How do you choose a trainer if you have diabetes?

I’m a personal trainer with over 20 years of experience, and I have several clients with diabetes to whom I provide in-home services. Based on my years of experience, I have some advice on selecting a trainer for people with diabetes.

Your doctor has probably told you that physical exercise is an important component of your treatment, but it’s important that you pick the venue and fitness pro that’s right for you. Make sure that the person you’re considering has experience with the issues that affect you–not just diabetes, but other factors like mobility level, age, obesity, etc. Make sure they have a holistic mindset with respect to helping you reach your fitness goals. Some Doctors only prescribe medicine and don’t ask questions beyond that, and some trainers just want you to exercise as much as possible without considering other lifestyle factors.

In my experience, people with diabetes know their bodies better than anyone. They can tell when their sugar is high or low and make adjustments. As a trainer, I can’t prescribe actual treatment, but I can tell clients about herbs that some people use to help manage their blood sugar, like cinnamon bark. I can also provide advice on what to shop for at the store–organic food is best.

Make sure that your trainer includes functional training–that is, training focused on balance, movement efficiency, etc. These things are important for your whole lifestyle, and they’re not part of every exercise program (although they should be in my opinion.)

Last but not least–does this person respect you? Training someone compromised by a chronic illness isn’t something that every super-healthy fitness pro is mentally ready to do. Make sure you get a feel for them first.

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