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Living with Diabetes

Learn why you should add strength training to the mix

1/12/2019 by Scott Johnson

Learn why you should add strength training to the mix

One of the best ways to deal with high blood sugar is to exercise. Exercise lets muscles naturally absorb more sugar as glycogen because it burns up what is stored.

But how do you get the right kind of exercise during the day to do it, especially if you have diabetic complications? On this week’s "Live, with Scott!", we’ll be talking with Kelly from GenerationFit. She is a personal trainer who lives with diabetes. She works with people who are dealing with pre-diabetes or have type two diabetes to help them reach their fitness goals and control their sugars at the same time. You’ll even get to see me do some easy at-home/in-office exercises, so you’ll definitely want to watch the video!


  • Learn how Kelly got involved with training people who live with diabetes
  • Hear why walking isn't enough and why it's important to add strength training to your routine
  • Learn about the amazing effects of strength training on blood sugars and insulin resistance
  • See a quick demonstration of easy at-home/in-office exercises that anyone can do



Scott Johnson: Hey welcome to another episode of "Live, with Scott!" Thanks so much for tuning in. My name is Scott Johnson. I've been living with diabetes since I was five years old. The diabetes social media space, that's you, by the way, has been a big part of my well-being for a long long time. In other words, you are as important to me as the air I breathe, no exaggeration there. Thanks for helping me along. As your host today, I'm thrilled to connect you with Kelly from GenerationFit. Kelly is super motivated and I can't wait for you to meet her.

Scott Johnson: But first, last week's winner. Congratulations to Fay Price who just won some fun mySugr swag. We'll send you a message on Facebook after the show to coordinate details. Stick with us to learn how you can win some free fun mySugr SWAG too, plus a special giveaway this week from Kelly at GenerationFit. While we get going, please share a quick hello in the comments and let me know where you're watching from. I'd love to say hello. If we cover anything that resonates with you, please show us some love. I really appreciate that. Again, if we cover anything that you find helpful, or think someone you know might like, please share this with them.

Scott Johnson: All right, today's episode is sponsored by the mySugr Bundle. Get unlimited strips, automatic supply refills, personalized support, and more, all for just $49 every month. Learn more at Now, more on this week's guest, Kelly from GenerationFit, Kelly's a certified personal trainer who's lived with diabetes for over 37 years. She describes herself as strong, independent, inspired and positive I would totally agree with all those things. As you'll hear, she enjoys helping people learn just how easy it can be to do home strength training routines, especially those who are interested in learning how strength training can help their diabetes or learning how to maintain functional health as they age. We'll even get into a quick demonstration, all right? Ready to go?

Scott Johnson: Hi, Kelly, thanks so much for joining us today.

Kelly: Hi, I'm glad to be here.

Scott Johnson: Can you tell us a little bit about your connection to diabetes?

Kelly: Yeah, I was diagnosed 37 years ago, I was 12 years old. So, obviously, I'm 49 now. I lived with it for a very long time. I don't even remember what it's like not to be diabetic. That's all I know.

Scott Johnson: Yeah. Same for me too. One of the things that I love about you and what you're doing is you're inspiring mission to help us recognize that we are strong both on the inside and outside and that we can overcome so many things. So, thank you so much for that.

Kelly: You're welcome.

Scott Johnson: It comes through in everything that you do and talk about with GenerationFit.

Kelly: Thank you.

Scott Johnson: Now, we hear so much about how important exercise is. But what does that really mean?

Kelly: For me, I discovered this accidentally. When I was so young and we were living with so many limitations back then. I played sports anyways and then went into boxing, fell in love with it. And then it just evolved from there. I went into personal training and then discovered that a lot of the clients were people come in were more of a little bit older with some issues, maybe pre-diabetic or diabetic type two and some other issues. Because of what I discovered through exercise for my own body, my gosh, it made me stronger physically, mentally, and my diabetes overall, oh my gosh, my cholesterol, my blood sugars, my A1c, super good. It just held me so steady. I realized how much I could help these other people and my passion was huge.

Scott Johnson: Awesome. Now, one of the things that you talk about is how important strength training is with exercise. A lot of us when we think about exercise, we think about walking on the treadmill and doing all that stuff, which is important, too. But I myself, don't often think enough about strength training. Talk about how important it is and what plays into it.

Kelly: I think for some people, maybe some women, it could be intimidating, but strength training is so very important. It's hard for some people, maybe you, to fit the time in. But the reason is, it's because of what it does for our blood sugar, and how it converts the blood sugar to energy. So, the muscle store glycogen, right? Basically, with strength training, it's going to pull the glucose out of our bloodstream naturally without needing as much insulin to do this, to store more glycogen.

Kelly: When you're strength training, you're using up and replenishing that storage of glycogen you have, for even up to 72 hours after. So, longer than you're doing it with the cardio or aerobic.

Scott Johnson: Nice.

Kelly: Yeah. So, it's just so much better.

Scott Johnson: Now, when I hear strength training, I picture big weights and dumbbells and all the gym equipment and bench pressing all this stuff, but it doesn't have to be that, right?

Kelly: No. Strength training is the same as resistance training, weight training, they all mean the same thing. But it could be using your own body weight as in push-ups or pull-ups, squats or resistance bands, which store easily. You can take them to the office, you can travel with them, or dumbbells, small dumbbells, it's the same thing. Or machines at the gym for those who use the machines and isolate one muscle group, they set in a machine, all the same thing.

Scott Johnson: It sounds like there's a lot of simple ways you can fit this into your day.

Kelly: Absolutely. You can do it in 15 minutes. You take a resistance band, put it in your office drawer and maybe one day you're going to do chest and back. Wrap it around your chair at your desk and do some tests, and then pull this weight and you're going to do back, opposing muscle groups. Boom, you just hit two major muscle groups. That's a lot of calorie burning, a lot of resistance training right there. Then maybe, the next day you're going to do arms and shoulder. Next day, do some legs.

Scott Johnson: I love that. Now, you have talked to me before about how much you enjoy working with people living with type two diabetes. Talk to me a little bit more about that.

Kelly: Well, because of what I came across. It was so common that I was approached by people back when I was doing my personal training, a high majority them were type two or pre-diabetic. So, they have some fear. They want to know what they could do to help themselves or help manage or prevent the disease. I preached, you have to do more than walking. The rules have changed. Years ago, the ADA would say, just drop some weight, try walking. Now, if you look at the rules now, the ADA is saying you've got to add strength training, some resistance training.

Scott Johnson: That sounds like it's almost like a power-up on your exercise too when it lasts for so much longer after doing the exercise, it's really a power-up!

Kelly: It does because it helps with their insulin resistance. Absolutely helps with insulin resistance. And then all the other effects; better bones, and just independence. Older people that I work with, I have worked with people in their 80s and they strength train. They want to live independently longer. I can relate. Don't we relate living with a disease for so long?

Scott Johnson: Wanting to have the just keeping that functional health in mind to be able to do everything that we need to do, diabetes or not, it sounds like the strength training is a crucial piece of-

Kelly: Quality of life, yeah.

Scott Johnson: How about being able to modify exercises when you might have something that's limiting you? It may be an old injury or just lack of mobility if you haven't exercised for so long.

Kelly: Yeah, you can. Absolutely. There's even leg exercises for people who say they can't get up and do as much walking or they have severe neuropathy. I've had people where they can put, let's say, a resistance band across their thigh, sit in a chair, hold that band down and do leg lifts against the resistance. Or they put a band across their foot and just do leg extension, where they extend the leg back and forth. There's a number of things. Same with, again, the chest press here, they can do bicep curls, you can do a lot in a chair.

Scott Johnson: Awesome. That sounds great. Well, Kelly, where can people find out more about you and what you're doing and learn some of these things?

Kelly: Well, I have a website and we sell quality affordable health fitness products. I just want to make it easier for people to be able to move and strengthen and live independently, a better quality of life. That's Also, I have my Facebook page where I'm going to show video and Instagram and that's @mygenerationfit.

Scott Johnson: Awesome. I will put all that stuff on the screen for you. Now, Kelly is going to show me some of these exercises. We're going to switch the camera, I'm going to put on my awesome mySugr headband and wristbands, and we're going to do some fun exercises. We'll be right back.

Scott Johnson: ...All right guys, we're back, and we're ready to go. I'm all decked out in my mySugr exercise gear. Now, we are going to demonstrate quickly how to set up. This is a door anchor. This is going to allow us to hook up some of the resistance bands to the door. Now, we feed this through from the outside of the door.

Kelly: I'm going to have you grab it.

Scott Johnson: Got it.

Kelly: There you go. I'm going to lock it just to be safe. This would work with one of these bands, but I'm going to use one of our safety fabric coded exercise tubing. We're going to put this through just like that. The ends have clips so interchangeable handles. We can put an ankle strap, but I'm not putting my leg way up here today.

Scott Johnson: Me either.

Kelly: We are going to put the regular handles on.

Scott Johnson: This clips in very nice. There we go, all right.

Kelly: We've got Scott the jock today. He's feeling the headband.

Scott Johnson: Actually, can we do some of this so that I can look towards your camera.

Scott Johnson: This is how easy resistance a.k.a strength training can be. That's all there is to it. Oh yeah – feel the burn. All right, there you have it. I hope you also enjoyed getting to know about Kelly and just how easy strength training can be. Trust me, if I could do it, anyone can do it. Learn more about her and everything she has to offer at

Scott Johnson: Now, as a special thanks to all of you watching. As usual, I have a fun mySugr tote bag with some goodies inside like a pop socket, and a few stickers and stuff like that that I want to give away. This week, more fun stuff, Kelly has generously offered one of these awesome bags. Now, inside this bag is ... Let's unpack this here. This bag is her Total Body Training Kit. There are all kinds of fun things in here. You saw that door anchor that we used, the handles, the resistance bands, the fancy ones with the hooks and the covers, and more. Everything that you need to get started on your home workout fitness journey. Look at all this stuff in here. Everything that you could possibly do to get going. This doesn't seem to stop in there, all right?

Scott Johnson: Now, to enter the giveaway, leave a comment below and let Kelly and I know if you enjoyed this week's episode. Before next week's show, we'll randomly pick one lucky winner and announce them during the start of next week's broadcast. Once again, today's episode is sponsored by the mySugr Bundle. Get unlimited strips, automatic supply refills, personalized support, and more, all for just $49 every month. Learn more at

Scott Johnson: Be sure to tune in next week for another active and inspiring episode with Christel from Diabetes Strong who talks with us about getting started with an exercise we like and sticking with it and learning how to manage blood sugar's around it. Talk about a one-two punch with today and next week to help get your New Year's off to a great start. Thanks so much for joining today. Please like this video, share it with your friends. Have another amazing day and we'll see you next week.

Scott Johnson

Almost famous for being a Diet Coke fanatic, Scott is the Patient Success Manager, North America for mySugr and has lived well with diabetes for over forty years. He's an active pioneer in the diabetes social media space and along with his work at mySugr, he manages his award-winning blog, when time allows.

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