Interval training and hypoglycemia

I’ve always been very active and have managed (more or less, ups and downs) to deal with exercise-related blood sugar issues. Lately, though, I’ve introduced high-intensity cardio intervals into the mix and seem to be fighting off lows all the time. I’ve heard that this kind of exercise (in contrast to more moderate cardio of longer duration) has a more lasting effect on metabolism, and I’m guessing that if I can figure out appropriate basal and bolus rates, it will be a good thing to carry on with. But I’d be interested in hearing other people’s ideas, experiences and strategies in this area.

I have to say, for me, intervals are the way to go. Otherwise, how are you going to get fast? Anyway, I typically have a base basal rate for springtime and then again for fall. It usually takes me a few very frustrating days or weeks to figure out that oh, the seasons have changed and my body is starting to fly again (or not). So, honestly, I think you may need to look and see when you are going low and dial back that basal (if you are on a pump) for those one - two hours prior or use a different amount of long acting insulin. I’ve never been on that stuff so I can’t give any advice for that. Knock that idea and others around with a CDE and see what they say as well.
Don’t stop doing intervals for this - it’s totally doable and the endophins are absolutely worth it.

Thanks for the response and encouragement, Bob. I’m indeed on a pump, and I do dial back the basal before exercise. What’s interesting for me with this high-gear interval business is that it seems to be lowering my overall basal needs.

I wish I could find a CDE with some expertise in this area! (Vancouver, Canada) The focus seems to be on Type 2s who need motivation to start an exercise program.

Hey Heather, I love doing interval stuff too - and I found that lowering the basal (like you are doing) is the only thing that works for me, perhaps doping with some sugar before the interval (depends how long your intervals are at high intensity). If you are going low, perhaps the basal is not low enough? Are you exercising while you still have active insulin from a recent bolus? If so, perhaps you will have to drop the basal even more if you are working out close to a meal.

I also find the decrease overall basal demand and I think it’s because of increased muscle mass and increased metabolism from doing the interval higher intensity training. Keep it up girl!

I was talking about reducing the basal at other times during the day. I think I understood your original post to say that your lows are just during daily life. So, what I meant to say is that look at your basal profile during those time periods and reduce accordingly as part of the basal profile. I just went through this over the last few weeks and hopefully got it to where I’m not eating my way through the afternoon.

Thanks, Rachel — I like your “sugar doping” expression! Now if only I weren’t doing so much of that (pre-exercise-doping, midnight-low-treating etc. etc.), I might actually reap more of the calorie-burning benefits of interval training! Grrr … so frustrating! But, yes, I think your suggestion that my basals aren’t yet low enough is probably correct (until the next episode of pre-menopausal hormone wackiness kicks in, but we won’t even go there! ;-).

Eating my way through the afternoon is right … I’m doing that now! :slight_smile: But, yes, you’re right … I need to do some more strategic basal lowering (starting about two hours ago!). I think I’m in that danger zone where hypos create a predisposition to more hypos and start dulling the symptoms. Not nice.

After a hard workout in the morning I lower my basals by at least 50% for 2.5 - 3 hours starting about 5 - 6 hours AFTER a workout. I’m also very cafeful about bolus’ later in the afternoon. I don’t know what my actual ratio would be, but I certainly back off what would be normal for me at that time.

This is absolutely critical. Your body is recovering and is very busy at this time.

Really hard workouts or races will affect you for a couple days.

Thanks, Gary! Those specifics are very interesting to consider, and your advice about recovery is timely. I ran my first race yesterday (8k) then went rowing for a couple of hours. Add in about 20k of cycling back and forth, and I’m definitely still feeling the effects today!

I checked out your blog, too … nice!