The Big Blue Test = Diabetic Synergy

Big Blue TestMy favorite diabetes non-profit is the Diabetes Hands Foundation (DHF).  There are many other amazing diabetes non-profits out there, but I especially like DHF because of their Big Blue Test campaign.  The Big Blue Test encourages diabetics to test their blood sugar, get active, and then test again, so they can learn how exercise improves their diabetes and their blood sugar.  After doing this, you go to the http://www.bigbluetest.org/ website to record your results, and for every test that’s recorded, corporate sponsors will donate $5 per test to help educate, and provide life-saving diabetes supplies and services to people in need.  So in helping yourself, you’re helping others.  What an amazing brainchild!

Big Blue TestI only discovered the Big Blue Test last year around this time, but ever since then I’ve been a very outspoken advocate of it.  With being a health coach, and a type 1 diabetic, I believe the Big Blue Test executes perfect synergy in both encouraging us to exercise, and in educating us on the benefits, not to mention helping other diabetic brothers and sisters while we do it.  When you participate in this test, you’re also helping by providing valuable research data (anonymously).  Last summer at the American Diabetes Association’s 73rd Annual Scientific Sessions, this data was presented as a study poster showing the results of the compiled data, an average 20% drop in blood sugar.  I was lucky enough to have been invited to the sessions, and got to see the poster first hand.  I even got to talk to scientists and doctors about the Big Blue Test!  Oh, and Big Blue Test poster even won a Big Blue Ribbon.

How will you get active?  What’s your favorite form of exercise?  Are you a runner or walker, a biker, a gym rat, a sports athlete?  Personally, I like playing disc golf, or doing Beachbody workouts.  My favorite workouts are Les Mills Pump or Body Beast.  I just like the weight lifting aspect of these workouts.  If you’re already an active diabetic, I hope that you’ll take the test, and record your results, and if you’re not active yet, I hope you become active soon so you can take the Big Blue Test too.

 DO THE BIG BLUE TEST EVERY DAY
FROM OCT 15 – NOV 14TH (WORLD DIABETES DAY)

Happy Blue Friday . . . the 13th!

Blue FridayI started Blue Friday the 13th by working on a project to organize a local adult type 1 community.  Then I got all decked out in blazing blue for blue friday the 13th.  Even my underwear was blue!  *grin*  Do you participate in #bluefriday?  If not, it’s not to late! Click on the hashtag to learn more about it.  I also decided to participate in the #bigbluetest as well today, so I took my blazing blue self to the disc golf course on this ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL DAY and played the front 9 at Eastern Park Disc Golf Course.  I set some records for drives, and I made par twice.  Mostly I bogey everything normally.  I kinda suck, but I don’t care.  I just love being on the course in the beautiful weather, and it’s easy light exercise.

Vietnamese Pho'So I said I wanted to do the Big Blue Test, but on the way the course, as I’m toolin’ down the street, I see a flag banner on the side of the road that says “Pho’ Pho’ Pho'”, then one that says “Saigon Bistro”.  I slam on the breaks and turn into the parking lot.  Do you know what pho’ is?  It’s an amazing Vietnamese soup, that I was introduced to years ago by my friend Sharon.  I haven’t had it in years, because I live in Iowa, where I there’s very little culture.  I used to live in Chicagoland where it was available pretty much in any suburb.  So I went inside and had a heavenly bowl of pho’.  Downside, is that pho’ is full of noodles, and the owners of the restaurant gifted me with a free Vietnamese desert, and it would be disrespectful in their eyes if I refused it, so I kinda screwed up my blood sugar before going to disc golf.  It was so worth it though!

So next I threw my round of disc golf in my blazing Blue Friday outfit, helped an autistic guy find his disc in a really nasty weed patch, listened to Queensryche Empire in my earbuds while I played, and threw my longest drive ever.  Now I’m writing this blog, I’m jammin’ to my metal Pandora channel, and next I’ll be making my first batch of Dragon Fire Chili of the season, for a family gathering tomorrow.  I think there to many comma’s in that paragraph?  What do you think?

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I don’t know about you, but I’ve had a pretty great Blue Friday the 13th.  I hope yours has gone as well as mine.  Ok, gotta go.  Gotta go headbang, and dance like nobody’s watching in my living room.  Later!

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,
find me on my social networks in the right hand column.
I’d love to hear from you, and hear your story: 
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Now for my first #bigbluetest results:

    

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