Saturday, March 28, 2015

Managing My Diabetes During RawUnity Powerlifting Competition

By Ginger Vieira, Health Guide Tuesday, February 02, 2010

On Saturday, January 30, 2010 I competed with some of the best of the best in the sport of raw powerlifting! I began powerlifting exactly one year ago and this RAW UNITY event was my third competition in a full powerlifting event. ROCHE's ACCU-Chek Glucometer sponsored my entry and flight to Tampa, and they also sent me a new meter and plenty of strips to keep me going during my training and the competition. My best friend, Tara, and my coach, Andrew Berry, came to help and support me during the event (couldn't do it without my team!).


Tara & Ginger at RAW Unity 2010

I knew going into this that this was not drug-tested, and therefore, some of the women were likely on steroids. Once I got to the event and really scoped out my competition, I knew it was basically impossible to win. But I also instantly knew this was a level of competition I had never participated in and it would be well worth the experience!

I knew what it felt like to win. Last May I won and set 7 records in the APA-WPA meet in VT, and this past November, I won and set two records in the 100% Raw federation  -- both drug-tested events. And winning feels great, don't get me wrong, but sometimes you miss out on some other important aspects when winning might come too easily. This time I wanted to challenge myself, not worrying about this or that number making me a winner (because no matter what I scored, it wouldn't be enough to win), instead, I challenged myself with numbers I'd never lifted before.


During the week before my actual event, I had to make my weightclass by dropping 8lbs of water weight in 4 days. This is not TRUE weightloss and SHOULD NOT be attempted by anyone without knowledge and supervision. This is not a diet. It's temporary weightloss that I do with my blood sugars completely in range and safely. As soon as I weigh-in, I have 24 hours to eat and drink to regain the loss of water of electrolytes. I've studied my body well enough to know how to do this with water flushing, limiting carbohydrates and reducing insulin doses enough to make up for the lack of carbohydartes. Needless to say, this time making weight was the easiest and my blood sugar only dropped low once during that week, and only went above 200 twice. It's not easily, physically, but in terms of diabetes, I've got the control and insulin adjustment aspect down pat. :)


My main goal in terms of diabetes, this time, was to prevent the adrenaline-rush-induced high blood sugars (300+) I'd struggled with at my past meets. No matter how much short-acting insulin I gave myself during the day at the other meets, I couldn't break through the adrenaline and cortisol naturally produced at high levels because of the excitement and stress of being a competitor.

This time, I gave myself 3 extra units of Lantus insulin (about 7% of my usual dose, 23 units). And it worked! My goal was to keep my blood sugar around 170-200 because anything lower would put me at too much risk for dropping low in between events and lifts. I can't afford to drop low AT ALL because that would seriously drain the glycogen stores (sugar, energy) in my muscles and I wouldn't have enough time to fully recover if I want to compete at my very best.

By Ginger Vieira, Health Guide— Last Modified: 06/13/11, First Published: 02/02/10