Photo: Michael Wyke / Contributor
Still counting calories? That could be part of the problem. That diet roller coaster? The countless hours of cardio? The hunger from cutting out carbs completely?
Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.
That’s an insight Lindsay René Huelse wants to pass on. She has been there before — tired, starving and still gaining weight.
After researching and creating a new plan, Huelse dropped the 30 pounds she wanted to lose. Now she is sharing the secret to her success with her app, the Fitt Cycle.
While other apps focus exclusively on diet or exercise, The Woodlands resident said hers takes a broader approach.
“This is a one-stop shop,” she said. “It’s fitness. It’s diet. It’s community. You don’t have to get five apps to achieve your goals.”
And you don’t have to cut carbs, run a marathon or count calories. Instead, her approach involves targeted fitness training, intermittent fasting and “carb cycling” — eating more carbohydrates on certain days and less on other days. The Fitt Cycle matches high-carb days with muscle growth and strength training.
“To build muscles, you need carbs,” Huelse said.
The app rotates with four strength training days and two dedicated to cardio, all around the carb cycle – or what Huelse terms “targeted training.”
Intermittent fasting on the Huelse plan follows a ratio of 16 hours not eating and eight hours of eating. There are no days where members refrain from food.
“It’s like closing your kitchen at 8 p.m. and reopening at noon,” Huelse said. “It’s about stabilizing blood sugar and insulin with the right carb intake. That’s where the magic happens.”
The way the body metabolizes food is at the center of Huelse’s method. Science, anatomy, health and nutrition have long been her passions. She began her career as a nurse, after graduating from Texas Tech University 10 years ago.
“I’m huge on the why behind the what,” she said.
While Huelse loved her career as a nurse in hospice care, she often wanted to do more to improve the diets of patients in geriatric care.
“Some of them were like’ I’m 80-years old, I love burgers and I’m sticking to this,’” she said. “I felt like I wasn’t making as big an impact as I could.”
Around the same time, she developed her way to manage her own nutrition.
“About five years ago, I was eating like a bird and gaining weight,” she said. “I thought, ‘What’s wrong with me?’ A lot of women are in that boat. We’re told to eat less and you’ll lose weight.”
That idea ignores the way the body metabolizes nutrients, Huelse said.
“I started to dive into the science behind it,” she said. “I wanted to understand exactly what was going on.”
Huelse discovered carb cycling and intermittent fasting and signed up for a program.
“I thought, ‘It sounds amazing to eat carbs and lose weight,’” Huelse recalled. “I loved it, and I felt so good. I saw muscle definition that I had never seen before.”
Friends and family started asking Huelse about her new routines.
“And I wanted to share,” she said. “My nursing skills helped me take a complicated scenario with the body and break it down so they could have an ah-ha moment.”
Huelse wanted to do more, and obtained certifications in nutrition and personal training.
In 2011, she launched a six-week program with less than a dozen members.
“It started small,” she said. “And we continued to grow.”
The following year, the hospice company where she worked was sold; she decided to devote all her time and energy to fitness.
“It was sink or swim,” Huelse said. “This had to be successful. And that’s when the Fitt Cycle really took off.”
In 2019, she transitioned her six-week program online, making the site herself on Squarespace.
“It was a huge learning curve,” she said.
As membership grew, Huelse built an app. There were 200 people in the launch group – and since then there have been a total of 2,100 downloads.
Currently, Huelse said there are about 1,200 active members on a daily basis.
When COVID-19 hit, she felt perfectly positioned to help people with their health and fitness goals at home.
“It actually created a lot more competition,” Huelse said. “Everyone went virtual.”
Jennifer Bean said having the app available during COVID-19 made a world of difference.
Before the pandemic, she would sometimes go to her gym at work or follow along with fitness routines on the app at home.
“When everything was on lockdown, I thought, ‘This is fantastic, to have my whole training program right here at my fingertips,’” Bean said. “My personal trainer is on my phone. I don’t need to do anything differently.”
She joined the Fitt Cycle online first, before the app existed, and then downloaded the app as soon as it was available.
“It was a gamechanger,” Bean said. “It’s all your workouts, your recipes and tracking your food in one place. You have everything all together.”
As a busy wife and mom, who works full time, the convenience was a gift, she added.
And the app is just the beginning, Huelse explained.
“We want to continue growing and become a household brand for women,” Huelse said. “We want to reach as many as we can.”
A few of the members’ husbands have also signed up – and Huelse is considering building a service more focused on men in the future.
Huelse invests in each client’s success—but helping them understand the science behind the routine of carb cycling, intermittent fasting and targeted training.
“If you start something without a belief, without understanding of what you’re doing, it’s not something that will stick in the long-term,” she said.
For individuals who want to lose weight, Huelse recommends starting by creating an eating window, like from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Also, Huelse said to start walking – which she believes is an underrated tool for fitness.
“Just get your steps in – 8,000 to 10,000 steps a day,” Huelse said. “It’s a good place to start, and you’ll see incredible results.”
She wants women to know: “They absolutely can eat the foods they love and love their body at the same time.”
Lindsay Peyton is a Houston-based freelance writer.