If you're living with diabetes and interested in taking on a new challenge to help you get fit and energized, then say hello to a brand new initiative called the Fit with Diabetes Challenge!
This is a unique six-week educational program starting Sept. 4, created by D-peep Christel Oerum, a longtime type 1 diagnosed in 1997, who's an LA-based personal trainer, fitness bikini champion, diabetes advocate and blogger at TheFitBlog.com (which she founded with her husband Tobias). You may remember her guest post here back May on How to Rock the Gym While Keeping Your Diabetes In Control.
Some big-name, well-respected experts on diabetes and exercise -- all living with T1 themselves -- are involved, including: Dr. Sheri Colberg, who wrote The Diabetic Athlete’s Handbook; Daniele Hargenrader, who's known as The Diabetes Dominator; Gary Scheiner a CDE at Integrated Diabetes Services; Ginger Vieira, a weight lifter and personal life coach who works as chief editor at Diabetes Daily); and Cliff Scherb, a type 1 triathlete champion.
We asked Christel to tell us more about this initiative, and the response she's seeing so far:
DM) Christel, what's the story behind this program?
CO) I created TheFitBlog as a website dedicated to diabetes and fitness because I was missing a place online for guidance on how to safely and effectively exercise with diabetes.
Every week, I receive a lot of really good questions from my readers and the people I train about how to manage blood sugars when working out, what to eat for good nutrition and blood sugar control, as well as more emotional questions on how to get motivated or how to manage the fears of hypoglycemia. These reoccurring questions are what made me decide to create the Fit with Diabetes Challenge.
You call your new Challenge program 'the first of its kind' -- how so?
It’s the only place people living with diabetes can find a structured, interactive, and easy-to-access format for learning to exercise safely with diabetes. It’s not just another fitness program or another pushup challenge. This is tangible ready-to-use information tailored for people living with diabetes. In addition, the challenge is totally free to take!
How does the Challenge work?
The idea is to take people through all the different aspects of exercising with diabetes in an easy to follow, step-by-step fashion and give them the tools they need to be successful.
The challenge lasts for six weeks and consists of four things:
- Daily activities or “challenges” that take you through everything you need to do, step-by-step
- Articles covering the most important topics on diabetes management and fitness
- A full program of home workout videos you can use during the challenge
- An exclusive Facebook support group for challenge participants where you can ask questions, share your experiences and connect with other people going through the program
Each week will have a different theme:
- Week 1: How to set realistic diabetes and exercise goals and find your positive motivation
- Week 2: How to manage your blood sugar for cardio workouts
- Week 3: Nutrition, meal planning, and different approaches to carb counting
- Week 4: Resistance training and how it impacts you blood sugar
- Week 5: Finding your insulin and carb sensitivities
- Week 6: Putting it all together and making it a lifestyle
This is, of course, just a high-level overview and each week will cover several different subjects.
Oh and did I mention? It's free!
What's the response been like so far from the Diabetes Community?
The response has been amazing! More than 1,300 people have signed up for the challenge as of Sept. 1, and the challenge Facebook group is one of the most active, positive, and supporting communities I have ever seen. Even before the challenge starts on Sept. 4, people are connecting, asking and answering questions, and generally being excited about learning more about how to exercise with diabetes.
You can still sign up now and even after Sept. 4, but the cutoff is likely going to be a few days after that date.
What happens once this Challenge is complete, six weeks later?
Everyone who participated should have developed clear diabetes management and fitness goals, have the tools they need to reach their goals, and be well on their way to reaching them.
One of the main goals of the challenge is to take the things we learn about diabetes and exercise and turn it into a permanent lifestyle (this is the theme of the last week of the challenge). To help with that, I will keep the challenge Facebook group open as a community for everyone who participated so we can follow each other’s journeys, give support, and ask questions.
And of course, as soon as the challenge is over, I will start working on the next one. I will ask everyone who took part in this challenge for input on what they would like to see in the next challenge.
It’s definitely my plan to make these challenges an ongoing part of TheFitBlog.
Sounds like a great program, Christel!
We're always up for anything that helps motivate people to get more fit. We look forward to seeing how the Fit with Diabetes Challenge materializes and moves forward in the D-Community!
In the immortalized words of Barney from How I Met Your Mother: