Q. Where are you from?
New Hampshire, USA
Q. What do you do with your time? (Job, Pastimes, Family life etc.)
At this very moment, I live in Texas with my beautiful girlfriend. Outside of powerlifting we hike, spend time with family, and eat tonnes of Thai.
Q. Tell us about your diagnosis? How did you know something was wrong?
My family and I first knew something was very wrong when we were taking a road trip down to Florida from New Hampshire when I was about 8 years old. We were constantly making stops for me to go to the bathroom and I had a thirst that we just couldn’t quench (drinking Capri-Suns probably didn’t help).
When we got back I was taken to a doctor who immediately tested my blood sugar. I tested at 598 and was immediately taken to the ER which was fortunately right across the street!
Q. Pens or Pump? Any preference?
I’ve used both before. Right now I’m using pens. The pump was just a big inconvenience when I was lifting. It’d constantly fall out of my pocket or holster when I benched and squatted and I’d sweat so much my infusion set would fall out. Unless I had extra infusion sets with me, I was dead in the water and had to finish my workout early so I could get home.
Ideally, I’d like to stay on pens and have a Continuous Glucose Monitor which I’m in the process of acquiring.
Q. How often do you check your blood glucose?
As often as possible. I usually average 5 times per day but may test more depending on how many meals I’m eating or if I’m just not feeling right. Always have my test kit and insulin with me when I’m at the gym.
Q. Recent A1C?
Q. How often do you train?
4 days per week.
Q. What is your daily calorie and macro breakdown?
I’m not a nut when it comes to calculating my macros. I try to listen to my body as much as I can as I had been taught when I was diagnosed.
On average, though, I get at least 200g protein daily. I shoot for about 300g carb on my training days and make sure it’s ingested around training time. Fat stays around 80-90g per day.
Q. What food do you love, but messes with your blood sugar the most?
I love brownies. Doesn’t matter if I properly dose, my glucose always shoots up when I eat them.
Q. Have you any body composition or performance goals over the next 12 months?
Well, I just squatted 605lbs which was a huge goal for me. With that out of the way, I want to get my sumo deadlift up to 635 which would match my conventional max.
Q. 3 Things diabetes has taught you in life?
Diabetes has taught me first that achieving success is a process made up of many small victories and losses, so it’s best not to sweat the small stuff. If I test my blood sugar and I have a high, it’s not in my best interest to freak out. It’s better to calmly assess the reality of the situation and take whatever action is necessary to correct it. Most small issues are correctable as long as you correct them then and there. This can apply to anything else in life.
Secondly, become comfortable with failure. I am fully aware readings won’t always be what I want them to be, so why make myself afraid of those situations? I’ll serve myself and my health much better by expecting that it might happen and having a plan in place to deal with it when the time comes. This same attitude has helped me stay mostly level-headed with powerlifting. Failure is straight up going to happen, but being comfortable with the thought that it might have helped keep my mind clear so I can come up with a plan to deal with whatever the failure is.
Lastly, consistency is absolutely key. Your blood glucose levels may not always be optimal, but if you make a habit out of testing your levels multiple times per day you can at least catch those bad levels more often and you’ll be healthier for it. The same thing applies especially to powerlifting. We all know we’re going to have crappy days, but the aggregate of all those days, both good and bad, still leads to heavier lifts.
Q. Top 3 tips for managing diabetes?
Make a habit of testing your glucose levels at least 5 times per day, more if you can manage it. The more you test, the more you can catch high or low levels even when you don’t feel them, and the better able your doctor will be to adjust your insulin regimen to serve you better.
Get extremely comfortable with nutrition facts labels- and not just the carb count. Make sure you check for fiber, for example, because while it may add to the total carb count, you shouldn’t be counting it when calculating your bolus since it doesn’t actually digest.
Get familiar with the glycemic index. While different foods have different effects on us all, I don’t think anyone can deny the utility of a basic reference to see which foods will have a more pronounced effect on our blood glucose.
Q. Biggest fitness myth dispelled?
Stretching before a workout, especially if you’re a powerlifter isn’t exactly the right thing to do and can actually lead to performance loss if you overdo it. You should be stretching after your workouts or on your off days since stretching HAS been proven to aid recovery.
Q. What is the single best piece of mindset advice you could give someone who’s been newly diagnosed with diabetes?
Have the mindset of a conqueror. Instil in yourself the belief that you are capable of defeating and ruling over this disorder and turning it into an advantage in your life. There are those who could control it even before we had all the amazing tools we have now. If they can do it, you most definitely can.
Here’s what Brendan had to say about The Diabetic Muscle and Fitness Guide.
Phil has done a great job explaining how to build the body you want while living with diabetes. You need to have the right mindset and embrace the fact that the process is a marathon, not a race. Too many people think they can just run a diet or program for a few weeks and call it good when what they actually need is a complete lifestyle change.
I was glad to see protein powders covered in detail, especially whey. These can raise blood glucose levels. There are many people who see carbs as the only factor in the diet that can affect their glucose levels but that simply is not true, so I’m glad that was touched on.
There were a couple supplements that I was surprised by, like the fact that Vitamin K actually can actually improve insulin sensitivity.
The book also explains macronutrients in great detail and how you can calculate them to your individual needs.
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