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Type 2 Diabetes & Training

The numbers of Type 2 Diabetes is on the rise every year, with 1.9 million new cases a year and approximately 29 million cases currently diagnosed. With an estimated economic health care cost of 175 billion dollars, we can safely say it is a major problem in our country. So I figured I would write a little blurb about how to help this situation.

What is Type 2 Diabetes?diabetes-528678_960_720

Type 2 Diabetes is clinically diagnosed when a person has hyperglycemia coupled with hyperinsulinemia, which means that they have accumulated high levels of sugar and insulin in their blood. This condition typically occurs as a result of becoming insulin resistant. Insulin normally helps shuttle glucose into the muscle tissue, but if there is no demand by the muscle tissue, then it is stored as fat. When the body becomes desensitized to insulin, sugar ends up hanging around in the blood in greater-than-normal amounts.

How Can Exercise Help?

Studies have shown that people who underwent resistance training programs were able to increase their insulin sensitivity. In other words, reducing hyperinsulinemia and increased sugar uptake to muscle tissue, therefore reducing hyperglycemic episodes while also reducing the amount of insulin being released. Another finding is that abdominal fat measurements dropped the most in the resistance-trained group, compared to both the control and aerobic-only groups. In simple terms, the group who participated in resistance training improved the most overall in every measured test in the study. Yay weights.

So this conclusion would lead us to suggest that aerobic exercise alone, i.e. running, cycling, and jogging, doesn’t get the job done near as well as resistance training. So lift some heavy things, set them down and repeat. Make it a goal to improve your muscle mass so you are more insulin sensitive. This can be done with machines or free weights. A good reason to go use that gym membership you just bought in January!

Reduce Your Carb Intake

Now, on to the nutritional front. This condition is a combination of too much glucose “carbs” being eaten and not enough activity by the individual. Carbs are a great way to fuel performance and to recover from said performance. However, if exercise is not taking place, then the massive amount of glucose that is being taken in daily is being stored as fat and is probably a recipe for disaster.

If you have high blood sugar or are currently diagnosed and want to get better, please follow this advice: stop eating so many carbs.

In my experience, an untrained person who is in this situation needs no more than 150g of carbs a day. Reducing your carb intake will help control insulin release and therefore should help lower insulin and blood sugar levels. Once we get blood sugar controlled and performance is improving, we can gradually titrate carbs back up to fuel activity.

In general, train hard with some heavy weight at least 3 times a week and start to limit the amount of carbs you are consuming. Do not let doctors tell you there is no hope and you need meds. You can reverse this condition provided the effort is there on the nutrition and training front.

Next Up: Brrraving the Cold: Tips for Running in Wintry Weather