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From El Paso, Texas, USA:

I have Type 1 diabetes. I want to compete in bodybuilding. I am 38 years old. Can I gain muscle by cutting back on my cardio? How aggressive can I get and will extra calories (lean calories) hurt me?


Competitive body builders are judged according to:

  1. muscle hypertrophy
  2. definition
  3. symmetry
Posing ability is also important.

A typical body building routine involves performing several exercises exercising muscle groups to maximize fiber recruitment and stress the muscle from a number of angles. Four to 6 sets of 8 to 12 RM are performed with very short rest periods approximately 15-34 seconds between sets. It has been observed that the muscle fiber size of some body builders are the same as those individuals of average size and muscle mass. While strength training causes muscle hypertrophy and possible hyperplasia, it doesn't appear to cause fiber type conversion. You gain muscle by working or overloading the muscle.

I do not suggest that you give up the aerobic exercise. Aerobic exercise will help build and maintain muscle mass. Aerobic or cardiovascular exercise will enhance blood glucose control. You really should sit down with your diabetes team (including a dietitian) and discuss what your goals are. From there keep a log of your cardiovascular and weight training workout. This will enable you to see patterns in your diabetes management. Be sure to include what you have eaten, when you have last eaten, when and where you last injected yourself with insulin and the amount of insulin you injected as well as the type, intensity and duration of your exercise bout. This log will enable you to make the correct changes needed to keep you in good control of your diabetes. Lastly, know the signs of hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia and how to treat them.

Good luck in your venture.


Original posting 3 Jul 2000
Posted to Exercise and Sports


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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:09:12
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