The link between high intensity resistance training (or HIRT, as is Rev5) and type 2 diabetes fascinates me. I remember when my friend was told by her GP that she has type 2 diabetes and she felt like her world had come to an end. It felt to her like the end of her love affair with sugar and ‘anything nice’, as the condition is linked to an inability to handle glucose. But HIRT has been shown to help the body to handle glucose much more effectively1. Let me explain.
What happens in our body once we’ve eaten carbohydrates?
When we eat carbohydrate foods glucose is released into the blood stream. This in turn triggers the hormone insulin to come along and move it out of the blood and into our muscle cells. There, it gets put to good use to produce energy and whatever’s left over is stored in the form of glycogen, in the muscle cells and the liver, for later emergency use. If there’s still too much sugar circulating then it gets stored in our fat cells.
How does this link to Rev5?
We have 3 types of fibre within our muscle; types 1, 2 and 3 (better known as type 2b). Glycogen is stored amongst these 3 fibres but most of it is held within the type 3 fibres. Most types of exercise won’t tap into the glycogen in the type 3 fibres. The body will only do this for extreme emergencies… or a HIRT workout like Rev5.
Emptying the muscles’ glycogen store creates more room for further glucose to be stored, leaving less glucose left over to be stored as fat. The other benefit (and this is THE big benefit in terms of Diabetes) is that this process makes the muscle cells more ‘sensitive’ to insulin.
What does this mean?
Insulin ‘sensitivity’ means the cells listen to insulin’s instruction to take in the glucose, so it can be used for energy. HIRT tricks the muscles into thinking that they now have to deal with emergency (possibly life threatening) situations on a weekly basis. In the interests of survival, they have to become more efficient at utilizing glucose for energy.
The advantage is huge, compared to regular types of exercise such as cardio classes or running, which mostly make use of type 1 and 2 muscle fibres.
So how does this all help with type 2 diabetes?
Insulin resistance leads to type 2 diabetes so if we can do a workout each week that effectively empties the muscles’ glycogen stores and increases our insulin sensitivity this is a huge advantage in preventing and or managing the condition, as well as keeping us trim.
Francesca Liparoti is a Nutritional Therapist who specialises in weight loss. She loves to guide her clients on how to enjoy great nutritious food without deprivation, helping them to gain control of their weight and health. She coaches and inspires her clients to make positive changes and form life-long healthy habits.
Francesca is a member of the British Association for Applied Nutrition and Nutritional Therapy (BANT), which is the regulatory body for Nutritional Therapists and she is on the register of the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC).