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     The Official eNewsletter of TODAY! Fitness

vol. 2010 issue 5



Exercise and Hypoglycemia

Hypoglycemia is a condition that occurs when your blood sugar (glucose) is too low.  Symptoms of Hypoglycemia can include cold sweats, confusion, convulsions, coma, double vision or blurry vision, fatigue, general discomfort, uneasiness, or ill feeling (malaise), headache, hunger, irritability (possible aggression), nervousness, rapid heart rate, and trembling.

This diagnosis makes diabetes a reality for many people. With diabetes, experiencing hypoglycemia is usually a risk.  Diabetics must be extra cautious when it comes to what they eat...and how much they exercise.

Can Exercise Cause Hypoglycemia? YES, but not all the time.  When diabetics exercise for an unusually long time, and neglect replenishing glucose production by eating, they're making themselves increasingly vulnerable to hypoglycemia.

Can You Still Exercise If You Have Diabetes and Hypoglycemia?  As long as proper precautions are observed, there's no reason to give up exercising completely.

Diabetics must always check blood glucose.  Knowing the blood glucose count will help to more accurately estimate just how many minutes of continuous exercise can be performed before having to eat once more. A doctor can provide information regarding what particular level is it considered safe for exercise.

If glucose level is too high or low, diabetics should refrain from exercise for the time being.  They should eat more or less until the glucose level goes back to normal.  It is suggested to always have little protein snacks available to ensure that there's food to grab during emergencies - and yes, hypoglycemia is one of those emergencies.

Diabetics should also avoid exercising in places or settings that have temperatures at the extreme. It can either be too hot or too cold. Both are not beneficial for their health. In such temperatures, the diabetic body is unable to absorb insulin properly - and that's bad news.

How To Know If You're at Risk of Having Hypoglycemia.  Hypoglycemia's a silent killer; the symptoms appear gradually, so one moment, you're feeling great at the treadmill, but the next moment, you're gasping for a sugar rush. That's the bad news.

Here's the good news. Even if the symptoms are subtle, hypoglycemia's a well-researched and much-studied condition, so most symptoms, if not all, have already been identified. The most important thing is to memorize the symptoms. Knowing them will provide enough warning to successfully prevent hypoglycemia from cutting a workout short.

Symptoms of Hypoglycemia:

Growling Stomach - Hunger is the top indication that you're about to experience hypoglycemia. Rule number one, people: don't exercise if your stomach isn't partially full, especially if you're diabetic as well!

Change in Heartbeat Rate - Possibly, if the change happens while you're sweating it out in the gym, it could be an indication that you're suffering from hypoglycemia.

Getting Wet - If your clothes end up clinging to your skin too early, it means you're sweating more profusely than usual. Again, that's an indication of hypoglycemia.

Other Tips for Exercising

Never start a new exercise routine without having it evaluated by your physician first. Always wear the proper attire, especially when it comes to footwear - socks and shoes - because they're the most vulnerable part of your body right now. Drink lots of water before, during, and after your workout. Lastly, have fun but keep safe while exercising!

In people with diabetes who take medication that lowers blood sugar, a snack or drink containing sugar will raise the blood glucose level. It is recommended to try to drink no more than 4 ounces of juice or sugar soda. There should be an immediate improvement in symptoms. If there is not, check blood sugar and repeat after 15 minutes. Overtreatment of low blood sugar can cause problems with high blood sugar in people with diabetes.

After exercise, the main concern will be prevention of postexercise, late-onset hypoglycemia, which can occur both because glycogen levels are low and being replenished (during which time your insulin action is higher) and because hormonal response to low blood sugars diminishes after exercise. To assist with preventing this, it's important to start to restore muscle glycogen right after exercise at the fastest rate possible by taking in adequate carbohydrate.  This will help prevent a low later on.  

ref. Diabetic Athlete’s Handbook (November 2008)

Rest Long to Get Strong

The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that advanced athletes who want to maximize strength gains should lift heavy weights (1-6 repetition maximum) with three to five minutes rest between sets.  Brazilian scientists reinforced this important principle of strength training.  They measured the effect of resting one minute, three minutes or five minutes between sets during an intense, 16-week weight-training program designed to increase strength.  Those resting three minutes or five minutes between sets gained more strength than those resting only one minute.  Push big weights to get strong.  You can't do this if you don't recover adequately between sets.

(Journal Science Medicine Sport; October 5, 2009)

Age and Muscle Mass

Athletes in some sports are considered old and over the hill at 25 years old.  In other sports, such as bodybuilding and the throwing events in track and field, the most successful athletes are typically more than 30 years old.

Joshua Lowndes from the University of Central Florida in Orlando and colleagues found that age had little effect on the capacity to increase muscle mass or strength in young adults (ages 18-39) involved in a 12-week weight-training program.  The study examined changes in elbow flexor (biceps) size and strength, following a unilateral (one arm) training program.  Age does not affect the response to resistance exercise during the first four decades of life.

(Journal Strength Conditioning Research, 23: 1915-1920, 2009)




Partner Bodyweight Exercise of the Month!

Partner 1-Arm Row

Here's another back and bicep exercise for you.  As I mentioned previously, it is sometimes difficult to find a way to do back exercises without equipment.  This
1-arm row is a handy alternative that you can perform with a willing partner and they will actually get a decent isometric core workout as they maintain a rigid body while you are performing the row.


Target:  back and arm (latisimus dorsi and biceps brachii)

Count:  2 count

Description:  Starting position begins with one person lying on the ground on their back and maintaining a rigid isometric hold with their legs crossed at the ankles.  The person performing the row will stand next to the person's ankles, facing the feet, with outside leg out front and the inside leg back.  The person performing the row will then reach down with their inside hand, grab below the partners ankles, and perform the row (support with outside hand or forearm on your knee is optional).  Rowing motion should be fast during the concentric (up) phase and slow during the eccentric (down) phase while the partner comes up onto their upper shoulders.

How Long for Change?

It's funny... I've noticed that every spring I get a bunch of requests from people wanting to make BIG changes at the last minute since the summer is just around the corner.  Seriously folks... after spending months or years to pack on some poundage, do you really think that it's going to magically disappear in a few weeks?  Not if you're talking about BIG changes.  BIG changes take a lot of work and a lot of patience.  The thing about BIG changes is that you have to have a little faith that you are doing the right things to make the change, but not get frustrated that the scale or body in the mirror doesn't reflect the immediate feedback that you want to see.

I feel comfortable making this statement since I've gone through it myself.  That's actually what got me into personal training in the first place.  After being an athlete up and through college, I started the downward spiral after managing a restaurant, working long hours, and eating whatever I wanted all day.  From wrestling at 167 lbs. in college, the pounds snuck up on me gradually and I soon found myself around 225 lbs.  At first I was almost proud of being called a BIG guy... but I realize now that it was a polite way of saying that I got fat! 

It wasn't until I went to the doctors and found out that I had very high blood pressure and high cholesterol that I decided to make the change.  Nothing like a good scare to get you motivated!  Anyway... back to the original point of me rehashing my story.  I pretty much went all out with my lifestyle change.  I seriously cut out ALL the crap in my diet, ate smaller portions, made better choices, and started working out again every day.  I hit the weights again, got into the original Tae Bo as well as cycling, and really tried to push myself whenever possible.  It took me probably 8 months to drop about 35 pounds, but at that point I was probably more skinny than I wanted to be.  After focusing on eating right and building muscle, another 6 months later I was much more balanced and "fit" looking than after my initial loss.

Now, my point of telling this story is not to brag about what I did, but to tell you that there are several factors that are going to play a part in your perceived results.  Body weight is not everything... personally I am much more a fan of watching the way your pants fit!  As I mentioned, I was much happier after I put another 10 pounds of muscle back on, than when I originally dropped the weight.  I'd also like to mention again that this is a LIFESTYLE CHANGE.  Don't expect to eat right until you hit your goal weight, and then go back to being a slob and still keep the weight off.  I still haven't eaten a full order of french fries in several years, but I'll still grab a few off my daughter's plate now and again : )

So in summary, make the decision, commit to the decision, get a plan, work hard at the plan, and HAVE PATIENCE!  If you start now, I don't want to hear any crying about it until winter!

I'm not just the president of TODAY! Fitness...

... I'm a client too!

It's Go Time!

The Summer of 2010... it's coming whether you like it or not!  How will you remember it?  Hopefully, from a fitness perspective you will either start or continue an outstanding exercise program that will contribute to reaching and exceeding the goals that you set for yourself!  Don't even think about pulling one of those "I'll start after the summer when the kids go back to school" excuses.  Seriously... back to school, out of school, holidays, yada yada yada.  Make time, not excuses!

So once again... if you think you're going to start working out now and drop that 20-30 pounds before June, it's not going to happen : (  At a safe rate of 1-2 pounds per week, you're looking at somewhere around 4-8 pounds by June if you're serious about it.  Does that mean that you throw in the towel and forget about it?  Heck no!  The sooner you start on your transformation, the sooner you'll see the results!  Major changes take hard work and patience.  You will make progress, but don't go weighing yourself every day.  That's not going to help your motivation.

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Exceed Your Potential!

Pete Mazzeo, CPT

"Be All That You Can Be" - U.S. Army

youtube of the month --> How to Sprint (part 1) (part2)
The guy producing these 2 videos is a bit of a tool, but his advice and demonstration of sprinting technique is spot on! | Personal Training | News | Tips & Tools | Fitness Stuff




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