Meet Mandy Marquardt: Athlete Living with Diabetes

Meet Mandy Marquardt: Athlete Living with Diabetes

We had the opportunity to meet Mandy Marquadt a few weeks ago, thanks to our partners at Novo Nordisk and Team Novo Nordisk. Mandy is a sprint track cyclist for USA Cycling and Team Novo Nordisk (TNN) - a global all-diabetes sports team of cyclists, triathletes, and runners spearheaded by the world’s first all-diabetes professional cycling team. Mandy shared with us her motivations and inspirations as a woman, athlete, and person living with diabetes, as well as a glance at her daily workout schedule. 

Please tell us about yourself.
I’m a sprint track cyclist for Team Novo Nordisk and USA Cycling. I have been competitively cycling since I was 10 years old, and in November of 2007, at the age of 16, I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. At the time, I was living in Germany with my father and racing, and through V02 max testing and routine blood work the doctors found I had abnormally high blood glucose levels. Shortly after, I moved back to Fort Lauderdale, Florida to live with my mom and worked to get my diabetes under control. My parents mean everything to me, and for them to be there through the ups and downs of my diagnoses was incredible – I love them so much!

In 2010, I moved Allentown, Pennsylvania to study and race. When I was younger, I frequently raced at the Valley Preferred Cycling Center and always loved it.  In 2014, I graduated from Pennsylvania State University – Lehigh Valley with a Bachelors of Science in Business Management and Marketing. I’m currently 25 years old, the cycling coach for Penn State Lehigh Valley, and training full-time for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.

What is your current diabetes treatment plan?
I do the basics: Injections and a regular glucose meter. It works for me!

What do you consider your great diabetes successes?
I’ve been active my entire life, and when I was diagnosed, I thought my Olympic dreams were over.  I didn’t personally know anyone competitively cycling with type 1 diabetes, but I knew of Gary Hall Jr., U.S. Olympic Gold Medalist for swimming. In 2010, I joined Team Novo Nordisk and being surrounded by athletes with diabetes, gave me hope to continue racing at a high-level. We all share a common mission and passion to inspire and empower people affected by diabetes.

In 2014, I put on my first USA Cycling jersey and have been representing the United States since.  I recently competed at the UCI Track Cycling World Cup in Los Angeles and met a young girl with type 1 diabetes, who told me she is training to be on Team Novo Nordisk. For me, that’s a great success, to inspire and empower young women to follow their dreams.

What about challenges?
There are always going to be challenges. I experience the daily challenges of being a female – stress, hormones, body image and the list goes on. I also have doubts, and occasionally second guess myself. I ask myself , “Can I really do this?” But then I think about the resources I have: insulin, supplies, diabetes educators, my team – and I am lucky that I have the opportunities and resources to do what I love everyday.

What motivates you to be a healthy woman living with diabetes?
My motivation comes from my desire to compete in the 2020 Olympics. It would be an incredible platform to inspire people who are affected by diabetes. I want to line up and be a threat, and winning a medal would be bittersweet. It has very been a lifelong goal. The next 3 years are going to be about getting stronger, faster and tactically smarter.

In a male-dominated sport, where women put in equally as much time and work into achieving success, we need to empower one another and create a healthy “I can do it” environment. I’m proud to see so many women in the sport who have their education, a family, a job, and still manage to race and train full-time. 

Coaching at the collegiate level, I see how strong these women are and how hard they work day in and day out. This sport has so much beauty, and I’m inspired by many of the females in our sport and especially my female Team Novo Nordisk teammates and employees – we’re a family!

What is your role on Team Novo Nordisk?
When I began racing for Team Novo Nordisk, I was an endurance cyclist. Four years ago, I made the switch to solely focus on track sprinting and the team supported my decision – it’s been incredible journey. As one of the fastest female sprinters in the United States, I hope to continue to inspire people through my sport and positively change the way people view diabetes and exercise. 

Do you have any special tricks that have worked for you that you might share with other women living with diabetes who might be training for a physical sport?
Everyone is so different, we can all do the same thing, and have different outcomes.

My advice is if you’re doing something that works for you, continue doing it and be consistent.

I check my blood sugar regularly during training, and nutrition is important to me. I snack between training, and toward the end of my training session, I begin to sip on my Klean Recovery protein shake. Throughout the day, I usually always have a snack with me. I never want to hungry or hangry J  

What does your typical day look like?
Go to the gym to lift, recover and back to training on the bike in the afternoon. Throughout the day, I’m regularly checking my blood sugar between training and meals. I snack often to keep my blood sugar levels steady and my energy levels stored. 

A typical training week looks like:

  • In total: 25+ hours a week
  • In the gym: 2-3 days a week building strength and power
  • On the track: 4-5 days a week
  • On the weekend, out on the road: Coffee ship rides with friends
  • Recovery modalities: Weekly deep tissue massage, visit to the chiropractor, acupuncture, ice baths, and the foam roller

What message do you wish to share with other women who are managing it all as well – marriage, motherhood, career, commitments and diabetes?
Make time for yourself. When you’re happy, you are able to make others happy.

Thank you, Mandy, for sharing a portion of your life with us. We are looking forward to seeing you in the 2020 Olympics!

You can follow Mandy on:

Twitter: @MandyMarquardt
Instagram: @MandyMarquardt