01-29-15 – Friday – Strength Training and T2D

Another energy filled morning and once again I am taking it into beast mode, this time on the Bench Press.

I don’t like using the term “Body Building”, because there is so much stigma attached to it. Hell, there is a whole science built around it. I like to think of all of this resistance exercise as a gateway to better health. In the act of building muscles and bones I am also burning fat and utilizing blood glucose which reduces the demand on insulin creation by the pancreas. This is where I have a medical issue and it goes by the name of T2D (type II diabetes). My whole mission here is learning how control this disease and live my life without taking medication.

When we here the term “Body Building”, the first thing most people think of is the pictures in those magazines of competitive body builders who are so stacked with muscles it almost looks non-human. It really scares people away from the whole process, especially women who believe that if they start resistance training they will end up looking like those female competitors who have taken the sport to the limit and filled there bodies with testosterone and built their bodies up to the point of looking like a male competitor. This is not true. Females can build up a little muscle, but mostly simply strengthen their muscles and slightly increase their bone density.

For me, it’s all about the T2D and I find that it works. I like the term “Strength Training”, and for now on I will use that term in my posts.


How does Resistance Exercise improve Insulin Sensitivity?

The treatment goal in patients with Type II Diabetes is to achieve and maintain a relatively normal blood glucose level by increasing insulin sensitivity. Resistance exercise training is a therapeutic modality used to achieve this in the following ways:[4]

  • Body sensitivity to insulin is directly proportional to muscle mass and the decrease in insulin resistance is related to an increase in lean body mass, allowing more glucose to be cleared from the blood. [5]
  • Changes in the quality of muscles, not just the quantity of muscles improves skeletal muscle insulin sensitivity. A shift from Type IIb muscle fibres to more insulin sensitivity Type IIa muscle fibres decreases insulin resistance. [6]

The results from a variety of studies indicate that changes in insulin sensitivity and the signalling pathway are related to adaptations at a cellular level. These include: an increase in the glucose transporter isoform (GLUT-4), protein kinase B content (a kinase involved in the insulin signalling pathway to glycogen synthase) and glycogen synthase activity. After resistance exercise training, research shows that less insulin is required by the patient to achieve the same lowering effect on blood glucose levels, suggesting that insulin sensitivity will improve. Resistance trained muscles show improvements in their ability to alter components of the insulin signalling pathway in skeletal muscles, having elevated rates of glucose transport and a decrease in insulin resistance. [1] [7]

Recommendations for Resistance Training

The leg press is a typical resistance training exercise

Resistance exercise training can elicit metabolic benefits like improved insulin sensitivity with low to moderate intensity, low volume programs. This is key to engaging sedentary individuals who might be reluctant to participate in strenuous activity. These benefits begin to manifest themselves in a short period of time and these quick results can serve as a motivator to continue training. For the elderly, frail or overweight, resistance training programs are excellent as they provide less risk of sustaining injuries. Prior to beginning a resistance exercise program, diabetic patients should undergo a medical evaluation by their health care professional to ensure that they are safe to participate and that the activities in their programs can be performed correctly to maximize benefits and minimize risk of injury. [3]

The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that resistance training should be integrated into the exercise programs for adults with Type II Diabetes and the following guidelines should be considered: The frequency of exercise should be 2-4 times a week at an intensity of 50-80% of patients VO2 max, sessions should be 30-60 minutes long, 1-2 sets at the beginning of the program but as patient progresses increase to 3-4 and each set should consist of 10-15 repetitions. [8]

Resistance exercise training programs should be progressive and individually designed for each patient. As the patient’s insulin sensitivity improves, modifications to exercise type and intensity should be made. [1] Modifications can be made for severe cases and high risk patients. Lighter workloads, strategic eating before and during exercise, constant checking of blood glucose levels and knowing the warning signs of hypoglycemia (dizziness, anxiety, shaking) will help with exercise tolerance. [3] Following basic exercise protocols for proper warm-up and cool-down are also essential, as well as wearing appropriate footwear, maintaining adequate hydration and avoiding exercising in extreme environments. [1]


Blood Sugar – 90, Weight – 166.4

Bowflex – CHEST
Bench Press – 155/155- 18, 15, 11
Incline Press – 155/155-12, 11, 7
Decline Press – 155/155-18, 12, 11
Fly’s – 80/80- 12, 10, 9
Situps – 80/80- 3×15
Leg Raises (abs) – 10

Breakfast- 2 Eggs, 2 Bacon
Lunch- Beef Burrito
Dinner- Chicken, Green Beans

About SimpleLivingOver50

At 53 years old I am starting to realize how life changes both physically and emotionally. I strive for a life of simplicity. I am winning the battle with type II diabetes, created a plan to have all debt paid off in 4 years including the house, taking advantage of every opportunity to live life to it's fullest through adventures in nature, hiking, biking, loving and learning.
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