Approximately 422 million people around the world have diabetes (95% have Type 2 diabetes). Just for illustration’s sake: That number is equivalent to almost three-quarters of the total population of North America.
But just because it’s common doesn’t mean it’s OK, and a diabetes diagnosis can lead to more than tingly feet. The disease increases the likelihood of eventual limb amputation, blindness, heart attack, and stroke, and is one of the leading causes of kidney failure. In 2019, 1.5 million people died from diabetes.
But as diabetes prevalence continues to rise, there are some places where the numbers fall back. Havens of health where the tide of chronic disease not only goes out, but dries up altogether.
They exist in each of the 13,000 CrossFit affiliates around the globe.
November is National Diabetes Month, and while the statistics are sobering, it’s also a time for celebration. Because whether you have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, you have the power to feel and move better, live longer and stronger, and thrive despite your diagnosis.
Start by calling your local affiliate. Then get inspired by the stories below.
(Stay tuned for a compendium of educational resources from the CrossFit archives to come next week!)
After changing his diet and starting CrossFit, Rainier Ward lost 145 lb, reversed his diabetes, and normalized his blood pressure.
Dave Sanford got off all diabetes medication a year after becoming a regular at CrossFit Cocoa Beach.
“I have … been able to lower the amount of insulin I take daily, including my bolus ratio. This is due to the change in body composition, because insulin works more efficiently with muscle than fat.” —Catherine Cochran, Type 1 diabetic
After a sudden Type 1 diabetes diagnosis, Chris Will gains strength and health with CrossFit.
Andrew Perzel fights back after eight years with Type 2 diabetes.
First he changed his diet. Then he started taking classes at CrossFit Painesville. Six months later, Pete Katz was off his medications.
How Daniel Long reversed his Type 2 diabetes.
After a decade of CrossFit, Cheri Miyashiro has lost more than 160 lb. and reversed her Type 2 diabetes.
How Lani Fry defied her genetics.
Daniel Trejo chooses nutrition and movement over medicine.
After starting CrossFit, Leo San Juan lost almost 70 lb, and his doctor said the Type 2 diabetic didn’t need insulin anymore.
Greg Fox stabilizes his blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol; drops all meds.
“Diabetes was ravaging my body.” —Jason Addams
After 11 months of CrossFit, Ron De La Torre’s doctor cleared him to stop taking the medications he had been on for nearly 20 years, including prescriptions for cholesterol, diabetes, and blood pressure.
Laura Heath backs away from the brink of diabetes.
Karan Mehta lost 130 lb and reversed his prediabetes after less than a year of CrossFit and healthy eating.
“A diabetic can be a competitor.” —Steve Rodriguez
When a friend introduced her to CrossFit, Downey quickly changed her life for the better.
It wasn’t until he found CrossFit that Jonathan Stoops finally turned his life around.
Unhappy, overweight, and in the worst physical shape of his life, Jay took courageous first steps away from the comfortable mediocrity of unhealthy complacency.
Sick of traditional medicine’s poor results and unwilling to resort to surgery, Junior Smithen decided to start CrossFit.
“This is about functionality. It’s about being able to live to the optimum.” —Junior Smithen
In East L.A. — a “junk-food swamp,” Harold Goldstein says — Sergio Martinez and his fellow Backyard CrossFit coaches are at the forefront of a health revolution.
With his new fitness and nutrition regimens, Stuart Morrison isn’t just managing his disease: He’s thriving.
Two parents change their lifestyles and set an example.
In just two years, Liz Cromwell greatly decreased her body-fat percentage and cut her insulin usage down from an entire pen to just 20 mL per day.
Jon Copeland reduces his daily insulin shots with CrossFit.
Laurie Roth gets on the right path after a Type 1 diagnosis and more than a 60-lb weight gain.
A mother’s battle with and eventual triumph over Type 2 diabetes.
“I have the tools in my life to deal with this, I mean, 100 percent. I’ve got CrossFit; I’m surrounded by like-minded people who like to eat the same way.” —Mike Hoge