EMS Training with Diabetes

EMS Training and Diabetes

I’ve worked with diabetic patients for more than twelve years at the Friedman Diabetes Institute (FDI) in New York City. The FDI is led by world-renowned diabetes researcher Leonid Poretsky. Now that I live in Los Angeles, my current role involves offering tele-health consultations for exercise prescriptions to all endocrinology-related patients: diabetes, pre-diabetes, PCOS, thyroid, weight management, and so on.

I wanted to explain my background because it has been a big part of my life. Over the past decade, and despite the boom in boutique fitness studios and the explosion of online fitness offerings in recent years, the number of people with diabetes has continued to increase. 

Diabetes in numbers:

According to the CDC, in 2019, 96 million people ages 18 and over had pre-diabetes. That’s roughly 1 in 3 adults in the US. Pre-diabetes is a condition where blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be diagnosed as Type 2 diabetes. It is sometimes referred to as impaired fasting glucose or impaired glucose tolerance. Without lifestyle changes, adults and children with pre-diabetes are at high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

The American Diabetes Association reports 11.3% of the US population had diabetes as of 2019. 

Seniors aged 65 and older have an even higher prevalence of diabetes at 29.2%.

Making exercise more accessible:

A big part of my role at the FDI is to find ways for people with diabetes to start exercising by taking into consideration their limitations, injuries, pains, aches, access to equipment, available time, and so on. 

When I first encountered Electro Muscle Stimulation (EMS), I saw the potential it had to circumvent many of these obstacles. EMS workouts are safe, joint-friendly, don’t require additional fitness equipment, only take about 20 minutes, and can actually alleviate muscular aches and pains

Let’s dive into more specifics on why exercise is so important for diabetes.

Benefits of exercise for diabetes

Exercise is an important part of managing diabetes and should be incorporated into a diabetes management plan along with a healthy diet, medication management, and regular monitoring of blood sugar levels. However, not all exercise is created equal. Resistance training, also known as strength training, or weight training has specific benefits over cardio.

Improves insulin sensitivity: Exercise can help improve insulin sensitivity, which means that the body’s cells are better able to use insulin to absorb glucose from the bloodstream. This can help lower blood sugar levels and reduce the need for insulin or other diabetes medications. Resistance training specifically helps with insulin sensitivity more than cardio.

Increased glucose uptake: Resistance training can increase the number and activity of glucose transporters in muscle cells, which can enhance the uptake and utilization of glucose by the muscles. This can help reduce blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity.

Helps manage weight: Exercise can also help with weight management, which is important for people with Type 2 diabetes who are often overweight or obese. Maintaining a healthy weight can help improve blood sugar control and reduce the risk of other health problems. 

Improved body composition: Strength training can help increase lean body mass and decrease body fat, which can also improve insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism.

Reduces cardiovascular risk: People with diabetes are at greater risk for cardiovascular disease, but exercise can help reduce this risk by improving cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and overall heart health.

Improves mood and energy levels: Exercise can also help improve mood and energy levels, which can be important for people with diabetes who may experience depression or fatigue as a result of the disease.

Helps prevent complications: Regular exercise can help prevent complications associated with diabetes, such as nerve damage, kidney disease, and vision problems.

What does the research say about diabetes and EMS fitness?

This study from 2015 aimed to investigate the effects of electrical muscle stimulation on glucose metabolism, body composition, and exercise performance in patients with Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). Fifteen individuals were trained twice weekly for 20 minutes for ten weeks with electrical muscle stimulation. The results showed a significant increase in oxygen uptake at the aerobic threshold, maximal work capacity, and a decrease in fasting blood glucose and A1C levels. The study suggests that EMS fitness might emerge as a novel additional therapeutic mode of exercise training for T2DM patients to improve glucose metabolism and functional performance.

We know from other studies that EMS workouts are an excellent alternative to resistance training which has all the benefits mentioned above on insulin sensitivity.

In my opinion, electrical muscle stimulation solves many obstacles around exercising consistently in addition to also offering many benefits to improve health and wellness.

Related articles:

Why EMS is so effective

Do you need weights if you’re using EMS?

If you are interested in learning more about EMS book a free consultation with me here: https://calendly.com/conradfitness/30min


Director of Education and Technology



Bodybuzz combines Certified Personal Training with Electrical Muscle Stimulation, giving your body a deeper, safer, and more effective workout. 20 minutes twice a week is all it takes!

Our personal trainers will guide you through a custom EMS workout designed specifically for you. Whether you’re looking to build strength, lose weight, get toned, or recover from an injury or illness, we offer a safe, low-impact solution to help get you there.

EMS has now been FDA-cleared for use in the US and we are proud to be one of the first companies to introduce this technology. It is a full-body workout that uses a special muscle stimulating suit that sends low-level impulses to your major muscle groups to trigger muscle contractions. It’s a unique sensation that is painless and invigorating. EMS workouts are designed to achieve optimal conditioning, burn fat, develop strength, build muscle, tighten skin, combat cellulite, jump-start your metabolism and restore your body’s natural balance.