Liese: 3 Years of Hard Work= Results!

Liese originally started working with us at the very beginning of Flex Fuel, over 3 years ago! She has been through multiple cuts and bulks, diet breaks, refeeds, intuitive eating and has worked to learn more about her mind and body every step of the way. She started in 2015 at 118 lbs, 18% body fat and 96 lbs of lean mass. A year later, after working hard in the gym and going through a cut and a reverse, she stayed the same weight but dropped down to 12.5% body fat and 103lb lean body mass! About another year later, continuing to phase through nutritional periodization she bumped up to 120 lbs but down to 10% bodyfat and 108 lbs lean mass. Now, after years of hard work she sits at 125 lbs 12% body fat and 110lbs of lean body mass and has found a place where she is comfortable and happy to maintain.

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We want to show you this progression because it’s taken time, it’s taken consistency, it’s taken hard work and it’s taken her constantly evaluating what she wants, what’s important to her what her goals are. Achieving performance and aesthetic goals in a healthy way takes TIME. We live in an instant gratification era and often times if we don’t get results fast enough it’s easy to become impatient and jump to extremes. Building lean muscle is ideal because the more muscle you have, the more fat you will naturally burn at rest! We originally started her at 1900 calories and throughout the process, she now currently sits at about 2100 calories for maintenance.


NAME: Liese Nieman 

AGE: 37

What led you to Flexible Dieting/FF?:

oh man loaded question here.  Well I originally started with Katy before FF was even FF, an original OG. But I started because I wanted to learn how to properly fuel my crossfit workouts and at the time my running

What do you do you stay active?:

crossfit 4-5x a week,  a mom and also spend many weekends with my family either in the woods or on the water hunting and fishing

What has been your biggest challenge throughout this process?:

learning to let go of the scale. Since I spent most of my 3 years with Katy trying to actively gain muscle,  the scale should move.  That doesn’t always mean my brain understood that.  Once I let that go, it was amazing the progress that was made

What has been your biggest success?:

Too many to mention but I would have to say freedom. Freedom to know that I have the tools to either count macros myself, intuitively eat or just even just take some time off and know that I can come back and be right where I left off

What do you like most about flexible eating?:

That it’s flexible! I have the room to eat things I wanted and never feel deprived. One day I could eat completely clean and hit my macros,  the next day might have been a little different and had more treats and still hit my macros.  

What is your favorite treat to fit into your macros?:

chocolate,  I don’t think I’ve ever went a day without some sort of chocolate.  I always said I wouldn’t give up my treats and I never have.  

Macro hack?:

hmmmm that’s a hard one! I’m not sure. Eat all the veggies and save the carbs for treats 

What do you like most about having a nutrition coach?:

everything! Katy is amazing,  she is always there for me no matter what. She has talked me down a million times from mental breakdowns,  been there for me everytime I needed to vent about life , supported me at each and everything I have done..She isn’t just my nutrition coach, she is a life long friend


Would you recommend FF to someone? 

of course I would! I think anyone and everyone could benefit from the knowledge both Katy and Mal have. I know they have both helped change my life and the way I see myself and food. I hope that anyone who has been on fence reads this and takes that leap and trusts them . I promise you, it will be worth it 

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Performance Wins:


    • 18# Bench Press PR in last 6 months!


    • 20 RM Backsquat at 170# (220# 1 RM)


    • SUPER Close to a ring muscle up!


    • Consistently able to hit desired weights in the gym and feeling good in performance!



We are so proud of you Liese, thank you for all of your hard work and trust! We can’t wait to see what you accomplish in the future!



Metabolic Adaptation and Reverse Dieting- Does It Apply to You?

The yo-yo dieting saga

Majority of those diets will have you living in a caloric deficit, which when it comes to simple science, is what needs to happen in order to lose weight. But what happens when we live in that severe deficit for a period of time then abandon the diet and go back to normal life? More times than not, we will gain the weight back and then some and so begins the cycle of yo-yo dieting. 


When we are fed up with the extra weight we automatically revert to cutting calories, maybe even going back to that old diet you tried that worked the first time, or try a new one that is also super low calorie. It is very common to go back to what worked before and then no longer see your body respond or respond very little. When this happens we think, okay now I have to cut calories even lower than before to see weight loss, which can very well work for a time but then, when we fall off the band wagon this time, we yo-yo back up and gain the weight back. As we go around and around through this viscious cycle we are ultimately altering our body’s natural setpoint.

Changes in Setpoint

Our Total Daily Energy Expenditure is massively affected when we go into a caloric deficit and to prevent us from essentially starving, our body will naturally protect itself from losing too much body fat. The further we go into a deficit and the lower our body fat goes, our body will adapt and  burn less calories doing the things that make up our TDEE. As we take in less calories, our energy output also becomes less. Ever been on a diet and felt low energy and weak? This is because your body is protecting itself! You are only giving it so much energy, so you can only put out so much energy! Your body is constantly trying to revert back to homeostasis or “setpoint” and fighting off losing body fat so it will naturally slow your metabolism down. 


Changes in hormones

Living in caloric deficit can greatly affect hormones like cortisol, testosterone, thyroid, leptin and ghrelin. Each of these serve a different purpose, but in short, together they regulate, fat loss, hunger response, satiation, lean muscle gain and metabolic rate. Chronic dieting or under eating for your activity level will decrease the function of these hormones and in turn, slowing fat loss, leave you hungry and unsatisfied, low energy, decreased ability to build lean muscle and a slowed metabolism. Your diet should be periodized so that when you do go into a weight loss phase, it is monitored and ensures that hormones are affected as little as possible and calories are brought back up when your body starts giving signals they are on the decline. 

Are you at risk of Metabolic Adaptation?

It is more common than you think, that clients come to us actually undereating. Even if they are technically over weight, under eating is a large cause of this. Eating low calorie majority of the time and not seeing weight loss, having low energy and not feeling hungry are all signs of metabolic adaptation. If you are eating well under your TDEE and aren’t seeing progress, your metabolism needs fixed! If you are a heavy exerciser and aren’t seeing progress, it is likely you are underfeeding your body and your high level of exercise is actually doing nothing but preventing you from seeing body composition changes. If our output is much higher than our intake, our bodies will go into defense mode and hold onto body fat. If we chronically diet and don’t let our bodies recover from those deficits, it will protect itself and refuse to lose the weight! 

How do we fix it?

Good news! Great results have been seen using the reverse dieting protocol. We do this by adding calories in – the exact opposite of what most think they should do in order to see progress! Reverse dieting means exactly that, reversing from a low caloric intake back up to an appropriate maintenance intake. This process is best done slow and steady, this will keep unwanted fat gain to a minimum, will allow your body to adjust to the added calories and restore healthy hormone levels and metabolic function. This will then create a new, healthier setpoint, a more solid caloric intake to cut from and avoid having to cut calories too low. Week to week we monitor biofeedback to ensure we aren’t increasing too fast or slow and make sure the body is responding well. We calculate TDEE and use this as a general target to shoot for in a reverse but often times depending on biofeedback and mindset, we can go a little lower or higher than this. Every person is unique in the process and it’s not black and white. 


What to Expect

Going through the reverse process, everyone responds differently. First, we have the hyper-responders, this group are the lucky ones! This means that as we add calories in, we will see weight drop and body compostion improve. Next are the maintainers, this group will see weight and body composition hold steady. Next are the gainers, pretty self-explainatory, they will see weight creep up and some fat gain happen. All groups will usually see energy improve and become more consistent and steady throughout the day. See performance gains, especially strength as well as other biofeedback markers, like hunger response and mood normalize as well as sleep and sex drive improve. 

Mindset can often be the biggest challenge unless you are a lucky hyper-responder. The majority of people that have to do a reverse diet will be looking for some sort of weight loss or improvements in body composition, so it can often be frustrating news to hear you have to go through a period of time where you won’t see that weight loss happen and might actually see the opposite. This is where having a coach can be so beneficial, it is hard to monitor our own progress especially in a process like this. It’s easy to let our own emotion and mindset get the best of us and lose sight of the big picture so having someone that can look from the outside in and make sure the right adjustments are being made will ensure the process goes as smoothly as possible. It’s common to think “it’s been long enough” or to panic when you see weight fluctuate up and want to cut calories, not allowing the reverse process to take full affect. 

The timeline of the reverse process can vary from person to person, some will only have to reverse for a few weeks, others for many months. It really just depends how metabolically adapted you are in relation to your optimal TDEE. 


Nutritional Periodization

The road to our goals is never linear and no matter where you are in your nutritional journey, nutritional periodization is essential. Even if you go into a weight loss phase in the proper way, you cannot stay there forever! Our bodies were made to adapt, so every time we diet, we must keep a close eye on biofeedback and watch for signs of metabolic adaptation. Whether you start in a reverse diet, a cutting phase or a performance focused phase it’s important you have a clear plan throughout the year of what your nutrition will look like in relation to your goals. Once you go through the proper periodization you should never have to guess on where you are at in your journey. 

If you have any questions on metabolic adaptation, reverse dieting or on how your nutrition should be periodized throughout the year, please don’t hesitate to reach out! We are always happy to help and if you are a candidate for a reverse diet, we know that good coaching is a large part of making it successful! 

Join us in crushing the old ways of thinking around dieting and start looking at nutrition in a whole new light!



Dyan- Cut to Maintenance

We have posted about Dyan previously after she went through a cut phase and achieved some amazing results but what is even better? She has continued to see the process through and although it can be a little nerve wracking after you have worked so hard, to add calories in, she has proven nothing but amazing results! 


This photo is Dyan’s first phase of cutting.

Going through a cut phase your metabolism can start to adapt to your low calorie intake. It is important to watch for signs of this happening, like slowed progress, changing hunger signals, low energy, low sex drive and mindset changes. It is most important to create a nutrition program for each individual that is going to create longevity and something that they can mentally and physically stick to for the long term. 

Dyan cut as low as 1580 calories (with a few high days in the week) and now we have her close to 2000 calories a day! As we have added calories back in she has continued to stay lean and see progress in her performance and energy. This step of the process is crucial and will set her up in an even better place for the next time we move into a cut. 


This photo is after reversing to maintenance, eating almost 500 calories more a day!

Thank you again Dyan for trusting the process and continuously dedicating yourself, you’re amazing!!




Christine C.- Age 46


The top photo is Christines progress after going through a cut. 

“What a year it’s been. It’s been just about a year and flex fuel has changed my life.  My husband and I have been doing cross fit and we love it.  However my husband really needed a change in his diet so I suggested we start flex fuel.  We jumped right in and committed for six months.  Having the support of my husband, my girls who I workout with and the support of my coach has helped me succeed.  I’ve lost between 10-13 pounds but more importantly inches and toning areas that I never thought would be possible.  There are times when I splurge (Dads weekend, vacations, etc..) but I just get right back to it and never miss a workout, even when I’m on vacation.  You can always fit in a cross fit workout anywhere.  I’ve been a runner for 15+ years and ran between 30-40 miles a week and now I only do cross fit and maybe run 10 miles a week.  This was very hard for me at first but I believe weight training is the key to my success.  I really had to listen to my coach.  She told me I was working out way too hard.  Katy has totally changed the way my husband and I eat and we can still eat the foods we like.  She has been there every step of the way.  She asks me how I’m feeling, changes my numbers in my diet and most of all encourages and pushes me to see the results I want.  I love food and will power is not my strong suit.  But I love working out and seeing results.  This is a way of life for me now.  Here’s to another year!  Thank you so much Katy!”

Christine has made amazing progress, all while enjoying life and finding balance with her nutrition. She is a great example of properly going through a cut and then reversing, adding calories back in after, to make sure she stays healthy and her results are sustainable long term. We are periodizing her nutrition so that she can perform well, create a plan she can adhere to for life, see body composition changes and stay healthy doing it! She has learned that more isn’t always better when it comes to working out and is learning the balance in being active and getting ample rest and recovery. 


The photo on the left is at the peak of her cut and the photo on the right is after reversing her up to maintenance calories, eating almost 500 calories more a day. 

Christine started in January 2017 and we have worked to find a plan that has allowed her to LIVE! Make sure your nutrition plan is tailored to you and allows you to be flexible! A good plan will not only produce results, but it will produce that will last for a life time!

We are so proud of you Christine! Thank you for being patient, putting in the work and proving that this truly is a lifestyle. The best is yet to come!




Fueled for a marathon!


We’ve had the privilege for the past couple months of working with one of our dearest friends, @livewellbydanielle. (Check out her blog- she’s awesome!)

One reason we love her so much is she is always exploring ways to better her health and the health of others. Although she came to us eating lots of clean, whole foods, we have started to take her to the next level, making sure her ratio of macros is supporting her lifestyle. 

Danielle came to us training for the Chicago marathon and we quickly found she was under fueled! We have been continuously adding in calories and ensuring she is fueling and recovering properly. 

Her energy is up, she crushed her marathon and is on track to go into the next phase with her nutrition. *

Remember, nutrition isn’t always about immediate, dramatic weight loss or instant gratification, it must be periodized according to your performance goals, dieting history and it truly is a JOURNEY, not a destination! *

If you want to commit to a nutrition program that will truly change your habits and relationship with food, you have come to the right place!