Fighter Series: John Andrade – Sanabul Skip to content
Fighter Series: John Andrade

Fighter Series: John Andrade

John Andrade is a martial artist living with Type 1 Diabetes.


People living with Type 1 Diabetes do not produce insulin naturally, which can lead to high blood sugar levels. This type of diabetes affects everyone differently, but it still has a big influence on all of their lifestyles. For combat sport athletes like John, this influences more than what he eats/drinks – it impacts the way he trains and recovers.


When John is at the gym training, he must constantly monitor his blood sugar levels to ensure they don’t get too low or too high. If his blood sugar levels tip too far toward one end of the scale, his performance and safety can be drastically affected. Outside of the gym, John has to be extremely careful with his diet and other outside influences (like stress) to make sure his body is good to go.


This type of lifestyle has led to increased discipline and resilience for John, due to how difficult and even draining that these habits can be to constantly maintain. The consequences of not staying alert with his health could impact John’s well being very severely, more so than the “average” person (those without any evident health concerns). 


The careful attention to detail John pays to his health translates well to his love for combat sports. In over two decades of combat sports experience, he has practiced various forms of martial arts: wrestling, Jiu Jitsu, and Muay Thai. He says that he first started for the physical fitness that training offered, but after some time training, he also became hooked on the mental benefits/discipline that the grappling and striking arts provide.


This discipline from combat sports training that he has developed and continues to strengthen helps him with his management of his diabetes and day-to-day responsibilities. He also finds that the other skills martial arts have helped him with (like patience and resilience) help him to face the ups and downs of everyday life. So as a true martial artist would, John always learns and applies what he learns to other areas of his life: managing his health has helped him with his training and his training has led to him developing skills that help him manage the craziness of day-to-day life


As a combat sports competitor with Type 1 diabetes, each and every day is a fight for John. He fights against physical health obstacles. He fights against the constant challenges that martial arts training demands, if one wants to be great. He aims to reach the higher levels of combat sports, where he hopes to not only fight for personal success, but persevere as a voice for those in the health communities who may not be able to do it for themselves. John keeps a simple mindset when it comes to these challenges and goals. He says, “It’s both a physical and mental challenge that I thrive on.”


There’s a saying: if you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together. Martial arts and combat sports practitioners will relate to this well. You can definitely achieve success alone, but if you want to achieve even more, you need a team and a good support system to help you. John’s support system inside and outside of the gym helps to inspire him and get him where he wants to be. He says that the community and fellow practitioners motivates him, which in turn leads him to aim to inspire as many as he can.


John wants to serve as an example to everyone, especially those living with diabetes, of what can be done when you adapt and keep a positive, growth minded attitude (tip from John: “Focus on what you can control and try to find routines that keep you balanced and healthy”). To consistently train in combat sports on top of living with diabetes is no easy task. John has learned to be flexible and patient with his body inside and outside of the gym. Everyday, he has to adapt and overcome his challenges, a process that makes him stronger in the long run. 


For everyone reading this and for everyone who needs some encouragement, just know that John is in your corner and wants you “to embrace an active lifestyle and pursue [your] passions fearlessly.” If you find that you do need some extra people in your support system, he says that it helps to reach out to someone who can relate, as this can lead to an entire community of people who understand what you’re going through. 


Everyone can learn something from John and his experiences. To put it in John’s words, “With the right mindset and support, no obstacle is too big. Whether it’s managing a chronic illness or pursuing a demanding sport, you have the power to define your own limits… Keep pushing, stay patient, and stay positive. Progress is progress, no matter how small it might seem.”

Currently, John continues to train and coach (both multiple times a day).  Aside from the daily planning (meal prep, checking blood sugars), he is growing his following in order to share his message, inspire others, and help those who seek it. From his experiences, he offers insights into fitness, wellness, living with diabetes and on the martial arts side, he offers help with technique refinement and mental conditioning. You can find him on instagram (@type1performance) and on youtube (@type1performance), as well as a soon-to-be-released street clothing brand designed with martial artists and fashion lovers in mind, as this brand’s style embraces the fighting spirit inside and outside of the gym. He makes time to engage with those who reach out, so feel free to do so!