T Nation

Type 1 Diabetics Weightlifting


I'm Type 1 diabetic, diagnosed 14 months ago or so, was sick with staph and other things and finally ended up in the hospital where they learned why. I was 134lbs when I went in, was still working out at the time but looked like a ghost. I hit the gym at least 4 days a week.

Since diagnosis I've gone up to 200lbs and can move around some ok weight, 405x3 for deads, 315x6 for squats today, and my max bench so far has been 260. I guess you could call me a heavy drinker too, so gaining the weight wasn't too tough.

I really layed off the beer about 3 weeks ago after a real bad bender. Since then I've been dropping weight, down to 193 today. I've increased my food intake now since I thought it was just a fluke, a few oounds no big deal, but now that it's hit 10lbs I said that's enough.

So anyways wondering if any other Type 1 diabetics successful into powerlifting on here and what your experiences are.


You know...my older brother is a Type I diabetic. And I've always told him, if he gets into serious weightlifting, rather than the chest/arm work and occasional cardio that most people do, then he could really use the insulin to his advantage. In fact, any type of exercise makes insulin receptors even more sensitive, so its a plus.

 Here's my theory.  Insulin is the body's greatest anabolic hormone.  Because insulin excretion is now under your control, you can potentially use it your advantage.  Of course, you want to make sure your doing it in a safe way without harming yourself.  But if you know what I mean, you can potentially gain muscle and strength faster if done properly, since you are in control of how much insulin is released into your body.  Imagine the possibilities of the combination of a PWO shake and alot of insulin.  I may be crazy, but I dunno, I get ideas like this from time to time.   Imagine how easy your cutting phase would be...lol (without killing yourself and going hyperglycemic).  Wonder if that would be considered juicing, haha.

Sorry, this doesn't necessarily help you much with your question, but just thought how my idea would respond and work (if work well at all). Anyways, I think you would be able to powerlift perfectly well as a Type I diabetic. Keeping your blood sugar within a safe range to prevent other things from happening in a health perspective is really the most important.


It definitely keeps my sugars in check. I broke a rib recently and have been nursing it and my numbers(sugar) are hard to control.. Able to squat now but nothing else so my squat numbers are definitely up and sugars regulating. I been type1 for 22years(im 28now. What is your insulin regimen and do you count carbs yet? Also you should learn to adjust your insulin to your work out as it most definitely helps my recovery(as posted above) need any advice or help pm me.


I count carbs, 7.5 per unit novolog.

I take 20 lantus when I wake, and novolog if needed to cover my breakfast(protein with carb if needed or wanted).

Check again in a couple hours, snack(protein of course) and novolog if needed with it if it has carbs.

Check again lunchtime, full dinner with approx 75g carbs and 50+g protein.

2 hours later no check but snack of appropriate carbs, if above 100 then no carbs, if below then maybe 20g carbs, at least 20g protein included.

Then check again at suppertime, full dinner with approx 50+g protein and 75g carbs.

Shake before bed of 7g carbs and 52g protein.

Of course each day is different and my insulin requirements are different each day other than the 20units Lantus every morning. If I'm low anytime I adjust my insulin to match my carbs. My A1C was 6.7 6 months ago, 3 months ago 7.0, not doing bad but could be better.

If I take "a lot" of insulin I will die, have to match it to my carbs and keep it around 100 or so.

I also have been on Androgel for about 6 months, at 3 months I was still low. 2.5g every other day.

I am making my next appt. tomorrow and should be in a week or so. The doctor was reluctant to keep me on the Androgel since I am bulking up but my T levels were still low.

I did a lot of damage when I waited with untreated diabetes, we figure about 3 yrs I went. I spent 5 days in the hospital and ended up with a chunk taken out of my shoulder. I was 420 something when I went in and had ketones. They did everything they could but I came through anyways.


Nothing about this post is accurate.
OP please do not even consider manipulating insulin to change your body composition. Are you a jackass Kaizen? Retinopathy, nephropathy, autonomic neuropathy, CVD, stroke, amputations, CHDs, etc all exponentially decrease with proper glycemic control. You obviously have no idea what your brother goes through. Intaking a PWO shake without carbohydrates in anyone who has diabetes for even several years will probably result in major hyperglycemic episode.

You cant just not give insulin to cut, have you ever heard of hepatic gluconeogensis? Or hepatic glycogenolysis? How about a fat burner? Oh wait that will spike blood sugar, so he either cant use one, or has to only use it when hes low. It also contributes to insulin resistance. When he gets stressed, or frightful, or experiences any significant sympathetic nervous system response, his blood sugar will rise. There is NO WAY IN HELL it is easier to lose weight or change body composition with diabetes. Your post is IGNORANT-in the truest sense of the word.


Hold up my friend. I think Kaizen knows more than you give him credit for. I don't think he was suggesting you eat whatever you want, avoid insulin, go hyperglycemic, and lose bodyweight. I think he was referring to an advanced technique of using insulin to drop fasting blood-glucose levels. In response to low blood-glucose, body fat is mobilized and converted to ketones as another energy source. While this is doable, it will leave you feeling weak and tired throughout the day. It is defineately not for the inexperienced.

I believe if you have enough experience with insulin and blood-glucose control it does make it slightly easier to manipulate body composition. For example, I know exactly how much insulin I require to grow and exactly how much I need in order to start dropping bodyfat. So it can be handy in that respect.


Good shit man seems like you got your diet and carb counting in control. I met a lot of us who have had a hard time getting the carb counting in check(I went many years off of "feel" and still managed a mid 7 but have been sitting in the high 6's A1c wise lately) You can definitely still pack on weight and PL with minimal complications(maybe worded wrong?). Matter of fact the stronger I get the better my control is(I sit in high 6's cause I love to eat, hence one of my motivations for working out-- eat more take less insulin) Im squatting in mid 400's and got a dead of just under the big 5. Im just under 230lbs right now but got a mean bulk goin. I hear you on the alcohol, I had a mean drink/drug problem for years but been back to my health for the last 4 years.

I lifted throughout my teens(surfed/trained Kajukenbo/Kempo as kid6-14 and skated so I avoided the pump which I was supposed to do the trials on back in the '80s) and had a mean routine which halted due to my own reasons. It is definitely something I wont neglect from now on(health). Hey I know you say you just under 200lbs, do you got the belly? Every type1 Ive ever known had one.. the only time my was gone was when I was either on drugs or a mean cutting phase for a fight. But yah, I aint gotta tell you you seem to have your head on.. Just know you aint alone out there.


I don't have much a big belly but I could stand to lose a good 10lbs or so but I still want to gain for a while. I thought I was going to cut this spring but I'm pretty happy with 200lbs. All my friends and family think I'm skinny but there's plenty of fat there in my eyes. Easier to shoot up with a bit of belly fat though!

Thanks for your time and opinion


I hear you on that.. I used to shoot in my legs and cant cause I aint got no fat there or on my tri's. I couldnt figure out why my insulin wasnt working then my doc said I aint got no subq to absorb it... Definitely a reason I like meh belleh... take it easy man and if ya need anythang hit me up pm


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Re-reading my post, it was certainly a little over the top (as well as mean). I worry more about the un-educated looker reading a post about insulin manipulation and misunderstanding that.

More what I meant to allude to is the unpredictability in blood sugar of advanced diabetics (>15 yrs). This is mostly where my thoughts lead to, because it is the group that I am most familiar with. As time goes on, T1D tend to experience an "inhibition resistance" where the insulin injected, no longer has the capability of antagonizing the release of glucagon (different mechanism for T2D). This, in most, leads to irregular and erratic secretion by the alpha cells. What my PWO shake comment eluded to, was the increased likelyhood of (minor) hyperglucagonemia. This can be seen in the T1D pt who intakes say 30g or so of protein- while in a normoglycemic state- and rapidly becomes hyperglycemic. It is this major problem that becomes the issue for both glycemic control as well as weight loss. To comment on BBBs CHO/PRO based PWO-even that can lead hyperglycemia despite properly administered insulin. This is due to both the rapid absorption of the drink, as well as the inability for the insulin to inhibit alpha cell secretion. Also advanced T1D increasingly show autonomic neuropathy, causing gastroparesis, further complicating glycemic control.

We also have to worry about a high protein diet in advanced T1Ds as most have chronic microalbuminuria, so there is a concern that a high protein diet can lead to full fledged proteinuria.

All I was really trying to say, is that I don't think its easier for T1D to lose weight. Also was trying to warn against "insulin manipulation for phsyique enhancement"-not in general but for most. Sorry for coming off like a mean, irrational, worried mother. = )


I remember reading several studies, showing that pts frequently inject both IM and into the peritoneal cavity due to improper injection sites. IIRC studies showed varied absorption patterns depending on which muscle chosen.

Too bad this wasn't already known to a whole FORUM worth of people-who inject IM quite frequently ; ). /sarcasm


Well that may be true for most but in my case I notice DRASTIC improvement of my sugars while carb counting when I actually started hitting subq properly. Instead of 10units humalog I would be able to use 6units and achieve the desired effect. To me that is worth the moving of sites. Now I dont wanna go up against a whole site who will tell me what works for MY body, but personally it just works... Why??? dunno... but it does.... and just so, my Dr. called it spot on.


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No, no, I wasnt trying to imply anything at all, to you. My attempt at humor was directed more for BBB. I was picking fun at the medical community for being unaware for something that almost all recreational steroid users know.

Sorry about that.


yeah been a type one since the age of fifteen and whilst it can be a pain the in the arse going from a bulking to cutting phase in working out ratios as your glucose sensitivity changes good results can be done as I have won national natural bodybuilding titles and won the u82kg class at a drug tested powerlifting comp recently.

this is me.

it just means you have to monitor regularly before and after exercise but the regularity of meals and clean eating is a major bonus


Just curious... what is your insulin to carb ratio?? and how much long lasting do you take regularly? was there any drastic changes when you put on more weight??? how do you regulate per cutting??? Sorry but you definitely have a fascinating physique and even when I did cut I did have a lot of juggling/struggling to do.... Just trying to pick your brain for info/knowledge


hello, off season I take sixteen units of glargine at night and then have a ratio of 0.75 units per 10g carbs using humolog

when I diet it tends to be the first few weeks nothing changes except the total amount of insulin is less because I am eating less total food, after about a month i have to start cutting down on my basal insulin as otherwise i hypo in the morning - once i am at 8% it basically becomes i am on 8 units of basal and I take a unit per 30g of carbs.

but it totally depends on what activities i employ - HIIT like tabatta makes me go crazy glucose sensitivity wise and i can be near enough not taking any bolus injections for most of the day and just use the basal and activity for the amount of carbs i take in.

the pic above I was not in 100% condition as it was just a qualifier but i was still on around 250-300g of carbs a day at that point


That is awesome man... Your A1c must be in the 5's eh? Sometimes when i workout I can walk into the gym with a reading of lets say a fasting 130 and hit it hard for an hour or two and leave with a reading of 230 but its nice cause I can cut my humalog almost to nilch to get it back as my sensitivity is nice.... does that ever happen to you?(I know you say you may not even need a fast acting but that is on a HIIT no?) Ive read studies about it and have had it explained however other type1's I know that doesnt seem to happen much...