Having lived most of my life with type 1 diabetes, my passion for exercise has been an important part of what keeps me healthy and happy.
For a few months now, I’ve been working remotely with Fitness Curators, a comprehensive wellness concierge service. The company is run by Larry & Dena Twohig, who design effective workout programs for their private clients. My personal trainer, Dena, created a custom program designed especially for my body, needs, and goals (and my schedule!) She developed a specialized program for me with my diabetes in mind, and I follow along at home. I’ve been using their system every single day (well, at least 6 days a week) and I love it!
It’s not always easy, however, to work up a sweat when you have to watch every fluctuation in your blood sugar! It’s not always easy for those around me, either, which is why I asked my friend and personal trainer, Dena, to do a guest post with me and share some other perspectives. As a mother of a Type 1 Diabetic herself, she knows as well as I do about the unique challenges (and rewards) or working with diabetes, and as an elite trainer, she understands just how important it is to have an exercise program you love that helps you enjoy the best life you can!
When designing fitness programs, does the client having diabetes affect the program design at all?
Dena: When designing fitness programs for clients with diabetes, it is always recommended that the client is cleared to work out by their doctor. I always recommend testing blood sugar before you start exercising to make sure it is at the normal range recommended by the client’s doctor. Staying fit and active for clients with diabetes is crucial because it helps control their diabetes and prevent long term complications.
Exercise can make it easier for a client to manage their blood sugar level and increase their insulin sensitivity; this is referred to as not needing as much insulin after exercise to process carbohydrates.
What are the challenges in working with a diabetic client?
Dena: One of the challenges in working with diabetic clients is ensuring that their blood sugar levels remain at a normal level before and throughout the workout. Again, I would recommend having a client test their blood sugar before the start of their work out. For example, if a client were to get a low blood sugar level reading of 70, then they would want to have a snack of about 20 grams of carbohydrates to elevate the blood sugar level before beginning to exercise.
Retinopathy is another challenge in working with diabetic clients. This is when high blood sugar levels can cause damage to the blood vessels and nerves of the retina, therefore decreasing vision.
Neuropathy is another challenge for clients with diabetes. This is also caused by having consistent high blood sugar levels. Neuropathy is known as nerve pain and usually starts out tingling or numbness in the feet, legs, hands and arms. Neuropathy can improve over time by controlling blood sugar levels through, diet and exercise.
I understand one of your children also has diabetes — what has that been like as a parent?
Dena: My son has Type 1 diabetes and was diagnosed at the age of 9 years old. Initially my husband and I were sad and angry when we heard the news but now we are learning how to help our son live the best life he can with the disease. We feel that if you are one step ahead of the disease then you can lead a healthy and normal lifestyle.
What do you worry about, and do you find that child to have a different experience than others?
Dena: I always worry about my son having a low blood sugar level and me not being there to help him. I also feel it’s hard for him as a kid, now at the age of 11 and wanting to eat everything his friends eat, but we have to be mindful that too much junk food is not healthy for his blood sugar.
What was the inspiration behind designing programs remotely like the one I follow, rather than only seeing clients in person for training?
Dena: The Fitness Curators not only work with clients 1-on-1 but we also offer a remote training program. The remote program consists of us designing the program based on the client’s fitness needs and goals and then the client following it on their own. We offer follow up calls and attaching video links to assist with the interpretation of the program. The remote programming is attractive to clients who have busy schedules and are unable to meet with us. This is also offered at a lower price point than private training so it is attractive to clients who want a plan that is organized but may not be able to afford the 1-on-1 training.
What do you expect to see, and also what do you hope to see in the future of the fitness industry?
Dena: As the fitness industry is constantly changing, the Fitness Curators hope to see more of a shift away from SPP (Specialized Physical Preparedness) classes such as spinning and boxing. This type of training can lead to overuse injuries. We hope to see more of a shift towards GPP (General Physical Preparedness) classes which consists of cross training and is a more balanced and well rounded approach to fitness.
Can you tell us more about Fitness Curators?
Dena: Fitness Curators Inc. is a comprehensive wellness concierge service. We synchronize fitness goals with your lifestyle to design an engaging, safe and effective training program for your specific needs and body type. We conduct private and small group training in uptown and downtown boutique studios, outfitted with modern equipment and luxurious amenities.
We are serious professionals with expertise in proven strength and conditioning methods. We follow principles that are often diluted or omitted in most popular workout programs. Our method incorporates a variety of techniques, progressive milestones, and purposeful exercise selection. As you Build – Shape – Tone – Burn without plateau, the momentum motivates you to guaranteed results and satisfaction.
- Private and small group exercise, training and bodybuilding
- Customized program design
- Non-judgmental support
- Personal coaching
- Competitive pricing
- Healthy nutritional supplements
I’ve loved working with Fitness Curators Inc, and I’m excited to have found a personalized program created with my schedule, my goals, and my diabetes in mind!
You can learn more on the Fitness Curators website, reach Dena and Larry on facebook, follow along on Pictaram! Follow both Larry (@thefitnesscurator) and Dena (@fitmomofnyc) on Instagram!