Workout Wednesday: What I Learned

I’ve made my way through all the SweatBetes workouts with the help of Ginger Vieria who coached me along the way. At this sweaty, breathing heavily moment I wanted to share what I’ve learned from this experience.

Some of this may seem obvious, but I’m someone who has never exercised regularly or been active.

1. There is a difference between exercising and being active
I understand why exercise enthusiasts get frustrated with people who stroll around the block and call it exercise. And I understand why active people get frustrated with their results.

Ginger: Absolutely! Well said. I will add, though, that walking is a totally underestimated and awesome form of exercise. We’re often led to think that jogging is crucial for heart health, but a great power-walk can get your heart rate working just as a well without as much pounding on your joints.

2. Exercise will make you sweaty and maybe even a little bit sore.
Exertion has its effect.

Ginger: Yeah! And then againナthis gets better and less intense pretty quickly, too. You’ve just gotta be willing to work through the soreness of those first few workouts.

3. Exercise takes more than half an hour.
You got to get dressed. You got to get there. You get sweaty. You need some recovery time. You need to take a shower.

Ginger: Great point! And with diabetes, it requires more thinking and planning and worry, too.

4. Exercise costs a little extra when you’re living with diabetes.
Testing at least more three times for every exercise session can really add up.

Ginger: Absolutely. I try to incorporate my exercise first thing in the morning when I’m fasting, to ensure I’m burning body fat instead of glucose, to limit the amount of worrying and testing I need to do. Fasted-exercise is a great way to remove low blood sugars from the equation because the body will, with a properly fine-tuned background insulin dose or oral meds, burn fat for fuel if you haven’t eaten all night and haven’t taken any insulin boluses for meals.

5. Exercise made me feel better.
I didn’t lose weight (not that I really expected to), but I felt more energized. Not in a “I just drank a triple shot espresso and now I’m wired” kind of way. In a “my blood is circulating through my whole body and now I feel energized” kind of way. I suspect a shot of oxygen to my brain and blood stream is better for me in the long run than a shot of caffeine.

Ginger: Weight-loss is about much more than exercise. In fact, if you talk to some of the leanest, most fit people in the gym (or the leaders in the fitness industry), they’ll explain that weight-loss comes from nutrition. Building lean muscle, maintaining or increasing a healthy metabolism, staying limber, and getting the many energy, sleep and mood benefits are things provided through exercise. But exercise alone for weight-loss isn’t going to make up for nutritional habits that aren’t designed to promote weight-loss. There’s a variety of quotes on the matter, but in general, it comes down to “A six-pack is made in the kitchen, not the gym.” LOL 😉 Silly, but true.

6. Maybe a better way to sell people on exercising is how it makes you feel right now.
Right now I feel energized. I feel clear headed. My muscles feel warm and my joints feel flexible.

Yeah, maybe exercise a little uncomfortable at first. And it can bring back bad memories of high school gym class or being picked last for the team. But there are lots of options for exercise. Just got to find the kind of exercise that makes you feel good right now.

Ginger: Yeah! You feel good mentally, but also so much more connected to your body, too, right? One of my favorite things about exercise is simply seeing what my body is capable of. And feeling proud of that, being aware of it, and feeling confident after I leave the gym in the strength I’m carrying in my own body. Not to mention that you feel less tired when you exercise more, and you sleep a lot better, too!