• By Clancy Harrison
  • In 2017
  • November 2, 2017

Diabetes Training Camp

By: Angie Dye, MS, RDN, CSSD, LDN

As I write this, a group of my friends are completing a 100-mile bike ride in Amelia Island, Florida. That is pretty cool and pretty impressive. Just imagine all of the hard work and training that goes into being able to accomplish such a physical feat! Imagine now, that none of these friends have a working pancreas, and the normal biologic regulatory mechanisms that keep blood sugar stable during such a feat do not exist for them. They not only have the discipline to consistently train for and execute a century ride, they also have the mental skills needed to carefully manage insulin, carbohydrate and fluid intake and make adjustments for anything that prolonged physical exercise might do to their blood sugars. Yes, these friends are pretty amazing athletes living with Type 1 Diabetes and they do not let that interfere with any of the challenges that they would like to tackle.

Where did they find the skill set to be able to do this? Unfortunately, our current medical system does not allow for these kinds of skills to be taught at a routine doctor’s visit. Also, many athletes living with Diabetes don’t have a network of other athletes with Diabetes that they can use as a resource to learn. The friends who are cycling together, all met at Diabetes Training Camp, which is a unique 1-week experience where people living with Diabetes come together to learn, train and connect. The friendships made at camp continue to remain strong long after camp is over.

I have had the pleasure of being a Nutrition Staff member at this camp for the past six years, when they established a home base in Lancaster, PA. I have been amazed and inspired by the campers that have attended. Some come to learn how to manage insulin and nutrition for an Ironman triathlon, and some come to learn how to begin a basic exercise program. Athletes at both ends of the spectrum are equally inspiring. Where else do you find people that take a whole week away from family, friends, work and other obligations to truly focus on their physical and mental health?

Diabetes Training camp is led by Matthew Corcoran M.D., CDE, and exercise specialist with the American College of Sports Medicine, who brings his unique perspective to the medical management of diabetes and exercise. Other staff include additional physicians, Registered Nurses, Mental Skills Coaches, Registered Dietitians, Exercise Physiologists and elite coaches for cycling, swimming and running. It is pretty humbling to be a part of such of a group of experienced, kind, knowledgeable and supportive staff that help the campers set and achieve their goals.

As part of National Diabetes Month, I encourage you to learn more about Diabetes Training Camp and pass along this information to anyone living with Diabetes that is looking for a unique and life-changing experience. It is a gem of a resource for locals, but we consistently have campers who travel from all over the U.S. and even other parts of the world.

Diabetes Training Camp Alumnae at the start of the JDRF 2017 Ride to Cure Diabetes, Amelia Island, FL

Angie Dye, MS, RDN, CSSD is a Private Practice Dietitian who specializes in Intuitive Eating, Sports Nutrition and Gastrointestinal Nutrition in Hershey, PA.  Follow her on Facebook,  Twitter and Instagram.