diabetes

Reversing the Loss of Heart Function Caused by Type 2 Diabetes

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A recent study found that “three months of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) improved heart function in adults with type 2 diabetes, without any change in medications or diet”.  This is an important finding considering that the leading cause of death of type 2 diabetes patients is cardiovascular disease.

The researcher stated: "Our research has found that exercise at sufficiently high intensity may provide an inexpensive, practical way to reverse, or reduce the loss in heart function caused by type 2 diabetes."

HIIT produces “exercise at sufficiently high intensity” and can be achieved with a series of short intervals of strenuous effort like sprints on a bike, rowing machine, hills, track, or stairs followed by moderate activity in between the sprints. A similar cardiovascular stimulus can be achieved with High Intensity Training (HIT), a series of strength training exercises with short rest between those exercises.

HIT produces a long list of cardio-respiratory fitness benefits. The added benefit is that HIT is effective in improving glycemic control. One our diabetic clients went from five shots a day down to one

At our Austin personal training facility we offer HIIT and HIT for strength. Some clients do both.  These workouts don’t take long, and you don’t have to do them with great frequency to have surprising results.  Is it worth an hour a week to increase your lifespan and more importantly your quality of life for years to come? We think it is.

Reducing the mortality risk of metabolic syndrome

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Metabolic syndrome is a group of risk factors - abnormal cholesterol and triglyceride levels, high blood sugar, high blood pressure, and excess body fat around the waist – that double one’s risk of early mortality.  This risk can be lowered significantly. A quote from this study, Inverse associations between muscle mass, strength, and the metabolic syndrome:

"Findings indicate that insulin resistance is a central abnormality in the metabolic syndrome (MetS) and that muscle mass and strength are strong protective factors independent of insulin resistance and abdominal fat accumulation. If confirmed prospectively, increases in muscle mass and strength needed to prevent a substantial proportion of MetS cases would be achievable with a short-term strength training intervention." 

Strength training does more than produce bigger and stronger muscles: strength training, particularly high intensity training (HIT) for strength, produces a response from the endocrine system.  In response to HIT’s demands on the body the following fat-burning hormones are released:

Do nothing and your fat cells release their own hormones that work to increase your fat even more. Eventually a stroke or heart attack will occur.  Don’t know where to begin to make changes?  Begin with something you can stick to – once-a-week 30-minute sessions of HIT.  Take it easy at first and do a little more each week.  You'll feel better and be more inclined to spend more time doing physical activities you enjoy.  Couple these changes with changes in your eating habits, and over time, the improvement in your health will be transformative.

It can be done. One of our clients lost 60 pounds went from five insulin shots down to one a day.  At Austin Personal Training and New Orleans Personal Training  we can help you achieve the goal of a stronger healthier body.

Tired of taking all that diabetes medication? There is another way.

What if there was a way for diabetics to control their sugar levels besides injections? There is. A quote from this study, High-Intensity Resistance Training Improves Glycemic Control in Older Patients With Type 2 Diabetes | Diabetes Care:

High-intensity progressive resistance training, in combination with moderate weight loss, was effective in improving glycemic control in older patients with type 2 diabetes. Additional benefits of improved muscular strength and LBM [lean body mass] identify high-intensity resistance training as a feasible and effective component in the management program for older patients with type 2 diabetes.”

High-intensity progressive resistance training is what we offer at Austin Strength Training and New Orleans Strength Training. One our diabetic clients, Leif, went from five shots a day down to one. When Leif first started he was overweight. He had already had a kidney removed and bypass heart surgery. He began high-intensity progressive resistance training once a week, he made modest changes in his eating habits, and he used a rowing machine at home. In the eight years he has been training with us his physical abilities have dramatically changed. Each week he did a little bit more than he was used to handling. Each week he improved, and over time, the change was transformative. Our state of health eight years from now will depend on the lifestyle choices we make now. Better to find time for exercise now or you might have to make time for sickness and injury later.

The dire metabolic consequences of physical inactivity

If you become a little less active and gain five pounds a year, that is not aging graceful. After a couple decades of that you’ll have 100 extra pounds of fat that may lead to metabolic syndrome - hyperinsulinemia, dyslipidemia, hypertension, hyperglycemia, and abdominal obesity. Your joints hurt, your feet hurt, and your breathing and walking become labored. Muscles weaken, and energy producing mitochondria go into an advanced state of disrepair. All this leads to more inactivity and eventually a heart attack or stroke.

From this study, Metabolic consequences of physical inactivity:

“Metabolic adaptation to muscle inactivity also involves development of resistance to the glucoregulatory action of diabetes medication, decreased energy requirements, and increased insulin and leptin secretion. These alterations may lead to the development of the metabolic syndrome that is defined as the association of hyperinsulinemia, dyslipidemia, hypertension, hyperglycemia, and abdominal obesity. This cluster of metabolic abnormalities is a risk factor for coronary artery disease and stroke.Evidence indicates that exercise training programs may counteract all of these abnormalities both in healthy sedentary subjects and in patients affected by a variety of chronic disease states.”

One person who counteracted many of these abnormalities is Leif. Eight years ago Leif was 48 and overweight. He had already had heart surgery, one kidney removed, and he was taking five diabetes medicationshots a day. Now Leif is down to one diabetes medication shot and is 60 pound lighter. He has been exercising with us once a week for 30 minutes for the last eight years. Each week he improved a little. Eventually those little changes add up to something big.

Instead of seeing how much exercise you can fit into your life see what is the least amount that will produce the highest marginal return, the biggest bang for your limited free time. If you do that, make modest dietary changes, and do an activity you enjoy you will find that a year from now you’ll still be doing it, and your quality of life will have profoundly changed. At Austin Strength Trainers and New Orleans Strength Trainers we can help you achieve that change without endless hours in the gym.

The risk of diabetes from diet drinks

From this study, 2 diet drinks a day could double risk of diabetes:  a liter of diet drinks a day increases the chance of diabetes ten-fold.

A quote from the study:  “The increased risks were the same regardless of whether the drinks were sugary or artificially sweetened…The artificial sweeteners in the diet drinks may stimulate and distort appetite, they said, increasing food intake, and encouraging a sweet tooth. Such sweeteners might also affect microbes in the gut leading to glucose intolerance.”

While not conclusive - the researchers called for more studies - diet drinks might be something to cut back on. More conclusive:  high intensity interval training (HIIT) lowers blood sugar levels.  HIIT is the type training we do Austin Strength Training and New Orleans Strength Training.  One of our clients has gone from taking five insulin shots a day down to one

Going from five diabetes shots a day down to one

From this article, Even Short Bursts Of Exercise Can Reverse Heart Problems In People With Type 2 Diabetes, come these quotes:

“In a new study published in Diabetologia, researchers examined the effect of brief, high-intensity workouts on type 2 diabetes patients who had already experienced heart abnormalities due to the disease. They found that these short bursts of exercise had a positive impact on the patients, improving their heart structure and offering some of the best protection for diabetes control.”

"The researchers measured cardiac structure and function with MRIs, and they found that these high-intensity, intermittent workouts greatly improved heart structure and function."

At Austin Personal Training and New Orleans Personal Training for our strength training sessions we use a high intensity intermittent training (HIIT) protocol, and we do sprint training on our aerobic equipment. The best part of these workouts is that they do not take very long, but they are highly effective.  One of our clients, Leif, a former heart surgery patient, went from five shots a day down to one.  See his testimonial in the second part of this short video.

The link between diabetes and Alzheimer's

From this article, Researchers find stronger links between diabetes and Alzheimer's comes this quote:

“Their study, using mice, found that elevated glucose in the blood – a primary consequence of diabetes -- can rapidly increase levels of amyloid beta, which shows up in brain plaques in Alzheimer’s patients. The buildup of these plaques is believed to be what brings on the memory loss that Alzheimer’s causes in the brain.”

And this:

“If the mice did not have the amyloid plaques in the brains, doubling their blood glucose levels increased amyloid beta levels in the brain by 20%. When the scientists repeated the experiment in older mice that already had developed brain plaques, amyloid beta levels rose by 40%”

Now is the time to cut back on sugar and engage in exercise that lowers blood sugar effectively.  This New Your times article, Why Your Workout Should Be High-Intensity, makes the case that High Intensity Training is effective:

A quote:

“They are showing that high-intensity exercise may be even better than regular aerobic activities for many patients with conditions like heart disease, diabetes, stroke, pulmonary disease, arthritis and Parkinson’s disease.”

And this:

“Researchers have found that repeatedly pushing the body close to its exercise limits for very brief periods, interspersed with periods of rest, is more effective than continuous moderate activity at improving cardiovascular, respiratory, metabolic and mechanical functions.”

This is precisely what we do at Austin Fitness Training and at New Orleans Fitness Training and we can help you with that.

What will your quality of life be like eight years from now? An anecdote

After reaching middle age, most people will likely see a decline in their physical abilities over an eight year span.  That is not unavoidable. At Austin Personal Training and New Orleans Fitness trainers  we present our clients with challenges they hopefully can achieve.  If you give someone a goal that is not achievable why bother attempting it?  If you have a goal that is not really challenging there will be little in the way of improvement. A good trainer will know where to set the bar.  

Timothy is a one of our trainers, and Leif is one of his clients.  One of the challenges Timothy gave Leif was a static hold on the chin-up.  Timothy had Leif hold himself with his chin above the chin-up bar with his knees bent and held as high as possible for as long as possible. This requires tremendous effort and toward the end it requires every fiber of your being just to maintain that position. This exercise works the upper-back, chest, arms, and abdominal muscles.

Timothy had Leif perform the exercise, maybe not every work out, but intermittently he tested him on this exercise. At first Leif could only hold his chin above the bar for a few seconds before giving out, he worked his way up to 12 seconds, and eventually to a half minute.  Timothy’s goal for Leif was 6o seconds.  Amazingly eight years after beginning the program, Leif held the static hold for 60 seconds. Keep in mind Leif accomplished this when he was eight years older than when he started.  Most people see an appreciable decline in performance over eight years.  Imagine the path Leif might have taken if he has not made that life-style change.  What would his quality of life be like?  Would he even be alive?

When Leif started he was in bad shape. Middle aged, he has diabetes, he had had one kidney removed, and he had had a bypass heart surgery plus he was very overweight. He embarked on a change in lifestyle. He began strength training at our Austin location once a week, he made modest changes in his eating habits, and he used a rowing machine at home.

Any exercise program has to be doable in order for one to stick to it.  If the program is more demanding, say three times a week for over an hour, that's a program you can stick to a few weeks or maybe a couple months. Yes, there are some that can adhere to that program for the long haul, but statistics show that most people don’t. They get burned out, sick, or injured. They end up dreading going to the gym.

Well Leif stuck with it, and slowly the pounds came off. He went from five diabetes shots a day down to one a day. He lost 60 pounds which was a great deal because Leif does not have a large body frame.  Now, health-wise and physically, he's a completely different person. Timothy likes to have him pick up 60 pounds of plates and carry it around the gym just as a reminder of just how much weight he used to have to carry around.

If you ask Timothy if he likes his job he will tell you, “I don’t have a job. It is not work when you enjoy what you are doing”.   It is motivating and gratifying to the see the changes our clients make.  We look forward to seeing them each week, and we are fortunate and truly grateful to have them as friends and clients.

How Much Of Difference Can Three Minutes Of Exercise A Week Make?

How much difference can three minutes of exercise a week make? it turns out quite a lot. How can that be? From this article, Can three minutes of exercise a week help make you fit?, comes this quote:

"part of the explanation is (probably) that HIT uses far more of our muscle tissue than classic aerobic exercise.

When you do HIT, you are using not just the leg muscles, but also the upper body including arms and shoulders, so that 80% of the body's muscle cells are activated, compared to 20-40% for walking or moderate intensity jogging or cycling.

Active exercise also seems to be needed to break down the body's stores of glucose, deposited in your muscles as a substance called glycogen. Smash up these glycogen stores and you create room for more glucose to be sucked out of the blood and stored."

HIT stands for high intensity training. HIT can be done on most types aerobic equipment. HIT for strength produces similar results. HIT strength training is a series of high intensity weight lifting exercises with short rests in between. Done correctly both, HIT strength training and HIT using aerobic equipment, will get one's heart rate up near the maximum for one's age.

We can show you how to both at Austin Personal Training and at New Orleans Fitness Trainers. Both are safe, effective, and efficient. Using such a program you can expect to feel better and have a dramatic improvement in you health.

High Intensity Interval Training Lowers Blood Sugar

[Lief, one of our clients' has gone from five insulin shots a day down to one. He has been training with us for about four years. His video testimonial is on this page.]

Short, intense bursts of activity to mini workouts seemed better able to metabolize sugars – from this article Brief Brief, intense exercise lowers blood sugar:

"Small, new study found that 30 minutes of high-intensity exercise a week -- a total exercise time of 75 minutes a week with warm-up and cool-down included -- could lower blood sugar levels for 24 hours after exercise, and help prevent post-meal blood sugar spikes in people with type 2 diabetes.

"If people are pressed for time -- and a lot of people say they don't have enough time to exercise -- our study shows that they can get away with a lower volume of exercise that includes short, intense bursts of activity," said the study's senior author, Martin Gibala."

This interval training can be done on most aerobic equipment. Interval training can also be incorporating into strength training - perform a series of high intensity strength training exercises will little rest between the exercises.

This form high intensity interval strength training produces more Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC) than any other form of exercise. This is the type of personal training we do at New Orleans Fitness Trainers and at Austin Personal Training.

Lowering Blood Sugar with High Intensity Interval Training

From this article The Brief Way to Better Blood Sugar

Men in a small study who added short, intense bursts of activity to mini workouts seemed better able to metabolize sugars.

When the men were given the equivalent of a meal's worth of glucose at the end of the study, their bodies metabolized it better than before the study.

Researchers suspect that bursts of intensity during workouts elicit stronger contractions and therefore more glucose uptake in the large muscles attached to bones.

The high intensity interval training in this study was performed on exercise bikes. High intensity interval training can also be incorporating into strength training - perform a series of high intensity strength training exercises will little rest between the exercises.

This form high intensity interval strength training produces more Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC) than any other form of exercise. This is the type of personal training we do at Kelly's
Austin Personal Training
 in and at New Orleans Fitness Trainers.

Extremely short duration high intensity interval training substantially improves sugar levels

In a recent study 16 young men performed 2 weeks of supervised high intensity training (HIT) comprising of a total of 15 min of exercise (6 sessions; 4–6 × 30-s cycle sprints per session). The subject performed about 250 kcal of work each week compared with the 2000 to 3000 kcal a week consumed during a typical aerobic training program. The results were surprising. Sugar level was improved by 23%, while aerobic cycling performance improved by ~6%. From the study Extremely short duration high intensity interval training substantially improves insulin action in young healthy males:

The efficacy of a high intensity exercise protocol, involving only ~250 kcal of work each week, to substantially improve sugar levels in young sedentary subjects is remarkable. 

The low volume, high intensity training utilized in the current study significantly reduced both glucose AUC (-12%) and insulin AUC (-37%), with a sustained improved sugar levels until at least day three after the last exercise session. This very modest increase in calorie consumption is in stark contrast to the ~2000–3000 kcal•week-1 consumed during a typical aerobic training program. This implies, but does not prove, that the mechanism underpinning the benefits we observed with HIT, may be distinct from those responsible for the more modest improvements in sugar levels with classic time-consuming aerobic training. While much focus is being given to increasing calorie consumption to ward off weight gain, it is clear that improving metabolic fitness may be just as important as limiting gains body mass index. 

We have a client that confirms what this study suggests. He has lost fifty pounds in three years and has gone from three or insulin shots down to one a day. He does high intensity strength training once a week and does regular aerobic activity.


The personal training sessions at Austin Personal Training and at New Orleans Personal Trainers are high intensity strength training sessions. This type of workout has been demonstrated to aid in the disposition of sugar, and the workout burns more calories than other forms of exercise because of the calories burned after the workout. Combining high intensity personal training sessions with regular aerobics activity can play a significant role in controlling diabetes.

Exercise for those with diabetes

From the article The Best Exercise for Diabetics:

“This study provides evidence for what one would have expected from separate evaluations of the benefits of aerobic and resistance training in type 2 diabetics; combining both types of training produces even better results in respect to HbA1c levels.”

And this:
 

“Combined exercise (aerobic plus resistance training) was significantly more successful than either exercise types alone, with an average of 0.9% lowering in HbA1c.”

We have a client that confirms what this study suggests. He has lost fifty pounds in three years and has gone from five shot down to one a day. He strength trains once a week and does regular aerobic activity.


The personal training sessions at Austin Personal Training and at New Orleans Personal Trainers are high intensity strength training sessions. This type of workout has been demonstrated to aid in the disposition of sugar, and the workout burns more calories than other forms of exercise because of the calories burned after the workout. Combining high intensity personal training sessions with regular aerobics activity can play a significant role in controlling diabetes.