Bret Michaels: Rockin' the World With Diabetes

Best known for his former band Poison, Bret Michaels’ diabetes life plan is smart and healthy.

Health Monitor Staff
More Sharing +

Bret Michaels has known about his type 1 diabetes since he was six years old. Even so, the hard-rocking father of two young daughters subscribes to the glass-half-full theory. "I always tell people that you can find a way to make things work out. The harder I work, the luckier I get."

Determined not to let diabetes stand in his way, the perpetually optimistic singer adds, "I'd like to live as long as possible, but as healthy as possible."

Building a rock star's body
Being diagnosed with diabetes at such a young age put Bret on early notice that he would have to take special care of himself. "When I get up, the first thing I do is check my blood sugar. I adjust my insulin throughout the day, with a mix of both long- and fast-acting insulin."

Bret also rarely misses a morning workout. "I'm addicted to it," he says. "If I get that morning routine in, I've found my daily balance—and that's what it's all about."

The life of a celebrity rock star often involves intense traveling, making it difficult for Bret to keep a steady workout regime. "If we're traveling by bus, an area of the bus will have a strength-resistance machine, and I'll do some kickboxing, which I've been doing since I was 18. I just kick, punch and bang! It gets out a lot of my energy—or frustration. And to set the mood, I always have on music—from classic hard rock to country, and maybe some hip-hop. It sets the pace for my workouts."

Balancing a diabetes-wise diet
Part of Bret's diabetes management is in his eating plan. Every morning he enjoys egg whites combined with half a slice of cheese, some turkey bacon, wheat toast topped with peanut butter, and coffee. "Peanut butter is an addiction of mine," he readily admits. "Fortunately, it's a healthy habit."

Diabetes taught me how to exchange foods. If I have that slice of pizza, I make sure that I take it with a bit of insulin so it doesn't skyrocket my blood sugar. Then, at my next meal, I'll have vegetables with a piece of chicken. If you have that delicious carb, you still want to maintain the balance."

Bret's early lessons about the music industry—especially its financial pitfalls—have helped shape his life, including his life with diabetes. It helped him set priorities. "I got $42 as my first royalty check," he says. "I went out and bought some insulin and food with that money."

A bit of self-reflection reveals a hint of Bret's inner man. "I love having fun," admits the 2010 winner of Celebrity Apprentice. "I'm driven and energetic, extremely loyal and much more layered than you'd expect. Diabetes is just one card I've been dealt. I acknowledge it's a part of my life and move on."

November 2010