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Andi Schregh



What do you think of when you hear the word bodybuilding?

Most people evoke images of overly tanned men and women hitting muscular poses in their lingerie on stage.

Although this represents the "competitive bodybuilder", what about the volume of daily gym visitors who do not plan to be on stage, but just want to look better naked?

Whether we like it or not, everyone who goes to the gym with the intention of looking better is a bodybuilder.

Man, woman, young or old, it does not matter. Strength training is about building muscle, minimizing body fat and looking your best physically.

Competitive bodybuilders train all year round with the goal of increasing muscle mass and strength. They spend fixed periods (usually 20 weeks) on "GAIN MASS" followed by another 10-20 weeks of fat loss, and do what is usually called CUT. When the time is right, the competitive bodybuilder takes the stage along with other contestants to be judged.

Evaluation criteria are based on overall aesthetic development, including muscle size, muscle symmetry, body fat level and posing ability (ie posing).

What does it take to compete and be the best?

Nutrition, the right training stimulus and dedicated rest periods are crucial in all bodybuilders' journey to build the perfect body (competitive or not).

This article focuses on the nutritional aspect of strength training specifically for people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. I will cover the exercise aspect in another article.


bodybuilding with diabetes

Bodybuilding and bodybuilding are becoming more and more popular nowadays. Just look at the widest range of protein supplements, meal preparation services and healthy restaurants.

Bodybuilders living with diabetes are rare. Fear of low blood sugar, frustration over high blood sugar, lack of support and not knowing how to eat are the main reasons why many people with diabetes fail to reach their diabetes goals: bodybuilding or body transformation.

Does this mean that bodybuilding with diabetes is out of your league?

Living with diabetes does not mean that you can not participate in strength training or transform your body.

Just look at IFBB PRO Anth Bailes, IFBB PRO Jason Poston, IFBB PRO Collete Nielson, Aidrian Brodlell and other diabetic bodybuilding stars. All of these people have won trophies and graced the covers of many bodybuilding and fitness magazines while living with type 1 diabetes.

Although it is amazing to see so many people who are actively interested in their health, it is difficult to find good evidence-based nutritional information for bodybuilding and diabetes. As a result, many people end up following suboptimal advice that jeopardizes their health and bodybuilding results. You may have experienced this yourself?

The diabetic body is governed by a different set of rules and requires a much more sensitive approach to diet than that recommended by the mainstream media or your local gym hero.

Let's take a look at the challenges that a diabetic bodybuilder faces in his quest for a more beautiful body.

Increased levels of muscle protein breakdown.

Reduced strength.

Decreased joint and muscle mobility due to glycation.

Increased risk of injury.

Increased fatigue.


These challenges are real.

But they do not become a serious problem for building muscle until blood sugar levels are under control. It is safe to say that diabetes is not an advantage for bodybuilding, BUT with the right knowledge, planning and advice, diabetes does not have to be a disadvantage.

The more you know about nutrition, the better you can control your blood sugar.




When it comes to creating your own diet plan for diabetics, there are a number of factors to consider. Some are more important than others and should be given priority. It's easy to get excited and pay more attention to the little details, like the latest addition, the special diabetic food or the best time to consume whey protein. Instead, prioritize the most important (but sometimes boring) things like your "WHY" behind eating better, total calorie intake, or managing diabetes.



The food pyramid for muscle and fitness for diabetics (shown below) describes all the nutritional aspects of building a successful bodybuilding diet for fat loss or muscle gain in diabetes, from the most important (bottom) to the least important (top). Structure your diet this way and you can guarantee a high quality result.

This is the exact hierarchy of importance that I have included in my new 112-day body transformation guides, Diabetic Shred and Diabetic Mass, developed exclusively for people with diabetes.




Your personal health and fitness values ​​are your WHY behind your HOW.

Find as many reasons as possible as to why improving your diet will improve your quality of life. These answers drive your daily attitude and actions.

Tip, you need many more reasons than just wanting to look better to fit in.

I will write a separate article on the psychological aspects of fitness, as this is a complex subject that goes far beyond this nutritional article.

Boosting DAA Available Online



Even if a diet consists of the best and freshest foods or the most expensive supplements in the world. Poorly controlled diabetes can predispose people to malnutrition, a condition in which the body's cells cannot use fuel properly.

Malnutrition due to poorly controlled (ie uncontrolled) diabetes negatively affects body function and well-being, as well as predisposes to diseases and delays recovery from it.

Point: Your diabetes must be exceptionally well controlled to take full advantage of a healthy diet.




Whether your goal is to tear down pounds of body fat, gain mass or maintain body weight, your diet should accommodate social occasions, days off and a single slice of pizza when you feel like it. Yes, a diabetic just said pizza.

The best bodybuilding diets for diabetes involve little to give and take. When set correctly, the total number of calories you consume can help you reach your goal without limiting the food you like.

Eating "clean" does not mean that you do things optimally. This is especially true if you have a craving for the foods and macronutrients you have limited.

What helps a diet that drives you crazy?

You will struggle to get results, let alone maintain them.

In addition to sticking to your calorie intake and important nutrition, the secret to a nicer body is to follow a diet you love. Love is everything. This view is also supported by the Journal of the American Medical Association, which examined virtually every weight loss diet on the planet to find that compliance was the single most important factor behind a diet's success.

How many severely restrictive diets have you started, only to stop when your explosion of enthusiasm is replaced by pure monotony? Is it time to rethink?

When it comes to training, it's just fun.

I take diet compliance in my guidelines very seriously. I have even included step-by-step instructions on how to eat the food you love while staying healthy. The pioneering diet and exercise guides for diabetic bodybuilding are Diabetic Shred and Diabetic Mass.

Forget overly restrictive, bland, chicken, broccoli and rice diets, carbohydrate cycling, detoxes and super expensive supplements.

Focus on killer durability and texture.



Now that you need to understand the basics of your diabetes bodybuilding diet, let's discuss your goals before moving on.


FAT LOSS - Pretty obvious. The goal is to lose as much weight as possible while maintaining muscle mass and increasing it if possible.


INCREASE BODY WEIGHT AND MUSCLE MASS: When the primary goal is to increase body weight, muscle size and strength. Successful weight gain means very little fat gain.


MAINTENANCE OF BODY WEIGHT: Maintain your current level of body fat and muscle mass. Generally reserved for retired bodybuilders or individuals who no longer have the time or resources to pursue a full-time bodybuilding lifestyle. If you still want to look good naked, at the lowest effective dose, your goal is to preserve.


Once you have set your weight training goal for diabetes, you need to set a schedule, measure your progress and hold yourself accountable.

Let me explain ...

1.  Set a deadline.


You need to give yourself enough time to get in shape.

The length depends on what progress you want to make.

There is a big difference between

Lose 10 kg of fat to 100 kg

Get 2 pounds of muscle mass against 20 pounds


Although it takes years to build a beautiful physique, 16 weeks is usually enough to achieve significant changes in body transformation.

2. Measure your percentage of progress.


If you do not judge, you are just guessing.

To get the most out of your diabetic bodybuilding diet, learn how to assess and measure your food intake.

"Food tracking can seem like a daily chore"

Think again, tracking allows you to develop portion control habits and eat more flexibly around your bodybuilding goals.

Fat loss requires you to eat less than you burn. Eating too much inhibits your efforts to lose fat, while eating too little increases the risk of muscle loss and fatigue.

Mass gain requires you to eat a little more than you burn. Eating too much increases your chances of gaining unwanted body fat, while eating too little slows down muscle growth and prevents you from gaining weight.

Too often, people blindly lose calories and increase their workouts when they do not need to. You have to adapt when it's time. As you know? Continuation follows of course!

Having worked with hundreds of bodybuilders and exercisers, I know all too well how confusing it can be when it comes to deciding when and where. I paid special attention to this dilemma when I developed Diabetic Shred and Diabetic Mass.

Both of these guides give you a very clear decision-making process for when and where to adjust your calories once you reach a plateau. The plateau is usually when people give up their goals. Did you give up when the improvements slowed down?

Having a clear set of questions and actions like this saves deterioration, gives you better results and most importantly, keeps you moving forward without stopping.

3. Hold yourself accountable.

To get the most out of your diabetic bodybuilding diet, you need to take responsibility.

Hiring a trainer or personal trainer with a documented track record who understands diabetes management is worth its weight in gold, especially if it is your first time.

A good trainer will give you the much-needed boost during your workout, as well as good, honest feedback on your fitness and progress in posing.

Now let's go down to the basics of nutrition and talk about calories, carbohydrates, protein, dietary fats and supplements.



The first place to start when building your diet is calories.

Calories play a crucial role in everyone's efforts to build muscle and burn fat.

If your goal is to lose body fat or increase your body weight, first determine how many calories you need to maintain your current body weight and work from there.

How do I calculate my maintenance calories?

Record your body weight and calorie intake for 14 days. Add up the values ​​and divide each by 14 to get your biweekly average for calories and body weight. Compare this value with your starting weight ...

If your body weight has increased, this indicates an excess of calories.

If your body weight has decreased, it indicates a calorie deficit.

If your body weight has remained the same, this indicates maintenance calories.


Oh, and if the thought of weighing yourself seems daunting, here are some helpful tips on how to weigh yourself properly.

Another way to calculate maintenance calories is to use a calorie calculator.

These are not 100% bulletproof, but they get you on the right track.

Once you have set a calorie maintenance level, you should adjust it based on your goal.

In general, for…

Fat Loss: Eat a few fewer calories than you need to maintain your body weight.

Mass increase: Eat a little more calories than you need to maintain your body weight.

Body maintenance: keep eating the same amount of calories.




Everyone is confused about macros. This is not surprising given the amount of conflicting and overly complicated information that can be found online and in newspapers.

low calorie,

high carbohydrates,



Which macro-division is best for diabetes?

Here's what you need to know about macros ...

Some macronutrients are important, others not.

Proteins and essential fatty acids (omega-3 and omega-6) must be consumed through food.

Carbohydrates and other forms of fat are not necessary because the body can produce them on its own.

The best diet has all the macronutrients in the right amounts specific to your overall calorie goal for fat loss, weight gain or body weight.

The relationship between macronutrients you decide to eat depends largely on personal preferences once you have met your essential needs for protein, essential fatty acids and carbohydrates for hippotherapy / prevention purposes.

How much protein do I need?

Total sum, 1.4-2.0 g per kg (0.6-1.0 g per pound) of protein for most people reading this.

In other words, if you weighed 147 lbs (67 kg), you would consume between 90 and 150 g of protein per day. Divided into 3-5 portions of 20-40g per day.

How much fat do I need?

In general, it is a good start to get 20-30% of your calories from fat. You can consume different amounts every day. However, they must be spread over a period of several weeks / months.

When it comes to total fat intake, some types of dietary fats are important while others are not.

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids that must be added through the diet.

There are three types of omega-3 fatty acids involved in human physiology: ALA, EPA and DHA. Mainly of marine origin, EPA and DHA are superior to ALAs found in vegetable oils due to their greater bioavailability 2,3.

Consumption of oily fish and fish oil supplements have been shown to improve dozens of aspects of health and disease, including insulin sensitivity, blood fats, depression, inflammation and blood pressure, to name a few 2,3,4,5,6.

Taking into account the recommendations of the various authorities and health authorities, 1 to 3 g of combined EPA-DHA per day is sufficient. The higher dose of 3 g would be more suitable for people with diabetes due to the predisposition to high triglyceride levels and high blood pressure.

1 gram of fish oil is equivalent to about 3 fish oil capsules per day or three to four 4-ounce servings per week of fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel or sardines.

If you are taking blood thinners, you can ask your healthcare provider about the amount of omega 3 you can take.

How many carbohydrates do I need?

Carbohydrates should make up the rest of your calorie intake once you have calculated your protein and fat calorie intake. The more carbohydrates you eat, the less fat you eat and vice versa. The more fat you eat, the less carbohydrates you will consume.

Think of carbohydrates as fuel for performance, not fuel for recovery - the more you exercise, the more you will need them.

Should I cut down on carbs if I have diabetes?

There is no need.

If you are very active and do strength training 3-6 times a week, carbohydrates will help improve your physical performance and give your body better training stimulation.

The fiber aspect of carbohydrates has also been shown to play a key role in the health of our microbiome, which has now repeatedly been shown to play a key role in body weight management 7.8.

Carbohydrates provide a variety of vitamins and minerals. They also taste good and help to follow the diet.

If you monitor your blood sugar level and take into account the calories you consume from carbohydrates, there is no reason to exclude them. By the way, you should consider the carbohydrate calories you consume to treat hypoglycemia. It can vary from day to day.

If you are like most men with diabetes, it can be quite overwhelming to understand all of this. One of the easiest ways to solve this problem is to follow simple prescription plans.


Timing of nutrients is more important for people with diabetes, especially when it comes to preventing / treating hypoglycemia or preventing hyperglycemia.

Check out the infographic below to see when the timing of nutrition is very important, when it's worth considering and when it's not. It's the perfect size for Instagram so feel free to share it on social media (don't forget to tag us)

Getting your nutrition at the right time has positive effects on body composition, mood and diabetes control. However, it should never have the most important levels in the pyramid, such as energy balance and macronutrients.

A good example of this is "no carbohydrates after 6 dogmas".

In terms of the frequency of meals, 2 to 4 meals to lose fat and 3 to 5 to gain weight.



The subject of micronutrients may seem overwhelming, but you can not ignore it.

Prolonged lack of micronutrients will adversely affect your health and your ability to perform or recover optimally after physical exertion.

Deficiencies in micronutrients can be due to long periods of low-calorie diets and poorly controlled diabetes. A varied diet is a great way to get a variety of micronutrients.

If you have problems with energy, hunger, skin or sleep, you may be missing some vitamins or minerals. Instead of guessing, the best way to check if there are micronutrient deficiencies is to take a blood sample.

fiber intake

First of all, it should be noted that fiber is not an important nutrient.

* You feel fuller (helps with fat reduction)

* Delays gastric emptying and nutrient absorption (may help regulate blood sugar)

* Lowers blood cholesterol

* Reduced absorption of minerals

* Nourishes bacteria in our gut that have been shown to play an important role in health and obesity prevention.

* Helps you go to the toilet.

High-fiber foods, such as fruits and vegetables, contain many other nutrients (vitamins and minerals) that are important for health.

If your fiber intake is low, do not start plowing. The body, and especially the bacteria in the gut, need time to adapt. Otherwise you will feel quite bloated and let through a lot of gas.

As long as you do not have IBS or any other serious intestinal disease, 30-40g of fiber is a good goal to aim for daily.

fire hydrant

Water is important for everything: health, muscle development and physical performance. There is really no water goal you need to reach, as the need for hydration varies greatly with body weight, percentage of sweat and frequency of hyperglycemia.


* Strive for at least 5 clear micturitions per day.

* Make sure you are not dehydrated before exercising.

* Stay hydrated during and after hyperglycemia.

* Your need for hydration will increase if you take creatine.



When it comes to supplements, let's find out five things.

* Dietary supplements are the least important part of the food pyramid.

* Dietary supplements can be a good nutrition insurance for someone with diabetes. However, they will not reverse the damage caused by poorly controlled diabetes.

* Dietary supplements are a healthy supplement to a good diet, but they will not compensate for a poor diet.

* In general, supplements are not necessary if you do not eat fatty fish or natural sources of omega 3.

* Add-ons should never be seen as shortcuts.

What supplements do I need?

Overall, protein powder is a convenient and easily digestible source of high quality protein, creatine in combination with caffeine helps build strength and cognition, vitamin D is good for your health if you live in a boring climate, fish oil seems to improve many health elements - which makes it to a rewarding investment.

Since I consider the topic of supplements to be a minor topic, I will cover them in more detail in a separate article, as I do not want them to distract from the more important parts of this article.

In fact, I guarantee that some have skipped everything I have said so far; if you did, go back and start over.

If you have read this far. Excellent!

Andi Schregh
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