2014-04-10

Ryabetic Fitness Today

Time passes, bodies change, diabetes management gets easier. To be an athletic person requires a substantial amount of effort, but to be an athletic diabetic person is a whole other level of thinking.

While a "normal" fit people think about improving their diets and sticking to a steady workout regimen, I face certain additional constraints. The most binding of these are the per-meal fat and carbohydrate limitations my doctors have recommended for me: 60g or fewer of carbohydrate per sitting, 30g or fewer of fat.

Do the math: 4 calories per gram of carbohydrate and 9 calories per gram of fat translates into an upper limit of 510 calories per meal. Assuming I eat a reasonable amount of protein, this means that I am basically getting about 700 calories per meal. This would be perfectly reasonable for a sedentary male about my size, but for an athletic person like myself, I find myself hungry all the time, with no good solution to alleviating my hunger.

What this means is that if I worked myself up to 80 miles of running per week, like a good competitive runner would, it would be a struggle for my diet to keep up with my physical demands. Since I can't eat more food per meal, the only available option is to eat more meals. The challenge here is that eating a fourth meal would be highly disruptive to my daily schedule.

I could invest time and effort into figuring all this out, but on the other hand, more modest running - say, four to five miles per day - combined with a robust strength training and plyometrics routine solves my problem without my having to reconfigure my lifestyle. As an added benefit, I feel physically equally as healthy if I'm doing this as if I were to increase my running mileage at the expense of weight training. I also don't feel that I'm "missing out" when it comes to running, because even at four or five miles per day, I'm still fully capable of completing a half-marathon and recovering with ease.

With that in mind, here's a sample of how I've been exercising lately:

I. Calisthenics Ladder: (Do a set of one motion each, then a set of two each, three each, and so on.)

  • 1, 2, 3, ..., 7, 6, 5, ..., 1 box jumps
  • 1, 2, 3, ..., 7, 6, 5, ..., 1 push-ups
  • 1, 2, 3, ..., 7, 6, 5, ..., 1 pull-ups
  • 1, 2, 3, ..., 7, 6, 5, ..., 1 hanging leg raises
II. Cardio: 
  • 4-5 miles of brisk running, OR
  • 30-40 minutes of jump roping, OR
  • 60+ minutes of brisk road biking
This is similar in nature to my Jason-Altidor-inspired 8W workout plan

One drawback here is that there isn't room for much progress, and remember that progress is an important aspect of fitness. And, as it turns out, it's a major contributing factor to my blood glucose control. Thus, having done this for a couple of weeks now, I'll likely work to incorporate more weight training into my routine. Perhaps it's time I dusted off 8W and took it for another spin.