Age – 22 years old
Q. Where are you from?
Kelowna, BC, Canada
Q. Tell us about yourself?
I’m a young athlete managing type 1 diabetes on the road to greatness. I’m looking to improve myself and learn every day.
Q. How long have you had diabetes for?
I have been type 1 diabetic for 18 years.
Q. Pens or Pump? Any preference?
Pump absolutely, hands down. I was on Insulin pens for 17 years of the 18 years I have been diabetic. Switching to an insulin pump and continuous glucose monitor in February 2016 was the best choice of my life. This technology is next level and gives me the flexibility and control I need to manage my diabetes.
Q. How often do you check your blood glucose?
With a continuous glucose monitor it is so easy to check! I don’t even remember how many times because I can check it in 2 seconds with a push of a button.
Q. Tell us about your fighting and fitness lifestyle – why do you do it?
I would be an athlete, diabetic or not.
The day-to-day grind and thrill of competition and progress is what I love to do. Being a diabetic athlete has its challenges, such as keeping my blood sugars in range before, during, and after training but there as so many added benefits to being physically active. I enjoy a high insulin to carb ratio (1:15) because almost every time of the day for me is pre workout or post workout.
Q. How does diabetes affect your fighting? Any horror stories?
Over the years I have gotten better at controlling my diabetes and fighting. These two questions go hand in hand for me. I turned my horror story into a lesson and I have been benefiting from it ever since.
Before one of my fights when I was still on multiple daily injections, I cut my basal in half for my weight cut day, which basically requires me to fast (go without food) for most of the day.
The next day I cut my basal as well for fear of having a low blood sugar during the fight. The opposite happened as adrenaline spiked my blood sugar and I ended up having significantly less insulin on board than I needed to perform. I suffered from very high blood sugar during the fight (around (414mg.dL or 23mmol/L).
It was at this moment I decided if I wanted to be a professional athlete I needed better control of my diabetes. I’ve been using an insulin pump ever since.
Q. Can you give an example of your daily diet plan?
An average training day looks like this for me
8:00am – 160 grams of oatmeal, 1 scoop of protein, 1 tablespoon of peanut butter.
10:00am – 1 solo bar. I love these bars because they are have a low glycaemic rating and help me avoid a drop during my workout
11:00am – 1:00pm – Training – Strength and conditioning or boxing and jitsu work depending on the day
2:00pm – 160 grams of yams, 4 eggs and some type of additional protein or 100 grams of yams, 100 grams of black bean, 100 grams of chick peas
If I’m feeling like a lighter, vegan option. I try to keep my carbs low and have low insulin on board at all times.
5:00pm-8:00pm is back on the mats for professional team training, followed by 2 hours of technical training like jiu jitsu, wrestling or striking.
9:00pm is when I’ll consume the majority of my carbs depending on how my body is feeling from the day of training. If I’m feeling super sore I might opt for a couple rolls of sushi to replenish my glycogen stores and help my body recover. If not I’ll stick to a light meal of fish, yams, and lots of veggies.
Q. What aspect of diabetes holds you back the most?
No aspect of diabetes holds me back anymore. I’ve worked hard to learn and get a good team around me to the point I know I can conquer any challenge regardless of being diabetic.
Q. Top 3 Tips for managing your diabetes?
1. Learn about diabetes, read, connect with other diabetics around you.
2. Get a team that can help you, an endocrinologist, a nutritionist, a personal trainer. A team that you can trust and will help you achieve your goals.
3. We live in the information and technology age, take advantage of it. We have tools like insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitoring systems that can make life a lot easier.
Q. What is the best piece of advice you could give someone newly diagnosed with diabetes?
You’re not in it alone.
I wish someone had a told me the importance of having a proper team in place when I was first diagnosed. If the team you’re working with at the hospital isn’t getting you the results you want don’t be afraid to find a team that will.
My endo and nutritionist work together to help me achieve my goals and optimal performance.
Get in touch with me and interact on social media.