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Personal Training and Clients with Diabetes

We are in the middle of Diabetes Month and I thought I’d continue with the theme and reach out to you for input. Many of you responded to the last post about Diabetes and suggested that you work with clients who struggle with this disease. I hope you’ll share your expertise with us so we can better support our students and new professionals.

The following case study is based on a real client and comes from our Exercise Program Design for Special Populations online course. How would you respond to this scenario?

Jane is 50 years old and was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes 5 years ago. Jane is 5’2” and weighs 180 lbs. She is currently taking an oral medication (troglitazone) for her diabetes and an antihypertensive medication (beta blocker) for her stage 1 high blood pressure, and does not monitor her blood glucose. Jane reports that her health is OK. She does not suffer from complications, but gets easily fatigued doing housework and cleaning. Furthermore, she reports that taking a stroll with her husband at the local mall makes her knees and hips uncomfortable after about 15 to 25 minutes. She has not seen her doctor in over a year; however, her diabetes educator has encouraged her to participate in regular physical activity. She has asked you to assist in the development of an activity regime. Her goals are to improve her endurance and lose about 45 lbs.

We will gather your responses to share with our students. Help us help our students! I look forward to hearing from you!


If you want to learn more about exercise program design for individuals with diabetes, please check out our online course, Exercise Program Design for Special Populations. We have a section completely dedicated to Diabetes. Also, our Personal Trainer Certification and Older Adult Exercise Specialist Certification touch on the importance of safe and effective exercise to prevent and slow down this disease.

For more information about Diabetes and American Diabetes Month, please visit

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4 thoughts on “Personal Training and Clients with Diabetes

  1. This month hits home to me as my nephew, who is 8 years younger than I am has been battling the medications and diet to control the effects of diabetes. What would you say would be the first three things he should do to help balance the effects of diabetes? I was really frightened when I found him passed out in the driveway one afternoon. He is mid 40’s and 225.

    1. Thanks for sharing! That must have been very scary for you to find your nephew like that. The first thing I’d recommend is to make sure he has his medication under control. I strongly suggest he take a class as well, which I’m sure is available through a nearby hospital, doctors office or community group. Diabetics really have to understand what is going on with their bodies, how to identify symptoms, and to listen to what their bodies are telling them. It is thankfully, a disease he can control–but he has to understand what his body needs and how to respond to the signs (before he passes out!). Once he becomes better educated and gets his medications stabilized and under control, I’d recommend he seek out a personal trainer who has demonstrated experience working with diabetics. Once he has a greater understanding of his body, the disease, the medications, and safe exercise, he should be able to live a full, productive, active and enjoyable life!

      I’d like to hear what others would recommend!

  2. Great recommendations! Getting meds in sync is crucial…but the exercise and diet are also key to balancing the serious symptoms from diabetes. My wish this Christmas is that we all add exercise to our daily routine. Even if it is for only 20 minutes out of your day.

  3. Thanks! That’s a great Xmas wish!

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