Exercise eating guidelines

I used to exercise more intensely several years ago, particular long outings (full day mountain bikes, adventure races, etc) in addition to shorter ones. Due to a combination of things, this fell by the wayside, I stopped exercising, gained a bunch of weight. Now, I’m back to exercising regularly, lost weight and figuring out again a regimen for managing my BG levels through and after exercise. Unfortunately, I don’t fully recall some of the things I figured out and I’m looking to refresh my memory.

I know its trial and error and varying person to person but here’s what I recall and I’m interested in hearing what other folks do.

I’m on a pump and for vigorous exercise (running, biking, lifting weights - as opposed to a walk) I generally reduce my basal rate to 25% about 30 minutes ahead of exercise and keep it that way during exercise. Following exercise I either eat additional carbs or keep my basal rate around 50% for an hour or two following exercise because my insulin sensitivity is increased.

If I’m exercising an hour or less I take about 25-30 grams carbs/hour, usually a more complex carb sports gel like Hammer Gel because it doesn’t spike my BG. If I exercise more than an hour I add in a little bit of protein.

What do you do?


Tim, your regimen sounds a lot like mine. I’m not a hard-core exerciser, but I will do 30 minutes of aerobics or biking a couple of times a week, with a few brisk walks/casual hikes on the other days. I usually start my temp basal 30 min. in advance (50%) for walking/kayaking or 60 min. in advance (30%) for the more intense stuff. Then another temp basal when I’m done at about 70% for 3-4 hours. I have to check BG a couple of times in the after-hours because I have a tendency to bounce up and down a bit. I don’t usually eat before exercise other than maybe a few nuts for protein.

Glad you’re getting back on the wagon, it really helps!

For what it’s worth, here’s my exercise regimen.

I get up early every day (between 4 and 5 am)and go for a run. Not long, maybe 2 miles or less. I don’t eat before this run. But, I do check my BG and make adjustments if necessary. Since I don’t have a pump and have never had one, i take my long acting insulin before running. Always 4 units in the morning.

When I come back from my run, I check my BG if I feel at all “off.” Take an adjustment shot if necessary or eat glucose tablets if low. Also, I never leave home without glucose tablets in my pocket. Easier to make accurate adjustments with these.

My breakfast is consistent every day. I don’t eat processed carbs, ever. No bread, rice, pasta, grains of any sort. So i don’t have wild BG swings. My fruit consumption is very low. An avocado for breakfast is normal.

Before a weight workout in the gym, I check my BG to make sure I am not high or low. I’ve gotten a feel for how much insulin to take before a workout if I am slightly elevated. And how much glucose to consume if i am low. I never eat before a workout. And after, I will try to eat some type of protein within one hour of finishing. Sometimes a Naked Whey protein drink with a raw egg or two.

That’s pretty much it. I try to stick to DR. Bernstein’s plan and maintain normal BG’s around the clock. Because of this, my diet doesn’t allow high levels of carbs like many others I’ve been reading about. I don’t know how anyone can maintain great health with so much carbs and living with type 1 diabetes.

Any questions, please send them along.

Oh yeah, I’m now 52 years old, 160 pounds, 6.4% body fat and can run sprints like a 20 year old. I’ve had type 1 diabetes for 19 years.