A Type 2 Titan


I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in October of 1996 when I was 19 years old. At the time of my diagnosis, I worked out a few days prior and noticed I was abnormally sore. At first, I went to the hospital and received a shot for my muscles and was sent home. After, I was experiencing extreme thirst, sweating, and was urinating a lot. Nowhere in my mind did I think I had diabetes. 

A few days later, I didn’t have the strength to stand. My son’s mother, who was nine months pregnant with him at the time, and her father drove me to the hospital. There, I was told my blood sugar was 55.6 mmol/L1000 mg/dL, which was 10 times the normal level! This level is not only abnormal, but it can be deadly. I’m lucky I was able to be seen by a doctor. 

I was put on an insulin drip for the five longest days of my life and had to eat a sugar-free, low-carb, flavorless diet. By the third day, I was able to eat mandarin oranges; they were the only thing that had any flavor. 

Adjusting to my new life with diabetes definitely had its challenges. I drank a lot of diet soda and was prescribed metformin and insulin. For a while, I thought I would die because I couldn’t give myself an insulin injection. At that time, insulin pens weren’t available to me, so I had to use a syringe and vials to take Humalog. 

It. Was. Horrible. 

I’d seen family members suffer from diabetes, too. My mom, grandmother, aunt and cousin all had diabetes. My father did as well and unfortunately, he passed from diabetes-related complications. Diabetes care became a lot easier for me once I was able to get an insulin pen. 

I’m a type 2 Titan

Nowadays, I manage type 2 diabetes pretty well. I’m a personal trainer and am in the gym all the time. I love chest day and always have. My other favorite exercises are incline press, dips and cable crossovers. There’s something about having an Arnold Schwarzenegger type of muscles from shoulder to shoulder. Weights can be intimidating, but don’t let them be. If you’re just getting started with weightlifting or have been hesitant to do it, see a trainer at your gym to learn the basics.  

But, we all know our diet needs to be right, too, so I keep it clean in the kitchen. My diet mimics a bodybuilder’s diet. It’s a high protein diet with low-to-moderate carbs and healthy sources of fats. I’m a native Buffalonian, so I still love my pizza and wings. Pizza wreaks havoc on my blood sugar, but you gotta live.

I’m also grateful for the support of my lady, who’s a registered nurse. She’s taught me so much about diabetes. I didn’t know as nearly as I thought I did such as knowing how the A1C is calculated to how much insulin to take according to my blood glucose levels. She helped me with the little things that have made a big difference in my care. I’m happy to have her encouragement and keep me in line. 

Which leads to me to this next point. There are so many things people get wrong about how people with type 2 diabetes live. People think diabetics are fat, lazy and eat their way to the disease. The way to change the way people see us is by showing how healthy and productive we are. We actually take our health seriously and do some amazing things in our lives. For me, I train my ass off, I watch what I eat and I get joy from knowing I never gave up and gave in to diabetes. When I was diagnosed, I was scared, confused and angry. The doctor said I would have to change everything in my life. So, I saw it as a life sentence to work out, push my body and see what I would do despite my diagnosis. 

I continue to defy what diabetes looks like. Having high blood sugar isn’t a failure. You don’t need to be perfect every day with every blood sugar check. Diabetes can be frustrating, but life isn’t over. Live your life, be positive, commit to being as healthy as you can. Do it in your way and don’t let this disease control you. You’re a type 2 TITAN and I am a type 2 titan. 

Related Content:

Type 2 Basic Exercise Guide

Exercising Safely with Diabetes

Accepting Your Type 2 Diagnosis

Written By Ross Cooper, Posted , Updated 09/03/23

Ross Cooper has been living with type 2 diabetes since 1996. Since his diagnosis, he's been fierce with his fitness and adopted the routine of a bodybuilder. Ross is a fitness trainer and is dedicated to " getting stronger one muscle, one meal, one day at a time and making every piece BEAST." You can check out Ross on Instagram at @mosaictotalfitness.