While exercise cannot work alone in beating diabetes, it can and must be used as a powerful, adjunct. Here are three exercise protocols that I have found helpful:
HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training)
You can take any activity which can be ramped up to rigorous pace and do a HIIT with it. I usually prefer HIIT on an elliptical machine. The protocol I use is:
- 2 minutes of warm up
- HIIT Cycles of ’20 seconds of all out exertion’, followed by ’40 seconds of moderate exertion’
Typically, it is sufficient if you do about 8 HIIT cycles per day. In all, including warm up, you will need 10 minutes to complete one session. With that, your exercise quota for the day will be over!
HIIT is an anaerobic exercise and with the protocol I mentioned above, your heart muscle is put on a lot of load. So, follow these precautions:
- HIIT training increases the turbulence of blood flow. If you have clogged arteries, turbulence can dislodge the plaques. That could be fatal. Don’t take up HIIT if you are not in top shape. If you are in doubt, ask your doctor.
- If you feel discomfort, don’t push on
- If you are new to HIIT, start off with ‘warm up + 4 cycles’. That will be just 6 minutes to start with. You can eventually ramp up to 8 cycles or more.
- Give at least four days, if not more, between two HIIT sessions for the heart muscles to recover
HIIT is a great protocol if you know what you are doing. Even though you are spending just 10 minutes, once every 4 days, sprinting induces HGH (Human Growth Hormone) secretion. HGH melts the fat away!
HIIT won’t tone your muscles. But it will increase your overall fitness. Combine it with weight training and core strengthening for aesthetic appeal and ‘performance’.
BBS (Body by Science)
Here is the BBS protocol in a nutshell:
- Take 5 exercises, namely Lat pull down, chest press, rowing, shoulder press and leg press
- Execute each one, in the given order, non-stop for 90 seconds
- The amount of weight you use must be just the right amount of load to cause muscle fatigue just before you reach the 90 seconds mark
- Give a break of just 30 seconds after each 90 seconds work out
That’s it. Nothing more. The whole session takes just under 10 minutes.
You do the exercise once again
- After the body has fully recovered (when you just start, your muscles recover in about 5 days; but with time, as you go adding load, you may have to wait 10 to 14 days between sessions).
- Increase the load by 10% from the previous session
If the body has not recovered fully, you won’t be able to increase the load. Load increase is essential for muscle growth. Muscle growth is essential for increase of fitness and aesthetics.
Also, when you are on BBS, McGuff expects you to adopt a low carb diet like Primal Diet. This is because the exercise program is based on emptying your glycogen reserves once a week and then topping it up over the next few days. Personally, I think Primal Diet has too much of carbohydrate for a diabetic. I think a diabetic must restrict the carb intake to 50g per day, and the protein to about 150g per day. That can be achieved only with a ketogenic diet.
Unlike HIIT, BBS is exceedingly safe protocol. Gym injuries are almost nil. If your gym has Nautilus like equipment, which are more designed load your muscles uniformly over the loading cycle, it makes BBS even safer.
One caveat though: If you are diabetic, you should go to the gym at least 5 days a week. That helps you to keep the blood glucose levels at an even keel across the week. So, when I am on BBS, instead of doing all the muscle group just once a week, I do one muscle group each day, but attack it from different angle using various exercises. However, I maintain the ’90 second non-stop’ guideline for each loading.
Max-OT (Maximum Over Training)
This is another strength training protocol. I use this if I want to spend more time at the gym (BBS gets over before even you realize), particularly on a day when I have something to ruminate on the mind. Which is almost every day!
Unlike BBS, Max-OT is unsafe. With Max-OT, I had injured myself at least three times in the past. But it helps me carry bigger weights. Somehow, for reasons that I can’t explain, it matters!
With Max OT protocol, you warm up and load each muscle group in the following stages:
- 12 reps: 1/2 (50%) your max load
- 9 reps: 1/2 (50%) your max load
- 6 reps: 2/3 (67%) your max load
- 3 reps: 4/5 (80%) of your max load
- 1 rep: 9/10 (90%) of your max load
- 2 to 4 reps: Max load
- 2 to 4 reps: Max load
Of course, you can take about a minute rest between each loading.
For the best effect, Max OT is carried out with free weights. When free weights are used, your limbs are required to control several degrees of movement. Which is expected to strengthen multiple-muscle fibers.
But you should be aware that free weights at maximum capacity is always a recipe for disaster. Under Max load, keep the concentration on every one of your muscle fibers. Or else, you are guaranteed to injure yourself.
With Max-OT, I work out about 5 days a week, each day for one particular muscle group. So, each muscle group is loaded once every week. I am able to increase the max load by about 10% every 3 weeks or so. Increase in max load, of course, is essential to get better results.
All three protocols that I have shared are anaerobic. I am not a big fan of aerobic exercises. I think they lack focus and intensity for my taste. Regardless of which protocol you chose, you are better off with these supplements:
- Drink some water with BCAA before and during the exercise (with HIIT, you won’t have time drink anything during exercising)
- Take a scoop of whey protein, mixed with water, after exercise
- Every day, take 100mg Co-enzyme Q10, 1g L-Carnitine, 1g Vitamin C, 400iU Vitamin E, 2g EPA+DHA (from Omega 3) and a multi-vitamin
- Guys wanting to build muscle mass usually load carbs. DO NOT. Since you are diabetic, you already have lots of glucose floating around in you blood. One of the main reasons you are exercising is to utilize the glucose that is already in your blood. All post-workout drinks have carbs in them. You can’t have them. More interestingly, you don’t need them.
- Of course, after extended work out, your sugar levels may drop. If you expect it, keep some sweets around to gobble them. Instead, you can also work on getting your body keto-adopted. In which case, you body burns fat for fuel (as against burning glucose for fuel). Since you are holding mega-storage of calories in the form of fat (good enough for 100 days or more), once you become keto adopted, you will never have to worry about hypoglycemia.
If you are diabetic (T2), there is no way you are going to control your Type-2 diabetes without controlling your diet. There are two diametrically opposite philosophies on what kind of diet is good for diabetics:
- Neal Bernard has been very successful in treating scores of diabetics on ultra-low fat, low-GL, largely vegetarian, food
- On ketogenic diet, you take only 10% carbs, but 70% fat and you can have all the animal origin food that you want
I strongly prefer the later. The least important reasons is that the food id delicious. Also, it feels right on the body. Most importantly, there is well understood science behind ketogenic diet. However, no one knows how or why Neal Bernard diet works.
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