#102 – Meet Clif: Treating Diabetes with Iron Medicine

Today a member of Fort Worth Strength & Conditioning joins the show to discuss his journey going from overweight and diabetic to fit and strong with well-managed blood sugar.


Clif Hadley is a 61-year old IT professional with no prior athletic background (well, not since high school at least!) and no background with lifting weights. He found himself in his late 50’s overweight with midline obesity, high A1C levels, and poor control over his blood sugar throughout the day. Making some basic dietary changes such as cutting out processed carbs (especially breads) and doing cardiovascular exercise on the recumbent bike helped him lose some weight in the short run, but he still had too much body fat, lacked muscle mass, and, most importantly, had high blood glucose levels.


At Fort Worth Strength he began the novice linear progression, squatting, pressing, benching, and deadlifting three times per week, starting a low, manageable weight and adding 5lbs per workout. After several months he climbed to a 250lbs squat for a double, 260lbs deadlift for three, 100lbs press, and 125lbs bench.


After approximately 6 months of training he developed persistent back pain in his lower back, which did not resolve with training modifications. An MRI revealed he had a cyst in one of his lumbar discs, which his surgeon was able to clear with a cortisone injection. This setback caused him to lose a couple months of training, but as soon as he was cleared by the physicians he returned to training, using partial ROM lift variants to regain strength and mobility in his spine.


Soon he was back to performing the big lifts with full ROM and within striking of his old numbers, when the COVID pandemic forced the gym to close. Undaunted, Clif resumed training when the gym reopened and is currently lifting heavier than ever. To keep his recovery high and his back feeling good, he lifts heavy twice per week, alternating intensity and volume days. In the middle of the week, he performs squat variants that are less taxing on the lumbar spine and spinal erectors such as the leg press. He also uses the mid-week workout for conditioning, during which he alternates between short, intense HIIT sessions on the echo bike or rower and longer duration, medium intensity rows.


Clif is a great example for masters lifters, who may feel that they are too old or too long past their prime to feel strong, healthy and athletic again. By trusting the program, showing up consistently, and working hard, Clif has been able to get strong, lose body fat (he donated 27 pairs of slacks to Goodwill because he kept losing inches off his waist), and manage his diabetes, even with some unfortunate setbacks in the process. His A1c levels have decreased from the high 7’s to 6.1, and continue to fall. His lifts are strong for his age group, his back feels great, and he has managed to maintain his waistline for several months.


Connect with 40fit Radio


Leave A Comment