The trouble with exercise is…

I love to box and kickbox.  Back when we lived on the Outer Banks I worked with an amazing trainer and really fell in love with the sport.  Back then, since I didn’t have a CGM, my routine was as follows:

-Test BG 15-30 minutes before leaving work.
-Test BG 1/2 hour into commute (my commute was 60 minutes long)
-If BG had dropped, eat snack – banana or rice krispie treat (I know, I know).
-Test BG as arriving to gym.  I usually would get there around 6, and class didn’t start until 6:30.  If BG was lower after eating snack, skip class or eat another snack (all this snack eating kinda defeated the purpose of working out!).  If higher, yay, enjoy class!

Not the most scientific of approaches, but it worked.  Some days after class I’d be high, in the 200-300 range, but most days I would be below 200.  I only had a bad low once – was in the 30s once after class.  No passing out and after a few glucose tabs and waiting a bit, I was fine and able to drive home.  Maybe I was more confident at my previous gym because I had friends there as well as my trainer who knew I have type 1 diabetes?  I don’t know.  All I know is that it did not stress me out nearly as much as it does now.

At this point in my life I was pretty blasé about my diabetes care and my outlook was more “one day at a time”, rather than seeing the whole picture (I had an A1c of close to 9.0 to prove it!).  Blood sugar high?  Bolus and move on.  Low?  Snack time!  Now that I’m trying to get baby-ready I am really working hard at keeping my BG steady with as few drastic BG swings as possible.  My CDE told me all about the deviation smart numbers stuff and how it shows how dramatic my BG swings are.  The way she explained it that if  my deviation is larger, this is no bueno.  She said that I want to be able to multiply my deviation by 3 and have the resulting number be less than my average BG.  If I can multiply it by 4, she said that’s awesome.  So guess what my goal is?  Multiples of 4, baby.

But, with the plethora of information that my CGM provides, I have almost a fear when it comes to working out.  See, the pretty graphs on my CGM tell me that my BG has no real pattern when it comes to exercise.  Some days it will go up.  Some it will go down.  I haven’t noticed if this is dependent on if I eat before class, as well as when and what I eat.  It just seems so random and without patterns.  This annoys me.  I do much better in life with diabetes when I can at least get an idea of what to expect.

This also stresses me out because I’m trying to keep my blood sugars as steady as possible with as few swings in either direction.  It’s easy to say, “Well, Laura, use the awesome tool of the CGM during your class and make adjustments as needed”, which I have been doing.  However, it’s a lot easier said than done.  Sometimes when I notice I’m rising, it’s almost like it’s too late.  I can set a temp basal to +50-100% and I’ll still creep up and remain high for hours after exercise.  It’s like a freight train you can’t stop.  Setting a temp basal to much higher than that while I’m participating in such a physically challenging activity makes me nervous, but maybe this is what I need to do?  Also, I’ve noticed that when I get really, really high I’ll crash and burn.  Maybe too much correcting?  I don’t know.  All I know is that it’s not so good for my innards and certainly doesn’t feel great while it’s happening.

I am not sure what the solution is.  I think that the first step is to keep better records of what I eat before workouts and when.  I don’t know if I should take a step back from boxing and maybe try something that is less intense like walking on the treadmill or yoga or weight training or something?  Something that is a more steady pace that may help prevent those nasty random spikes?  What say you, DOC?

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3 thoughts on “The trouble with exercise is…

  1. I say keep up the kickboxing and figure it out–don’t give up something that works over stupid diabetes! My personal plan before exercise is to eat dinner and take 2/3 of my pumps suggested bolus. Seems to work well for me for one hour of cardio and weights. I just keep an eye on my cgm to make sure

    • Thanks Katie. I know I should but it really affects me (physically and mentally) when my blood sugars get wonky! I need to have a more laid back approach like I did in the past, but not too laid back, you know?

      • Maybe try to “figure out” a less intense form of exercise then slowly up your intensity again? Just a thought…

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