Insulin Resistance and Insulin Sensitivity

In the fitness and exercise world these are two very crucial topics, that many people are uneducated about. My hope is the shed some light on this for you.


Insulin is a hormone that is secreted by the pancreas and allows your body to use glucose from carbohydrates as fuel, or to store it as body fat. It regulates itself from becoming to high or low. When your body becomes insulin resistant, it will often try to produce more insulin as a coping mechanism, which in turn leads to high blood sugar. This is a common condition of diabetes, because becoming insulin resistant is a step in the road to to becoming a diabetic. This happens when the cells in the body fail to respond normally to the hormone insulin, thus the term insulin resistance. Basically the more resistant you are to insulin, the more likely the food you eat will be stored as fat, because high insulin levels increase fat storage.


Eventual symptoms of resistance can include trouble concentrating, always feeling tired, weight gain, inflammation, diabetes, and high blood pressure or cholesterol levels. You can help to regulate your blood sugar levels by choosing carbohydrate sources which are low glycemic. This is because they are digested and absorbed slowly in the body, helping to control the body’s response to insulin. This will improve energy levels, body composition, and also keep you full in between meals.


Low glycemic carbohydrate sources include; yams, hummus, lentils, beans, prunes, grapefruit, dates, apples, berries, whole wheat bread or wraps, brown rice, quinoa, oatmeal, skim milk, and low fat yogurt. These are just a few of the many options available.


Now let’s look at insulin sensitivity. This is the opposite of insulin resistance. Upon consuming a meal your blood glucose rises, once you have digested the food. Insulin in the body then starts to work by binding with your cells, to either store the glucose as muscle glycogen (muscle energy), or as fat. For this reason, eating a meal post workout with high glycemic or simple carbohydrates is recommended, because after a workout you have completely burned through glucose and stored glycogen. Since you want to get nutrients to the muscle cells as fast as possible, simple carbs will digest much faster than complex.

Insulin sensitivity really boils down to how effective your body is at using insulin to reduce elevated blood glucose levels. Basically the more insulin sensitive you are, the more effectively your body uses insulin for energy. What makes you more insulin sensitive? This is a pretty simple answer, to a very complex topic; a clean diet rich in nutrients, vitamins and minerals, regular exercise, and the use of some supplements can help.


Bree Hunter

Bree Hunter is a Calgary fitness model and personal training professional. Since entering the world of fitness modelling, Bree has achieved an extraordinary and unparalleled year-round physique and she is excited to help her clients reach the same levels of success. Bree's drive and determination saw her achieve high levels of success on the. . .

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