Diabetes and the high cost of gyms

Something I've been thinking about for a while. I've been wanting to join a gym. However, I've discovered that not only are they astronomically expensive, I have not met ONE single trainer who new anything about diabetes, nor the complexity of taking insulin. It doesn't make sense to me. Why am I gonna spend a crap load of money going to a gym & trainer, if there is not even a nurse (bare minimum) on the premises???

In fact... All the money we dish out to take care of our diabetes, we should get MAJOR discounts... LOL

How do you guys feel about this??

I belonged to a gym for years - $600+/year. Then I started putting that money aside and buying gym equipment. I have a nice little home gym now.
As far as diabetes, I think you are on your own! Isn’t that the way it always is.
Actually, based on my experiences with gyms, I think you are on your own with everything. My final straw for quitting wasn’t the money, it was watching a new trainer “interview” for the job. They asked this guy (whom I knew as a bike mechanic) to bench press, when he successfully did so without killing himself they hired him. I’d rather my trainers had some actual knowledge, thank you very much.

Given the health benefits of exercise, one would think that insurance would support the gym fees, but sadly no. On the other hand, if you have a health care spending account, a gym fee can be expensed as a valid health care expense. You just have to have your doctor write you a prescription that it is medically necessary. What doctor would look you in the eye and tell you that you should not exercise.

In truth, I spend even more than TS and I actually have an elliptical, treadmill, nordictrack, universal gym, dumbells, barbells, and benches at home.

In my experience, I’ve not met a single trainer that I would pay for advice. And I certainly would not look to them to have any specialized knowledge about diabetes. I made the mistake of telling a trainer I had D once and all she would do is fret over me going hypo or hurting myself. If I wanted to do foofy exercises with pink dumbells on a bosu ball, I would have stayed at home.

At one point, Golds was offering a free month as part of their support for diabetes. That being said, there are some strategies that you can use to get less expensive access to gyms depending upon your needs and circumstances.

Recently, I purchased a Total Gym (with the works). I really like it, and worth the money (in my opinion). But sometimes it’s nice to have the motivation from a qualified trainer. I didn’t realize they didn’t exist until I started looking. So sad. Gov. & Insurance companies talk about prevention, but in reality we are all screwed.

Also, your old trainer must have been scared of liability, that’s way she was overly concerned about the lows.

As what happens with some People though, my Daughter paid the price for the gym last year and only used it about 7 times. She was too tired after work or too many other engagements or other things to do. We have our exercise equipment in the basement so any of us can use it when we want to. My Hubby is a pretty good “trainer” for us also. Good Luck!

We have a gym on premises at my work and I feel terrible that I have never used that facility! And we get a personal trainer, too, at no cost. And there’s a medical facility right next door so that any emergencies can be addressed immediately. Wow! And I was letting this resource go unused? I think I need to start making use of the benefits available at my work.

Ah, you misunderstood - I’ve spent $600-1000/year based on my jar full of money not spent at the gym that year. Your home gym sounds much like mine. I started with free weights and built up every year to have a rowing machine, elliptical (turns out I hate ellipticals)…
My endo wants me to stop lifting weights (I’m a 43 yr old overweight female T1), I’ve been lifting since I was 12, I love weightlifting. So, based on his push, I, too, have purchased a total trainer (like a total gym, but different). It’s not free weights, but it’s a nice compromise. So far I like it fine, but can’t stop myself from supplementing free weights for many exercises. It’s probably the 1 piece of equipment that I use the most.

I work at a gym (not a trainer) and all our trainers are certified in some specialty; physiology, sports fitness, nutrition and weight loss, sports medicine, joint and muscle function, and fitness specific to older adults. They are not Doctors nor claim to be. They are not educated in diseases. A trainer who has some nutritional counseling would be your best pick but since Diabetes is such a personal and individual disease, it’s hard to expect any trainer to know your routine, insulin resistance, carb ratio etc. A good trainer can help with losing weight, building muscle and nutrition but you’ll have to enlighten them about your specific medical needs. They can tell you how to exercise, they know about your muscles and ligaments and bones and what not to do so that you don’t get hurt and get you started into a routine but only you know how to adjust your insulin/carbs. They’re not easy to find, but if you can find a good one you might be able to develope a wonderful relationship that would be of great benefit. You’re right, most are not cheap but there are alot of small less expensive gyms popping up, maybe you can schedule some sessions with a freelance trainer to get you started. It’s a great idea if you can set up something at home, but that’s where dedication is important! And never be afraid to interview before you commit! :slight_smile:
Good luck! Hope you find the answer

I don’t use a trainer so that’s not an expense I worry about.

I recommend you get a copy of “The Diabetic Athlete” by Sherri Colberg for some diabetes specific advice about training and exercise in a variety of sports.

You might consider finding a trainer you like and offering a deal in which he trains you on physical fitness and YOU train HIM on diabetes. I just thought of that - pretty marvelous, huh?

Another option is a CrossFit gym which includes training in the membership. Personally, I go to the Y and figure out my own training regimen from free resources. If I need motivation, I compete with the person next to me. :slight_smile: Or with myself.


I belong to a gym, been there for like 8 years. While the cost of this one is high and there are cheaper ones available, the ammenities I was looking for supports the overall cost.

Through my experiences I have found that not a single staff member knew what to do if a diabetic had a medical emergency.

So what am I going to do if something happens to me, right?

I took it upon myself to educate people. I got to know the class instructors and I told them the issue and they forwarded me to the group fitness department head (I love group fitness… so I wanted them to know first). I asked if I could set a day and time to go over the concern I have and she was more than happy to do that.

I brought books, fliers, juice boxes, etc.
I brought my testing kit, my pump, insulin, syringes, medical id.

we sat there for a couple of hours reviewing everything, it was like a diabetes 101 course and I explained the differences in types and complications, everything.

She took this information from me and put it into a comprehensive course she offers to all the fitness instructors and personal trainers every single year. She also stocked her office and the offices of the trainers with juice boxes and a sheet that lists symptoms of an emergency.

I want to feel comfortable knowing that if I run into trouble someone can help me and Im sure there are other diabetics who work out there, but if no one speaks up, how will anyone know what to do?

But sometimes it’s nice to have the motivation from a qualified trainer.

Well, I have to tell you, there is nothing better for motivation than finding a good training partner. It does not have to be a diabetic, but someone who has similar goals and exercise approaches. I’ve worked out for the last few years with a friend from down the street. We belong to the same gym. We motivate each other to go to the gym, we feel obligated to each other. We encourage and help each other in our workouts, spotting weights, critiquing form and making certain exercises “more difficult.”

And the best part, I don’t have to pay him.

Why does your endo want you to stop lifting weights? That just seems strange. And I consider a Total Gym and a Total Trainer to both be weight training equipment as opposed to a treadmill or elliptical which would be cardio.

And just so you know, we think of you as a 43 yr young curvy female T1. If you can change your thinking, I’ll try to think of myself as a dudely bodybuilder who just happens to have seen 50 winters.

There’s a gym in my area called Planet Fitness which charges only $10/month to use – after an initial, one-time sign-up fee. It’s open nearly 24/7, closing for only a couple hours each week to do routine maintenance. Of course, with that low a price, there isn’t an on-duty nurse, no pool, and no classes. You can meet with their “trainers”, but like you found out, they are not well-versed in diabetes. Or nutrition, for that matter (and some think that because they’ve been hired as a “trainer”, they can also lecture you about nutrition). The one trainer I met with also worked for Macaroni Grill, so he knew how those dishes were made, and knew they were extremely high in carbs and fat. I give him kudos for knowing that, but he didn’t know that (1) all vegetables, fruits, and grains contain carbs. Varying amounts of carbs, but all have carbs, nonetheless; (2) carbs and sugars are the same thing – carbs are just more complex (meaning VERY basically a longer molecule); (3) all foods have an impact on your blood sugar, not just carb-loaded ones (nutcase tried to tell me I wouldn’t have to take any insulin if I ate just protein and fat). When I asked him about how different exercises would impact blood sugars, he completely ignored aerobic exercises (i.e. treadmill, elliptical, etc) and focused on resistance training. Now, I realize that for most people, increasing the percentage of lean muscle does improve insulin sensitivity and as such, improves blood sugars, but that is (generally speaking) in the long run. Aerobic exercises burn sugars now (again, generally speaking). Not knowing that certainly doesn’t impress me and left me feeling a bit concerned over whether or not I should be exercising in a gym as a type 1 diabetic where the people running it knew so little about diabetes.

FWIW, I still go there, but I do not go there without a partner who knows something about dm, and I never go without my meter, some insulin, and a few snacks or glucose tabs. I don’t rely on the people who work there, because I honestly do not see them as knowing more than my cat when it comes to diabetes.

and you could let him/her know the symptoms of a medical emergency just in case anything happens…

see, you got someone to help you stay motivated and help you when you fall low!

I have to just mention Planet Fitness is infamous for their “Lunk Alarm.” If you grunt, you will get “corrected” (http://www.planetfitness.com/lunk.htm). Keep up that manly singing and drop those dumbells and you will be thrown out. I am not sure I would survive there, but for $10/month who can argue. That is much less than I pay now for the honor of throwing my dumbells grunting and generally being obnoxious.

It was the end of Passover last night, and I asked my kids where they wanted to eat. Macaroni Grill (you have to give up pasta for Passover). I follow Bernstein. Macaroni Grill actually has a bunch of diabetic friendly meals. I had Italian Sausage Spiedini, italian sausage and roast veggies, only $8.99. That along with salad and some Chianti and I was a happy camper. No need to grunt.

I’ve seen the lunk alarm on the wall of my Planet Fitness, but thought it was there just for show! I’m glad no one’s hit it when I’ve been in there, grunting while I’ve tried to move the ab toner! Or when I’ve tried to push my mom to walk a little faster or go a little longer. That would really get my goat, since someone who might criticize me for pushing my mom is not likely to know that she has PAD, Peripheral Artery Disease, that it hurts to walk for more than 5 minutes, and that her doctors want her to walk through the pain. Giving her a push in the right direction is not a bad thing, IMO, but I can certainly see how some people might mistake it for me being a lunk!

I’ll have to check out Macaroni Grill’s menu and find some of those meals! While I do not do Bernstein, Atkins, or even Zone-like meals, I do find that in Italian-style restaurants here in the states, the portion sizes of pasta that are served are outrageously huge. As someone who grew up with an Italian grandma, I think like half my blood must be made of sauce and pasta :wink: so no giving that stuff up! That guy didn’t mention meals like that, but then again, perhaps he’s not into low carb. Besides, it was probably better for him not to say much of anything else. I had a hard time biting my tongue and not correcting his misconceptions!

So I guess anybody that has turret syndrome would be thrown out…

Dont be frustrated, walking up flights of stairs, brisk walks, handweights at home can give you are similar (physical workout).

I went to Craigslist for physical trainers and wrote to each one about their certifications and had they ever worked with diabetics. Several answered me back. Since I live in the Hollyweird personal trainers are a dime a dozen. Plus trainers try to cater to the stars…There are a growing number of celebrity that are undercover diabetics.

Eventually I went with a gentleman that I know that practiced MMA and boxing. I just make sure I eat properly before we work out. It is hard to find somebody that is equipped to handle the needs of a diabetic.

I have been personal training for almost 9 years now. You are right, there are not many trainers out there who know about diabetes. There are also a lot of really aweful trainers out there and many of them have no business training people. I know from my experience in different gyms that there are far too many gyms who will hire just about anyone to be a trainer. The only requirement is that the person is breathing! My advice is to find out what background the trainer has. I worked as a fitness director for a club and we only hired trainers who had a degree in exercise science and/or had a national certification. I would look for someone with a 4 year degree in exercise science or exercise physiology and/or has a NASM, ISSA, ACE, or ACSM certification.

Once you find someone with the background I would suggest only buying a few sessions so you can try the trainer out. Some gyms will only try to sell you packages but if you are persistant you can buy a few at a time. Let the trainer know what your routine is, your previous exercise experience and your fears about working out. A good trainer is someone who will listen to you and work with your specific needs. They may not know everything about diabetes initially, but if they are good, they will learn how exercise impacts your BG and how to help you acheive your fitness goals. Let me know if you have any questions and I am more than happy to help!