Almost a month ago now, I wrote that I was a little disappointed in my first 90 days with P90x as it relates to my A1C. I definitely saw results in my weight, body fat loss and all around health. However, this is only half the battle, right? Not only was my goal to lose some pounds and look and feel better, but I wanted to improve my A1C. You know, the dream to hover in the 6′s.
With P90x or Insanity, they are both intense workouts that push you to the limit and burn calories. Don’t believe me? Check out youtube or search the internet for either and you will find a massive amount of videos showing great results and people soaked in sweat. When I would get ready to do a workout I would always check my sugar before starting. My optimal blood sugar was around 180 if I was going to do a more cardio intense workout. Now from one of my last posts, that 180 would translate to around a 7.4 A1C. If my goal is to get into the 6′s then bringing my sugar up to 180 isn’t helping.
I posted the last 10 years of my A1C numbers in a recent newsletter article and got some great feedback. Most recently, I dropped my A1C by .2%. The frustrating part is that I literally busted my ass for nearly 3 months of working out around an hour each night. Sometimes I would be working out doing P90x at 11:30 at night. I could have done a bit better on my diet, but I was fairly strict. So to only drop my A1c by .2% with all that effort was definitely discouraging. Again, if your goal is to lose weight/body fat and gain muscle, then the programs are excellent. If your goal is to lower your A1C, maybe these workouts aren’t for you or at least the way I approached it.
Exercise Lower A1C
We all know exercise is good for us in terms of our overall health in so many ways. But killing ourselves to drop 10 lbs in 30 days will not help your A1C, I almost guarantee it. In order to burn enough calories, you have to simply run high on blood sugars too often, which I don’t recommend. A regular routine of moderate exercise is probably much better for staying healthy and maintaining a good average blood sugar or A1C.
Instead of me starting my exercise a little high, I think I would have done much better to add carbs during my workout. I could have done this by adding some regular sports drink, like Gatorade instead of drinking water. This way the sugar from the drink would help me maintain a level blood sugar instead of dropping low or starting too high. Remember, a smooth line (in range) is always optimal when it comes to diabetes. That line would have little dispersion unlike the image above and would look more like a line. So just because you may be hitting the gym hard, don’t expect to see a dramatic drop in your A1C just because you’re putting in the time and burning calories. Show me an extremely fit person with washboard abs and I could show you an A1C in the 9′s. So just because someone is in shape doesn’t necessarily mean their diabetes is in excellent control.
Don’t let this article discourage you from working out, trying an extreme workout or exercising in any way. The benefits of regular exercise are just too important. I feel so much better about myself after working out and while maintaining a regular workout schedule. When I feel better and have more energy, I tend to eat less garbage, sleep better and be less irritable.