Married to a T1 Athlete: Vol 1

Forward from Jen: Type 1 Diabetes doesn’t just affect those who have it, it affects that person’s whole family. With that in mind, I asked my wonderful husband, Marty, to share his perspective on life living with a diabetic spouse. The following are his thoughts on the subject. I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I did.

Married to a T1 Athlete: Vol 1 by Martin Nat

Let’s face it, being married to a competitive athlete is no easy task. Nor is being married to a T1 diabetic any easier. Hell, some will even argue the notion of marriage by itself is hard enough the way it is. So what is it like when you combine all of these humbling assets into one? To answer that in one word or even a few sentences will not give its deserved justice. Let’s just say like the seasons, things change. They change a lot, they change hard, and they change often! Sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse, and sometimes it snows in April. And its times like the latter when you need to make sure you’re on your game–prepared and ready to adapt.

No Two Workouts are the Same (nor should they be)

What’s more challenging than figuring out the right time of day to get your training in? Figuring out the right time of day to get your training in…together. This isn’t a matter of making sure you set your alarm clock to wake up a few hours early or even arranging your work day around finding time to get a few miles in. When that BG number reads it’s time to put in the work, that means it’s time to work…NO EXCEPTIONS. And when that number reads ‘sorry, you ain’t going anywhere for a while’, well, you have no choice but to obey. This could throw a wrench into any plans of a couple’s run or sweetheart swole sesh. And you know what? That’s perfectly fine. Of course it’s great to spend time with each other, especially doing something we’re both so passionate about. But it’s also good to utilize that time for yourself; your own body, your own thoughts, just you doing what not only makes you happy, but also doing something that yields positive results. Besides, it makes for a good coffee talk recap or wine talk recap later on.

Pockets = Underrated  

In the infrequent event the two of us have the chance to train together, a simple word of advice: revamp your workout wardrobe to include pockets! Nothing makes you feel more useful than being the bearer of emergency snacks! Like a magician, you’ll be pulling gummies and testing strips from areas you’d never guess were possible. However, err on the side of caution when doing post workout laundry. There’s nothing worse than a half opened pack of GU that permanently found itself all over your favorite race shirt.

Be Prepared to Drop Some Knowledge Bombs

Chances are (at least I hope) there are a few photos of you and your T1 love floating around.  And it’s only a matter of time before the elephant in the room gets addressed. Questions like ‘She runs marathons? How could she run that far without carbo loading?’ ‘What does she eat?’ and ‘How does she look that good? I thought diabetics were out of shape’ are just some of the common questions thrown around regularly. Take the time to educate someone when given the chance!

Don’t Knock It Til You Tried It. It’s Your Job & Duty to Taste Test… EVERYTHING!

It’s no new scientific breakthrough that how athletes fuel their bodies is a direct correlation to how they perform. Whether it’s a matter of habit, stubbornness, or combination of both, most athletes have their nutritional staples that they rely on to fuel them from pre work to post work out. With a T1 athlete at the helm, you are now suddenly approached with a whole new slew of recipe modifications and alternatives. Things like xanthan gum, swerve, and pizza crust made from ground chicken are just some of the things occupying my kitchen space where Eggo and Ben and Jerry once resided. Yes, nothing helps you recover better post 20 mile run than a pint of Americone Dream. At least, that’s what I used to tell myself. But when your wife has since transformed into a badass of a chef, the mere thought of a ‘real’ English muffin or ‘real’ pasta kinda turns my stomach. So much so, that I’m actually sitting here on a Sunday morning typing this while eating a muffin made from nothing other than cheese, garlic powder and almond flour, and it’s BANGIN! She’ll argue it’s a biscuit. But I’m calling it a muffin. I even felt like a five year old trying to sneak it out of the kitchen before she wakes up.

So although this disease is here for a while, we have an option. We have the option to let it control or be controlled. The competitor in my wife has not, and will not let this control her nor define who she is. If anything, it has made her stronger.

We Adapt. It’s what we do.

Follow My Blog

Get new content delivered directly to your inbox.

Or Follow Me on Social Media

Did I use an abbreviation or term you haven’t heard before? Check out my post on T1 & Athletic Lingo!

The content on this site is not intended to be medical advice. Always consult your doctor before beginning a fitness regimen or adjusting your diabetes management strategy.

T1 High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) Training Strategy

I have personally found HITT training to be a mixed bag when it comes to blood sugar management. Some workouts can spike your blood sugar high, like a Strength/ Resistance training session. Others can drop you low, like an Endurance/Cardio session and some won’t have much of an effect at all. 

HIIT training can have many different effects on blood sugar for T1 diabetics.

For short HIIT sessions 20-60 minutes, I usually don’t do anything differently than what I would normally do in daily life. I don’t typically reduce my basal insulin or eat in advance. As always, if I’m going low, I’ll eat. If I’m going high, I’ll correct with insulin.

For HIIT sessions that are longer than 60 minutes, I usually treat more like an Endurance/Cardio session since my average heart rate is elevated for a longer period of time. I find that in these cases my BGs tend to go lower. 

For HIIT sessions that are 20 minutes or less, I treat it more like a Strength/Resistance session since they are usually really intense and are more likely to spike me high. 

The past few years, most of my HIIT style workouts have been OrangeTheory Fitness classes. I find that most of the time, I can go through their 60 minute classes without doing anything special to manage my blood sugar. Their “Endurance” days (usually long blocks on the treadmill), I’ll occasionally need carbs and their “Power” days (very short intense bursts and lots of jumping) I’ll occasionally need to correct a high. 

Occasionally, I’ll also do 400 or 800 repeats at the track or a fartlek session on the trails. In those cases, since I’m typically still running/jogging during the “recovery” periods, I usually treat this more like an Endurance/Cardio session as well. 

As with anything, do some self-experimentation to see how your BGs react to HIIT training and keep some emergency food on hand, just in case.

Since there is so much variability with HIIT training, you might be wondering, “why bother?” but there are really so many benefits to this kind of workout. In my opinion, it is beyond worth it to figure out how to manage your blood sugar during HIIT style workouts.

The main benefit of HIIT training that most people seem to talk about is the “afterburn” meaning you’re not just burning calories during your workout but…

you actually continue burning calories for hours after your workout

This is because it takes longer for your metabolism to return to it’s normal rate* when you do high intensity intervals. Another benefit is that HIIT training is an extremely efficient way to train. You can burn a lot of calories in a relatively short amount of time. If you look back through my daily workouts, compare my calorie burn for 60 mins of strength, with 60 minutes of cardio, with 60 minutes of HIIT. Most of the time, the HIIT burns the most calories, then cardio and then strength**. Last but not least,

HIIT training improves insulin sensitivity***!

This is probably the biggest benefit to us as diabetics. While most of the time, I hear about how great this is for Type 2 diabetics; for Type 1 diabetics, becoming more sensitive to insulin means we can USE LESS INJECTED INSULIN for the same amount of food!!! Even though I’m lucky to have great insurance, the fact that many can’t afford this life sustaining medication is a tragedy. If there is any way to use less insulin (helping bring down the individual cost) without harming your health (and in this case improving your health) we need to be sharing this information as much as possible.

Most T1s I talk to are shocked when I tell them my Total Daily Dose (TDD, including all basal and bolus insulin) is typically around 20 units. That’s it, 20 units per day to keep my blood sugar within healthy range. I firmly believe that my “super sensitivity” to insulin is due in large part to the fact that I work out regularly and consistently**** and include HIIT as part of my training program. 

Feeling inspired to give HIIT a try? The OTF YouTube channel has free home workout HIIT style videos.

*As opposed to moderate intensity cardio, for example.

**Of course, there are other benefits to cardio and strength training so don’t just write those off!

***All forms of exercise can do this but HIIT training is particularly good at this!

****I also use Time Restricted Feeding (TRF) and Intermittent Fasting (IF). IF has been shown to increase insulin sensitivity as well.  

Additional Reading (for nerds like me!):

Follow My Blog

Get new content delivered directly to your inbox.

Or Follow Me on Social Media

Did I use an abbreviation or term you haven’t heard before? Check out my post on T1 & Athletic Lingo!

The content on this site is not intended to be medical advice. Always consult your doctor before beginning a fitness regimen or adjusting your diabetes management strategy.

6/12/2020- Run

Mental Health Run

5k

  • 6:12 am, BG: 126, Start run
    • 6:30 am, BG: 132, Automode exit
  • 6:42 am, BG: 126, End run, 0.5 U correction
  • 7:12 am, BG: 108, 30 Minutes Post Workout

Today was supposed to be a rest day for me because I had some tough workouts on Wednesday* and Thursday** this week but when I woke up this morning, my mind was already racing a million miles a minute. Running is my favorite tool to fix a busy mind so instead of resting, I went out for an easy solo run to clear my head. I didn’t look at my watch or worry about pace and it was glorious. I felt so much better by the time I got back home. After my run, I did my morning meditation as well and after that I felt like a whole new woman, ready to take on the day!

Luckily, my blood sugar cooperated this morning! No reduced basal, no carbs, just 100% fueled by the dawn phenomenon. I actually took my pump out of automode part of the way through my run to get my basal insulin flowing again*** to avoid the post workout spike and then gave myself a small correction right after the run. It worked perfectly and my blood sugar was super steady all morning! Happy Friday!

*Wednesday: 1 minute Bodyweight Squats, 1 minute Plank Walkout w/ Push up, 5 Push ups w/ Resistance Band, 10 Tricep Dips, 5 Push ups w/ Resistance Band, 10 Tricep Dips, 5 Push ups w/ Resistance Band, 10 Dumbbell Overhead Press, 5 Push ups w/ Resistance Band, 10 Dumbbell Overhead Press, 1 Rep Push up Challenge – 1 push up – 1 min 20 secs (40 sec down, 40 seconds back up), 5 Pull ups, 10 TRX Reverse Fly, 5 Pull ups, 10 TRX Reverse Fly, 5 Pull ups, 10 Resistance Band Pull Apart, 5 Pull ups, 10 Resistance Band Pull Apart, 1 min ISO hold pull up, 1 min Plank w/ Arms on Stability Ball, 1 min Crunches, 1 min Plank w/ Arms on Stability Ball, 1 min Crunches, 1 min Plank w/ Arms on Stability Ball, & 1 min Hollow Hold

**Thursday: Running – 1 mile warm up, 5 x 30 sec Hard/30 sec Easy, 5 x 60 sec Hard/60 sec Easy, 5 x 30 sec Hard/30 sec Easy & 0.5 mile cool down.

***Since I was close to 120 (automode’s target BG) and trending down, it would have stopped my basal insulin and caused a rise after my run. It’s all about timing!

Follow My Blog

Get new content delivered directly to your inbox.

Or Follow Me on Social Media

Did I use an abbreviation or term you haven’t heard before? Check out my post on T1 & Athletic Lingo!

The content on this site is not intended to be medical advice. Always consult your doctor before beginning a fitness regimen or adjusting your diabetes management strategy.

6/9/2020-Diaversary Run

Field & Trail Run

Mid-distance

  • 2:44 am, BG: 127, 0.5 U correction
  • 3:14 am, BG: 132, Start 60 min temp target
  • 4:38 am, BG: 120, Start 60 min temp target
  • 5:14 am, BG: 126, Start run
    • ~3g carbs @ mile 2
    • ~6g carbs @ mile 3
    • 0.6 U correction @ mile 5
  • 6:25 am, BG: 145, End run, 0.3 U correction
    • 6:35 am, 1.5 U Pre-bolus
    • 6:45 am, 1.5 U Pre-bolus
  • 6:55 am, BG: 164, Start walk
  • 7:05 am, BG: 163, End walk
  • 7:35 am, BG: 108, 30 Minutes Post Workout

Happy 3 year diaversary* to me! That’s 3 years of surviving and thriving, which is a cause for celebration in my book! Truly, I now appreciate this day even more than my birthday. Over the years, Marty and I have started marking this day as a time for reflection, gratitude and celebration!

We have a full day of little moments planned to celebrate the occasion and to kick it off, we started with a 6+mile run together. We ran from the house to one of our favorite, hilly parts of the park. Miles stayed home since there is no sidewalk and the the road to get there is narrow and winding. We had a blast watching the sun come up and running together!

“Be grateful that you can!”

Martin Nat
(Just before running up our last monster of a hill today)

So I messed up this morning (which you can see on my pump graphs). I had a rise alert wake me up just before 3:00 am and in my sleepy state, gave myself a correction without thinking that I would still have active insulin onboard by the time I went running. Whoops! I decided to set my alarm for 30 minutes later to check on it and set a temp target to reduce the amount of basal that would be peaking on my run. I got up to prep for my run and saw that my numbers were still steadily trending down. I set another 60 min temp target about 30 mins before my run and scheduled it to end part of the way through my run.

Since I wasn’t 100% sure how the active insulin onboard, the dawn phenomenon, and my reduced basal was all going to hit, I made sure to take extra emergency food on my run today. I had planned on running about 6 miles or so but I let Marty plan the route. Now if you don’t know my husband, 6 miles might mean 6, or 6.5 or 7, because those are all “about 6” to him (and no, it’s never less than 6). When we were about 2 miles in, I saw I was slowly trending down. I knew I had at least 4 more to go so I had a gummy. At mile 3 I was still trending down so I had two more and figured I could always correct later if I overdid it. Which is exactly what happened! After watching the trend line go up a bit, and knowing I was a bit over a mile from home, I corrected for part of my carbs at mile 5 and corrected for the rest as soon as I got back.

One of the celebratory things we had planned was a special breakfast of some of my favorite treats. We had bacon, scrapple and soft boiled eggs over my low carb garlic biscuits (I’ll get you the recipe soon)! It was so good, I didn’t even stop for one second to think about taking a photo. Knowing that was going to be a heavy carb (30g), protein (50g) and fat (80g) meal, I really wanted my BGs in a good spot and trending down before eating. Since I was spiking high after my run, Miles and I decided to go for a walk to help my pre-boluses along**. It worked out very nicely! I came down quickly and stabilized around 100 while/after eating. Well, I’m off to celebrate, reflect and appreciate this journey we call life! Hope your day is as good as mine!

*”Diaversary” is the anniversary of my Type 1 Diabetes diagnosis

**I joke all the time telling him he is my “insulin booster” or that he “lowers my blood sugar just as much as my insulin does”. He isn’t technically a diabetic support dog but he might as well be! 😉

Follow My Blog

Get new content delivered directly to your inbox.

Or Follow Me on Social Media

Did I use an abbreviation or term you haven’t heard before? Check out my post on T1 & Athletic Lingo!

The content on this site is not intended to be medical advice. Always consult your doctor before beginning a fitness regimen or adjusting your diabetes management strategy.

Can Diabetes Make You Stronger?

Today is my 3 year diaversary! Exactly three years ago, I landed in the hospital in DKA and my world flipped upside down. To honor three years of surviving with this disease, I wanted to take a moment to consider how the experience has made me stronger.

Can diabetes make you stronger?

Before I was diagnosed with diabetes, I thought I was doing okay in life. I was running marathons and ultra marathons, I paid attention to what I was eating and I had a work hard/play hard kind of mentality. I thought I was invincible and life was going pretty close to what I had planned. 

Then, in what seemed like out of nowhere, I ended up in the hospital and was told I have Type 1 Diabetes. They said, “Don’t worry! It’s not a death sentence anymore like it was in the old days.” I just sat there thinking, “Wait, so this is something that can kill me?!?!” I was so naive at the time* and had no idea how much my life was about to change. But…

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger!

I truly believe that all of the additional challenges this disease has brought into my life has made me a much stronger person. For example:

Before T1D, I wasn’t nearly as educated about how food and different nutrients affect my blood sugar or my body. This is an area where I’m still learning but I already know so much more than I ever would have cared to before I was diagnosed. 

Before T1D, I was non-stop. I was working 3 jobs and 80+ hour weeks, not because we needed the money, but because I enjoyed it and got a lot of happiness from being able to help others through my work. When I wasn’t working, I was marathon training, furthering my education and trying to squeeze in a bit of time for my family and friends. My priorities were way out of whack to say the least. My diagnosis forced me to take a step back, reflect and identify what was really important to me. These days, I only have one full time job, which is much less stressful than my last one (or last three) and I have my evenings and weekends back to spend time with family and friends, work on personal projects, and do things that I love**. It has allowed me to find more balance in my life!

Before T1D, I wasn’t as focused on longevity. Like most young people, I assumed I would live forever and wasn’t concerned with bad habits that could take years off my life! I also wasn’t being proactive by taking healthy steps to ensure peak physical and mental function as I age.

Before T1D, I wasn’t as focused on my mental health. I like to believe that my mental health was in an okay spot before I was diagnosed but I really struggled to deal with obstacles and challenges in a healthy way. Since T1D, I take proactive measures and have developed better coping strategies for when things get tough. I meditate daily, I talk to trusted friends about things that are weighing on me and of course, I run and workout. Before T1D, running was pretty much my only outlet, so it’s wonderful to have other tools in my toolbox. 

Before T1D, I wasn’t as grateful. Period. I took a lot for granted and not just my health but also my friends and family. Gratitude is a powerful life changing thing. I can’t say enough about this so I’ll share this video with you instead. 

So to answer, my original question:

Yes, I truly believe that my diabetes has made me stronger!

For all of the things diabetes has “taken from me” it has given me back so much more! That doesn’t make it easy to manage day in and day out but it does make it worth the experience! So my question to you is…

How has diabetes made you stronger?

*In five years, I’ll probably be thinking the same thing about myself presently. If you can’t look back and wonder how you could have been so ignorant in the past, you’re probably not growing and changing all that much. 

**Like baking, blogging and reading! …and running/working out too! 🙂

Follow My Blog

Get new content delivered directly to your inbox.

Or Follow Me on Social Media

Did I use an abbreviation or term you haven’t heard before? Check out my post on T1 & Athletic Lingo!

The content on this site is not intended to be medical advice. Always consult your doctor before beginning a fitness regimen or adjusting your diabetes management strategy.

6/8/2020-HIIT

Outdoor Run +

Strength Intervals

  • 6:18 am, BG: 118, Start workout
    • 1 mile Run
    • 30 sec Push ups
    • 60 sec Bicycle crunches
    • 30 sec Pull ups
    • 0.5 mile Run
    • 30 sec Push ups
    • 60 sec Hollow hold
    • 30 sec Pull ups
    • 0.5 mile Run
    • 30 sec Push ups
    • 60 sec Stir the pot
    • 30 sec Pull ups
    • 0.5 mile Run
  • 6:53 am, BG: 116, End Workout, Exit automode
  • 7:23 am, BG: 115, 30 Minutes Post Workout

This morning, Marty made me a workout to switch things up a bit. I asked him to keep the focus off my legs so I could be ready for a good run tomorrow morning and he nailed it! A few quick runs, push ups, pull ups and abs. Solid, tough and quick. I was actually a bit sore when I woke up this morning and not from my workout yesterday*!

Marty and I spent the day yesterday with my dad, mom and brother doing yard work and fixing a roof. My brother pointed out that you know you’re getting stuff done when you fill a 40 ft dumpster in a weekend**! Sometimes, the best workouts aren’t workouts at all! I looked at my pump history this morning and I only used a bit over 15 units of insulin all day yesterday (basal and bolus combined)! Pretty amazing considering I usually run somewhere between 20-25 for my total daily dose (TDD), depending on food and activity level, of course.

This morning, my BGs were nice and steady and hung around 115-120 for my entire workout. I didn’t eat or reduce my basal at all for this one. I let automode take care of things during the workout and immediately after I took it out of automode to get my basal going. Since my BGs were below 120 and trending down post run, I knew automode would be shutting off my basal just as the dawn phenomenon would be kicking back in. Taking it out of automode allowed me to get my basal going again to counteract that rise. I’ll take it! Hope everyone is having a great Monday!

Video of yesterday’s stats!

*Yesterday I did a quick dry land swim workout that a friend sent me, some kettlebell work, yoga and abs.

**Marty and I can’t take credit for the work that happened on Saturday. My sister and brother-in-law were over there helping my dad, brother and mom get shit done that day! As a family, hard work is in our blood!

Follow My Blog

Get new content delivered directly to your inbox.

Or Follow Me on Social Media

Did I use an abbreviation or term you haven’t heard before? Check out my post on T1 & Athletic Lingo!

The content on this site is not intended to be medical advice. Always consult your doctor before beginning a fitness regimen or adjusting your diabetes management strategy.

6/6/2020-Run

Outdoor Run

Hills

“Hills build character”

Unknown
  • 6:27 am, BG: 159, Start walk
  • 6:54 am, BG: 150, End walk
  • 8:29 am, BG: 145, Start run
  • 9:03 am, BG: 115, End run
  • 9:23 am, BG: 98, 30 Minutes Post Workout

Nothing to mess with today! No carbs, no change in basal, no bolus insulin. Just timing!

This morning I knew I wanted to go for a run but I didn’t know what kind of run I wanted to do. I looked at my oura ring screen app and it told me “If you’re up for it, today can be a good day for your favorite workout”. If you haven’t figured out that I’ve got a few screws loose, you’ll know that I do when I tell you my mind thought, “Favorite? Nah, let’s do my least favorite today” and for me, that means one thing…hills.

Some say “hills don’t build character, they reveal it” but I respectfully disagree. Training your mind to repeatedly do something that you dislike because you know you’ll be better for it absolutely builds character. Whether it’s hills, diabetes or anything else in life, mental toughness is just as important, if not more important than physical toughness.

Similar to last weekend, Marty and I wanted to have our pre-workout coffee together but the dawn phenomenon was raging again this morning. I was already at 139 and rising quickly when I woke up and although my pump was trying to give me extra basal and I hadn’t had anything to eat or drink, it kept rising anyway. So we took Miles for a nice long walk to bring my BGs down to a better place. This is exactly why I strongly recommend morning workouts for T1 athletes. Even something as simple as walking can be good for your health in so many ways!

After our walk, we had our coffee* and a little later, I went out for my run. Since my BGs were rising again, I didn’t reduce basal or eat anything before I ran. After running a few hills, I noticed a car slowly pulling up along side of me. It turned out to be my mom on her way back from her grocery store (she lives nearby). She rolled down her window and drove slowly along side of me for a bit as I was running and we chatted. One of my favorite things to do when I run is socialize, so it was a welcome distraction from how much pain I was in running uphill this morning**. I’m sure my neighbors now know I’m nuts too (the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree) but it was just too much fun to pass up.

I ended up with a bit over a 5k which is pretty short for a hill workout but considering I did intervals with Marty again two days ago, I was good with that. Since I didn’t have a specific distance in mind, I just ran until my BGs came down to a more reasonable place, without sending them too low. When I’m doing an unspecified distance, “let’s see how my blood sugar reacts” kind of run, I always leave a little room for a post-workout dip (if I haven’t eaten) since that is common for endurance/cardio training.

*I almost always drink mine black and it seems to have little effect on my BGs. Caffeine can effect BGs though so be mindful of how that may effect you.

**I guess I’ll have to work on my mental toughness another day! It was worth it for the good conversation and company!

Follow My Blog

Get new content delivered directly to your inbox.

Or Follow Me on Social Media

The content on this site is not intended to be medical advice. Always consult your doctor before beginning a fitness regimen or adjusting your diabetes management strategy.

Did I use an abbreviation or term you haven’t heard before? Check out my post on T1 & Athletic Lingo!

T1 Strength/Resistance Training Strategy

Strength/Resistance training is definitely popular in the T1 athletic community and probably because it just might be the easiest in terms of BG management. To clarify, when I’m talking about this type of training, I mean the type of non-cardio exercise you see most people doing at a gym including using weight machines, barbells, dumbbells and/or resistance bands. 

Most T1 diabetics will see either no effect or a slight rise in BGs due to strength training. 

Personally, I try to incorporate some strength training a few times per week. I originally started strength training as part of my swim team training but rediscovered it later in life to support my running habit. Before I started doing regular strength training, I was an injury prone runner. Ever since I added in a few days of strength per week, I rarely get injured*. Strength training also has other benefits such as increasing bone density and preserving muscle mass, which we tend to lose as we age**. 

Since I often find strength training will have a minimal effect on my blood glucose, I’ll often opt to do my strength workouts in the evening or after my morning cardio. If I’m having a wonky blood sugar day, I’ll often choose a strength workout to minimize the variables affecting my blood sugar. 

Unlike a cardio or endurance workout, usually, I don’t reduce my basal at all. I still make sure to have carbs nearby during my workout but I almost never have to use them if all I’m doing is strength training since my blood sugar is more likely to rise than fall. There are a few reasons this may happen. 

  • First, the way strength training works is you’re actually breaking down your muscles. When you recover and repair themselves, that’s when they actually become stronger. In the process of breaking your muscles down, some glucose is actually released into your bloodstream which may cause your blood sugar to rise. That’s right, it’s not just your liver that dumps glucose into your bloodstream, your muscles do too***. 
  • Second, any workout where you’re putting out maximum effort may trigger an adrenaline response, (think “fight or flight”). This can cause your liver to dump glucose into your bloodstream so your body is prepared for the “fight or flight” situation. 
  • Finally, if you’re not eating enough, your body may begin to break down your muscle to use as fuel and this can also cause a rise in blood sugar post workout. This is not only detrimental to making progress in the gym but can also cause another curveball for your blood sugar management.

For those reasons, I tend to monitor the trend on my CGM and if I see my blood sugar start to rise, I correct immediately. If I’m in automode and it isn’t giving me enough basal, I’ll take it out of automode to make sure I’m getting my regular amount or even increase it a bit to avoid a spike. For a strength session where I know I’m going to try to PR my lifts, I might give myself a bit of extra basal (or bolus if I’m already a bit high) at the start of the workout as well. If I’m starting the workout and my blood sugar is in a good place, I’ll usually play with the basal first since it will affect my blood sugar more slowly and incrementally than a correction bolus. I can always put it back to my normal rate or reduce it if I start to see a downward trend. This will take some self-experimentation to figure out exactly how it will affect you personally as how much you might need to (or not need to) adjust. 

The other thing I have been known to do is mix up strength and cardio in the same workout. If a strength session is driving my blood sugar up, I will sometimes catch the high by going for a walk, running on a treadmill or hopping on a bike for a few minutes. Similarly, If I’m going low, I have been known to stop my cardio and incorporate a few strength exercises to allow my blood sugar to stabilize and rise again. 

Keep in mind other things that can affect your BGs such as hormones for women, alcohol consumed up to 24 hours before, the dawn phenomenon and competition adrenaline. If your BGs aren’t doing what you would expect, be ready to adapt and err on the side of going high. It’s safer and you can always bring it back down with a little insulin later on, if needed. If you accidentally over-correct an oncoming high with insulin, you can always nudge it up later with small amounts of carb to avoid going low.

These are my general rules of thumb but again, the most important thing is to be flexible and adjust as needed. You can cut a workout short if you’re going low or extend it if you’re trending high and have the time to do so. You can eat more or less and adjust insulin levels to stay in range. Play with the variables and find out what works best for you! Also, endurance training isn’t for everyone and there are plenty of ways to stay active if you hate it. More to come in a future post on BG management strategies for other types of workouts!

*The few times I have, it’s almost always because I increased my mileage too quickly and developed an overuse injury. Thank goodness Marty and I are both licensed sports massage therapists and have pretty in depth knowledge of how to properly rehab an injured muscle. 

**More can be found on this here

***More can be found on this here

Follow My Blog

Get new content delivered directly to your inbox.

Or Follow Me on Social Media

Did I use an abbreviation or term you haven’t heard before? Check out my post on T1 & Athletic Lingo!

The content on this site is not intended to be medical advice. Always consult your doctor before beginning a fitness regimen or adjusting your diabetes management strategy.

6/3/2020-Run + Strength

Shakeout +

Back/Biceps

  • 4:33 am, BG: 131, 0.5 Correction
  • 5:14 am, BG: 124, Start strength
    • 3 x 12 Stability ball dumbbell low rows/ 12 resistant band curls
    • 3 x 12 Hinged reverse grip dumbbell low rows/ 12 resistant band curls
    • 3 x 12 Hinged dumbbell reverses flies/ 12 resistant band curls
    • 3 x 12 Tricep Dumbbell kickbacks/ 12 resistant band curls
  • 5:40 am, BG: 104, 1 gummy
    • 3 x 12 Band Lat pull downs/ 12 resistant band curls
    • 3 x 12 TRX high rows/ 12 resistant band curls
    • 3 x 12 Mini band Y raises/ 12 resistant band curls
    • 3 x 12 Bosu ball Dumbbell pull over/ 12 resistant band curls
    • 3 x 12 Sumo stance kettle bell up right row/ 12 resistant band curls
    • 3 x 12 TRX roll out/ 12 resistant band curls
    • 3 x 12 Plank low rows (6 each side)/ 12 resistant band curls
  • 6:07 am, BG: 115, End strength
  • 6:17 am, BG: 123, Start run
    • 6:23 am, BG: 136, 0.3 U correction
  • 6:41 am, BG: 115, End run 0.7 U Pre-bolus for breakfast
  • 7:11 am, BG: 91, 30 mins post workout

Today I started a bit early to try to knock out my strength block and run before work. If it looks familiar, it’s because it is one of the ones Keith* designed for me. I felt pretty good this morning! I used a thicker (heavier) resistance band for my curls and heavier weights for almost everything else. It’s amazing when you start to see progress from all of your hard work!

After the strength set, I went for a nice shakeout run with my boys. Yesterday I did a short but more intense run so today the focus was to get the heart rate up and the blood flowing a bit before sitting at my desk all day. We ran around our neighborhood and let Miles off leash at the park. I could play tag with those two all day! Too much fun!

This morning the dawn phenomenon started to hit before I even got out of bed. My high BG pump alarm actually woke me up around 4:30 am and I gave myself a quick correction. Since strength days sometimes spike BGs, the last thing I wanted was a dawn phenomenon spike before my workout even started. I went back to sleep for about a half hour and then got up again for my workout. My BGs declined steadily and nicely throughout the first half of my strength session. Since I knew I wanted to do a short shake out run today, and would now have some active insulin onboard for it, I had a single gummy to stop/slow the drop about half way through.

By the end of my strength set, I was trending up again and knew I was ready to run. Mid-run, I was still a bit higher than I wanted to be, especially considering I had active insulin on board so I corrected for the gummy completely (0.3 U). When I got back home, I checked my blood sugars with a finger stick because I wasn’t feeling as high as my CGM was reading. Turns out my sensor reading was pretty off (SG 144 vs. BG 115) so I did a few more finger sticks than normal this morning. Trust but verify! I also wanted to get a bit more insulin flowing for breakfast so I gave myself a nice pre-bolus as well. 30 mins post-run my sensor was finally starting to catch up to my BG and was reading more accurately again. I was thankful since I just put this sensor on yesterday and did not want to have to replace it so soon. Also, I’m totally digging my new sugar patch tape (above) that is covering it and wouldn’t want to waste that either! Overall, not a bad morning. Happy hump day everyone!

*Feel free to hit him up on facebook if you’re looking for customized workouts to help you reach your goals.

Follow My Blog

Get new content delivered directly to your inbox.

Or Follow Me on Social Media

Did I use an abbreviation or term you haven’t heard before? Check out my post on T1 & Athletic Lingo!

The content on this site is not intended to be medical advice. Always consult your doctor before beginning a fitness regimen or adjusting your diabetes management strategy.

5/31/2020-HIIT

Outdoor Run +

Combination Strength

  • 8:14 am, BG: 169, Start workout
    • 0.3 mile run
    • 3 x 10 Dumbbell neutral full thrusters/ 3 Burpees
    • 0.3 mile run
    • 3 x 10 Kettle bell snatches/ 3 Burpees
    • 0.3 mile run
    • 3 x 10 Good mornings to tricep kick back/ 3 Burpees
    • 0.3 mile run
    • 3 x 10 Curtsy lunge to bicep curls (5 per leg)/ 3 Burpees
    • 0.3 mile run
    • 3 x 10 Kettle bell single leg dead lift to high row/ 3 Burpees
    • 0.3 mile run
    • 3 x 10 Kettle bell Reverse lunge to torso rotation (5 per leg)/ 3 Burpees
    • 0.3 mile run
    • 3 x 10 ISO squat mini band (low band) front raises/ 3 Burpees
  • 9:23 am, BG: 147, 0.5 U correction
    • 0.3 mile run
    • 3 x 10 Inch worms to palms to elbows/ 3 Burpees
    • 0.3 mile run
    • 3 x 10 Power step-ups/ 3 Burpees
    • 0.3 mile run
    • 3 x 10 Leg raise to toe reach/ 3 Burpees
  • 10:03 am, BG: 117, ~3g carbs
    • 0.3 mile run
    • 3 x 10 Low plank spider man crunch to plank torso roll/ 3 Burpees
    • 0.3 mile run
  • 10:13 am, BG: 110, End Workout
  • 10:43 am, BG: 110, 30 Minutes Post Workout

This morning, Marty and I had big plans! A local theater announced they were going to share some really old cartoons on YouTube. We couldn’t pass that up so we planned on getting up, having some coffee and watching cartoons that are older than we are. When I got up though, my blood sugar had other plans. My CGM was reading 166 and normally, I would workout to bring it down but I didn’t want to spoil our plans. I also didn’t want to correct with insulin because that would have been peaking during the time I actually wanted to workout. So Marty and I took Miles for a sunrise walk and played in the park while the coffee brewed. It was great!

After our morning cartoons, we got down to business. We did different workouts but in the same space which was fun. He would be running out the door as I was running back in or vice versa. Today I decided to take the combination strength workout that Keith* made for me and I added in some running in between the sets as opposed to getting my cardio in before or after the strength.

My BG management was obviously a bit wonky because of the dawn phenomenon this morning. Since I started out high and was planning a HIIT workout, I didn’t eat or reduce basal. I knew that it would take me a while to get through the workout so I figured it would probably lower my blood sugar, rather than spike it. I also took a few of the runs at an easier pace to help nudge my numbers down. When I was getting close to the end and still pretty high, I did a half unit correction for an extra push towards my personal target range. Normally, I would have made a smaller adjustment but since I did my site change right before my workout, I did a little bit extra**. Then a few minutes later, I started to drop rapidly so I had a sip of tailwind that I would guess was about 3g of carbs. It was just enough to even me out! You can see that my BGs dropped a little, then rose a little and then dropped back down into a great place. Happy Sunday! I hope your weather is as nice as ours is today!

*Keith crushed me, again! Feel free to hit him up on facebook if you’re looking for customized workouts to help you reach your goals.

**I don’t always trust a new site and sometimes I find I need just a bit more insulin than normal right after I change it.

Follow My Blog

Get new content delivered directly to your inbox.

Or Follow Me on Social Media

Did I use an abbreviation or term you haven’t heard before? Check out my post on T1 & Athletic Lingo!

The content on this site is not intended to be medical advice. Always consult your doctor before beginning a fitness regimen or adjusting your diabetes management strategy.

%d bloggers like this: