Exercising, lows, sports drinks, weight gain

Hi there,
I was wondering if anyone has experience of doing cardio training, mainly running ~6miles+ hills (on tredmill) and increasing @ 6.2 miles/hour 4-5 times a week and managing blood sugars.
Its annoying because Ive found my weight has been increasing gradually since I started this even though my blood sugar control is on average better for the 24 hours after a work-out. Ive always eaten alot but Ive found that the only way I can really increase the intensity of the work out is if I drink sports drinks (which contain about 140kcal a bottle and then eat wheat biscuits after (4 at 90kcal each) otherwise my blood sugar goes low and I get that crazy low feeling like I might fall over or die (drama-queen-yes). Its just very confusing because my endo said to take off 2 units from a meal if Im planning to exercise after but the way it may have to be if I continue is no insulin at meal-time at all and this scares me because it seems ‘unnatural’ to eat carb meal with no insulin.
My question/comment is: I hate the idea of having to consume calories whilst working out, so what does anyone else do before they run (high carb meal-no insulin, drink sports drinks)? and do you notice an increased sensitivity to insulin after workouts? Could I start with a blood sugar of like 180 (10) and then exercise to bring it down to normal levels or is it not good to ever aim to have high blood sugars if only for the purpose of lowering them with exercise?

Thanks and apologies for my ramblings

Check out the group called Athletic Diabetics, there is tons of discussion on this topic there!

I used to run a lot, was drinking lots of sports drinks, and was gaining weight. I cut out the sports drinks and it helped with the weight a lot. For me, if I’m going to exercise with in 2-3 hours after I eat a meal, I cut down on the amount of insulin I take at that meal before hand. Instead of cutting down by a standard 2 units or something, I usually end up cutting down by a percentage depending on the intensity of my work out. For example, if I"m going to have a moderate to high intensity work out, I’ll only take like 50% of the insulin I would normally take. If it’s a low-intensity, I’ll take around 75%. If you want to cut out having to eat in order to work out, that might be one way to go. Also, I’ve heard people who are on pumps will lower their basal rates for a few hours before and a during exercise, but I’m not on a pump, so I can’t speak to that. I’d definitely suggest experimenting with your pre-exercise insulin dosages though, as a good alternative to sports drinks. You might have to deal with a few lows & highs until you figure out a good method for you, but it’s worth it! Good luck!

I run but if it’s on the treadmill, no more than 3.5-4 miles (too monotonous). Outside, currently just on weekends until daylight lasts longer, I run 5-6 miles.
I prefer to exercise when I have not active bolus in my system (usually just after work and before dinner) that way I tend not to experience lows during my workout and then eat dinner afterwards (reducing bolus ratio if the workout was more intense than usual since otherwise I don’t experience lows). By eating dinner after exercising, I’m able to replenish my body with carbs, but also, I’m not eating more food than planned. Because exercise tends to increase my sensitivity for 24~36 hours after, I have ended up decreasing my basal (on MDI so my total Lantus has gone down). However, if I go through a period of not exercising, I have to increase basal.
I haven’t lost weight but I also haven’t gained.

I eat some fruit before I exercise, and take fruit breaks every 20-40 minutes depending on how hard I’m exercising.

If you’re gaining weight because of eating to prevent lows, then you’re taking too much insulin. Don’t worry about not bolusing if you have basal insulin to cover.

i almost always drop like a rock during exercise. however today, i played in my first intramural basketball game since diagnosis in december. after an hour of running up and down the court i came home and tested, expecting to see a 80’s or 90’s reading and i got 235… twice… anyone have the experience of going low after just exercise but competition shooting it up?

Read more about these issues in the Athletic Diabetics Group or in Sherri Colberg’s book “The Diabetic Athlete.”

The weight gain is probably due to what you’re consuming AFTER your exercise.

It’s not uncommon to use exercise to bring down a high. Many diabetic runners, including me, prefer to start their run with an elevated BG level. 180 is about right for me. But test frequently - every 3 miles or 30 minutes, whichever comes later. You’ll need to consume Carbs on longer runs (longer run = 6 miles or longer in my book). Running gels, sports drinks, glucose tabs, pretzels, whatever works.

Join the group, read the book, keep running.


BG’s sometimes rise after intense activity - it’s your liver dumpling glucogen into your blood stream. Read more about it in the Athletic Diabetics Group or in Sherri Colberg’s book “The Diabetic Athlete.”

Happened to me today and it sucks.


Hi ,

I listed some suggestions directly on your page, by to re itterate , if you are exercising intensely look to decrease fasting acting insulin by 1/2 or maybe a 1/3 for starters, as the worst thing that can happen is you run a little high , and then adjust accordingly, I have been teetering with this dilema for nearly 25 years , and the best thing to do along with insulin reduction, is doing the exercise in off peak hours, if an insulin peaks in 8 hours, well do your exercise in 9, or if your fasting acting pekas in an hour or even two, then exercise in the 3rd hour, at a reduced rate , I dont know what your endo is basing his deduction on saying 1 or 2 units , as it depends on what you are eating both pre and post work out, I have found that sensitivity to insulin with me is most affected with the use of weights, not cardio, but still do get some affects … like I said on your page keep some Gaotorade 2 which is a reduced sugar drink filled with electrolytes which will help you greatly, also as an option keep a box of raisins near by as they get into your blood stream so fast, it will boost you immediately if you find yourself going low… and stay awat from the biscuits , as they are just going to put weight on you, as they are carb loaded, so mI hope this helps you , as I had to learn the hard way , as I went through a four year prison ,bid in the states, and what a challenge that was , not just as a person , but as a Type 1