Why is strength training
important for diabetes health?
When you add even just 5 pounds of
muscle all over your body, it increases
your insulin sensitivity in such an
awesome way that you simply need
less insulin and your body is helping you burn o; glucose. The di;erence between strength training and
cardio and aerobic activity (which
still is awesome for insulin sensitivity and awesome for burning calories) is that when you do strength
training and you increase the muscle
mass on your body, you’re increasing
your insulin sensitivity in a really
training. Cardio, unlike
strength training, absolutely does drop your
VIEIRA’S BEST LIFTS
Can people with
type; 2 diabetes
experience a low
hours after strength
training like those
with type; 1 can?
If a person with type; 2
is taking oral medications or insulin, they are just as likely to drop low
during that three- to four-hour time
period after exercising. One thing you
can do is be sure to include some carbohydrate in your post-workout meal.
Will strength training
drop blood glucose levels?
The main thing about strength training—and this is for type; 1 or type; 2—is
that it really shouldn’t drop your blood
sugar very much because it’s anaerobic and glucagon [a hormone that
raises blood glucose levels] is being
released during the process. Start
your blood sugar at a healthy range,
around 120, and check it afterward.
If [you have type; 1 diabetes and are]
high after doing that, that tells you
your body needed a little more insulin before doing the workout. Where
you’ll notice you might have lows [if
you take insulin or type; 2 medications
called sulfonylureas] is three to four
hours after your workout.
Why is form important
in strength training?
There are so many ways to do it
wrong, and there are so many ways to
waste your time, so even if you can’t
a;ord a long-term personal trainer I
highly, highly recommend buying at
least three sessions with a personal
trainer and asking them to teach you
some basic exercises so that you have
the form correct, you’re using the
right amount of weight, and you’re
putting together a program, a routine of exercises, that makes sense.
[Another option is to] buy a fitness
book or DVD. I really think education
is extremely important.
started working out with my trainer
in 2007, I remember thinking after a
few months, “Well, I don’t see a huge
di;erence in my body right now, but
I really like doing this, I really like
being here.” And so I stuck with it.
If I had just given up after the first
three months because I hadn’t lost all
of the weight I wanted to lose, then
I would have never reached power
lifting. Today, I am absolutely an athlete, but it took a lot of persistence
and curiosity to find my passions for
exercise and my health.
How should people with type; 2
handle post-workout highs?
A really great way to bring that
high blood sugar down after
strength training, if you aren’t taking
supplemental insulin, is to hop on
a cardio machine for 10 to 15 minutes right after you finish strength
What would you tell people
about investing in their fitness?
If you asked me five years ago if
I would go on to set 15 records in
power lifting, become a yoga instructor, health coach, and personal
trainer, I would have laughed and
laughed! I never thought of myself
as very athletic before. When I first
How can people make exercise
a priority in their lives?
First of all, set a clear goal. Think
about why exercising is really something you want for your life, write it
down, and focus on that as your primary motivation. Then pick one or
two days where you simply do something that gets your heart rate up:
walking, going to a fitness class, getting on an elliptical. You don’t need
to go full throttle and [exercise] five
days a week for 60 minutes in order
to make progress. One or two days for
30 minutes is a great place to begin.
Vieira demonstrates some
easy strength-training moves
on the next two pages.