6
MIN READ
Wearable technology: How to use a blood glucose monitor for performance goals
These devices are a staple in the lives of those prioritising preventative healthcare.
Written by
Team Compound
Medically reviewed by
Team Compound
Last updated
May 20, 2024

For those chasing optimal health and peak performance, wearable technology is pretty much a non-negotiable.

From leading smartwatches to fitness trackers and innovations in health technology, these devices provide an all-encompassing insight into our health that goes beyond a number on the scale, showing us recovery scores and performance metrics.

Safe to say, wearable technology can highlight your progress in real-time, as well as those areas where improvements are needed. 

Even despite the wealth of wearable technology out there, blood glucose monitoring remains something of a rarity. While traditionally associated with diabetics, these devices have since become a staple in the lives of those prioritising preventative healthcare.

As well as being used to diagnose prediabetes and diabetes, blood glucose monitors have become popular among endurance athletes and fitness enthusiasts for their ability to help you plan training, and workout intensity, and make more critical choices regarding fueling strategies.

Curious to know how a blood glucose monitor works and how it can benefit your health and fitness? Here, we’ll dive into everything you need to know about what a blood glucose monitor is, the different types available on the market, and why blood glucose testing is a valuable tool for those looking to attain optimal health.

What is a blood glucose monitor?

A blood glucose monitor is a device that keeps track of your blood glucose (sugar) levels. These levels can fluctuate throughout the day in response to diet, exercise, medications, and pathological processes such as diabetes. 

Otherwise known as a glucometer, this device consists of a small machine and blood glucose monitoring strips. After you prick your finger to draw a drop of blood, you’ll place it on the test strip. The monitor then reads the glucose level in the blood sample before displaying the result on a digital screen.

Thanks to this information, you can track blood sugar levels throughout the day and make the necessary decisions to keep levels within your target range. 

Why test blood sugar?

Blood sugar has typically been tested by those with diabetes, but in recent years, the health benefits of regular blood sugar monitoring have come to be adopted by athletes, fitness enthusiasts, and those working to achieve optimal health [1].

Regardless of your fitness goals, testing blood sugar is important for the following.

Reaching peak performance

Given fluctuations that occur to blood sugar in response to diet and exercise, testing levels frequently can help you make changes to improve your performance such as the time you eat or what you consume before training.

Studies found that adults who monitored blood sugar levels reported increased motivation to exercise and work out thanks to a greater understanding of their bodies [5]. 

Predicting diabetes

Often, those who are prediabetic have blood sugar levels that are slightly high but not high enough to meet the definition of diabetes. In traditional healthcare, blood sugar monitoring can help diagnose prediabetes earlier and help those at risk of developing the condition due to family history. 

Weight loss

Understanding how food choices impact blood sugar levels can help aid weight loss. Choosing low glycemic index foods that promote stable energy levels will leave you feeling satiated for longer, thereby reducing your cravings and helping to sustain your weight loss journey. 

Enhanced recovery

Maintaining stable blood sugar levels is crucial when it comes to recovery. By testing blood sugar frequently, you can recover faster, reduce the likelihood of muscle soreness, and avoid the inflammation that accompanies post-exercise hyperglycemia.  

How to check blood sugar without finger pricking?

Given that pricking your finger to test blood sugar can be both painful and inconvenient for many, wearable technology in the form of continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) devices has become a popular alternative.

This device uses a tiny sensor to pierce the skin, where it remains in place for 1-2 weeks before being replaced. Typically, it’s positioned on the upper arm or abdomen and protected by an adhesive patch as it keeps track of your blood sugar levels throughout the day. 

Blood sugar levels will be displayed on a receiver and transmitted to your phone for real-time monitoring throughout the day. So, regardless of whether you’re exercising, sleeping, or working, the CGM continues to record glucose levels and can alert you to oncoming lows and highs so appropriate action can be taken to avoid hyperglycemia (very high blood glucose levels) and hypoglycemia (very low levels). 

CGM vs blood glucose monitor

Blood glucose monitors provide a glucose value at the specific point in time when a blood drop has been read. In contrast, CGM devices provide a more complete picture of your blood sugar levels as the continuous tracking allows you to not only see the current level but also understand where your glucose has been and the direction it’s going, so you can make more informed decisions. 

In addition, the detailed readings gained from continuous glucose monitoring allow you to see what triggered a spike or drop in your blood glucose levels and the impact of food, medicine, and physical activity on your blood sugar.

Of course, the other notable difference is that a CGM doesn’t require finger pricks to draw blood. With the small sensor being paired with your smartphone and providing continuous updates, it’s a more convenient way to monitor blood sugar in wearable technology form. 

Different types of blood glucose monitors

Technology for monitoring blood glucose has improved significantly in recent years and as a result, you’ll find a range of blood glucose meters available on the market that are easier to use and less invasive than the traditional finger prick tests [2]. The main types of blood glucose monitors available include: 

Glucometers

As the most commonly found blood glucose meter, glucometers consist of a handheld device that measures blood sugar levels using a small blood sample obtained from pricking the finger.  

Continuous glucose monitor (CGM) devices

CGM systems are inserted under the skin to measure glucose levels within interstitial fluid [3]. By connecting to a transmitter that sends data to a receiver or smartphone app, users can continuously track their glucose levels throughout the day and night. 

Flash glucose monitor

These monitors consist of a small sensor worn on the back of the upper arm that delivers a glucose reading without the need for a finger prick. Users simply scan the sensor with a reader or smartphone to receive glucose data, however, it tends to be for the past 8 or 14 hours, depending on the device. 

Smart glucose meters

These glucometers connect to smartphones or tablets via Bluetooth or USB and allow users to track blood sugar with a mobile app. As a result, they provide insights into blood sugar level trends and can be integrated with other health monitoring devices. 

Implantable glucose monitors

An implantable glucose monitor is inserted under the skin to continuously monitor glucose levels. Typically, these are only used in clinical settings or research studies and are not yet made widely available as a form of blood glucose monitoring. 

Using a blood glucose monitor on your health journey

Though traditionally used by diabetics, blood glucose monitoring has come to be seen as an integral part of one’s health journey. You’ll gain valuable insights into your body’s glucose trends and fluctuations so you can better make diet and activity choices to improve such levels.

Whether that’s changing what you eat before, during, and post-workout or changing the intensity of your training, monitoring blood glucose can help you unlock your potential as you strive to reach optimal health. 

As well as being a key component of preventative healthcare, blood glucose monitoring is also an essential tool for those looking to achieve peak performance.

Given the nature of high-intensity training, which releases hormones, including adrenaline, which can cause a rise in blood sugar, monitoring such levels can help you see if you need to make adjustments to your fueling strategies and, according to some studies, even increase your recovery [4]. 

So, if you’re not yet monitoring your blood glucose level, now is the time to start — especially if you’re invested in your metabolic health and longevity. That's why we leverage blood glucose management via CGMs in the Compound program. 

What is Compound, exactly? Well, we’re a digital clinic for performance health. Once the exclusive domain of billionaires and Hollywood stars, we’re on a mission to make premium concierge care accessible to every man who wants more. 

Equipped with leading diagnostic reporting, Compound’s team of dedicated healthcare professionals and expert specialists help you access the future of proactive healthcare and reach your goals. 

Continuous glucose monitoring, alongside DEXA scans, HbA1c blood testing, VO2 max testing and other diagnostics, is used as part of Compound’s tailored toolkit, allowing individuals to gain real-time insight into blood sugar management and how it can be maximised for greater results. 

With a multi-disciplinary approach to preventative care, you can unlock barriers to everyday performance. 

For those chasing optimal health and peak performance, wearable technology is pretty much a non-negotiable.

From leading smartwatches to fitness trackers and innovations in health technology, these devices provide an all-encompassing insight into our health that goes beyond a number on the scale, showing us recovery scores and performance metrics.

Safe to say, wearable technology can highlight your progress in real-time, as well as those areas where improvements are needed. 

Even despite the wealth of wearable technology out there, blood glucose monitoring remains something of a rarity. While traditionally associated with diabetics, these devices have since become a staple in the lives of those prioritising preventative healthcare.

As well as being used to diagnose prediabetes and diabetes, blood glucose monitors have become popular among endurance athletes and fitness enthusiasts for their ability to help you plan training, and workout intensity, and make more critical choices regarding fueling strategies.

Curious to know how a blood glucose monitor works and how it can benefit your health and fitness? Here, we’ll dive into everything you need to know about what a blood glucose monitor is, the different types available on the market, and why blood glucose testing is a valuable tool for those looking to attain optimal health.

What is a blood glucose monitor?

A blood glucose monitor is a device that keeps track of your blood glucose (sugar) levels. These levels can fluctuate throughout the day in response to diet, exercise, medications, and pathological processes such as diabetes. 

Otherwise known as a glucometer, this device consists of a small machine and blood glucose monitoring strips. After you prick your finger to draw a drop of blood, you’ll place it on the test strip. The monitor then reads the glucose level in the blood sample before displaying the result on a digital screen.

Thanks to this information, you can track blood sugar levels throughout the day and make the necessary decisions to keep levels within your target range. 

Why test blood sugar?

Blood sugar has typically been tested by those with diabetes, but in recent years, the health benefits of regular blood sugar monitoring have come to be adopted by athletes, fitness enthusiasts, and those working to achieve optimal health [1].

Regardless of your fitness goals, testing blood sugar is important for the following.

Reaching peak performance

Given fluctuations that occur to blood sugar in response to diet and exercise, testing levels frequently can help you make changes to improve your performance such as the time you eat or what you consume before training.

Studies found that adults who monitored blood sugar levels reported increased motivation to exercise and work out thanks to a greater understanding of their bodies [5]. 

Predicting diabetes

Often, those who are prediabetic have blood sugar levels that are slightly high but not high enough to meet the definition of diabetes. In traditional healthcare, blood sugar monitoring can help diagnose prediabetes earlier and help those at risk of developing the condition due to family history. 

Weight loss

Understanding how food choices impact blood sugar levels can help aid weight loss. Choosing low glycemic index foods that promote stable energy levels will leave you feeling satiated for longer, thereby reducing your cravings and helping to sustain your weight loss journey. 

Enhanced recovery

Maintaining stable blood sugar levels is crucial when it comes to recovery. By testing blood sugar frequently, you can recover faster, reduce the likelihood of muscle soreness, and avoid the inflammation that accompanies post-exercise hyperglycemia.  

How to check blood sugar without finger pricking?

Given that pricking your finger to test blood sugar can be both painful and inconvenient for many, wearable technology in the form of continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) devices has become a popular alternative.

This device uses a tiny sensor to pierce the skin, where it remains in place for 1-2 weeks before being replaced. Typically, it’s positioned on the upper arm or abdomen and protected by an adhesive patch as it keeps track of your blood sugar levels throughout the day. 

Blood sugar levels will be displayed on a receiver and transmitted to your phone for real-time monitoring throughout the day. So, regardless of whether you’re exercising, sleeping, or working, the CGM continues to record glucose levels and can alert you to oncoming lows and highs so appropriate action can be taken to avoid hyperglycemia (very high blood glucose levels) and hypoglycemia (very low levels). 

CGM vs blood glucose monitor

Blood glucose monitors provide a glucose value at the specific point in time when a blood drop has been read. In contrast, CGM devices provide a more complete picture of your blood sugar levels as the continuous tracking allows you to not only see the current level but also understand where your glucose has been and the direction it’s going, so you can make more informed decisions. 

In addition, the detailed readings gained from continuous glucose monitoring allow you to see what triggered a spike or drop in your blood glucose levels and the impact of food, medicine, and physical activity on your blood sugar.

Of course, the other notable difference is that a CGM doesn’t require finger pricks to draw blood. With the small sensor being paired with your smartphone and providing continuous updates, it’s a more convenient way to monitor blood sugar in wearable technology form. 

Different types of blood glucose monitors

Technology for monitoring blood glucose has improved significantly in recent years and as a result, you’ll find a range of blood glucose meters available on the market that are easier to use and less invasive than the traditional finger prick tests [2]. The main types of blood glucose monitors available include: 

Glucometers

As the most commonly found blood glucose meter, glucometers consist of a handheld device that measures blood sugar levels using a small blood sample obtained from pricking the finger.  

Continuous glucose monitor (CGM) devices

CGM systems are inserted under the skin to measure glucose levels within interstitial fluid [3]. By connecting to a transmitter that sends data to a receiver or smartphone app, users can continuously track their glucose levels throughout the day and night. 

Flash glucose monitor

These monitors consist of a small sensor worn on the back of the upper arm that delivers a glucose reading without the need for a finger prick. Users simply scan the sensor with a reader or smartphone to receive glucose data, however, it tends to be for the past 8 or 14 hours, depending on the device. 

Smart glucose meters

These glucometers connect to smartphones or tablets via Bluetooth or USB and allow users to track blood sugar with a mobile app. As a result, they provide insights into blood sugar level trends and can be integrated with other health monitoring devices. 

Implantable glucose monitors

An implantable glucose monitor is inserted under the skin to continuously monitor glucose levels. Typically, these are only used in clinical settings or research studies and are not yet made widely available as a form of blood glucose monitoring. 

Using a blood glucose monitor on your health journey

Though traditionally used by diabetics, blood glucose monitoring has come to be seen as an integral part of one’s health journey. You’ll gain valuable insights into your body’s glucose trends and fluctuations so you can better make diet and activity choices to improve such levels.

Whether that’s changing what you eat before, during, and post-workout or changing the intensity of your training, monitoring blood glucose can help you unlock your potential as you strive to reach optimal health. 

As well as being a key component of preventative healthcare, blood glucose monitoring is also an essential tool for those looking to achieve peak performance.

Given the nature of high-intensity training, which releases hormones, including adrenaline, which can cause a rise in blood sugar, monitoring such levels can help you see if you need to make adjustments to your fueling strategies and, according to some studies, even increase your recovery [4]. 

So, if you’re not yet monitoring your blood glucose level, now is the time to start — especially if you’re invested in your metabolic health and longevity. That's why we leverage blood glucose management via CGMs in the Compound program. 

What is Compound, exactly? Well, we’re a digital clinic for performance health. Once the exclusive domain of billionaires and Hollywood stars, we’re on a mission to make premium concierge care accessible to every man who wants more. 

Equipped with leading diagnostic reporting, Compound’s team of dedicated healthcare professionals and expert specialists help you access the future of proactive healthcare and reach your goals. 

Continuous glucose monitoring, alongside DEXA scans, HbA1c blood testing, VO2 max testing and other diagnostics, is used as part of Compound’s tailored toolkit, allowing individuals to gain real-time insight into blood sugar management and how it can be maximised for greater results. 

With a multi-disciplinary approach to preventative care, you can unlock barriers to everyday performance. 

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