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diabetic adult gymnast


I am a diabetic adult gymnast and endurance athlete. One day I decided to give adult gymnastics camp a go. For me, adult gymnastics camp was life changing …literally. 

The gymnastics part was amazing; fun, energizing, and healing.  After a rough career end, I always felt things ended before my time was up. Camp gave me the chance to find love and joy in the sport I was devoted to after crashing and burning.  As great and wonderful as this is, the life changing part is the improvement in my type 1 diabetes management.  The last 15 years I have treated my disease with an insulin pump. Diagnosed at age, 7, 40 today, it has been over 33 years and almost half of that time I spent hooked to my pump. For the three day camp, I was forced to remove my pump and get injections with long acting insulin. 

jules found out something she never would have known.

I noticed over the three camp days, my blood sugars were very stable. Something I could not achieve anymore with my pump while struggling daily to achieve balanced control and failing.  As every gymnast knows ... we don’t handle failure well, it’s not something we do.  It was crushing me physically and mentally riding my roller coaster of blood sugars.  I want to fly up and down with my body...not with my glucose levels.  

If you want to check out this same camp that Jules had her epiphany, go here.

So camp was over, and I was slowing one legging myself down the stairs, I decided to do an experiment. Take off the pump and do injections for three months-old school style. Well day 1 blood sugar wise was close to a perfect 10 (even though now it is like a 16 or something). I had a scheduled doctor’s appt. (such perfect timing! Like a properly blocked backhandspring to double back) and we agreed this treatment agreed with my body.  

the wins continue

It is now day 5 pump less. My average blood sugar over 30 days was 171. This was with me struggling, adjusting, going high, going low, and failing in my mind. Average blood sugar last 4 days…131. A non diabetic would have a blood sugar between 80-130 so this is nailing it (or sticking it!)

People discouraged me from going to camp as a diabetic adult gymnast saying I was too old, was going to hurt myself, and they said these things because they cared about my health. Yet following my passion, doing what my gut said was right led to an outcome we all desired…full body wellness. My health is improved and mean majorly improved. Never never in a million years would I have taken off my pump to injections if not for camp. Long term I’ll see how things turn out, but so far this plan is winning. Not in the crazy Charlie Sheen way but in the Simone Biles way.

follow your heart and you will be rewarded

I have been walking with a lighter step (after the soreness passed) with radiating happiness I have not felt in years.  Gymnastics camp rocked my world in more ways than one. So follow your passion, listen to what your gut is telling you.  The expected outcome may occur but other amazing secondary benefits arise as well.  Think positively and surround yourself with love (not necessarily love from others but love in an action, activity, etc ie: gymnastics) happiness follows.

Julieanne Estes

Type 1 diabetic adult gymnast, Mother of 2, wife, Ex-Level 10 national gymnast, regular gymnast forever, Tough Mudder & business owner.

Here is a visual of the leveling of my blood sugars.  The first is 90 days, second 3 days.  Flat is good and without all the ups and downs.

diabetic adult gymnast

jules doing front giants on strap bar

jules doing a side aerial

interested in our camp?

diabetic adult gymnasts

Go here for info. on our next camp. We are the NH camp!

Disclaimer: Adult gymnasts and coaches give advice and suggestions on this page. By reading and implementing the information, you assume all liability for injury. The advice given is for educational purposes only. Please check with your in-person coach and ensure that you have the proper pit, mats and/or spot available before trying any suggestions. If you don't agree to these terms, do not attempt anything that you see on this page.

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