Working Out With Diabetes: Achieving Fitness Goals


Working Out With Diabetes: Achieving Fitness Goals

After a long career working in diabetes, business woman, fitness model, and blogger Christel Oreum, and her husband, Tobias, created DiabetesStrong to share their passion for a healthy lifestyle and provide tools to help others achieve their fitness goals. Living with type 1 diabetes, she’s especially passionate about helping others with diabetes because of the positive impact fitness has made on her life. This article was originally published on the LOOP Blog on the Medtronic Diabetes website on October 8, 2015.  

Q. What is your background with health and fitness?

A. I have always been interested in health and fitness, but it wasn’t until a few years ago I decided to take it to the next level and get in fitness model shape. I got really into weightlifting and established a regular routine, and that’s when my body started to really change. In 2014, I took it further, tried out for a fitness competition, and I strutted my stuff on stage in Los Angeles. Fitness is important for everyone, but as a person with diabetes, I can see it directly influence my blood sugar control. It’s the most important tool (besides insulin) for maintaining my health, and what allows me to live the active lifestyle I love.

Q. How and why did you integrate your diabetes into your career?

A. My whole career has been in the diabetes industry, and I recently decided to focus full time on my fitness and diabetes website I run with my husband (who is also crazy about fitness). When I became more serious about fitness, I combed through the internet for scientific articles on fitness and diabetes, and found very little relevant information. There are a few experts out there who write about fitness and diabetes, but I was missing some easy to understand information on how to get started, what to be aware of, and how to do all of this in a way that would not affect my diabetes management negatively. I hope to support others in their fitness journey by sharing my experience and hopefully encourage them to get started.

Q. What’s your number one workout tip for someone with diabetes?

A. Be patient, it can be done! Take the time to learn how your body reacts to certain types of exercise, and find an activity you enjoy. If you’re not having fun, it’s not sustainable. You won’t get it right at first, but give it time and you will learn how to manage your diabetes while exercising. I have had to learn how my body reacts to different types of exercise. For example, my sugars drop during cardio and will rise during weightlifting sessions. As for the diet, I found that a well-balanced “clean” diet does if for me, both in regards to my fitness aspirations and managing stable blood sugars. I never think of my diet as special “diabetes food,” just normal healthy food.

Q. How do you use diabetes technology (continuous glucose monitors) to help with your workout?

A. I often rave about my MiniMed CGM, and encourage others to try out the technology. It has helped me gain an understanding of what kind of activities will make my sugars drop FAST, my true insulin sensitivities throughout the day, and how certain foods and activities affect my sugars over several hours. That information is golden!

Q. What advice would you give to someone who feels that diabetes will hold them back from accomplishing their dreams?

A. Often, it’s not what we think is holding us back that is actually holding us back. I hope to be an example of a way of life not determined by diabetes. But it does require planning and a structured approach. I firmly believe there is almost nothing you can’t do with diabetes. There might be some limitations (a career as an astronaut is probably not realistic), but other than that, you can do almost everything, as long as you are careful and know what you are doing. It took time and missteps, but that’s life and learning. I’m no super woman, just extremely determined, stubborn, and fairly structured (most of the time).

For information about how you can try out a MiniMed insulin pump and CGM system for FREE, visit the Medtronic Diabetes website by clicking here.

You can also learn about the world’s first hybrid closed loop insulin delivery system, the MiniMed 670G system! Click here to learn how to be among the first in line to put this new technology to work for you.


The Medtronic MiniMed 670G system requires a prescription and is intended for continuous delivery of basal insulin (at user selectable rates) and administration of insulin boluses (in user selectable amounts) for the management of type 1 diabetes mellitus in persons, fourteen years of age and older, requiring insulin as well as for the continuous monitoring and trending of glucose levels in the fluid under the skin.

WARNING: Medtronic performed an evaluation of the MiniMed 670G system and determined that it may not be safe for use in children under the age of 7 because of the way that the system is designed and the daily insulin requirements. Therefore this device should not be used in anyone under the age of 7 years old. This device should also not be used in patients who require less than a total daily insulin dose of 8 units per day because the device requires a minimum of 8 units per day to operate safely.

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