It's the beginning of a new year. For many, this means new gym memberships and new-found motivation to actually do some exercise. However, for Type 1 Diabetics it's not all that easy. Exercise has a massive effect on sugar levels in all sorts of ways. Walking into a gym with no knowledge of these effects can actually be severely dangerous.
Austin Fuerst, (@everyday_t1d on instagram) has been a type 1 diabetic for 22 years. On his Instagram he shares the harsh reality of living with diabetes whilst managing to be incredibly positive and encouraging. His complicated workout videos prove that he is an avid exerciser and I find him to be a massive source of inspiration to personally stop being a couch potato. So, I thought what better person to have answer a few questions for any of you who are considering a gym membership but want a few tips from someone who really knows, first.
How many times do you try to exercise a week?
I try to exercise 5 days a week.
What's your favourite type of exercise and why?
My favourite type of exercise is resistance training (weight lifting).
Exercise of any type can benefit your blood sugar levels in a variety of ways, but what's most beneficial for me is the fact that my insulin sensitivity is increased due to the activity.
What do you eat pre-workout? Do you take protein shakes?
I don't always eat a pre workout meal, but when I do I cook over-easy eggs and have a bowl of oats. I do take protein shakes! My favourite right now is MRE Lite; its low in carbs and high in protein.
Is there a particular type of exercise that you find drops your sugar level? How do you combat this?
Cardio always drops me. There are a few solutions; one is to simply consume carbs before you begin, or reduce insulin before you begin.
Another thing that can be done is to plan your workout around your sugar levels; for example i would do more intensive lifting first, which will raise your blood sugar. Then, I'll end with cardio, which will bring it back down.
Are there any regular obstacles you face with regards to exercise and type 1?
Low blood sugars have always been the biggest annoyance when working out; but once you know how your body reacts you can take the necessary steps to prevent and correct it before it happens.
What are your top tips for other diabetics to stay motivated to exercise?
Working out with Type 1 Diabetes is always hard when you first begin, your body is going to do some crazy things. Stick with it. The only way you will get better and stronger is to learn from what your body gives you, and adjust accordingly. Seek out others for advice, and find what works best for you. Everyone reacts differently so 1+2 will never equal 3 for everyone.
For more advice on exercising with Type 1, you can click here. To follow Austin on Instagram and give yourself a little motivation you can click here. A big thank you to Austin for contributing to this post. I hope you found it helpful!