Fitness Friday 20 – Blood Sugar Blues

Posted on May 1st, by Regan Phillips in Fitness Friday. No Comments

“Blood Sugar Blues”

Your blood sugar has a massive impact on how you feel; low blood sugar can be caused by the following:

  1. Missing a meal, going hungry.
  2. Exercising.
  3. Eating High-Glycemic Index (High-GI) foods that spike insulin response.
  4. Stress.

Your blood sugar is the food converted into glucose / energy circulating in your bloodstream. This sugar is available to be used around the body for various functions:

  • It can be absorbed into the muscles as Glycogen for muscle contraction (full carbohydrate loading takes 3-5 days).
  • Used by the Brain as energy.
  • Or stored as fat!

When blood sugar is low we usually feel hungry telling us to top up our energy levels and if blood sugar gets really low we can suffer certain uncomfortable side effects:

  • Dizziness Light Headedness / Fainting.
  • Sickness.
  • Shaking.
  • Blurred vision.

Low blood sugar is a stressful condition for the body and low blood sugar status initiates the release of the hormone Cortisol. Cortisol looks for new energy when blood sugar is low. This can involve the breakdown of healthy muscle (Protein Sloughing).

It is essential that we monitor what we eat and the effects it has on our sugar levels. For instance if we eat a fast absorbing carbohydrate / sugar (High-GI food) on an empty stomach we will cause a massive insulin response. This can cause almost all of the sugar to be taken away and stored as fat. This results in a sugar spike and then after only a few minutes a severe sugar low.

Eat the wrong food pre workout and you will drive your blood sugar low very quickly and feel ill. If we eat a slow digesting carbohydrate our insulin response is lessened and the sugar slowly absorbed into the blood stream. This sugar will sustain us for up to two hours.

Continual excessive ingestion of High-GI carbohydrates can be the cause of obesity and lead to the onset of diabetes.

You can look up the “Glycemic Index” on the Internet, low numbers are good, high ones may cause blood sugar problems and lead to weight gain. But food must be eaten on an empty stomach to assure accuracy.

Beware it is misleading, blood sugar is affected by the combination / order of foods we eat, if you eat any foods listed on the GI, on an empty stomach you can believe what you read.

If you eat a chicken breast first and then vegetables and last a jacket potato, the resulting blood sugar will be vastly different than if you ate the potato first! But in general you will see Bread, and Cereals and Pastries to be very hi GI.

That is why we recommend with the Thomson Diet that you eat the carbohydrate last during your meals to negate and buffer the insulin, and following blood sugar response.

  • Pre workout an apple or pear will stabilise your blood sugar enabling an effective workout (40 minutes workout maximum).
  • Post-workout you will need to raise your lowered blood sugar. This can be achieved with any food but a sensible mix of Protein and Carbohydrate is your best choice. You need enough carbohydrate to replace your calorie deficit from training.

If you ingest easily digested protein (whey protein) post workout or at any time when you have low blood sugar without the presence of carbohydrates beware, your expensive Protein will more than likely be converted to carbohydrate to replenish blood sugar!

So your carbohydrate ingestion post workout protects your Protein and enables the amino acids to help with recovery of the muscles and mopping up free radical damage.

I personally find that if I eat white boiled potato, or scones, on an empty stomach I want to sleep within ten minutes. These foods will therefore not be in my pre workout menu.

Experiment and see what affects you, alcohol is a typical example. Once you have experienced a low, you will instantly feel hungry again. Therefore ups and downs with blood sugar all day will cause weight gain, lethargy, and possibly diabetes. Athletes have no place for High-GI sugars in their general diet.

Did you know?

  • Arnold Schwarzenegger is the most photographed man of all time.
  • Bruce Lee was a bodybuilding enthusiast and trained regularly with weights.
  • Marilyn Monroe trained with weights on a regular basis.
  • Clint Eastwood provided and funded weights Gym for his local community in his home town, so strong was his belief in bodybuilding.
  • Lou Ferrigno “The Incredible Hulk” is almost totally deaf from childhood.
  • Recommended film “Pumping Iron”

 Bodybuilding Super Food


Felling tired? Then consider eating a good cut of Fillet or Sirloin Steak once or twice a week.

Steak is full of Creatine, Iron, and “B” vitamins and is packed with protein; good cuts can be relatively low in saturated fat. Great recovery food for training.

People are always asking about taking vitamins, my recommendations are as follows:

  • A good multi vitamin supplement every other day is plenty.
  • Don’t forget “minerals” with your vitamins. Get a multi Vitamin / Mineral supplement.
  • Vitamin C can be taken separately along with your iron rich meals to increase iron absorption.
  • Other good supplements are Vitamin D and fish oils.

See you in the Gym and be regular!

Kind Regards,

John Thomson

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