Type 2 Diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. Formerly known as Adult Onset Diabetes, type 2 diabetes typically strikes during adulthood. Though it used to be very uncommon for children to develop type 2 diabetes,
Our country is experiencing an abnormal rise in the number of children diagnosed with this condition. This rise, in both children and adults, coincides with the increase in obesity over the past several years.
In type 2 diabetes, our body’s cells become resistant to the hormone insulin, which shuttles glucose (sugar) into our cells. When our body is resistant to insulin, and in the absence of medication, our blood sugar levels stay elevated. Over time, high blood sugar causes a number of complications, including heart disease, kidney disease, eye problems, nerve damage, skin problems, and circulation issues.
Causes Of The Type 2 Diabetes
The most critical thing to know is that type 2 diabetes is often preventable. Though some people have an increased propensity for developing this disease, if they take the proper measures, they can increase their chances of preventing it from ever occurring. Type 2 diabetes doesn’t appear overnight. It takes time for it to develop, which means you have time to take the necessary measures to halt its development in its tracks.
Many contributing factors can lead to the development of type 2 diabetes. These include:
Excess body fat, especially abdominal fat, will increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The more fat you have packed on your body, the more your cells become resistant to insulin. In addition, the type of fat you eat and the size of your cells alter your cell membranes, which house the receptor sites that insulin binds to. That would be like cutting a bigger keyhole and trying to unlock the door with the same key (insulin).
Physical activity helps control your weight, and it uses up glucose in your bloodstream for energy, so your body doesn’t have to pump out as much insulin to bring that glucose into your cells. It’s even making the cells more insulin sensitive.
If your parents or any siblings suffer from type 2 diabetes, your risk is greater.
If your heritage is African, Hispanic, American Indian, or Asian/Pacific Islander, your risk is greater.
As we age, our risk goes up. But, many diseases associated with aging can be partly blamed on the fact that many Americans sit on their butts more as they get older. They exercise less, lose some of their metabolic firehouse (muscle mass that is), and gain fat weight. So is it really the age or the undesirable lifestyle that many people succumb to as they age?
If you are a man, you don’t have to worry about this (unless you are that guy who delivered a baby, though his insides are still those of a female, so technically I’m not sure if he is a man). Anyway, women who develop diabetes during pregnancy increase their risk of developing type 2 diabetes in later life. Also, giving birth to a baby over 9 lbs increases your risk. Talk to your physician or dietitian about how many calories you need in each trimester to deliver a healthy baby.
Bodybuilding Can Help Decrease Your Risk For Developing Type 2 Diabetes
After examining the causes of diabetes above, you probably noticed the modifiable risk factors, those you have some control over. Sure, you can’t pick your genetics, but you can make the most of what you were born with. According to Mayo Clinic, there are three main things you can do to prevent type 2 diabetes. Luckily, as a bodybuilder, you are already doing these things:
1. Eat Healthy Foods
Choose foods low in fat and calories. Focus on fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. If you are a bodybuilder, you already eat a healthy diet. Who goes into the gym and comes home to a snack of doughnut holes and Yoo-Hoo? Maybe the casual every-once-in-a-while gym-goer does this, but not a bodybuilder.
As a bodybuilder, you actually train hard when you go to the gym and maximize your results by eating a diet loaded with vegetables, whole grains, some fruit, and lean sources of protein (including MRPs, of course).
2. Get More Physical Activity
Look for moderate physical activity in 30 minutes a day. When you can’t fit in a long workout, break it up into smaller sessions that stretch all day.
As a bodybuilder, you have this one covered. In fact, you are doing more than the minimum amount of exercise recommended to help decrease your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. You periodize your training to meet your goals and consistently challenge your body through strength training and aerobics.
3. Lose More Pounds
If you are a bodybuilder, you aren’t over-fat. The height/weight charts and BMI tables are for the average population.
If your BMI is avove the healthy range because you have built a lot of muscle mass, but you have low body fat, throw that chart out the window and take comfort knowing that you are doing what is right for your body to help decrease your risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
If you are over-fat and new to bodybuilding, congratulations! You are doing the right things to decrease both the size of your gut and your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
If you are a bodybuilder, you also take care of your overall health, which means getting regular physicals (including a fasting blood sugar level).
If you get checked regularly and fix anything that isn’t quite right before the problem gets worse, you’ll surely prevent many diseases before they take hold of your body. If you have high blood sugar levels, work on fixing those now, before this turns into type 2 diabetes.
Additional Tips For Preventing Type 2 Diabetes:
- Get a pedometer, use it, and aim for 10,000 steps each day. Though you go to the gym, you also need daily physical activity. If you have a desk job and sit on your butt all day, get up and get moving.
- Cut down on your alcohol consumption.
- Tweak your diet, so you include more fiber, 14 grams for every 1,000 calories.
- Decrease your stress.
One of the greatest assets a bodybuilder has is confidence. Not just confidence in how you look but confidence in knowing that you can transform your body above and beyond what many people think is possible.
And more importantly, you can also transform your health. And that alone is one of the most empowering things about bodybuilding: the realization that although you may have an increased risk for certain diseases you can and will do everything in your power to beat your risk factors and live a healthy life.