Carbing up before a work out


(Type1amber) #1

Hi! I am 17 years old and I love to work out! The only thing that stresses me about working out is knowing how much I should carb out before I workout without go low during my workout. I play Tennis everyday, and I would consider it a very active strenuous sport. Sometime when I carb up before I end up running high after I’m done, or going low during my practice. I have been diabetic for 4 years and I’m still trying to figure working out and carbing up. Any suggestions/tips/ideas??!!!


(TexAg) #2

Do you have a CGM?
I’m a fan of Gatorade for strenuous activities. Full strength or G2, whichever you need or suits you better. The CGM gives such great feedback on whether you’re dropping or rising and how quickly.


(Dennis J. Dacey, PwD) #3

Hi @Type1Amber,

I’m neither an athlete nor a couch potato, but previously during my 60 years managing diabetes I’ve been involved in prolonged strenuous activity. I don’t know your method for managing your diabetes - intensive, casual or some combination - so suggestions need to be general; I could provide you with several tips for managing with a pump.

One very important bit of information is that you need to distinguish between aerobic and anaerobic exercise. Aerobic exercise generally tends to lower body glucose levels (BGL) whereas anaerobic exercises can push your glucose levels extremely high. and if you workout the way I see my neighbors performing at the nearby training academy, I strongly suspect your workout is pushing you high. What I do about 30 minutes before the end of my bike-ride is to stop, check BG and eat a package of PB crackers and take a full dose of bolus insulin to cover the food, and return my pump to 100%. Oh, BTW, about 90 minutes before beginning my ride I lower my pump to 25% and constantly sip less-than-full-strength mix of Gatorade
while riding.

A CGM might be good to alert you when your BGL is venturing out of line, but in itself it will not solve the issue that you addressed.


(joe) #4

hi @Type1amber,

working out shouldn’t be such a pain, but it can be a lot to get used to with T1. I cannot stand having to down a huge amount of sugar/calories to do battle with insulin when I am active, so I try not to.

anything like tennis (running,biking,rowing, swimming) will cause a huge blood sugar drop in me, so I used to just drink soda, gatorade,or juice at about 16 ounces right before and then almost every hour. that’s what I used to do. With a pump, I can make sure I don’t have a lot of insulin on board and then I don’t have to literally bury myself under sugar. as @Dennis just said, I kill my basal insulin 45 minutes before.

meal insulin is active for ~4 hours. that means if you eat and bolus for the carbs, that insulin hangs around for at least 4 hours. Any serious activity during that time can also cause lows. These are where I still get stuck. once I bolus for a meal, you can’t get that insulin out of you so if I am more active than I planned, I am back to hitting the juice or gatorade. When I know I am going to be active, I only bolus for half or less of the carbs at the meal and then make sure I am active. like my doctor says, it’s easy to take more insulin.

T1 is like a science experiment. see what works for you, it might be a little different than everyone else. what’s more important is to keep active and learn how to deal with t1!


(PeteTheDiabetic) #5

Hey Joe, here are my thoughts.
Anaerobic exercise, like weightlifting, will increase muscle mass, which can decrease insulin resistance and increase the use of glucose. Resulting in the reduction of glucose in the blood. Aerobic training only burns glucose while you are doing it. I also know that if you don’t warm up enough, your body will go into the ‘fight or flight’ mode and your sugar can go up because different hormones increase. That will have the effect of making a lot of stored energy, like glucose and fat, available to cells via your blood to help the body get away from danger, or whatever, raising your blood sugar. Your body needs more insulin then, in order to use the sugar. Round and round we go.
I think Dennis has a good idea. It might be best to eat, or drink something that will “burn up” faster, like Gatorade or fruit, before you work out. And be sure to warm up well, also.


(Linda) #6

Hi, I think you just need to trial and error to see what works for you. We are all different and I would not like to put labels on any one activity. I for example go high during workouts. I do not carb load, I just let my liver do the work. I also need to double my basal rate to keep up with my liver. Even then, I sometimes have to bolus to bring it down under 200’s. Each type of exercise I do requires different tweaking. Spinning needs just double basal and no carbs. Weights needs double basal and an extra bolus where as kickboxing needs a small amount of carbs (5grams) and double basal. But we are all different and our sensitivity to both carbs and insulin as well as exercise are different. Work it and find what works best for you during different levels of exercise. Good luck!