Having the desire, guts and discipline to have what it takes to become an IFBB pro is a daunting task, indeed. The training, diet and rest/recovery process can be more than enough for anyone even in the best of health. But add type-1 diabetes to the equation and there are not too many who can make the cut.
Except for two people, that is.
Eleven years ago, Poston was just breaking into the industry after winning the BSN Fitness Model Search at the Europa in his hometown of Dallas, Texas. But he began to show symptoms of the disease and had lost 50 pounds while trying to add muscle. Nine months later, he was admitted to the hospital with a blood sugar level of 550 and misdiagnosed with type-2 diabetes.
Even once he was diagnosed correctly, Poston was, as he describes, “healthier, but not healthy.” Even under the circumstances, he was able to keep training and compete, but knew that he could improve if his medication was proper for him.
Approximately a year ago, Poston had been told about an IFBB pro female bodybuilder who was also a type-1 diabetic and he reached out to her. “He was referred to me based on my knowledge of diabetes and being a type-1 myself,” says Nelson. “I told him that we have to make the management of your blood sugars a priority. In the end, competitions are going to come and go, but diabetes can steal your quality of life, and I was not going to let him neglect his blood sugar control for the sake of winning a physique competition.”
Nelson introduced a new way of using insulin to Poston, which helped his manage his blood sugar levels. He was already living a low-carb lifestyle, so that gave the plan a head start.
“We explored different ideas with some new medications on the market,” explains Nelson. “Jason was motivated and a fast learner.”
Almost immediately, Poston began to notice positive results from Nelson’s recommendations. “By the third day, I was astonished at my blood sugar being so stable,” he recalls. “It wasn’t easy mixing all the insulin at first, but I had it down after the first month.”
Nelson, who was diagnosed at 12 years of age, went through a long and difficult learning experience that was multiplied once she began training. “In the beginning, I was eating too many carbohydrates and taking too much insulin and I would get bloated and watery,” she recalls. “It was a struggle to adopt the right diet and manage my insulin in a way that allowed me to compete at such a high level. I recognized that because I have to take insulin with every meal – and that even protein and fat require insulin- eating too many carbs was not going to work for me.”
A month after meeting Nelson, Poston did his first IFBB show and placed third out of 23 competitors. “My body transformed drastically and I surprised everyone,” he says with a smile. “But not me or Colette – we already knew that I was going to continue to improve.”
Perhaps Nelson summed it up best with, “All type-1s feel a certain type of bond. We speak a certain language and are so aware of our bodies because we are self-regulating our blood sugar manually. We know what it’s like to struggle with the highs and lows; they are just part of life.
“(Jason’s) found a great deal of success this past year and I couldn’t be more proud to share the Olympia stage with a true champion of not only being a physique competitor, but also a champion of type-1 diabetes.”
For More on Jason Poston
For More on Colette Nelson
Photos: Gene X Hwang/Orange Photography (Nelson), Courtesy of Jason Poston (Poston)