The Power of Exercise: How It Impacts Diabetes, Insulin Resistance, and Weight Loss

In this video, the benefits of exercise for diabetes, insulin resistance, and weight loss are discussed. The primary focus is on the hormonal imbalances associated with these conditions, particularly insulin, cortisol, and human growth hormone. Aerobic exercise, which can be sustained for a long duration, helps improve insulin sensitivity in muscles, while anaerobic exercise increases cortisol production and can worsen insulin resistance. High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is recommended for its ability to increase human growth hormone levels. The video emphasizes the importance of understanding the different types of exercise and their effects on hormones to optimize health outcomes.

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Key Insights:

  • Diabetes, insulin resistance, and weight loss are all related to hormone imbalances.
  • The three hormones to focus on are insulin, cortisol, and human growth hormone.
  • Aerobic exercise helps increase human growth hormone, while anaerobic exercise increases cortisol.
  • High-intensity interval training (HIIT) produces a significant amount of human growth hormone in a short amount of time.
  • The benefits of exercise include reducing insulin resistance, improving circulation, increasing growth hormone and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), strengthening brain cells, balancing stress responses, and improving mood and digestion.
  • Exercise should be done in a balanced manner, combining aerobic, anaerobic, and HIIT workouts.


The best exercise for diabetes, insulin resistance, and weight loss is often recommended, but it is important to understand why and the benefits it provides. Many people believe that exercise is solely about burning calories or the idea of „no pain, no gain“ for weight loss, but this is not entirely accurate. To exercise effectively, we need to consider the principles of exercise and its impact on hormones.

Diabetes, insulin resistance, and weight loss are all related to hormonal imbalances. The primary hormones involved are insulin, cortisol (stress hormone), and human growth hormone. Insulin is responsible for regulating blood sugar levels and storing excess glucose. People with diabetes, insulin resistance, and weight issues typically have high levels of insulin. Cortisol, released in response to stress, increases glucose levels and further stimulates insulin release. Human growth hormone, on the other hand, is a rejuvenating hormone that aids muscle building, metabolism, and fat burning.

To exercise correctly and avoid worsening diabetes, insulin resistance, or weight loss issues, we must understand these hormonal aspects. Traditional beliefs suggest that exercise improves insulin sensitivity, which is partly true for muscle insulin sensitivity during exercise. However, exercise has little impact on long-term insulin resistance in the liver, a key factor contributing to insulin resistance. Therefore, it is crucial to recognize that exercise alone may not significantly improve insulin resistance.

The regular exercise guidelines recommended by organizations like the American Diabetes Association often overlook important aspects of hormonal response. Moderate to vigorous exercise for at least 30 minutes, five times a week, is suggested. However, there is a significant difference in hormone response between moderate and vigorous exercise. Moderate aerobic exercise can have some positive effects on growth hormone and cortisol levels, but vigorous exercise can lead to excessive cortisol production and insulin resistance.

Additionally, the advice of doing a brisk ten-minute walk after each meal is misguided. After eating, the body allocates resources to digestion, and exercising right after may interfere with proper digestion, leading to issues such as GERD, heartburn, and leaky gut. Exercise should align with the body’s natural processes, not force it to do something contrary to its design.

Unfortunately, many recommendations still focus on calorie burning and pain-inducing exercises, suggesting that more intense and prolonged exercise is better. However, the benefits of exercise are primarily related to hormonal responses and balance, not calorie counting. There are three broad categories of exercise: aerobic (with air), anaerobic (without air), and high-intensity interval training (HIIT).

Aerobic exercise, which can be sustained for a long duration, relies on oxygen for fuel and does not cause significant stress or a surge in cortisol. It is advantageous for increasing growth hormone and circulation.

Anaerobic exercise, such as aerobics classes or intense cardio workouts, is stressful and leads to elevated cortisol levels. This type of exercise can worsen hormonal imbalances and insulin resistance. Unless you genuinely enjoy these activities for reasons other than exercise, they may not be beneficial for those with diabetes, insulin resistance, or weight loss goals.

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is an effective form of aerobic exercise that pushes the body to its limits for short periods, rapidly increasing growth hormone levels. HIIT sessions can be as short as a couple of minutes if done at maximum effort, making it an efficient way to boost metabolism and promote fat burning.

Exercise benefits go beyond burning calories. The benefits, ranked in reverse order of importance, include calorie burning (if coupled with reduced insulin resistance), improved circulation, increased growth hormone, increased brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), brain benefits, and balancing stress responses.

Exercise stimulates brain activity by providing the signals necessary for brain health, particularly the cognitive center responsible for motivation and abstract thought. Higher brain function leads to improved focus, mood, and memory retention. Movement is a vital component of brain health, as it represents 90% of the signals received by the brain.

By understanding the hormonal aspects and the benefits of exercise, we can develop a well-rounded exercise routine that supports overall health, weight loss, and management of insulin resistance and diabetes. It is essential to combine exercise with a low-carb diet to address insulin levels properly. Rather than solely focusing on calorie burning, embrace exercise for the significant benefits it offers, especially in brain health and overall well-being.

Remember, exercise is not about punishment or excessive pain; it is about bringing balance to the body and adopting a sustainable routine that aligns with your goals and health conditions.