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The Game Plan T1D Podcast: Episode 4 - Alizée Agier

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Sam Benger

Published on Aug 28, 2018

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This episode of the Game Plan T1D Podcast features T1D athlete Alizée Agier. Alizée is a five time French national champion in karate, a five time European medalist, and has twice claimed the world champion title in karate once as an individual and once as a member of Team France. This episode covers training routines, competitive mindsets, goal setting, and much more. Karate will be featured for the first time as an Olympic sport at the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo, Japan. Listen in and be inspired!

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Transcript

what's going on guys welcome to this

edition of the game plan t1d podcast I

am your host Sam bender we've got a

great episode for you today I was able

to sit down and hear the story of

five-time a French national champion in

karate at Lee's a a ga

Alizee was also a five-time European

medalist and to top all of that off she

is a two-time karate world champion and

she has her sights set on the 2020

Olympics in Tokyo where karate will be

featured as a sport for the first time

this conversation was awesome on just a

number of levels Alize is the first

female athlete we've had on the podcast

also the first international athlete

we've had on the podcast so I was

excited to get her perspectives on

living and thriving as an athlete

despite her t1d so without any further

ado please enjoy my conversation with

Ali's a a ga

[Music]

welcome to the game plan to you indie

podcast this is your host Sam bender I'm

sitting down today with Alizee GA yes hi

welcome to the show thank you so let's

dive right in I wanted to ask you what's

your current training schedule looking

like and what are some of the next major

events you have coming up so for now I'm

at home with my family but I'm going to

be ready for the next season in

September I go to some training camps in

France and I have to train every day God

you trained in karate and then I have

competitions in September I have main

events like the World Championship in

November and European Championship ursa

and it's big event because they are

going to give us many points for the

Olympic qualification so it's really

important it's starting in September

when it what is the next Olympics here

it would be 2020 2020 in Japan if the

first one for kotti this is the first

time karate will be featured at the

Olympics what's that like as a karate

competitor to be potentially on Team

france going to the Olympics yeah it's

it's a big dream you know I always look

at the Olympics on TV and I've maybe the

chance to go there to have to work out

for it

so Orchestra you said your training

every day is it a lot of strength

training is it actually like grappling

on the mats with people what's kind of

in like I imagine you do you guys are

crazy flexible look I was looking at

your Instagram so you must do like a lot

of stretching and yoga out I would

imagine so walk us through what's a

normal day of training yes we have one

or two twenty in a day so in the morning

we do strength or cardio training or

personal training we can train with our

coach only

to work out on what we want and in the

evening we have to collective training

you know with everyone in sometimes we

have to fight and we have to do some

strategy and it's like it's like this

everyday you know join one or twice do

you get sore I mean if you guys are do

you go full-on like 100% fighting and

training most days and what kind of a

toll does that take on your body yes we

we have to be 100% every day but

sometimes we are tired it's not easy

every day but yeah go 100% and I am

always happy to go to training you know

it's important absolutely so let's

backtrack I want to know when did karate

in competing in karate really start to

become something that you were

interested in and something that it

appears to be a massive you know passion

in your life yeah

so I'm 24 years old and I started karate

at 5 and thanks to my brother because we

used to practice karate too and I was

always watching his training so I

thought and I did some other sports like

gymnastics so it was great for my

flexibility you know I did some genetic

some water skiing I still practice it

but I have to choose between those two

spots between karate and genetic because

it was too much for me I was young and I

wanted to go to every competitions you

know and I of course I choose karate and

I don't regret it so maybe around 11 it

was really my passion I wanted to go to

competition to be the best and to train

that I was dreaming did you know what

was it do you think about karate that

kind of resonated with you and what

about it did you really enjoy as opposed

to some of those other sports like

gymnastics I really enjoyed to fight you

know because in karate you don't take

the French you have to go fast and first

and it's not the we don't have kayo

taking calc you may be like a knockout

yeah yes now guys we don't have knockout

we have to kick

the face over the belt you know not

endure and it's really a beautiful sport

because you have to know what you do to

be focused and the other one it's not

only you you have to have a big strategy

to look at your partner to be ready and

to anticipate what are you going to do

you know so it's really difficult spot

but also you open the possibility you

know yeah clear yeah so it's I think in

in any sport and my background is

football you have to study the opponent

so what is what is that process like do

you go into a fight do you watch you

must watch film on the other fighters to

try to get an idea of okay their

strategy is they like to do like these

high kicks or whatever it may be what's

that process like yeah we rewrote the

opponent we see every time the same

opponent as a big little you know and we

what we take time to watch her fight and

to take what she likes to do what she

don't like to do what she watches cross

and what others got on her you know I

know every opponent by heart either I

have to so I work I work on it with my

coach and welcome it alone too

so we've talked about you getting

started in karate when were you actually

diagnosed with type 1 diabetes I was

trying to find that out on your

Instagram but I couldn't seem to find

anywhere for me it's a little bit

strange because six years ago my doctor

looked at some rigid blood sugar

reserves and he asked me if I ate before

the test because my blood sugar was a

little bit high but not too much so I

say no because I would seek at this time

so he sent me to another doctor who told

me that I will be very thick but I he

didn't know when maybe three in three

day or three years a year after this I

officially diabetes so it was five years

ago five years that's nineteen yep

nineteen years old what was that

when you officially got the diagnosis

what was your reaction to that and how

did you think it was going to impact you

in your competitive sport it was not

easy not how do you know because it was

not a surprise I have it in my man but

not I was not always thinking about it

but when tell me I was their diabetic I

you know I I thought myself it wasn't a

challenge you know I liked challenge I

liked him thanks to sport you know I

think practicing karate has me a lot for

this you know I want to I have the power

to have a good diabetes you know so it

was not easy because I wanted to be a

police officer in France so I passed all

the tests and I succeed but they were

medical disease you know and they say no

to me and because of my diabetes it was

really frustrating I don't know it's if

it's the word oh yes I was I was sad

because I I would like you know I'm

world champion I just fought every day

one or twice a day and I can be police

officer you know so now I'm working out

on it you know I want to change this low

but it's not easy next time so having

diabetes affect me for this and not for

my sport because I'm a fighter you know

when I was like okay it's okay I'm gonna

show to everyone that I can do karate

and I can I have diabetes I can be the

best we have to know that I have

diabetes and you're after I became world

champion so yeah you can do what you

want everything exactly I was going to

say it's almost like you're just taking

on a different fighter like diabetes is

just this other fighter yeah next person

up here's what their strategy is and

here's what I need to do yes exactly

this disease so as you mentioned you've

had just a little bit of success in

karate and being world champion twice

now talk to us about what that

accomplishment was like yes so the first

one wasn't individual in 2014 and it was

my first one in senior so I was

impressed and there's been stressed that

it was the perfect day for me it was

awesome because my family was there I

share it with my coach with my teammate

with my family it was really a good

moment and I think the best man was when

I heard the national anthem on the first

place you know who are you competing

against for the world championships King

no wait Norway both times for both

championships it was again no four

individual championships the first one

and the second one I was I win with Tim

you know by team okay so we are far in

the chin and we beat Spain oh wow I know

you were mentioning what does it feel

like to be able to compete for France I

know you were discussing how proud you

were feeling as the national anthem of

France was playing as you're standing on

the podium talk a little bit a little

bit more about what those emotions were

like I I've always wanted to be on

national team when I started to get some

resistance competition so yes I'm proud

and maybe that's a part of why I wanted

to be a police officer it's another way

to represent my country you know and I

want to do my best in everything I

thought you know being in the national

team makes me proud and I think it makes

my family proud of me so I wanted to

talk a little bit about what your

current system of management looks like

we talked a little bit about what you're

up to in terms of training but what

sorts of technology are you using to

manage your diabetes and how does that

all sort of blend into what you're doing

with Ferrari yes I use them no for my

diabetes for no it's good for me I have

a good blood sugar level with it may

in a few years I will be with a pump

maybe and I start testing their

freestyle oh yeah it's my second one so

I was wondering if it would be okay with

karate and for no it's it's okay

and before I use them you know like

shake I know like a finger stick is the

mystic before I do my injections every

day before eat and one who works for 24

hour and it's good for me I'm okay with

it because for now I don't really have

something on me no because when I went

to the hospital - no bad diabetes

everything five years ago they give me

the pump and they did the I don't know

eight you know in the like a an IV or

the injection with a you know yes form

and I was really impressed that I didn't

feel good because I didn't know anything

about diabetes and they gave me that

like that is like what I'm supposed to

do with it

and after they give me ten so okay good

yeah so for now you know it's hard for

me to think about the pump but maybe

later I would be okay and I know it

would be better for my diabetes but

Phenom I'm good with stands and it works

yeah I think the the pens are are great

are in there a good transition into the

pumps and like you kind of mentioned I

think men you know dealing with the

technology the new technology of a pump

can sometimes be overwhelming for people

but you know I kind of know the feeling

of you don't want to have a pump on you

because your sport is so yes even if I

you have the Freestyle you know it's not

the same yeah and it's easier with

karate to use them them to use a pump

oh yeah no I I played college football

and I would have an omni pot I wear it

on my back now but you know first

quarter goes by second quarter goes by

all of a sudden I realized the pump that

I had on my hip is like falling out of

my like football pants and it just gets

ripped off very easy so I'm sure you've

experienced that before and I'm sure you

realize how pens kind of give you an

advantage on that but yeah so let's keep

talking about your Olympic aspirations I

was super impressed by what I've seen

but what's some of the the training and

also the team training heading into 2020

so in September I will be back in Paris

to train every day with with the best in

French you know we are 20 and we train

together every day and we have to be

there every day with the crutches and

it's it's long season I think because

it's the first time we'll be Olympic and

we have the chance to go to many

countries for many competition so we

have to be focused every day I don't

really think only about the Olympics I

think about competitions after

competitions because it's a long way

until 2020 so for now I am focused on

the first competition in September and

after I think about the other and of

course the World Championship very

important but for now I have the

Olympics in mind man but not too much so

who are some of the powerhouse nations

in this new Olympic sport of karate is

it as France yes we are we are in the

top five you know France is a really

good nations in karate

there is Japan Italy are there bhaijan

Turkey and I think there is a top five

you know whispering mmm

interesting so you guys should be again

contending for logic medal I hope yeah

that's awesome I wanted to ask in a

sport like karate I imagine there's a

lot of adrenaline

yeah leading up to the event how do you

kind of manage that and how do you

remain calm because as we know

adrenaline can really spike our blood

sugar and you don't want to be dealing

with the high blood

you guys are heading into a fight so how

do you kind of stay calm leading

management I never did keep abuse in

there you know but sometimes I'm high

and before competition I you know I

listen to my music I do the same thing

every time competitions to be focused on

me and on the on the event trying to

stay calm and focus so I listened to my

zk I warm up and then I go to fight and

really focus mm-hmm so do you have I

have interviewed a few athletes now and

I've actually had a couple of them say

that they have kind of like a unique

breathing routine that they go through

and they found that really helps control

their blood sugar do you have anything

kind of like that with your music where

you are either you know breathing

certain way or doing a routine that you

kind of go to every time yes it's my

music is my routine warming up before

competition I do the same thing even

before the competition I start packing

my my things for the competition with my

father you know so I do already same

thing and then I look at the shadder

like I'm ready I know where I'm going to

fight when so I'm really focus on it and

I don't think about the event never

because that makes me high during height

yeah so you reference your coach and I

wanted to ask you a little bit about

what your support network is like for

your diabetes management I know a lot of

us rely on family friends doctors

trainers especially as athletes there's

kind of an added level of people that we

kind of rely on to support us can you

talk a little bit about some of the

individuals that you rely on and how you

utilize and leverage those people to

help you you know perform at eye level

yes my family had me out because I can

always to talk to them about anything my

coach is in and if sometimes you don't

win you always learn you know so they

help us to be the best to go back on

track to go to fight again and win some

middle

it's a circle to group of my friends

family coaches and I know the people

like in Lyon it's like my parents my

brother and my family my family my

friends and the coaches and my teammates

also because sometimes I we talk we when

we lose here we are in the in our attend

room together so we can talk about it

even if we win we share it with them so

they are important where the

relationships like with those teammates

who they understand you're kind of

dealing with an additional challenge on

top of the already pretty heavy demands

of being a top caliber athlete do they

have you know words of encouragement or

they're things that they do to kind of

support you when you're say out of

competition or out training yes

we don't talk too much but competition

you know but we know that before

conviction we want to talk about other

things I want to escape from it you know

they are really high put actual on it so

it's not really worth it because they

are here every day sometimes I see them

more than my family even if only these

are here I know that it cookie that's

awesome

I think any athlete can relate to the

camaraderie of a sport and just how

important those relationships are and

having great teammates this is

completely unrelated but I have to ask

what was the environment like in France

you talked about the deprived at the

national anthem at the world

championships but what was the

environment like there just about a

month ago or two months ago now with the

World Cup it was crazy we were really

proud was I was living 20 years ago and

then they did it again it's it it was

awesome we were really proud it was I

say we all win no it was for them only

then it was us too so we were really

happy did that kind of fire you guys up

in training were there any events or

competitions that you guys had where

you're like alright we did the soccer

team did it now we're going to go and do

our two hours yes yes we want to do it

again

want white but I want a third one

another again again so they show us the

way to do it so we have to do it again

and we know as at least that's a long

way too hard way it's really many

training so we know the way to two women

to work every day and we get repeated

work every day yeah it's a it's kind of

a can be a boring cycle sometimes that's

really the only way you find success is

just showing up every day can you talk a

little bit about your goal-setting

process obviously the Olympics are kind

of living in the distance but like you

mentioned as a competition in September

and there are many more competitions

that are going to happen in between now

and the Olympics how do you approach you

know you're fighting schedule and set

both personal goals and goals as a team

I do it step by step for now I'm focused

from the creation in September and after

this competition I will take two days to

rest and to think about anything that's

not karate you know anything yeah yes

and then I will go back to work to work

to train for my girls so I don't fit

they don't really have a process you

know it's step by step competition and

repeats you know I do same thing again

and again so it's important to take

times after competitions to do some

activity to do other things and like

like now because I'm on holiday so I can

do many things I want to I do a lot of

training but not too much karate you

know because I will do karate for a long

season so I have to to do other things

too ya know I think any athlete has to

do those other things to kind of stay

fresh and to stay excited about the

sport because it is such a day in and

day out process what are some of the

things that you do to take your mind off

of karate when you kind of have that

downtime what are some of your other

hobbies yes I left I like to go to movie

to watch some movie on Netflix or a

serious enough it

it's little times you know in a day but

it seems like nothing but at the same

time you are in the movie so you don't

think about the other things

last year I was today so we take you

outside cavity to because you have to to

be graduated to get a job you know so it

helps to think about the other thing

so you mentioned you're just 24 you've

had a pretty long and successful career

up to this point what is next perhaps

beyond karate how long you foresee

yourself competing and maybe you haven't

set a timeline for that yet yes I did

not have a timeline for it but I know I

do my best to go to the Olympics in 2020

and I think after it I will take some

day to think maybe I will not be in 2020

maybe I will maybe I will be no not you

know so Fona I know that I would

continue

maybe maybe to 2024 in Paris

you know maybe 2024 is in Paris yes

acquire so not now but it's in 92 but I

want to take time to enjoy every day for

now and I will think about after or

later but after my career that maybe I

will teach karate somewhere you know

because I I can stop completely for from

karate so what is and I know you talked

about the pride associated with

competing for France do you feel any

sort of connection with the type one or

the p1d community the diabetic community

in trying to be a role model and an

inspiration for other diabetic athletes

maybe I think the diabetes community is

really strong you know I saw it it a lot

you know I think for everyone we need to

talk and to

all that you can do everything you can I

complete a big thing even if you are

diabetes for me diabetic for me I never

stopped dreaming even if I debit sort of

on the on that topic a question we like

to ask our athletes is if you could

speak to a diabetic that was perhaps

just diagnosed or perhaps you're going

through kind of a particular rough patch

patch right now what would your message

be to that person in what first I would

tend to talk to anyone even family to

find someone to talk about it because if

you don't talk about it you you are

close to yourself you know so open up in

yourself and talk to everyone and second

I would tend to show that he is diabetic

you know I never hide myself when I do

my injection and I think it's ask me a

lot because even if sometimes people are

looking at you like what she's doing

don't be mad at them because they

sometimes you don't know what it is

simply I never hide myself because I

want to explain people what it is and to

feel that they understand that it's not

it's not a big deal in the end you you

can live with it there are many things

that are worse than it so show it and be

in some way be proud of it because it is

a challenge and you have the power to do

the best in the ativ yeah I think that's

a great mindset and I think something

that I encountered with my diabetes in

people will see this across the board

but it's a it's really an invisible

chronic illness so I mean you could go

through and I'm on a pump now and it

kind of looks like a cell phone is

essentially you if I just went through

my day someone I don't think would be

able to say see visually that okay that

person's dealing with a serious chronic

illness but like you said at the same

time I think it's important to be kind

of demonstrative and show what we're

dealing with and

kind of invite those conversations with

our friends and invite those

conversations with other athletes and

teammates to show them in the broader

diabetic community that like you said

it's not a big deal it can't hold you

back what if some of those conversations

have been like if have you ever been out

of the competition where you have done

an injection say or checked your blood

sugar and someone kind of came up to you

like hey like what are you doing I'm not

in competition but I think they

sometimes they looked at me and I never

noticed them but now you know even in

French team when I if they didn't they

don't even notice that I did my

injection because I do it every day in

front on them so sometimes they ask me

did you do your injection I didn't show

you as I kiss yes I did it but you know

it's kind of added for everyone so

that's why you really need to show it

because it's get familiar for everyone

you account only you people can help you

with words even if they are not diabetic

you know so it's not a shame to ask for

help or to talk about it I think another

really cool thing about diabetes in

terms of how it affects athletes is that

it's kind of this double-edged sword

where there's obviously a lot of

challenges that we face as diabetic

athletes but at the same time there are

a lot of advantages or opportunities for

advantages what disease where you have

to be more aware of like the food that

you're putting into your body how much

sleep you're getting what kind of stress

both physically and mentally you're

going through do you find that there are

some advantages in terms of just how

accountable you have to be of your body

yes you have to know your body my heart

thanks to sports you a to it clean -

okay sometimes I eat pizza burger you

know it's it's no much but thanks to

karate I get clean I know what I want

and I know what I have to do and

rich my god it helped me to advocate Lin

and then to know me you know I know when

I have to stop and it's important that

you cross the red line you know red zone

mm-hmm so I would say is there anything

else you want to say while you have the

platform to the t1d community at large

practice spot and be proud of your day

everything there you go sweetie thank

you so much for taking the time with me

I know your sounds like you certainly

have a busy training schedule no we'll

be pulling for you best of luck in

September and hopefully we'll be

watching you at the 2020 Olympics win a

medal I hope to thank you thank you

take care my name is Anastasia and I am

type one diabetes and I have a game plan

[Music]

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