Friday, November 11, 2011

Friday X Factors - Cross Fit

Each Friday I'll post a new story about something that has made me rethink how I have to manage my blood sugars.  The impact everything from eating out to exercise has on bs management can make this disease really variable.  This will be what I've learned from those scenarios.

Back in August I was itching for a new athletic challenge.  Due to life I didn't really have time to train as hard as I wanted for triathlon anymore and trying to fit in a century every weekend on the bike really just wasn't possible.  I still wanted to bike and run as frequently as my schedule would allow but I was dying to find something new.

One of the things I really missed over the past few years was a new challenge in the weight room.  From the time I was 8 years old until November of my 21st year I was a football player.  I lived in the weight room and got excited to push myself to lift heavier, faster and better.  To me nothing releases more stress than a good hard lift that leaves your muscles shaking.  But due to two shoulder surgeries, and some other joint issues I had to greatly reduce the amount of time I spent in the gym.  After 3 or 4 years away from heavy lifting I was ready to see what my body had left.  This would also mark the first time since my T1 diagnosis that I'd focus on high intesnisity exercise.

I had been hearing about Cross Fit for a while; CX sessions focus on a workout of the day which includes high repetitions of an Olympic lift, a body control movement like pull ups and some anaerobic activity like air squats.  The "box," as CF gyms are referred to, that I go to is LaLanne Fitness; founded by the nephew of legendary Jack LaLanne, the father of modern fitness.  The big issue for me was I had no idea how my blood sugar would react to a high intensity fast twitch focused session.

My first session was quite a learning experience; I did something like 75 push presses and 50 burpees; I couldn't lift my arms for a week, literally!  The blood sugars trended somewhat high during that workout but I just attributed that to nerves.  The second time I went to CX the workout of the day incorporated some more short sprints and a few other cortisol producing exercises.  Prior to the workout I had some muscle milk and had set my pump down to 60% of normal basal.  About 1/2 way into the WOD my blood sugar had spiked to 375!!!!!  I then realized this type of exercise would require a totally different protocol than long bike rides and runs.

I'm now three months into my CX experiment and while I still haven't mastered the kipping pull up my blood sugars are alot more consistent during classes.  As opposed to endurance training I try and start a CX class with my blood sugar around 120 (just in case).  About 25 minutes before class I'll have some muscle milk with non-fat milk and about a unit of insulin.  When class starts I'll reduce my basal rate to 80% of normal as the start of class trends towards aerobic versus anaerobic.  Then immediately after the workout of the day I take in 1.5 units of insulin (after checking my blood sugar) to make sure the extra cortisol in my system doesn't have any negative effects.  CX takes a totally different approach to managing blood sugars than what I was used to but its a blast!

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