S. reality TV show "Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition," may hold a degree in exercise science, but he says his business is transformation.

That jibes nicely with his role on the series, where he serves alternately as coach, drill sergeant, cheerleader and shoulder to cry on to desperately obese people struggling to lose fully half their body weight.

"Super obese is actually the technical term for the individuals that I work with," Powell, who calls himself a transformation specialist, explained, "individuals with over 200 pounds of extra fat on their bodies."

Each episode follows one individual's year-long metamorphosis.

The 33-year-old Arizonian has been working with the super obese since 2003.

"There's something so magical about this group because they are the group that the cards are stacked against," he said.

While the TV transformations are dramatic, Powell said the methods can work just as well for the couch potato who needs to drop 20 pounds.

"From a diet and exercise standpoint, losing 20 or 200 pounds is almost identical. It's just scale," he said. "The beauty of working with the super obese is that if they make one tiny change, like switching from cola to water, they see huge changes on the scale."   Continued...

<p>Trainer Chris Powell (L) coaches Dana Baker on U.S. reality TV show "Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition" in this undated 2011 handout. REUTERS/ABC/Greg Zabilsky</p>