“Build­ing mus­cles was my life changer” How Frank Karg works out with type 1

Sales com­pany man­ag­ing direc­tor Frank Karg, 53, wants other peo­ple with di­a­betes to know the health ben­e­fits of weight lift­ing

Diabetic Living - - Contents -

Tell us about your child­hood.

I’m the youngest of seven and I grew up in Ohio, US. Me and my el­dest brother Dan, who has since passed, were di­ag­nosed with type 1 – him when he was four and me when I was 10. My brother had been deal­ing with di­a­betes for 17 years al­ready so I was able to ask him – and the doc­tors – a lot of ques­tions. My mother pre­pared me for the fu­ture by teach­ing me how to cook nu­tri­tious meals.

How did you deal with di­a­betes in your teens?

I had some con­trol but wanted more. I was phys­i­cally ac­tive – I loved ten­nis and scuba div­ing – but my blood glu­cose lev­els (BGLs) fluc­tu­ated a lot.

How did you get your BGLs un­der con­trol?

It hap­pened when I started lift­ing weights reg­u­larly at univer­sity in 1982. As I trained and gained mus­cle, my BGLs came into more ac­cept­able ranges. I read a study about the fastest ways to build mus­cle fi­bre. That’s what changed ev­ery­thing for me.

What did your re­search lead you to?

I read about spe­cific lifts that help you gain mus­cle mass the quick­est, and about how the body stores glu­cose (glyco­gen) in the mus­cle fi­bres and the liver. I was ex­cited and wanted to spread this mes­sage. Just last year I cre­ated some videos with sim­ple ex­er­cises that are avail­able on my web­site build­ing­mus­cle­sto­help.com – to help peo­ple with di­a­betes.

Life is full of chal­lenges, how do you man­age that?

I met my Aus­tralian wife Ka­t­rina on hol­i­day in Rome in 1997, and we moved from the USA to Bris­bane in 2005. She trag­i­cally passed away in 2015 af­ter com­pli­ca­tions of scle­ros­ing peri­toni­tis (a rare in­flam­ma­tory con­di­tion). Dan had passed away in 2010 af­ter two kid­ney trans­plants and los­ing them was

dev­as­tat­ing. I man­aged my BGLs dur­ing those times by keep­ing a close eye on them, ad­just­ing my in­sulin ac­cord­ingly and I also con­tin­ued lift­ing weights.

What sup­port do you have?

My son James, who is 18. We’re a great fa­ther and son team. He, my friends and neigh­bours know what to do if I go into in­sulin shock – give me some Coca-Cola. Thank­fully, they haven’t had to do that.

How has your health af­fected your son?

My at­ten­tion to my health has in­flu­enced him. He doesn’t have di­a­betes but he eats nu­tri­tious food and lifts weights with me.

How is your health now?

My kid­neys are good and I have no signs of neu­ropa­thy or im­po­tency. I’ve worked hard to keep my di­a­betes in con­trol and rarely have any trou­bles with it. I put my good health down to build­ing mus­cle mass and eat­ing well. I’m also care­ful to man­age my med­i­ca­tion well.

You love to ex­er­cise, how of­ten do you work­out?

I lift weights once or twice a week, play ten­nis once a week, cy­cle when I get the chance, and I love to scuba dive. Peo­ple with di­a­betes who are reg­u­larly phys­i­cally ac­tive more eas­ily metabolise glu­cose and of­ten re­quire less daily in­sulin.

What’s your ad­vice for other peo­ple with type 1 di­a­betes?

Build your mus­cles, eat prop­erly and ex­er­cise. Walk­ing is good for your heart and lift­ing weights is great for your di­a­betes. I’ve worked hard to keep my di­a­betes un­der con­trol and have done a good job since I was 18 and started lift­ing weights.

In terms of food, I usu­ally have a protein shake with ap­ple juice af­ter lift­ing weights, play­ing ten­nis or cy­cling.

I built my web­site to try and help peo­ple with di­a­betes in Australia. In my opin­ion more mus­cle equals more con­trol. In gen­eral I’d say eat prop­erly and ex­er­cise at least twice a week.

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