“Your not a type one diabetic Athlete, your and Athlete with type one diabetes”
With a wealth of information available online about who should be training, who shouldn’t be training and what type of diet you should have, all those who have been affected by diabetes are likely quite confused with how to proceed in fitness.
Your doctor may have instructed you that exercise is good – but what about CrossFit?
Could your body handle the demands of the daily workouts, or are you just setting yourself up for pain and discomfort?
Before we get into this it is important to mention that CrossFit isn’t what you see on youtube. It isn’t about a bunch of jacked guys and girls doing massive lifts. This is the top 10% of CrossFit – most of the people who engage in this style of training are average joes looking to grow stronger, improve their body composition and acquire knowledge on basic training.
This is the fundamental idea and methodology for CrossFit – especially when you come to our facility.
So, the question still stands – could you train CrossFit as a diabetic?
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a disease where the body lacks a complete understanding of how to function with or produce insulin. In other words, your body has an impaired ability to respond accordingly to insulin in the body – which can be raised and lower depending on numerous factors.
Age, gender, cultural heritage, dietary considerations – there are a huge amount of factors that come into play when we look at those who could fall into a diabetic category.
There are two types of diabetes; type 1 and type 2.
Type 1 diabetes is a disease where the body is unable to (or very restricted) produce insulin. This means the body cannot respond to insulin and in turn, your cortisol levels may also be slightly off.
Type 2 diabetes is called insulin resistance because the body simply loses its ability to respond to insulin as effectively as before. This can cause a buildup of sugar in the body – which is obviously not good for your health.
How Does This Affect Exercise?
Realistically, exercise can be one of the most effective forms of treatment for diabetes. Treatment might be a little bit of a stretch, especially for those who have been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, but those with type 2 may see that exercise improves the body’s ability to deal with insulin.
Does this mean you should go out and start vigorous training?
No, of course not, but working into a structured environment that advocates a balanced approach to exercise (cardio, resistance, mobility, etc) can be one of the best ways to improve your condition.
Here’s how exercise can help with diabetes:
Reduced Insulin Resistance
As we touched on earlier, exercise can help to improve your insulin resistance – due to the way your body deals with muscle glycogen fuel this will improve your sensitivity to it.
Many people who are overweight might fall into the spectrum of pre-diabetic and any style of training that incorporates a conscious effort at improving body composition may help to improve your condition and decrease the symptoms.
Greater Muscle Mass + Less Body Fat
This goes hand in hand with better weight management but it is important to note that the more efficient your body gets at burning fuel – even if that’s to repair muscle, the better it will be at managing insulin.
I’d be willing to bet that if you started to exercise you would also start to eat better. A good diet is really contagious and when you see the strongest people in the gym chowing down on some good food you will probably follow suit.
Eating better food and exercising regularly will not only improve your insulin sensitivity, but it will also help to lower your risk for cardiovascular disease – one of the leading killers globally.
Things to Consider Before Training
Now that you can see the benefits of a balanced diet and a wholesome approach to exercise you might be thinking about joining your local CrossFit gym and giving it a try. Before you jump on the assault bike and begin your next WOD there are some important factors you need to consider.
Keep Tabs On Your Blood Glucose
Blood glucose is the most important aspect to consider here. Before you start training go speak to a doctor about how your body should respond to exercise with your condition. They can help you to make baseline measurements based on your body and blood tests so that you can ensure you are always training in a safe environment.
Be Aware of Hypoglycemia
Your health care provider may have walked you through this already, but exercise, when not watched can influence hypoglycemia – or the lack of sugar in the blood. To be sure this isn’t an issue for you be cognitive and carry about some form of fast metabolizing carbohydrate.
What Style of Training is Best?
Last but not least we must consider what forms of exercise are not only effective in creating adaptations to your body – but they must also be safe.
Low-impact cardio will be one of the safest measures of fitness. Especially as you enter a steady-state during a run or cycle, your blood glucose levels will become relatively stable.
Starting slowly here is the name of the game. There shouldn’t be any issue with resistance training but just be aware that your body could have a lower ability to use glucose for energy which may limit your strength returns in the early stages. As you training progresses your body will develop a better insulin resistance so be patient.
WOD’s, classes, HIIT sessions – whatever you want to call it, the traditional style of CrossFit with many types of core exercises bundled together in a specific format will not be detrimental. The important part is always to take it slow and consult with your healthcare provider and respective trainers.
Is Exercise Safe for Diabetics?
Yes, 100x over, it is completely safe to perform CrossFit if you are suffering from diabetes.
We’d go as far as saying it could be one of the best decisions you make to progress in strength, improve body composition and best of all – improve your condition.
*DISCLAIMER: this is not substituted for medical advice. Before performing any strenuous exercise it is important that you consult a qualified professional.
. Intro yourself, type of diabetes – explain in brief
. What Struggles do you face in day to day life
. Have these struggles changed since starting CF at Plus
. How do you manage your diabetes during your training, Food, hydration etc
. How do you fuel your body to manage your diabetes during your training
. Has Managing your diabetes becomes easier since CF
. If only one thing what do you hope that listeners take away from this.