Exercise is one of those topics that can be polarizing depending upon who you talk to. Many people love it and some completely loathe it. I generally fall into the camp of loathing most exercise and many sports. Now fitness is a different story, I am much more open to the notion of being fit and it sounds better to me. The word fitness seems lighter, easier and not as heavy or burdensome as exercise.
Our culture promotes a sedentary lifestyle
We are a sedentary culture, we are simply not active, and our modern conveniences don’t help perpetuating the ease of this lifestyle. So its not hard to understand that many people who loathe exercise; whether it’s because they hate it, don’t have time for it, their lives get in the way or they simply can’t because of physical condition; suffer from high blood pressure high cholesterol, heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
“I ignored what I now know to be the symptoms and manifestations of type 2 diabetes.”
For many years I took fitness for granted avoided it. Maybe it was that I was terrible at sports as a kid and didn’t; really see the point. I was not one of the cool kids if I am being honest and hated every moment of school life until college.
As an adult, I felt as if I moved enough at work. I mean, I walked to and from the train during my commute, walked to and from the coffee machine and later as a Chef, was on my feet all the time. But I was overweight because I loved food and sugar and I quietly rationalized my being overweight with my age and stress load. I ignored what I now know to be the symptoms and manifestations of type 2 diabetes, but at the time; no one could tell me anything was wrong because no alarms were going off and I seemed healthy until I wasn’t.
My diagnosis was the wake up call
For the record, the last thing that I would wish on anyone is diabetes. But my diagnosis was the wake up call that made me reevaluate everything including my levels of fitness. I am grateful everyday that I was diagnosed. While I am more active now than ever before, I still struggle with my old, creeping thoughts of exercise and fitness: the boredom, the routine and wishing that I could lay on the couch. Those old terrible habits that are deeply rooted in my DNA to this day.
Welcome Nikki of Nikki Fitness
All this leads me to our podcast this week when Stacy and I recently sat down for a podcast conversation with Nikki Montesanti of Nikki Fitness. She’s an active and involved health coach as well as popular influencer on Instagram, clubhouse and TikTok. But what makes Nikki stand out is that she also has a successful track record with helping those with type 2 diabetes. Her clients get fit, active and with their improved energy and fitness, they are rewarded with massive reductions in blood glucose and A1C results as well.
We wanted to better understand her approach, how she works with her clients, specifically those with diabetes. How is she coaching during a time when many cannot go to a gym, play group sports, simply cannot afford it, or are simply intimidated by the gym or where to begin.
Get real about your starting point, you are where you are, period.
“…know where you’re at, how much sleep do you get, how much water do you drink, what and how often are you eating… most people have no idea…” says, Nikki.
Her philosophy and approach are practical, simple and easy to adopt: Get real about your starting point, you are where you are, period. This is where you must be dirt honest with yourself, get real and accept it.
“… know where you’re at, how much sleep do you get, how much water do you drink, what and how often are you eating… most people have no idea…” says, Nikki.
Focus on body not your weight
Focus on body fat not body weight. Nikki is not a fan of those who want to lose weight. “Its a huge mistake to simply want to lose weight, that’s not what most of my clients really want, they to reshape, sculpt, tone and tighten their bodies… weight is usually not the problem, fitness is.”
“do small things today, and a little more tomorrow.”
Rome was not built in a day and your exercise regimen should be no different. Start small she says: “do small things today, and a little more tomorrow.” Don’t take the little things you can do for granted she continues, “park at the end of parking lot and walk to store.. that activity adds up.
The best training for fitness
Regarding fitness training, resistance exercise is the key to faster, more beneficial long term results. Cardio, while important, is useless long term according to Nikki. Resistance training builds muscle, feeds on your sugars and more muscle also will speed up your metabolism long term. “Cardio workouts are great, but they’re momentary, they burn calories for a short period of time, then stop… because resistance training builds muscle, those muscles need more fuel on an ongoing basis, so the benefits are sustainable.”
Quarantined, stuck at home, intimidated by the gym… don’t let that stop you
We wanted to know, what was best advice for those who couldn’t go to the gym, whether because they were high risk or simply intimidated to go. “… just one piece of equipment is all you need, just one and that’s resistance bands.”
Many of her workout programs involve using resistance bands, dumbbells and even common household items.
” I like to ones without the handles because they are more versatile, and they can go everywhere.” Many of her member workout programs involve using resistance bands, dumbbells and even common household items like wine bottles and gallon milk jugs. the goal being focused, deliberate resistance training is whats best in her estimation. “You don’t have to do a lot of reps either, just do them right.”
Deliberate, paced sets of 10-12 reps each offer better strength building with less weight. “slow on the way up and slow on the way down..” Nikki advocates.
Stick with it by doing what you enjoy
Fitness and activity isn’t limited the treadmill or rowing machine, “… sticking with fitness is about doing what you love.” she says. She LOVES fitness, working out and strength training and as a result, has stuck with it, built a following and a business. This idea was a great reminder to me since I struggle with fitness as a lifestyle, I recall that I love to hike, rock climb and explore the outdoors. Being fit is a broad open field of ideas and activities that simply put: get you off the couch.
Don’t starve yourself
You must eat, you have to. But your food has to be a quality, well balanced meal, that manages carbs, proteins and nutrients. “If you eat right for your physical size and condition, your body will use the right foods properly and your diabetes symptoms will improve… it just happens.” Nikki states emphatically.
We hope you enjoy the podcast and thanks for listening
We hope you will enjoy our conversation with Nikki as she shares her story, her passion and more about getting fit with diabetes. We want to thank her for being on the show, and please follow her on online using her handles below.
You can follow Nikki at:
Facebook: Nikki Montesanti
Thank you Nikki for your passion, your focus and the support for the diabetes community!
Find Davis and Stacy at: