It’s almost show time! Time for me to put on the sparkly bikini and plastic heels and strut my stuff on stage 😀 . Even though I love this sport, I have to admit that I find the posing a little silly. Don’t get me wrong, when I’m on stage I’m laser focused. I compete to win, so I always put on a show. I find that it’s kind of like acting and on show day I’m Christel the Fitness Diva.
The last week before a show is called peak week and you’ll see competitors transform their bodies significantly during that last week. At that point, the focus is no longer on building muscle but on getting to the right leanness and water retention level. This sounds tricky and it is. As a bikini competitor, you don’t want to come in too lean but you also don’t want to be holding a lot of water. Bikini girls are supposed to look a little soft and curvaceous but still VERY fit.
Given the complexity involved in peaking at precisely the right time (next Saturday at 11am), I rely heavily on my coach to tell me what to eat, how much to drink, and what workouts to do the last week before the show. However, my diabetes management is not something I can hand over to my coach. I have to have a solid plan myself
Diabetes management during peak week
My goal for peak week is to be in perfect control or as close to it as humanly possible. On show day, it’s a little different, but I’ll touch on that later.
I always aim for pretty tight glucose control, but during peak week, I don’t allow for any fluctuations at all. The main reason why I tighten up my diabetes management even more is that I firmly believe that my body performs the best when it’s in perfect balance.
I don’t want lows since I don’t want to have to eat additional carbs and because lows deplete the muscles. I also don’t want highs since I need to be able to still power through my workouts at max intensity and running high just makes that hard. Even worse, blood sugar fluctuations can cause bloating, water retention and just general discomfort. All things to be avoided when you stand on stage in a bikini in front of a room full of people
So what does perfect control mean to me? It means that I tighten my blood sugar range to between 80 mg/dl (4.5 mmol/L) and 126 mg/dl (7 mmol/L). That’s a tight range and if you don’t know exactly how your body reacts to specific foods and exercises, pretty much impossible to manage. That’s why spending all the weeks (or years) leading up to peak week learning through trial and error how your body reacts to food and exercise is so important (I have written about food and insulin around workouts before).
During peak week, I combine that knowledge with a lot of additional testing and, if needed, insulin adjustments. I’ve also dialed my basal insulin back, so my basal/bolus ratio becomes more bolus focused. Since I’m on pen therapy (MDI), I can’t just turn the basal off when I want to as you can when you use a pump, and having too much basal in my system will just have me running low.
It definitely helps that I’ve competed twice already since that makes me more confident in my choices. Choices such as completely skipping my night basal dose (I normally do split dose, in the morning and at night). That would have freaked me out in the past, but now I know that I’ll wake up in my desired blood sugar range given the exercises I’m currently doing and how many carbs I eat.
Diabetes management on show day
I mentioned that the situation is different on show day, where I don’t mind my sugars running a little high. There are a few reasons for that. I’d rather wake up on the day of the show with high blood sugars (not above 160 mg/dl (9 mmol/l) though) than low, since low blood sugars will make my muscles look depleted, while sugars on the higher side won’t. This is ONLY on show day, not something I practice on a daily basis!!
I also don’t mind running a little high during the actual day of my show, simply to make absolutely sure I don’t go low. So I test a little less frequent, and mainly with the purpose of ensuring I don’t go low and to help me dose for meals. For yes, I do eat throughout the day. It’s mainly rice cakes and nut butter but it’s food. Rice cakes and nut butter is the food of choice since it is calorie dense, takes up little room (so no food baby) and is pretty easy for me to dose for.
Peak week is a little crazy, but you can also most definitely characterize my sport as an extreme sport. I put in a little extra work when it comes to my diabetes management during peak week but it’s so worth it. I’m not going to let my diabetes determine how I look on stage or hold my back from having a perfect peak week!
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