T Nation

Type 1 Diabetic


Hey guys, I'm a 17 y/o type 1 diabetic, been training for about 6 months, I have noticed changes in my muscles in terms of strength and detail but no real mass gains, I am eating 3000-3200 calories a day mostly consisting of Beans, Tuna, Chicken, Oats, Wholemeal Pasta, Brown rice, Cottage Cheese and Protein shakes, I am 5'11 and weigh 70kg, so my question is are there any type 1 diabetics out there who actually have success with bodybuilding? If there are I have a few questions for you.

  1. Do you take Insulin after a workout and consume a high carb meal/shake?
  2. Do you take Insulin with every meal?
  3. I know Insulin is anabolic, how can i use this to my advantage?




You might get more/better advice if you post this in the Steroids section.


My friend,

You need to get a MEDICAL DOCTOR to give you advice.
Although i am certain there are good people here that can help you, diabetes can go really wrong really fast, right?

That is my two cents.


Why not just go ketogenic and cure your diabetes?


Type 1 is genetic.
No cure but keto can help.


Thanks for the replies guys, I have tried talking to my Dieticians/Doctors but they really know absolute 0 about bodybuilding.


Type 1 Diabetes is incurable.


I suggest you read about the difference between Type 1 diabetes and Type 2 diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that results in complete inability to produce insulin. It cannot be "cured" with a ketogenic diet.

Type 2 diabetes is a disease of insulin resistance. Health professionals will argue this all day, but it is at least plausible that a keto diet could reverse or mitigate type 2 diabetes.

A further discussion is beyond the scope of this post.


Sorry, meant to put cure in quotes. It won't actually "cure" it, but it'll allegedly manage it better than dicking around with carbs does.


Again, you should research.
Type 1 gets progressively worse over time, regardless of what is done to control it. Yes you can manipulate diet to manage it better, but not like type 2 where if caught early you can almost eliminate it permanently by eliminating insulin spikes from diet etc. not like that at all.


I don't know I've had it for 5 years now, so at this point every little bit of insulin that was left in my body is gone, but somehow I still manage to keep my sugars between 3.6-7 95% of the time, once you have your carb ratio figured out it isn't as bad as everyone makes it out to be.


Hey, I am a type 1 Diabetic for 30 years now, I'm 36 and i have been working a powerlifting\bodybuilding routine. Really what it comes down to is it may be more difficult for you to shed weight and get your body fat percentage down due to the insulin we have to take. The closer you can keep you sugar levels within a healthy range the better off you will be, also the less carbs you eat the less insulin you will need in order to keep your blood sugar levels in a healthy range.

Because of the demands of my program i require carbs usually directly after my workout. It helps my recovery. I also stick to a BCAA drink during my workout to help maintain my blood sugar levels. I usually give myself a small Bolus ( i am on an insulin pump) before my workout. When your liver releases stored glucose into your system during a strenuous workout you need to be prepared for the spike in glucose in your blood stream, however it is fast acting and as you start to recover your level will plummet rapidly so that is also why i make sure i have carbs after my sessions.

Hope this helps, i am working on this as well and have scoured the internet looking for more information and have really found nothing. there is a reason why you do not see many insulin dependent diabetic professional bodybuilders, and i believe it is due to the injecting of insulin makes it difficult to have a low body fat percentage. However it should actually help you put mass on if your working hard enough for it. I also should add that Ketosis is very dangerous for diabetics, it weakens the cell walls of the vascular system.


Hey man, thanks for the info, I have a really fast metabolism and have little to no fat so my insulin sensitivity is pretty good and fat gain isn't too much of an issue, I have found all over the internet the best way to lose fat as a diabetic is probably a temporary keto diet, if you don't like the idea of being in a prolonged state of ketosis you could go really low-carb instead and stay just above the threshold of being in ketosis, this should get your insulin levels low enough to start losing some fat, but like anyone you NEED to make sure your caloric intake is lower than maintenance.

Oh, and about that BCAA drink, how well does it help to keep sugars in better control during a workout?


hey man, I've been type 1 for 18 years. I've tried the carbs with every meal approach, obviously with injections and ended up pretty fat. I don't really know enough about the reasoning behind it but at the moment I'm having much better success at putting on quality size and remaining leaner by stacking the carbs around the workouts- before, during and after. I find tinkering with the amounts of CHO is easier than cutting them out completely, both in terms of not worrying about hypos during or after workouts and the energy for the gym.

Keto is manageable with diabetes but I just found the balance of either running a little high for a 'safety net' vs constant hypos too much and fucking frustrating.

@bklammer, where'd you find info on the cell wall damage? I'd be interested in reading that as I was recommended keto BECAUSE I was diabetic.

And also yeah, the doctors are pretty shit at knowing how to manage eating for performance/ body comp as a diabetic so info gained in the 'real world' is pretty cool to hear


Hey man I'm 26 years old I've been a type one for about three years now and I have made tons of progress in the gym. I'm not stepping on the Olympia stage any time soon but I did go from 150 pounds to 220 with in the first year and half of being diagnosed. There is more pros than cons to being a diabetic you do have to watch your sugars through out the day and workouts can make you BG jump but that just depends on how hard you train. Using insulin is not dangerous 90 percent of the people who tell you that are not diabetic and just parroting some shit they read on a steroid blog. You know how you feel when your high and low as long as your smart with it your fine.

Your post workout meal should be the bulk of your carbs that insulin is going to shuttle the nutrients it to your muscle. I personally don't like eating carbs before I workout that will drop your blood sugar. The 15-30 minute fast acting insulin actually stays in your system for up to four hours and it will send you hypo. I like drinking bcaas during my workout just get the ones with no sugar. I try to keep my high doss of insulin post workout and I also do glute and quad injections so I don't get the stubborn belly fat.

Plus IM injection sends the insulin in your muscles a lot faster. ( and no it doesn't hurt). Yes you can totally use insulin to your advantage I'm just like you I love the bodybuilding sport but sadly there is not a lot of information for type 1. But hey someone has to lead the way mis we'll be us.


Hey man you seem to know your shit so i have a few more questions,
1. Do you take fast acting carbs after a workout or Low GI? and is it liquid or solid?
2. I have some stubborn belly fat, I have stopped injecting into the stomach how long will it take for this to disappear?
3. What Percantage of my carbs should i be eating after my workout, 50% of my daily total?


I think one thing diabetics type 1 or type 2 need to take advantage of is non-insulin mediated glucose uptake. This type of glucose uptake is generally a result of mechanical action (exercise). NIMGU will be greatly increased during exercise and what research shows, up to 2-3 hours following exercise.

During this time frame, a diabetic would be able to tolerate greater loads of carbohydrates without sending blood sugar levels too high. How many carbohydrates, and how much insulin (if any) an individual would need to take along with this, is of course very individualized based off their physiology.

Eating carbohydrates that have a significant effect on blood sugar throughout the day requiring increased insulin dosing is a great way to store body fat. Minimizing blood sugar spikes and the need for increased insulin dosing throughout the day, while targeting your carbohydrates to around your workout to take advantage of NIMGU is a good strategy for diabetics looking to mitigate fat storage and increase protein synthesis.


"Plus IM injection sends the insulin in your muscles a lot faster."
Is this into the actual quad/glute muscle then rather than the skin?! My lower stomach has built up a real tough layer that never really seems to go, would be keen to know



I’m a Type 1 for 36 years and have been lifting for years. I’m 6 foot and 118 KG and all natural. Being a diabetic you have a definite advantage over others. First take insulin to manage you blood sugar. Keeping in tight control will help you stay lean. If you eat carbs each meal then yes take insulin to compensate.

Anyone who has been lifting long knows that the post meal workout is critical for recovery and growth. This should be your biggest meal of the day and you can ensure a good uptake of carbs and protein by giving enough insulin to cover the meal.

Trust me, you will grow.

In addition to the benefits you will see, the unseen are even more impressive. Working out with weights is ideal for diabetics and helps prevent prevention of long term complications.