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From Austin, Texas, USA:

I am 42, male, and I have type 2 diabetes treated with Glucophage, Avandia, and insulin (if readings go above 120 mg/dl [6.6 mmol/L]), and my blood sugar readings average about 120 mg/dl [6.6 mmol/L]). I am trying to body build as well as perform cardiovascular type exercise. Can you give me some advice on how to build muscle? Can you direct me to a website with information from bodybuilders who have diabetes?


Typically resistance training exercise is used in diabetes management for the following reasons:

  1. Increased muscular strength and flexibility
  2. Enhanced body composition
  3. Decreased risk of cardiovascular disease

Athletes with diabetes have achieved remarkable success in the competitive sports of weight lifting, power lifting and body building. With regard to body building, Tim Belknap won the Mr. America title and went on to become a highly regarded professional body builder.

Individuals with diabetes who are in good blood glucose control and do not have any serious complications can safely partake in any type of exercise including body building. Most of the exercise precautions for the individual with type 1 diabetes apply pretty much so for the individual with type 2 diabetes. Here are precautions you need to be aware of for safe and effective exercise:

  1. Prevention of hypoglycemia
  2. Prevention of hyperglycemia
  3. Prevention of dehydration
Weight training involves short, powerful repetitions of a specific movement. This utilizes the anaerobic energy system (stored phosphagens and muscle glycogen by way of the lactic acid system). Circuit training usually places emphasis on a greater number of repetitions with lower resistance. Minimal changes medication and diet to maintain blood glucose levels due to the intense nature of the activity may need to be made. Keep in mind that a prolonged weight training session of powerlifting may result in significant depletion of glycogen which can increase your risk of late onset hypoglycemia.

The intensity of weight training, the time of day one exercises, and circulating insulin levels at the time of exercise affect blood glucose levels. The intensity of the weight training session also affects the release of glucose raising hormones.

If blood glucose is not in control, any elevation in blood glucose can cause a greater loss of water due to the increase in urination. As a result, those who exercise are at a higher risk for dehydration when water loss through sweating adds to the level of dehydration. When exercising in the heat, take extra precaution to adequately replace fluids that have been lost. In other words, stay well hydrated. Keep in mind that cool plain water is the recommended beverage for fluid replacement.

There are a couple of websites that may be helpful to you:


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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:09:26
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