Why Your Sugars Are Rising During Exercise & What To Do About It

Have you ever wondered why your glucose levels rise when you exercise? In this article I’m going to share a few reasons why that could be happening, what you can do about it, and how you can use this information to create your very own transformation. 

High blood sugar or hyperglycemia is one of the most obstructive factors in optimizing YOUR wellbeing, & building muscle with diabetes. If you want to know more about muscle gain or fat loss with diabetes, you’ve come to the right place!

As a type 1 diabetic for 3 decades myself, and a strength coach for 15 of those years, I think we as T1D’s can all agree that we’ve all had a taste of those frustrating and surprising glucose spikes after exercising at some point. Today, I’m talking from a type 1 fitness trainers perspective specific to those exercising with type 1 diabetes.  Other than the points I’ll be speaking about today, our medication, activity levels, muscle mass, training frequency, recovery, and other ailments are also contributors to why your sugars are spiking when exercising


Because insulin levels fail to rise for the increased production of glucose-raising hormones in someone with diabetes, high-intensity exercise has the potential to raise blood glucose levels because of the stress it puts on the body. 

It’s known that diabetics who engage in powerlifting, Crossfit, strong man, and bodybuilding as their chosen disciplines or hobbies, produce more glucose-raising hormones, which increases glucose production in the liver, making it difficult to get the glucose out of our bloodstream. Our body is designed to use glucose for energy, provide glucose when energy is needy is needed and store energy when needed. As diabetics, we often have to manually take care of and adjust a lot of these factors. 

So here’s what you can do:

If hyperglycemia develops, closely monitor your blood glucose and correct with the right amount of insulin needed. This is where understanding your own specific insulin correction factors come into play. If we don’t correct the high blood glucose levels it causes us to lose muscle mass, increases the chance of diabetic complications and affects our decreased daily energy levels & performance.


Mountain climbing, tennis, basketball, boxing, and jiu-jitsu are examples of very difficult aerobic exercises that incorporate occasional bouts of anaerobic activity.

Elevations in glucose-raising hormones, including the activities ive just mentioned, cause blood glucose levels to rise. Without the proper dose of insulin, we as diabetics aren’t able to keep glucose levels in range.

So here’s what you can do:

It’s all about testing the activities you enjoy and making notes of what each activity does to your diabetes specifically. From here, you would look to see the ranges the activity pushes your levels too. Once you notice a trend (which generally takes an average of 3 events or tests),  then you can start to anticipate outcomes before they happen instead of reacting to them when they happen.


Stress, be it physical, emotional or mental, has the tendency to raise blood glucose levels in people with diabetes. 

Let me give you a small example of the outcome stress can have on us and our sugar levels. We all know that sleep is the time when we recover from the day we’ve had. If we don’t get enough sleep, our body doesn’t recover. 

As a type 1 diabetic, you’ll immediately notice that on days you get less than 5 hours of sleep, you’ll need up to 20% more insulin the next day to maintain stable levels. This is a small example of how the lack of recovery can have negative impacts on us. 

The best way to find out if and how stress is affecting you and your diabetes, it helps to make a note of your current stress levels in relation to your glucose levels. This can be done by using a scoring system as simple as 1-10.  When you’re feeling stressed, use this scoring system to measure and note HOW stressed you are. 1 being very mild and 10 being a panic attack. 

When enough data is presented you’ll be able to visibly see which level of stress your sugars start to rise at and if or when mental, physical and emotional stress is taking its toll on your diabetes. 

You’ll get a good indication of how sensitive you are to stress if you keep linking high-stress scores with blood glucose levels that are higher than they should be, and can start to focus on stress recovery instead of more and more medication. This is all assuming your background insulin is dosed correctly and your bolus insulin for the food you eat.

It is very common for diabetic bodybuilders, powerlifters, and competitive athletes to be concerned about this. Competition stress can raise blood glucose levels to the point that performance and appearance (in bodybuilding) are harmed. As a diabetic who used to compete for a living in fitness competitions, I can say first-hand how stress and even excitement affects our sugars.

Battling hyperglycemia is a daily task when we exercise under high-stress situations. 

Here’s what you can do:

 It’s crucial to consider how you react to stress. Because most of the tension you face is caused by self-inflicted daily habits or lack of habits, so learning to process stress rather than react to stress is a useful skill to have.

Exercise is stress, being in danger is stress, losing something or someone you care about is stress, lack of sleep leads to stress etc. 

Whether you’re being chased by a shark or perhaps you thought you lost your wedding ring, stress all has the same outcome on us as diabetics and needs to be managed proactively 

On any given day, if you put too much stress on yourself and dont make a point to match it with recovery, you put yourself at a high risk of injury ( mental injury, physical injury or emotional injury) as well as illness and something we all know very well – diabetic burnout. 

Stress isn’t something I try and avoid as it’s a part of life. As far as exercise goes – it’s the point, so personally, my golden rule is to work hard and recover harder. 


Food and drink carbohydrate has the highest impact on blood glucose levels of all the macronutrients. All carbs are broken down into glucose, which is absorbed into the bloodstream and used as fuel or stored for later use *Fibre is a carb but is largely excluded from this as its ability to be absorbed are less than usual for a carb. 

Glucose is a vital source of energy for the body and the brain. To become a diabetic and to think that it means to never need carbs or glucose again is wildly incorrect. 

Diabetes is restoring a delicate balance that was once automatic. To favour any side is to break that delicate balance. 

The very definition of diabetes is the inability to process carbs. Lower carbohydrate intake is frequently recommended as a way to improve control – but restricting something only gives the illusion of control. 

While this dietary approach may be a valid way to improve blood glucose management in sedentary people, those who exercise on a daily basis will require more carbohydrate to sustain their training volume. 

Hyperglycemia is more likely with a higher carbohydrate diet, especially if insulin is reduced.

Here’s what you can do:

 Learn how to be diabetic and dose correctly. A diabetic that doesn’t know how to do the job their pancreas once had is where all the danger comes into play. 

Carbs eaten by a diabetic who understands this, mean glucose levels remain stable. A diabetic who doesn’t understand this will be riding those rollercoasters every time carbs are eaten (or even thought about), and thus turning to zero carb diets as the “fix”. 

This quick-fix approach treats the symptom but not the cause. 

Diabetes is a language we didn’t ask to learn, I get it, but not trying to be fluent means we can never move from a surviving mentality and reality towards a thriving mentality and reality. 


Simply put, this is when there isn’t enough insulin in your bloodstream to allow glucose to transfer into the tissues that need it… As a result, your blood glucose levels stay high, putting you at risk for DKA (diabetic ketoacidosis), which intensifies high glucose levels. This happens if you forget to take your insulin, are highly stressed, it can happen when you have a glucose dump from your liver or eat too much glucose (carbs) without the correct dose of insulin. 

Here’s what you can do:

Get really good at becoming a master where your medication is concerned. Hyperinsulinemia is overcome by the guidance of your health professional together with the correct dose of your specific diabetic medications. 


For a diabetic – when insulin is not present, the glucose levels rise! A non-diabetics body (or pancreas) will secrete insulin all day long, almost every few minutes. This goes to reason, if your primary source of insulin has been disconnected it means only one thing: High sugar levels in the bloodstream. 

Here’s what you can do:

 Always check your pump tube, your infusion set for kinks and be mindful of activities that could cause your pump it to disconnect.


If you’re a typical T1D, it’s not uncommon to keep the same needle on the pen and to change it once in a blue moon. For the record, needles should ideally be changed for every injection. Sometimes they come out of the box blocked or, they become blunt and blocked after use and if you have a blocked needle or a malfunctioning insulin pen you won’t be able to give yourself your insulin. 

Here’s what you can do:

Test your pen before use by pressing the plunger and looking for a drop or by squirting out a unit or 2. 

Always carry spare needles in your diabetic go-bag. Before I started using a pump – I used MDI (multiple daily injections) for 24 years. trust me, it’s not good when you need insulin and you can’t give it.  


Insulin is a protein dissolved in water. Like any other protein, it can spoil. Keeping it cold helps to keep it from spoiling. When temperatures go to high or too low this can cause bacteria to grow in it and will break down the protein. The insulin won’t poison you or make you sick. It just won’t work very well – if at all. 

Here’s what you can do:

Keep your insulin in a cool dry place. The standard recommendation from all the insulin manufacturers is that a vial of insulin you are using can be kept at room temperature for up to 28 days. Room temperature is defined as between 59 degrees and 80 degrees Fahrenheit (15-26 degrees Celcius). 

Exercise and diabetes can be a bit confusing at first – I know! 

As a lifelong diabetic and ex competitive athlete, I can say first-hand how difficult it can be. Being well informed is the first hurdle, and the second is to be able to apply the information so you can successfully enjoy the transformation. 

That’s what I do for T1D’s all over the globe. Diabetic Athletic helps you live, look, feel and perform better.  If you made it this far through the video, Im sure you’re going to make the most of the information and are clearly serious about progressing. Feel free to contact me anytime, and in the meantime, you can visit diabeticathletic.com and enjoy the exercise & diabetes web class where I’ll make sense of almost everything you need to succeed when exercising with diabetes.  

If you want to start your very own 30-Day muscle-building journey that I’ve made especially for type 1 diabetics, this is the link for you www.30daygainz.com, and if you’d like a FREE TRIAL for access to some amazing home workouts, training plans, insulin to carb calculators and so much more… just click HERE and go the to the FREE trial (free means free – as in 100% free forever!)

The Key To Lifelong Fat Loss

Written by:

Nicholas Caracandas, founder and head coach of Diabetic Athletic Lifestyle Accelerator


The key to lifelong fat loss lies with you and your ability to grasp the basics. This article is going to explain the single most important fact when it comes to diets.

Once you understand the difference between diets and methods you’ll be armed and ready to go ahead and make the best choices regarding the right diet or method for you. Just by including this lesson into your arsenal of tools with diabetes, you’ll be able to achieve fat loss and take it one step further than most people living with diabetes ever do.

People are so often misled by diets said to work better than others when in actual fact it’s all just marketing hype and gimmicks. At the end of the day, you get mislead and pay the price.

I’ve already explained the importance of choosing a diet that you can stick too and il be saying it many times over in this fat-loss video series. The reason for this is because I’ve lost count as to how many old clients of mine have moved countries, used cheaper trainers, gone on silly meal plan and diets and forgotten this very lesson only to come back where they started asking for help again.

If you want to stop starting over and over again – stay tuned, take note and finish all 8 videos in this series, and I can guarantee you a better chance at success. If you’d like something a little extra, click the link in the description and sign up to my FREE trial. You’ll get calorie calculators, protein calculators, insulin to carb ratio calculators, meal plans, guides and strategies as well as loads of training plans to use and enjoy, and all for free.

Now.. We’ve spoken about adherence and making sustainable choices.  This is honestly something so simple and so powerful in its ability to produce the desired effect. We stick with what we enjoy, and finding a nutritional strategy you enjoy, is more than half the battle.

I want to make sure you realise the importance of your choices as well as the fact that googling a diet is not going to get you the results you want regardless of how well packaged,  marketing & sold these diets are. Remember, most diets will work short term. That’s the truth. But at what cost.

Most of them will cause you to give up things you enjoy and as a buy product you will inevitably stop doing that diet. You get promised fast results I get that, but read between the lines – what you dont get told is that you’re giving up your lifestyle and are just another quick buck.

5% fat loss isn’t ever worth sacrificing 80% lifestyle and so, I want to simplify and help you understand what a diet actually is.

I want you to put your self at the beginning of a timeline. Just draw a line on a page put yourself on the left, and place something called “principles or methods” in the middle, and then your goals at the other end.

In order for you to get to your goal, you will need to apply certain principles. Depending on your goals the principles are going to be different. For muscle growth, it’s going to come down to stimulus. As in training stimulus. For fat loss it’s going to be Thermodynamics. Which is the law of In Versus out.

Yes that’s right, Calorie deficit you’ve heard it before and this course is going to teach you why to apply it, and how to apply it .

If you take any diet you have ever heard of, ever seen, even a diet you read about on an Instagram story or perhaps have a friend who told you about some magical new diet he or she has tried… Once broken down to its bones you’ll learn that each and every diet will obey the law of thermodynamics. Every single one!!

The rule that states calories coming in or eaten, must be less than the calories being burned via daily activity if you are to lose weight.

Any diet that has ever worked for anyone, long term and short term has done so by having them be in a caloric deficit.

In order for you to get to your goal, you will need to apply a method. If we list some diets and put them between you and your ultimate goal, they will get listed in a category called “METHODS”

For example:

Keto or ketogenic diets – Are just a method that obeys one principle – calorie deficit.

Keto is low carb, in fact, NO carb. On average your daily consumption is probably sitting at 40-60% carbs. Start keto, cut out 40% of your intake, and all of a sudden you’ve got a deficit.

Its sold as a new miracle diet however  It obtains fat loss through the principle of fewer calories being consumed versus calories you burn via daily activity.

The keto diet is marketed as a carb-free diet. You’ve deleted a food group .. ALL CARBS. It’s not a magic diet!  You’ve stopped eating a food that you most probably overeat on a daily basis.. Stop carbs and boom.. A calorie deficit is achieved… but for how long?

More about this in video 6.

Herbalife – Another popular way to get you to delete food from your life and achieve magic fat loss. Except it’s not magic. It’s a smart way to sell you a product or diet that creates a calorie deficit in order to lose weight – Although I dont like it, it obtains the same result through the same means – the principle remember.  Less food in = fat loss via a caloric deficit.

The main problem is that you’re consuming Shakes instead of food and that’s not sustainable. Therefore your fat loss (if any), cannot and will not be sustained.

Once the method ends, ao do the results.

Intermittent fasting – Different method –  People sing “hey i do Intermittent fasting, Im skipping breakfast and losing weight”. “This is the best diet in the world “…. You guessed it …Thermodynamics, Principle..

This method has you missing a portion of your day and without telling you its making you follow the one principle of fat loss… Calorie deficit.

By missing a portion of your day (let’s be blunt youre deleting a portion of your day and making sure you dont eat in that time frame ), which means you will get through the day having eaten less food.

Weight watchers, paleo diet, slimming world, detox’s, juice diets, LCHF.. You name it … they are all just methods that obey one simple principle. Even the vegan diets.. think about it… all of a sudden you can’t eat anything other than vegetables. You’ll eat more food, because the volume of vegetables is greater than the caloric amounts, and so you eat more food while consuming fewer calories. It’s not magic, it’s not that vegan diets are the key… it’s the fact you started maintaining that calorie deficit using a method.

Once you can understand this you will be able to choose a method that appeals to you in order to lose weight. A method to get you to your goal.

Since they are all in line with the same principle all you need to do is choose a method you will never have to stop doing. That is the key.

Choosing a method like the ketogenic diet (no carbs ever again), may benefit a diabetic from a sugar level perspective, but ask yourself this … can you sustain having no carbohydrates ever again?

No carbs are going to cause insulin resistance in any case, and as a type 1 diabetic, keto is not a good long term idea. Just ask your specialist before trolling the comments.

I am not here to say which method is better than the next. What I want you to learn is that different methods will work for different people. All methods work short term, and your own specific method will work for you long term as long as you obey that 1 principle of fat loss.

The bottom line here is:

Never start a diet that will one day come to an end.

If you’d like instant access to my FREE TRIAL of the Diabetic Athletic Lifestyle Accelerator Program, you can make use of the diabetic friendly training plans, nutrition plans, workouts, calorie calculators and insulin on boards calculators all designed to help you dominate your diabetes… simply click HERE now and enjoy!

Yours in Strength,

Nicholas Caracandas




Reversing Pre-Diabetes & Obesity

Written by:

Nicholas Caracandas, founder and head coach of Diabetic Athletic Lifestyle Accelerator


About 1,900 years ago, one of the most celebrated Greek physicians, described diabetes as “a melting down of the flesh and limbs into the urine“.



Diabetes is a group of metabolic diseases characterized by raised levels of glucose in the blood. It occurs when the body can’t produce enough insulin or simply can’t use the insulin it produces effectively. Insulin, which is a hormone manufactured in the pancreas which is an organ, assists with the transport of glucose from the bloodstream into the body’s cells for use as energy.

There are three main types of diabetes:

Type 1 Diabetes results from the pancreas failing to produce enough insulin. This type of diabetes is not really caused by poor lifestyle choices.   

Type 2 Diabetes is a condition of defective insulin signalling. This can often be a byproduct of poor lifestyle choices.   

Gestational Diabetes is a condition where women without previously diagnosed diabetes exhibit high blood glucose ..or  (blood sugar) levels during pregnancy, especially in the third trimester.

There are other types of diabetes like type 3(Alzheimer’s), lady 1.5 and diabetes that is caused by pancreatic disease, and a few more. 

 Obesity, Pre diabetics and type 1 diabetics are who I work with the most. 

When insulin isn’t produced or acts ineffectively, glucose remains circulating in the blood, leading to a condition known as hyperglycemia. Long-term hyperglycemia can result in the dysfunction and failure of various organs and systems, including the eyes, kidneys, nerves, heart and blood vessels.

Treatment for diabetes aims to keep blood glucose levels as close to normal as possible to reduce the risk of developing complications. Treatments vary depending on the type of diabetes and Lifestyle modification in conjunction with medications like insulin are often needed – and is the very reason I came up with the Diabetic Athletic triangle of control. The focus should be on Training and nutrition together with medication. 


To reverse prediabetes, you’ll first need to realise and come to peace with the fact that it needs to be done. It is a matter of a life and death.

If you’re dealing with obesity or pre-diabetes it is no less dangerous than any other life-threatening disease and Knowing your opponent is half the battle.

Obesity can be reversed, so can pre-diabetes. And only you can make the change so once you realise you need to save your own life, so you can be the best possible version of of yourself for those you love most, at least you have the tools right here to do so.

Also, take it from me – diabetes isn’t fun and games. I don’t mind it at all if I’m being honest, but I dedicate more time to my well being and I consider myself very lucky to have built a life that allowed me to study nd work in the strength, health and wellness profession.

As a general rule of thumb losing 10kg or 22lbs, is the start you need to reverse obesity and pre diabetes. It’s less about the 10kg oe 22lbs, and more about the lifestyle and habits that will be learned for that weight to be lost.

You see, losing this weight is no easy task and adopting good habits and achieving this goal, you’ll learn about what is needed to carry on losing fat % and regaining a positive, winning mindset, and a body that starts working for you, again.

These habits that are built while trying to ensure weight loss, fat loss and lean muscle gain, along with the proper knowledge and education about how to lose the weight and keep it off forever are what will inevitably set you up for greater fat loss and a healthier, happier, longer and more confident life. A life without diabetes, obesity and all the ailments that that are so closely linked to obesity.  

It’s important to highlight that the best diet in the world will always be the one you can stick to. If you adopt any kind of methods that cause you to lose weight or gain muscle, you must realise that as soon as you stop doing the very diet and process or method that helped you achieve the results, you’ll lose those results.

There aren’t many guarantees in life – but this is one of them.

So for you to successfully lose weight, gain muscle, reverse your obesity or pre diabetic state, you’ll need to learn what actually matters, what causes fat loss and how you can apply these teachings in a way that doesnt restrict your quality of life. The more restrictive a diet is the less chance of adherence you’ll have to that chosen diet.

Simply put: You need a diet and strategy that will never need to come to an end. If it has an end date then you can bet all your progress will stop when the program stops.

The next few videos are going to break down what really matters when trying to lose fat mass and gain lean muscle tone. I’m going to show and tell you all the important measures for you to apply and I am going to debunk the marketing hypes and false information most of you have likely already heard and been told (or perhaps even tried) in the past.

In video #2 of this 8 part mini series, I am going to be talking about the key to lifelong fat loss. I am going to teach you the difference and similarity between diets and methods and how you can choose and apply the ones that will work for you.

Before we do that I want you to write down any diets or detox’s you may have tried in the past.

Once you’ve listed them, have a good hard look.. think and ask yourself if it worked? If the answer was yes.. How long did the results last.

The point of this exercise is to highlight the fact that every single diet works… until it doesnt.

The point I’m trying to make is you are going to be taught how to adopt methods that will not only work for you but rather …. Ones that will work forever!

Stay tuned for the next blog in this 8 part video series where I’ll be breaking down all types of diets, methods and strategies you can use as a type 1 diabetic wanting to achieve the best lifestyle possible with the most impact, freedom and control.

If you’d like instant access to my FREE TRIAL of the Diabetic Athletic Lifestyle Accelerator Program, you can make use of the diabetic friendly training plans, nutrition plans, workouts, calorie calculators and insulin on boards calculators all designed to help you dominate your diabetes… simply click HERE now and enjoy!

Yours in Strength,

Nicholas Caracandas