The end of the year approaches, as schools go on break. The end of the year is one of the most stressful times for a diabetic, especially during the holidays. However, as sports seasons hit their halfway mark, playoffs are coming up as well. This is the time when your sugars need to be as stable as they can be so that you can perform at your best. There are many ways to do this and in this blog, I will go over a few of them.
One of the best ways a diabetic athlete can manage their sugars while playing at their best is by eating right. This does not mean you have to limit yourself to the amount of food you want to eat. Instead, eat more meals and snacks that contain less sugar. Eating more protein is one of the best supplements for carbohydrate-heavy foods. Especially while you’re trying to maintain the strength you have built up over the season, chicken is one of the greatest items to have on your plate at this time of the year. Pregame meals are different for everybody. For those who like to carbo-load before game time, pasta is the best move, but make sure to include lots of protein in there so that your body can fill itself with energy while cutting a small number of carbohydrates that can raise your blood sugar.
Right before game time, it is important that you have something on hand that will raise your blood sugar fast in case of emergencies. I have found that one of the best things is a small Gatorade or Powerade. The smaller bottles contain the perfect amount of sugar to raise your
blood sugar without spiking your sugar so high that it impacts your performance. Another way to stabilize your blood sugar is by checking thirty minutes before you play. If you’re hovering on the low side, drink about half of that small Gatorade or Powerade.
Water is one of the most, if not the most, important thing a diabetic athlete needs to stabilize their sugar. On the day of your game, you should drink about a half, if not a whole, gallon of water. When an athlete’s blood sugar spikes high during a game, they will start to get dehydrated very quickly, so it is important that you hydrate throughout the day so it doesn’t impact how you play.
As playoffs start to come up, it’s important that you get some kind of exercise every day. If an athlete decides to take a break one day and lay around, their blood sugar will start to go all over the place. On the days you have off, go for a short run, or some kind of light workout so that your body can burn off some of that sugar. It can also be easy to eat lots of junk food on your off days, so it’s important to manage your eating habits.
Finally, many athletes like to drink some sort of energy drink or pre-workout before a game. As a diabetic, I have drunk a lot of these and it doesn’t affect your sugar as much. Many energy drinks are sugar-free, but make sure that the one you buy is because it can be hard to get your sugar stabilized that close to game time.
Being a diabetic athlete is only slightly more stressful, but it shouldn’t have to impact your life. Make sure to monitor your blood sugar as much as possible. Insulin is the best tool, but to manage the spikes in your blood sugar, eating right and exercising are the best options. As competition intensifies, it is important to stay on your game.