Party Animal Turned Physique Competitor
I’ve been Type 1 diabetic for 18 years, which has had its ups and downs. My control over the last 6 years has been good due to exercise and nutrition education, but it wasn’t always that way. I was partying every weekend and it was ruining my mindset, my bank balance and most obviously my health. Drinking excessively was also getting me down. I wanted to make changes; I knew I needed to.
I decided then to become a personal trainer, coaching people on nutrition, exercise and life. I got into this business to try and help other people with diabetes become healthier and help control their lives better, like I had learned how to.
For the last 9 years or so I have trained in gyms and been in decent shape, but I knew I wanted more focus and better results. I hired a coach and set my sights on a competition. I went from Monday to Friday trainer and part-time party animal to a serious physique competitor. Initially, I set 16 weeks of my life aside dieting, cutting out alcohol and working my back side off.
I stepped up my training: five weight training sessions a week, six hours of cardio a week and 3-4 abdominal sessions. With the intense workouts and change in nutrition, my weight dropped and I could see myself getting physically fit. I felt better too.
Even though I didn’t place in my show, it was an amazing experience. I loved showing that having diabetes doesn’t hold you back from anything. I also learned loads about myself and how to better control my diabetes.
You get so many different views on how to manage your diabetes, but I can tell you this first hand, I cycled carbohydrates from as high as 600 grams a day to as low as 100 grams. That’s right, some days I ate very little carbs. “Experts” and medical professionals gave me NHS (National Health Service of the United Kingdom) guidelines, but it’s the same as everything — find out what works for you.
We are all different as Type 1 diabetics, but the most important thing is to have control of your diabetes with healthy eating habits and exercise. I’m now 6 kg heavier than my stage weight and have a slightly higher body fat. I roughly track my calories and still train consistently, but I can also still have a beer when I want. My control with my diabetes is 90% on the ball due to my change in lifestyle. Remember your health is your wealth. Diabetes doesn’t have to control you, your life is yours to live.
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