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Fitness trainer reveals how he combined his love for physical activity to create a diabetic tool box to manage his condition

Fitness trainer reveals how he combined his love for physical activity to create a diabetic tool box to manage his condition

Having a clear understanding of how to prevent, detect, and control diabetes is crucial to curbing its development and utilising appropriate, effective techniques to combat it.

Some people get confused between type 1 and type 2 diabetes. The primary distinction between type 1 and type 2 diabetes is that type 1 is a genetic condition that frequently develops early in life, whereas type 2 is primarily a result of lifestyle choices and develops over time.

For World Diabetes Day, Nicholas Caracandas, a trainer and the owner of Diabetic Athletic, who has had type 1 diabetes since the tender age of five years, shares his experience with how combining his love of physical activity helped him better manage his condition.

“I typically view diabetes from a pretty standard lifestyle perspective as that one day everything works on autopilot and the next day you kind of get a tap on the shoulder where you basically get a subscription for life where you have to adhere to a said lifestyle and failing to do so can get your member subscription suspended,” Caracandas told IOL Lifestyle.

Fitness trainer reveals how he combined his love for physical activity to create a diabetic tool box to manage his condition
"I've had type 1 diabetes for 30 years; my mother has type 2 diabetes; she was diagnosed about 2 years before I was, and my grandmother also has type 2 diabetes. I discovered that when I started doing sports, although at first, it was just my outlet, I soon noticed that my glucose levels responded differently when I was physically active"- Nicholas Caracandas

"I've had type 1 diabetes for 30 years; my mother has type 2 diabetes; she was diagnosed about two years before I was, and my grandmother also has type 2 diabetes. I discovered that when I started doing sports, although at first, it was just my outlet, I soon noticed that my glucose levels responded differently when I was physically active."

Caracandas reveals that he was interested in learning how to control his diabetes and that he observed a nutritionist, a bio-kineticist, and a trainer. "I had to understand as much as I could about my body to combine nutrition and techniques to manage my health in a way that would allow me to do what I love and still get the benefits.”

The type 1 diabetic health advocate claims that the idea to journal his transition into the fitness industry as a type 1 diabetic person inspired what is now a successful business.

“Because I observed that when I run, my blood sugar drops. When I lift weights, it rises, and vice versa. I needed to figure out how to exercise at equilibrium, so I looked at how my body responded to various forms of exercise to maintain normal blood sugar levels. All of it provided insight into the effects of intense training on blood sugar levels as well as the effects of moderate training on those levels,” he shared in conversation.

He adds: “We have a role to manage the amount of glucose in our bloodstream, certain things take it up and certain things bring it down, and sometimes these things aren’t really in your control, but for the most part, how we live can trigger the development of diabetes.”

In adults with type 1 diabetes, guidelines from the American Diabetes Association, the International Society for Pediatric and Adolescent Diabetes, and the Canadian Diabetes Association recommend that adult patients with type 1 diabetes be less than 53 mmol/mol (7.0%), while for paediatrics patients, it should be less than 58 mmol/mol (7.5%).

Risk factors that can trigger the development of diabetes:

Lifestyle habits such as being sedentary, overweight, and drinking alcohol regularly put your body under too much stress, making it hard to regulate blood sugar levels.

For your body to wage war on itself and cause your pancreas to die, type 1 diabetes generally needs to be triggered or brought on by a traumatic experience, claims Caracandas.

He reveals that people with diabetes get confused about how different intensity levels and nutrition affect blood sugar levels. For instance, a slow run will affect your blood sugar levels differently from a fast run.

“At some point, I was following the keto diet. It was great for my sugar levels but not so great for my training.”

“So I created my diabetic toolbox, nutrition, exercise, and tailor-made programs for people living with diabetes.”

If you want to avoid health complications later, you must keep a watchful eye on your health. You can do this by stopping eating processed food and switching to whole foods, getting over 6000 steps a day, and making healthier food choices, advises Caracandas.

He points out that type 1 diabetes is not person specific at all; it's quite the opposite, although the principles of nutrition still apply. For instance, a calorie deficit for fat reduction is extremely individualistic because one person's calorie-deficit diet can be excessive for another person. The interpretation is that you need to find a balance between your diet and exercise, not food deficiency.

Diabetes management is a person-specific process, which is why we need tactile guidance that shows you step-by-step how to manage. Diabetic triangle of control I started putting together because exercise, diabetic management, and nutrition are the three cornerstones of success.

Types of exercise to try when managing diabetes should be aerobic in nature:

The most crucial part of exercise is managing your blood sugar levels, even during slower activities like swimming, jogging, walking, and hiking in the great outdoors. When we exercise, our bodies follow a distinct set of principles, and different things have varied effects on glucose levels.

Read the latest issue of IOL Health digital magazine here.

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