Insulin Is The Secret To Weight Loss

InsulinIn this article I’ll explain why insulin is the secret to weight loss, and how using a post workout recovery shake will greatly improve your weight loss results. This applies to type 0’s, type-1’s, type-2’s, and type-3’s.  Translation = It applies to everyone, and has nothing to do with diabetes.

What makes you gain weight, . . . is insulin.  (Don’t even get me started about a low fat diet to lose weight.  What an evil joke!)  Without insulin, fat cannot be stored, and muscle cannot be built.  Insulin is anabolic, meaning it’s a growth hormone.  Insulin has a sister hormone called glucagon.  Glucagon is catabolic, meaning it’s a release hormone.  Insulin stores fat, glucagon releases it.  Only 1 can exist in the blood stream at a time.  If insulin is present, glucagon is not.  Both hormones do much more that store and release fat, but for now, we’ll focus on that.

Everybody has heard of aerobic exercise, but do you know what it means?  It means “with oxygen”.  It’s when you exercise, but you’re not out of breath.  Your muscles have ample oxygen.  To burn fat, your body must have oxygen.  If you’re workout leaves you out of breath, and your muscles do not have oxygen, then you burn glycogen from within the muscle cells, instead of fat.  This is called anaerobic exercise.  It means “without oxygen”.  So, to translate, walking, running, or eliptical, will burn fat.  Programs like Les Mills Combat, Insanity, P90X, or any form of strength training or High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), will burn glycogen, leaving the gas tank in the muscle empty.  Now it’s not exactly that clear and simple, but with aerobic you’ll burn more fat than glycogen, and with anaerobic you’ll burn more glycogen than fat.  Plus there’s no defined percentage of how much of each is burned, but in general, this is how it works.

Anaerobic exercise produces the best results for weight loss.  So that means exercise that leaves you out of breath.  Here’s why.  Anaerobic exercise causes a metabolic change in your body that reduces your need for insulin for hours.  Aerobic exercise does not do this.  When insulin isn’t present, glucagon is.  Glucagon is what releases fat, so it can be used as fuel.

Results and RecoveryNow to tie it all together, and show you the secret to using insulin for weight loss.  If you wanna burn the most fat DURING your workout, then make sure your blood stream is full of glucagon when you start.  How do you do this?  Don’t eat carbs for at least 3 hours before your workout.  No carbs = no insulin.  You may run out of energy, but you’ll be burning fat like crazy.  Just keep pushing.  T H E N . . . after your workout, when you don’t need as much insulin to absorb carbs (remember, less insulin is good for fat loss), suck down a post workout recovery shake that includes both fast acting carbs and protein.  You want it to be in liquid form so it will digest faster.  The faster you consume it, the better.  General consensus is within 45 minutes of finishing your workout.  The carbs produce an insulin spike, but one that’s not as big because you did an anaerobic workout.  The insulin spike shuttles the carbs and the protein into the muscle cells.  The carbs fill up the empty gas tank, and in this state, they even make the gas tank grow, so it can hold more glycogen.  The protein is used to rebuild muscle, and the insulin helps get into the muscle faster.  This is one reason that having more muscle means you store less fat.  If you can store more in muscle, you won’t store as much in fat.  You fed your hungry muscles with less insulin, and your muscles continue to need less insulin for hours.  You have more glucagon in your body, so you’re burning fat longer throughout the day, or while you sleep depending on when you workout.

On they recommend a recovery shake that has a carb to protein ratio of 2/1, however, if you’re just trying to lose weight, and not sculpt a physique, a ratio of 4/1 would be fine.  The shake I drink mixes 2 products.  Beachbody’s P90X Results and Recovery Formula, with 40g dextrose and 10g protein, and their Body Beast Hardcore Base Shake with 10g dextrose and 18g protein.  After a workout, it’s like drinking candy crack juice.  It’s makes me feel like a bad diabetic.

Protein Base ShakeNow, if you’re a type 1 diabetic reading this, it’s not quite as easy for us, for obvious reasons.  Here are some tips for type 1 diabetics.  We can still “try” to do the no carbs for 3 hours before a workout to limit insulin in the blood stream, as long as we don’t go hypoglycemic.  When “I” do this, my blood sugar is usually within range of 80 – 120 before sweatabetes.  My workout causes a hypo, so I actually sip my shake throughout my workout, without insulin, and then bolus after my workout.  This prevents my hypo during the workout.  Anyway, this little trick works for me.  After the workout, you may have to reduce how much bolus you use for your shake, compared to normal.  I know I do.  You may also need to reduce your basal for hours after your workout.  I have different basal profiles in my pump.  After my workout I switch it, and when I wake up, I switch it back.  As type 1’s we have to experiment to see what works.

So . . . . . clear as mud?  Well, I hope it’s clearer than mud at least.  If you need to, bookmark this page, so you can come back and re-read it.  So you can Google more info about what I said.  If you’d like to try the products I use, just click the links above.  You’ll help me out if you do.  Thanks!


********** Now ya know, and knowing is half the battle.  Go Joe!!! **********

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I Support The Big Blue Test

Big Blue TestI’ve been seeing posts on Twitter and Instagram with hashtags (#) for the Big Blue Test (#bigbluetest) ever since I started using Twitter at the beginning of the year.  The posts never really describe what it is, and I didn’t get curious enough to click on it until now.  I love the goal, and the idea of the Big Blue Test.  What’s the Big Blue Test?  It’s something designed to motivate people to get active, and improve their diabetes, while teaching them responsible habits about diabetes and exercise.  Watch the video below to see exactly what the Big Blue Test is trying to accomplish.

So you can see that the Big Blue Test is:

  1. Raising funds for people with diabetes who otherwise wouldn’t receive proper care.
  2. Teaching diabetics about the importance of exercise in your treatment plan.
  3. Teaching diabetics the importance of testing both before and after exercise.
  4. Motivating diabetics to get active, while building community and support around it.
  5. Raising awareness for both type 1, and type 2 diabetes.
  6. Promoting World Diabetes Day, which is November 14th.

What the video doesn’t have time to explain is exactly “why” your blood sugar drops after exercise, and how it helps control your diabetes.  It does this same thing for everyone, not just diabetics.  I’ll try to explain this for you now, from the perspective of a diabetic first, and then explain why it helps a non-diabetic.

First, I need to explain a little science.  Don’t worry, it won’t hurt.  I promise.  You see, when you exercise, depending on what kind of exercise you do, you’ll burn either glucose or fatty acids.  Aerobic exercise (running, biking, cardio) burns mostly fatty acids, because it provides the body with oxygen, a necessary component for burning fat.  Anaerobic exercise (weight lifting, HIIT training), burns mostly glucose, because there’s little oxygen available.

Now for insulin’s role here.  More science, I’m sorry.  I just a geek at heart I guess.  So insulin is an anabolic hormone, which means it’s kinda like a carpenter, because it builds things.  Muscle, fat, cholesterol, and much more.  There are also catabolic hormones like glucagon that are like demolition experts, who’s job is to burn fat.   They don’t co-exist well.  If insulin is present, glucagon won’t be, and vise versa.  Remember this for later.

When you eat carbs, they’re turned into fuel (glucose) and then insulin is like a key to the muscle cell so that fuel can get inside, providing the muscle what it needs to operate and grow.  Type 1 diabetics have no insulin, so we inject it.  Type 2 diabetics have worn out their natural insulin pump, or plugged up that key hole in the muscle cell from overuse, and they’re insulin is low, or doesn’t work very well anymore.  Non diabetics have a perfectly functioning checks and balances system for insulin, that keeps them supplied with just the right amount of insulin for what they eat.

I know, I know.  What does all this have to do with the Big Blue Test?  Here’s the secret behind the importance of the Big Blue Test.  When you exercise strenuously (remember what I said about anaerobic exercise), your body doesn’t need insulin to get glucose into the muscle cell.  This . . . is . . .  huge.  For EVERYONE.  Here’s why.

You do some HIIT training like Insanity or maybe some strenuous weight lifting, leaving you out of breath.  You do this for 20 – 40 or so minutes.  After your workout, diabetic or not, your blood sugar’s gonna drop . . . . . and it can keep dropping for up to 8 hours.  (A great time for P90X Results and Recovery formula with 40 grams of dextrose)  Your need for insulin is reduced because that strenuous exercise can allow your muscles to utilize glucose without insulin for up to 8 hours after your workout.  Sounds good right?  But why?  Because reduced insulin for up to 8 hours means you have improved insulin resistance (type 2 diabetics might reverse their diabetes), you burn more fat because insulin is low (remember what I told you about glucagon), you can’t store fat because insulin is required to store it (remember what I said about insulin), less daily insulin means less money spent on diabetic supplies, and the almighty blood sugar will be lower leading to a better A1C score.  Reducing insulin levels in your blood stream improves your health in to many ways to list in this article.

How do you optimize this for fitness and diabetes?  Don’t eat carbs for 3 hours before your workout, diabetic or not.  That leaves low insulin amounts in your blood stream.  If you’re type 1, of course you may not have a choice sometimes if you go low in that 3 hour window.  Such is life.  Anyway, you’ll burn fat like crazy during your workout with low insulin levels.  After your workout, take a good protein recovery shake with a 2/1 ratio of carbs/protein for serious athletes, or 4/1 for everyone else.  This is the only time of day a diabetic will want to eat high glycemic carbs.  Everybody will want that in your blood stream ASAP.  This will help a diabetic recover from the ensuing low blood sugar, and it just plain makes everyone heal and feel better.  It’s also important for non-diabetics to do this.  This will help in your weight loss results, but the reason why is another whole blog article.

So the Big Blue Test is doing a great deal more for you than they are able to tell you in a short 1 minute video.  I hope this article has helped you understand what’s going on behind the scenes in the Big Blue Test.

If you have any questions about what I’ve explained here,
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I’d love to hear from you, and hear your story: 

Now for my first #bigbluetest results:


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