Aidan Broddell may look just like your average bodybuilder and fitness model thanks to his impressively gym-honed physique but there is one crucial thing that sets him apart: he has been battling type one diabetes ever since he was 10 years old.
Yet the keen sportsman has refused to let diabetes get in the way of his development: he played rugby to a high level until he was 19 and then turned to bodybuilding after an injury halted his progress on the field.
He competed for the first time in the UKBFF Tyne and Wear qualifier in June 2015 and came first place, qualifying for the British championships in October 2015 where he also took first place. Now 21, Aidan is studying property finance and investment but there’s no way he’s leaving bodybuilding behind.
He tells TRAIN his story.
Tell us about when you discovered you had diabetes.
I was diagnosed after rapid weight loss and various symptoms that pointed to diabetes. The night before we booked in to see a doctor, I went to the toilet 12 times with a full bladder in the space of four hours.
I was young enough for it not to have an immediate impact on my life, although it definitely changed things for my parents. They controlled my diet, made me do my blood sugars, and even injected me (at least for the first six months or so).
In a lot of ways I was like a robot, or even a monkey being told what to do, before realization set in and I adapted to life with the condition.
Did your attitude to sport and exercise change?
No, my attitude remained the same, but precautions were put in place – my dad would stand on the side line with a bottle of Lucozade, a cereal bar, and my blood glucose monitor.
What are your workouts like now?
At present, I’m at the beginning of a cut, so I am still training heavy with a lot of lifting.
However, I am starting to work in some HIIT style training, as well as early morning, fasted LISS-style cardio to torch off any fat and keep myself lean.
What tips do you have for managing diabetes?
Consistent blood glucose monitoring and always carrying glucose tablets, or something that will allow a rise in blood sugars. The most difficult part of being diabetic is that you never know when a hypo will strike, especially if, like me, you’re consistently active.
– RELATED: What Your Diet Can Learn From Diabetes –
What’s your diet like?
What I eat varies depending on how I think I am doing in regards to progressing with my diet and cut. I greatly believe in carb back-loading, and will follow this throughout the middle to the end of a cut, while still depleting on any other carbs (such as morning oats) and amounts of protein and fats as I progress with my diet.
I only implement cheat days when I feel like they’re needed: if I look or feel flat, am in dire need of a pick me up or feel like I need a boost in energy.
What advice would you give to people looking to get into bodybuilding?
Don’t think you have to fit certain criteria; you may not match what a judging panel is looking for, but it does not mean you can’t significantly improve your own health and fitness while inspiring others.
What goals have you set yourself this year?
This year I’ve set myself more of a health goal rather than training for competitions.
I am training and dieting to experiment with how insulin impacts diabetics with higher or lower body fat percentage, as well as taking into account absorption rates and how long it takes for insulin to work.
I’ve also launched a YouTube channel that I’d like to significantly grow this year and use as a tool to continue to inspire and demonstrate people the benefits of bodybuilding and fitness.
Receive fitness information, nutritional advice and a 12 month digital subscription when you sign up to our newsletter.