Need a little exercise advice

I need to get healthy and lose 100+ pounds. I'm joining a gym tomorrow. My blood sugar always crashes when I exercise and I'm not sure what I should eat before I begin exercising.  Should I turn my pump off completely while I work out? I really don't want to eat before I exercise for fear that it will defeat the purpose of working out. Any suggestions/advice is appreciated, i can't afford to give up again :(

Everyone is a little different so be prepared to experiment - having trouble doesn't mean you need to quit but it will mean needing to try again.  That said, I cannot begin to tell you what will work for you but I can share what has worked for me:

For intense anaerobic exercise, I actually need to give insulin between 15 minutes a head to 15 minutes into my workout...  Otherwise, I usually need to cut back to between 0%-35% of my normal basal 30-40 minutes ahead of beginning the workout.

I always keep glucose handy anyhow and when I was starting that was glucose and a snack.  Once I figured out what I needed to do to keep my sugar level through various exercises it became predictable (in the way the diabetes is predictable - which usually means except when it's not, lol) -

I am sure a number of folks with more insight and better guidelines can step in and offer their experiences, too - but hopefully this gives you some ideas for a place you can start.

Good luck and keep us posted (retries, successes and all)!



When I bought a treadmill in 2003, I started very slowly. 15 minutes at a low speed, a few hours later 20 minutes at next higher speed. That one made me a little tired (I am an old Next few days, 30 minutes at #2 speed. Next few days, 15 minutes at #3 speed. .....gradually working my way up to longer times and higher speeds. After a month I was doing 20 minutes at the #7 incline with #3 speed, so I was like walking on a hill. That is as much as I can do at one session. I can do a second session later in the day. that is my cold weather work out.

Start small, increase gradually, test before starting. Eat something first if you do not already have carbs from a previous meal or snack. I exercise after lunch or dinner so the carbs are there. Test every 30 minutes, or every 15 minutes if your activity is more strenuous.  Always have your meter and glucose tablets nearby. A handy chair close by is necessary for me in case I feel weak and wobbly. If you are careful you will avoid hypos.

thanks for the advice, i guess i just need to take it slow and make sure i have some sugar handy in case i bottom out. i'll keep ya posted!

Richard, thanks for your advice. I'm still a youngin (lol, 28 is not so young) and I think I'm invincible and don't like to slow down much. I always tend to throw myself into exercise as fast and hard as i can then get frustrated when my blood sugar bottoms out. you're right that this time i should just take it slow and ease into it. thanks again for your comments.


p.s. i think i've read your life story online before....did you write a long story about having to boil needles and reuse them over and over when you were young?? i read this about a year ago or maybe longer....

Yes Ali, that was probably me. I had a long series of blogs about my 64 years of diabetes. Now that has been expanded and many pictures added. A 210 page book was published in March, 2010.Take a look at my profile for the link to my amazon page.

Wow! That's very cool. I'd be interested in reading that sometime. I'll definitely check it out! Thanks!

At the advice of others here on Juvenation, I just got the book Pumping Insulin, and the chapter on exercise alone was worth 10 times the cost of the book!  There are charts and explanations and advice on avoiding and dealing with the lows...

It will give you starting formulas (which you'll have to adjust to your weight, I:C factor, and possibly how your body reacts to exercise) that will allow you to avoid those lows by: eating carbs, reducing your insulin (usually bolus), or a combination of both methods.

As for your question of turning off your pump, the book said that you should only reduce your basal rate rather than totally stop it... And even then, that's more beneficial for very long periods of activity than for going to the gym and working out for 45 minutes.  (Plenty of people take their pumps off for short workouts, though.)

I feel similarly about not wanting to eat before hand, but if you find that you need to eat to avoid going low then you might consider exercising after a meal.  You'd just use a chart in the book to decide how much to reduce your bolus to match how many uncovered carbs you need for the workout.

Seriously, I'm so glad I got this book!