How to keep energy levels up?

I was diagnosed with T1D about 4 years ago. I am 23, and enjoy being active and exercising regularly, but I found that I am having a lot of fatigue and exhaustion when I try to work out as often as I would like. Most fitness sites say to increase carb intake to keep energy levels high, but I also don’t want my sugar levels to spike. Are there any good suggestions or better methods for minimizing the exhaustion that I feel or for giving me enough energy to make it through a work out?

Hi Liz @lizwas12,

I hear what you are saying and I think I can imagine from where you are coming. My initial suggestion is that you eat a “proper” diet as regularly as possible; one that provides all types of nutrition. By “proper”, I mean what is right for YOU considering your diabetes, exercise regimen and your lifestyle in general.

Should you increase sugar for exercise? Probably yes if that is what your body demands; consult with a nutritionist who is familiar with T1D [not necessarily familiar with ‘diabetes’] and exercise. For instance, when on bike rides my water bottle contains a slightly weakened Gatorade [I use the powder], set my pump basal to 20% - 40% a while before riding and somehow my BGL readings look in range and my energy levels are more than adequate for a 75 year old. In addition to the Gatorade bottle I also sip from a Camelbak filled with plain water.

Experiment and find what works for you, and don’t shy away from sugar especially if that is what your body is demanding. Consult too with your endocrine team; my doctor endorsed my style.

Carbs and a little insulin and then I work out till I am in the 70’s.

One other thought… Fatigue sometimes is a symptom of depression. It’s been a couple years since your dx. How are you? What other stress or anxiety is going on? How satisfied are you? Would you say you were happy or upbeat. Anyway just s guess I hope you are okay.

I was running into the same problem. I work out 6 days a week & was finding days I just didn’t have the energy I wanted. I too read the articles referring to fuel before a workout, but wasn’t because I wanted to avoid the extra carbs & what it would do to my sugar levels. But, I had to give in. I started experimenting a bit with some different gels, bloks, & protein bars. I have found a system that works well, & my biggest suggestion would be to be consistent with it. For example, I go on a 9 - 10 mile run & I turn off my basal. I take an energy gel before, check my blood sugar every 3-4 miles, & have a quest energy bar half way through. Gives me great energy throughout the run. Intake & routine will be different for each person. This works for me & I am consistent with it. Same amount of carbs in the energy gel & energy bar & I don’t mix this up. May be boring, but I have figured out what works to keep my blood sugars in check & don’t want to mess it up by mixing it up with different products, carb intakes, etc.

Hi, Liz.

If you are really finding yourself fatigued often, make sure you get your thyroid checked as well, since autoimmune diseases like to pair up, and thyroid issues are very common, especially for T1Ders. Not to worry you. It’s just better to be safe than sorry!

Hi lizwaz12,

I have the same problem but I’ve had to stop working out and it’s driving me nuts I have found that if you don’t want to increase your carb intake to much I use a energy pre start 30 mins before I workout and I use it again in my smoothie I have mid afternoon to keep me going. Many of these products are now sugar free and flavored but I would say do your research 1st, so you have an idea what type of pre start you may want and go to a local fitness store like GNC and ask the staff your questions it’s what I do and I’ve come away with great knowledge and some good products but still I need more of a boost as I was only using the lesser pre starts now think I may have to go for more intense pre start. I would like to see if anyone here is a swimmer? If so how do you prep for a swim session I am planning on visiting my local pool this Friday and am looking for some tips because I haven’t been swimming since I got onto a pump which has been 13 years. And I’m dying to get back to workouts. Hope this helps in the slightest.