Team Novo Nordisk athletes train and race like any other athlete, but living and racing with diabetes requires a different approach.
Here’s how we do it.
HOW WE MANAGE DIABETES (PART 1)
We are Team Novo Nordisk. We live with diabetes.
Team Novo Nordisk is a global all-diabetes sports team of cyclists, triathletes and runners, spearheaded by the world’s first all-diabetes professional cycling team.
We train and race like any other athlete, but living and racing with diabetes requires a different approach. Here’s how do it.
What is your sport and when did you start competing?
Pro rider Joe Eldridge: My sport is cycling. I first got into cycling as a way to manage my diabetes and that led me to racing.
Women’s Team rider Morgan Brown: My sport is cycling. I first started competing when I was 18 years old.
Were you diagnosed before or after you became a competitive athlete?
Women’s Team rider Morgan Brown: I was diagnosed with diabetes before I became a competitive athlete.
Pro rider Joe Eldridge: I was always competitive, and when I was diagnosed with diabetes I had to figure out how I could be competitive again.
Women’s Team rider Morgan Brown: When I first started my sport, the challenges I faced were: I had poor management of my diabetes, so I was really inconsistent. And for me, that’s what made me start managing my diabetes better- my inconsistency on the bike. I’d have great days on the bike and really bad days on the bike, and it always related to my blood sugar not being where it needed to be.
Pro rider Joe Eldridge: I learned that I needed to check my blood sugar, and I always needed to have food with, in case I needed it, in case my blood sugar was too low, I’d have to eat something. Or I’d have to take insulin if my blood sugar wasn’t where it needed to be.
Women’s Team rider Morgan Brown: The way I dealt with these challenges was, at first it really upset me and made me frustrated, but then it eventually turned into what motivated me, because I knew managing my diabetes was something I could do. And that didn’t have to be the reason why I didn’t get to the level I wanted to get to on the bike.
When do you check your blood glucose levels?
Pro rider Joe Eldridge: When training, I check my blood glucose level before, during and after training.
Women’s Team rider Morgan Brown: I test my blood glucose levels before, during and after exercise.
Triathlon Team member Eric Tozer: When exercising, I test my blood glucose levels before, during and after.
Women’s Team rider Morgan Brown: The question is, when do I not test my blood glucose levels? I check all the time.
What do you eat when training? When and how much?
Triathlon Team member Eric Tozer: So for an hour swim session, I’ll have a couple drinks- a couple bottles. I’ll have a sports drink in there and then a water. One, because hydration is crucial for everybody, and then I’ll have the sports drink, because as I burn sugar throughout that hour it will help replenish and keep my blood glucose at optimal level.
When I’m out for a long run, for example, I’ll throw in a gel or two- it’s a little bit easier to have food on the run than it is in the pool- but then I’ll also have water and a sports drink with me as well.
Pro rider Joe Eldridge: When training I take my nutrition very seriously. I’m eating based on how my calories I’m burning every hour, what my heart rate is, the intensity- am I going up mountains, am I going up flat roads.
All of them are different, and each training ride has a different strategy as far as what I’m going to eat that day.
Women’s Team rider Morgan Brown: During training, I will break up an energy bar into quarters and eat one every 30 minutes, and I also make sure to stay hydrated. For me, hydration is one of the most important parts in my training.
Triathlon Team member Eric Tozer: I’ll sip on the sports drink and the water throughout my run, but then mix in every 45 minutes to an hour, that gel or that energy bar.
What usually happens to your blood glucose levels when training?
Triathlon Team member Eric Tozer: Sometimes they go up, sometimes they go down. Regardless, I make sure I check before, during and after, so I have a good idea of where exactly they are.
Women’s Team rider Morgan Brown: During training, my glucose levels sometimes go high, sometimes they go low, but no matter what I check a lot.
Pro rider Joe Eldridge: When I’m training, my glucose levels can up, they can go down, but that’s why I check and I check often.
What changes do you make when it is very hot or very cold outside?
Women’s Team rider Morgan Brown: During training, the only thing that affects me weather-wise is if it’s really hot outside. For me, I just have to really focus on hydration.
Pro rider Joe Eldridge: The weather does affect my diabetes management. In the summertime I find it more difficult. The heat and the dehydration really changes my diabetes management. I have to watch it must closer, and sometimes I might require some insulin during training, sometimes I might require less insulin. When it’s hot out, that’s when I’ve got to stay on top of it the most.
Triathlon Team member Eric Tozer: Having proper hydration is crucial. Without that diabetes management can b difficult- making sure my salt intake is spot-on as well to avoid cramping and anything that could have a negative impact.
What is your recovery plan?
Pro rider Joe Eldridge: After training, my recovery process has to start immediately. The first thing I do is I check my blood sugar. And then I make an adjustment based on what it is.
I’ll take my insulin and then it’s time to eat some food to start that recovery and get the sugars and carbohydrates back into my body. So I’ll eat anywhere from 60 to 100g of carbs within 30 minutes of finishing exercise, and also I take in between 25 and 40g of protein at that time also.
Women’s Team rider Morgan Brown: After a long training my recovery process is to make sure I have a good cool down and a recovery drink, and then I’ll spend time making a well-rounded meal that’s healthy and got plenty of carbohydrates. And after that I’ll stretch.
Everyone’s diabetes is different, so if you do have diabetes work with your health care professional to make sure you enjoy your sport safely.
Team Novo Nordisk mission is to inspire, educate and empower people affected by diabetes. We ride. We run. We swim. We race to change diabetes. We are Team Novo Nordisk.
This video is solely for educational / informational /inspirational purposes and is not intended as medical advice. It is not a substitute for the advice of a health care professional. If you have diabetes or suspect having any health problems, you should consult a qualified health care professional.