Exercising suggestions - foods? time? etc!

Two weeks ago I was diagnosed with Type 1 at 22yrs old. Before being diagnosed, I ran approx. 4 miles in 40 mins + an hour of weight lifting 3-5 days a week. Trying to get back to normal, I have started going back to the gym only completing 1/2 of my normal routine (and I hope to slowly increase back to my normal routine!)

I know about the chance of sudden blood sugar levels dropping during exercise so I started working out only during the day on weekends (typically work out during the weekdays between 8-10pm). I just had my first post-workout drop 4hr after working out. I should also mention I had a full dinner about an hour after working out.

Why did I still drop? Does anyone have any food recommendations that can help prevent sudden drops hours after exercise? I’m worried I will have drops in the middle of the night while sleeping.

@Kdlee hi Kendall,

it will take some time (maybe a year) before you get that 6th or 7th sense on blood sugar. I am a mechanic… not a doctor, but I have a few years experience with T1.

After diagnosis and when you start injecting insulin, many people start making insulin again. this is called “honeymoon” because the naming geniuses thought it was funny.

During this time, you will be very sensitive to insulin, some people don’t need long acting during this time, some don’t need fast acting. your experience will be your own.

injected, fast acting insulin lasts for 4+ hours. long acting can last from 8 to 36 hours.
Once you inject, it’s in there.

a workout can change your metabolism “rate” for 1-12 hours, no kidding. so if your metabolism was amped up from a workout, your insulin can be as much as 2x to 4x more potent then if you were at your rest state.

so, if I had to guess, your cells are still starving from being insulin deprived… then you worked out (making your cells even more energy starved) and then injected insulin at dinner time… your body immediately absorbed all the sugar and your blood sugar dropped.

there’s nothing wrong with what you did - heck working out is a great thing, you just have to be aware regarding insulin right after… or within 4 hours of a workout. for me, I typically use 1/2 my normal insulin then do a bs test about 2 hours after eating and if needed I can add a little more insulin later… or you just have to drink juice.

my favorite doctor said" it’s easy to take more medicine" it’s much harder if you’ve taken too much.

please consider getting the “Think Like a Pancreas” book it’s very useful

good luck!

Thanks Joe! I guess I just expect everything to become “normal” to quickly. Your words of wisdom are defiantly helpful!


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Hi Kendall!
Welcome to the diabetes community! It is super common to have drops in blood sugar after working out. I’ve found that if I do cardio, then my blood sugar will run low for about 4 1/2 hours, so I will reduce how much insulin I get. If I do weight lifting, my BG will actually get higher, so I don’t reduce insulin for when I lift weights. Since you do both, it may be a good idea to reduce your insulin. I’m not saying it’ll be the answer, but it takes some time and experimenting to find what works best for your body. How do you take your insulin? If you’re using a pump, I can tell you how I reduce my insulin, but I’m not sure about other methods of insulin delivery.

Also, the College Diabetes Network has an awesome guide for young adults who are newly diagnosed. If you’d like to check it out, here is the link: https://collegediabetesnetwork.org/newdx

Thanks! I’m only doing injections no pump. But my Dexcom should be arriving in the next couple weeks! Hopefully that will give me some peace of mind.


First of all, let me preface that I am not a medical professional and can not give medical advice. I just tell you what I do and what works for me may or may not work for someone else as we are all different. Also, what works for me a lot of the time can be drastically different and not work sometimes. Diabetes care varies all the time, so expect that how you manage your diabetes will vary considerably and will be different than how someone else manages their care. It is important to work closely with your endo, nutritionalist and check your blood sugar frequently, Your cgm, while not the one time perfect solution, will help tremendously with your blood sugar trends and alerts and adjustments.

I generally snack while exercising to keep me from dropping too low during the exercise. My cgm is a big help as I can set the alarm to go off at a higher number and during rapid decreases, which helps me manage eating. During strenous exercise, I can easily burn up 150-180g of carbs and still go low during exercise and in the night. Through trial and error, I have discovered baby food in pouches which have a screw top and I can easily squirt them in my mouth on the run. They have fruit smoothies that are made of real fruit and taste great. I much prefer real fruit nutrients and electrolights to dextrose cubes. Also, I found some individually wrapped prunes that are easy to pull out of my pocket during a run. Be sure to always carry snacks with you and more than you think you will need. I rarely use them, but always have the dextrose cubes in my pack as a backup.

I also suggest exercising with friends who can recognize low symptoms, listen for your cgm alerts and help you treat the lows. There have been a few times where I have dropped very rapidly to the point of not being able to recognize that I needed to eat something and my friends has been there to make me eat and get me home. I have a GlucaGen pen and my friends know how and when to use it for emergencies. Fortunately, I haven’t had to use it.

After excercise, I can and do go low. As I have had several episodes of severe lows where it has been difficult to get to the kitchen for a snack, I keep snacks on my bedside table. Again, the fruit baby foods are easy to eat and fast acting. I look at my cgm trend before going to bed and if I am on the lower end of my range eat an additional snack before going to bed.

Again, check your blood sugar frequently and expect that exercise will be something that you will need to account for. I generally, cut my fast acting insulin doses significantly before and after exercise. Also, I may reduce my long acting insulin. It can be distressing as it changes all the time. Diabetes management is certainly not an exact science.

Discuss with your doctor and nutritionalist for your specific needs and their recommendations. I wish you the best.


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I am a 21 year old, in which i have been diabetic since i was 15! This past October, I ran my first full marathon! My worry-wart of a mother was on the side lines cheering me on with 6 protein bars and a huge tub of sugar tablets!! As sad as it sounds, it gets better! When i was diagnosed, i was in the heat of volleyball, in which it felt like i always went low! Now, i hardly ever go low while or after an exercise! Before the marathon, i ate a bagel and a banana and did not give anything for it, since I knew i would be burning it off! However, i don’t suggest not giving insulin, but be sure to cut back on the insulin if you know you will be lifting or running soon. Eating foods high in protein will help keep your sugar leveled out longer (i am now a nursing student). Foods high in sugar and fat will drop your sugar faster! overall, it does take time for your body to adjust and for you to realize how your body reacts. To this day, i lift or run every day, and can live a somewhat normal life in regards to that and exercise! I hope this helps!!!

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Hi there. I’m not a doctor, but a long-time diabetic. Just wanted to suggest that there is quite a but of trial and error involved in determining what will work for you, but it can be done. Your doctor, and/or Diabetes Nurse Educator/nutritionist should be able to help you develop a plan that will let you keep doing the exercises you love.

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The link you posted is awesome! Highly recommend for anyone who is recently diagnosed. Thank you!

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Thanks for the tips Brook! I’ll defiantly try them and see how my body reacts.

Thank you! Trail and error is scary, but I guess it has to happen :slight_smile:

Hi @Kdlee I hate to be a spoilsport but I must second what @wadawabbit said. There isn’t a book that addresses each of us.
As humans each of us is unique and must figure what works for ourselves - trial & error and be our own doctor - and I’m not a medical doctor but have been doctoring myself through diabetes for over the greater portion of a century. One bit of advice, be conservative and like me talk over changes with medical professionals.

Hi Dennis. I think we are on the same page here. I suggested seeing medical professionals for help with adjustments, which involve some trial and error. The pros have general guidelines, but with those as a guide there is some trial and error involved to determine what works best for a particular individual.

Yes, and I certainly have the best medical specialists [six of them] with whom I consult. Including an excellent endocrinologist with whom I will be seeing in about 24 hours. She will review what I have been doing, and hopefully endorse, during the three months since we last talked.
she will have answers for the questions I sent ahead of our visit and she will probably ask my suggestions for dealing with other of her patients. We have a very good relationship.