Cardio based workouts can be really difficult when living with type 1 diabetes, particularly when you are new to this type of exercise.
Here is some useful information and my tips on how to exercise safely.
What to expect
Aerobic exercise tends to be less intense with a longer duration. Examples include walking, running, cycling and swimming.
Due to the nature of cardio, it can result in sudden sugar level drops and hypo’s. Therefore, we need to use different tactics when managing glucose levels.
*If you are vigorously exercising a muscle group that you have recently injected in, this can cause rapid insulin absorption and very rapid hypo’s. This is a useful tip to consider when preparing to exercise.
Preventing and dealing with drops
1. Check sugar levels before – this allows you to predict and correct hypo’s before they happen. Use your own judgement as to whether you need a snack – remember you know your diabetes best! If you are under 4.5mmol/L I would suggest waiting until your levels come up a bit before starting.
2. Check during your workout – For most people 25-30 minutes of moderate exercise can cause blood sugar to lower. Therefore I would recommend checking every 15-20 minutes, or more frequently if you are exercising at a higher intensity.
3. Carry a snack at all times – Being prepared is vital to prevent hypo’s during your workout. I like to carry juice shots or oat bars when I am walking or running. This means I can quickly correct my sugars before they get too low, and it means I can continue with my workout.
4. Keep an eye out for delayed hypo’s – blood sugar levels can drop for up to 48 hours after a cardio based workout. Therefore it is essential you eat enough carbs and think about adjusting subsequent insulin doses to prevent this. Again, always keep a snack with you and beside the bed in case you need it during the night.
This pretty much sums up the importance of continuous glucose monitoring, especially when working with cardio workouts.
It will get better with experience
The more you repeat cardio based activity, the more experience you gain. Trial and error allows us to see sugar level trends which makes sugar level prediction easier in the future.
Don’t give up, it is worth finding what insulin ratios, exercise types and snacks work best for you!
Thank you for reading Cardio and type 1 diabetes! I hope this helps, be sure to subscribe and follow me on Instagram!
Carrying excess weight is linked to many health problems and has a large link to developing insulin resistance.
This applies to type 1 diabetes as well as type 2 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes develops regardless of body weight, however keeping a healthy weight when living with type 1 will reduce risk of complications, as well as reducing insulin demand.
Which ever type of diabetes you are living with, it’sin best interest to keep excess body weight to a minimum.
Work with your medical team
Trying to lose weight can cause sugar levels to drop quite quickly and can cause stubborn hypo’s.
This is due to a change in diet, increased exercise and increased insulin sensitivity.
Therefore it is vital to get advice before you make any drastic changes to your lifestyle. Making gradual changes is the best protocol. This allows sugar control to remain stable, as well as increasing the likelihood you’ll stick to positive changes.
4 simple tips to focus on
1. Increase movement
Everyone knows we have to move more in order to shift some weight.
We want to gradually increase the duration and intensity of exercise, especially when trying to keep sugars balanced.
This can start with going on a slow 20-30 minute walk everyday. The duration can then be built up, increasing by 5 minutes every week.
Whatever form of exercise you choose, remember to start slowly and you’ll eventually learn to love it!
2. Make swaps, don’t ‘cut things out’
If you go crazy and attempt to ‘cut out’ all ‘bad food groups’, I guarantee it’ll be an epic fail. Losing weight is generally viewed as a negative experience, but it doesn’t have to be this way at all.
Rather than focusing on taking away, we want to focus on replacing and adding nutritious foods. You can absolutely eat breakfast, lunch, dinner, have snacks and lose weight.
I’ll write another post on the specifics but here are a couple of examples.
Replace chocolate cereals with oats. Add 1 tsp raw cacao, a sprinkle of cinnamon, 1 tsp of nut butter, a handful of berries and walnuts.
Replace snack bars with homemade protein balls. See my recipe here!
3. Focus on sleep
Sleep is fundamentally important in losing weight.
Getting good quality sleep consistently is also key to mood regulation and productivity.
When we change our routine it will require discipline. It is so hard to stay disciplined when we are tired!
Make sure you are getting 8-9 hours of sleep, avoid blue light one hour before bed and make your sleeping environment quiet and peaceful.
Hydration is vital to support your kidneys, digestive system, and well, everything.
People living with diabetes must support their kidneys by drinking enough water. This puts less pressure on them and supports removing toxins from the body.
Make sure you are drinking 8-10 tall glasses of water everyday. I recommend investing in a water bottle that goes everywhere with you. Seeing your water bottle is an instant reminder to drink some water.
Thank you for reading losing weight with diabetes, I hope you found these tips useful! Be sure to subscribe and follow me on Instagram!
When our sugar levels spike during a workout it can be super confusing and we are left not knowing what to do. Here are my tips on preventing sugar spikes and how to correct it!
Why do hyper’s hit mid-workout?
One of the main reasons a hyper hits mid-workout is due to adrenaline.
Your body secretes adrenaline to increase your heart rate and increase oxygen delivery to working muscles. Adrenaline also increases glucose release into the blood so you have plenty of energy to workout.
Normally, small amounts of insulin would be secreted from the pancreas to ensure glucose can be used as energy. Of course people living with type 1 diabetes cannot do this, so we must adjust our prep.
The aim of the game is to find trends during exercise, e.g. when you spike, when you drop and what helps you to stay in range.
Don’t panic if you get it wrong, sometimes we have to make mistakes to learn. I used to get it wrong all the time and it would result in me having to stop my workout.
Prepping to workout
There are so many factors to consider when prepping to workout, some to consider are:
The type of exercise
How much you slept on the previous night
Recent alcohol consumption
Stage of menstrual cycle
In order to get your prep right, you have to record and learn how certain factors impact your sugar levels. For example, if I sleep less than 7 hours the night before weight training, I can expect my sugar levels to spike. I have noticed this time and time again, therefore I know my workout prep requires more insulin.
The menstrual cycle is a big factor for women to consider. Sugar levels tend to spike at certain stages, so it is a really good idea for women to track their sugar levels over a few months and apply what is noticed.
In summary, take a few weeks/months (as long as you need) to track how your sugar levels react to situations. You can then adjust your nutrition, training method and insulin dose to accommodate and keep your levels in range!
Correcting a hyper mid-workout
We need to be careful not to over correct here, the last thing we want is to drop into a hypo!
The type of workout I’m doing decides how I treat high sugars.
If I’m weight lifting I will inject a bigger correction dose (usually 1-2 units) and swap to cardio based exercise until my sugars come back down.
If I’m doing cardio and spike (this is pretty rare for me), I will inject a smaller dose (1/2- 1 unit) and continue with cardio.
When sugar levels spike above 13mmol/L I would recommend stopping your workout and continuing once your levels return to normal. This rarely happens to me, but if it does, I will calculate a correction dose and go for a slow walk. This is how I treat hyper’s normally.
If your sugar levels consistently spike while working out, you need to bring this up when you see your consultant. They will help you make a plan and can give you tips on how to calculate your insulin doses based on your sugar level data.
Thank you for reading how to handle a hyper mid-workout! I hope you found this useful, be sure to subscribe and follow me on Instagram!
Here is how I ran tough mudder while managing my sugar levels! This blog is designed to help you prepare for a race, or to inspire you to sign up to one!Diabetes never has to stop you 🙂
Training for Tough Mudder
My training changed slightly in the months running up to the race. I increased my cardio and my weight training became more focused on endurance rather than heavy lifting.
I was running 2-3 times a week, which meant my insulin doses changed due to more frequent hypo’s in the beginning. My basal insulin reduced by 2 units which prevented hypo’s in the night (this is when I tend to have them).
I also increased and practised more body weight exercises such as press-ups and pull-ups. This prepared me for the obstacles!
Before the race
I chose the 10am start time for the race, this gave me plenty of time to digest my breakfast so my sugars were settled.
For breakfast I ate a bowl of oats with peanut butter and blueberries. For me this is always a great breakfast to have before exercising in the morning as it seems to keep my sugars stable.
I had a small snack before the race which left my sugars running at around 7mmol/L.
My amazing Dad came along with me, and he carried my phone, snacks and testing kit just in case I needed anything during the race. I would highly recommend having someone there if you decide to do a race! This makes treating hypo’s and hyper’s much faster which decreases the likelihood it will impact your race 🙂
I wore the Dia-Bandover my Libre to make sure it didn’t get caught on anything or come off during the race – I would also highly recommend this if sensors fall off easily on you (they do on me!).
During the race
Within the first 15 minutes of the race I unexpectedly spiked to around 9mmol/L, so I had to inject a very small correction dose (1/2 unit).
Luckily that worked really well and my sugars remainedstable for the rest of the race, with no hypo’s!
This was amazing because I got to challenge myself and have funwithout worrying about my sugars (yes, it is possible!)Preparation is a massive part of keeping sugar levels in optimal range and living with diabetes is all about adapting to each situation. – If I can do it, you can do it too!
After the race
After the race I had a chicken salad with egg mayo and oat cakes. For some reason my levels remained at around 7mmol/L – I think it could have been down to adrenaline due to nerves and excitement.
Because of this, I chose to stick with a small dose of insulin to begin with and a fairly low carb meal. About 3 hours after this my sugars began to dip, so I had some toast with peanut butter and another small dose.
Again this seemed to work really well for me and I managed to stay in range!
I really hope this post has helped you and remember this is the approach that works for me.There is no one size fits all when living with diabetes, it’s all about getting to know your body, finding out what works for you, and being adaptable!
Thank you for reading How I ran Tough Mudder while managing type 1! I hope this encouraged you and remember anything is possible with the right planning, type 1 diabetes never has to stop you! Be sure to subscribe and follow me on Instagram!
I know it can be incredibly annoying and disheartening when a hypo hits mid-workout, I struggle with this quite frequently and sometimes I can be really hard on myself because of it.
So I wanted to make a post about what I like to do to prevent myself from having these negative and detrimental feelings when a hypo hits mid-workout.
Keep reading for my tips on how to handle a hypo mid-workout!
Wait it out!
Firstly I want to make sure you are carrying a hypo snack with you at ALL times. This might sound obvious to some, but I know many people forget or think they will be fine. If a hypo hits and you cannot have your treatment immediately, it will prolong hypo recovery and makes it more likely you will have to stop your training session completely.
My favourite hypo snacks to have in my gym bag are bananas or fresh smoothies. I find that these snacks get my sugar levels up faster compared to sugary chocolate or biscuits when I am training. I also tend to carry some oat cakes or cookies with me for a source of complex carbs, my favourites are by a brand called Nairn’s – go check them out!
When your hypo hits mid-workout, grab your snack and wait 10 minutesafter consuming it. If after 10 minutes your levels are on the way up and you are starting to feel better, this is a good indicator that you can continue to train.
Now, wait another 10-20 minutes to see if your sugar levels are remaining stable. If you feel better and like you can continue to train, go for it! Just make sure you are being patient and realistic with yourself.
If you are struggling to get your sugar levels back up this is an indicator that maybe you should reconsider your workout.If you have to throw in the towel that is fine! We all make misjudgements, it is normal and part of the process.
It doesn’t make you a failure
If you cannot keep training, stop, recover, and try again tomorrow.
Just because you couldn’t complete one workout does not make you a failure, it is not going to prevent or undo progress, it just means your body needs some TLC.
Whenever I have a hypo that hits mid-workout I automatically lean towards ‘telling myself off’. I have to remind myself that sometimes it happens and I need to be gentle with myself and adaptable.
So rather than forcing the rest of a workout when you feel terrible after a hypo, let your body recover and hit the same workout again tomorrow.You haven’t failed until you stop trying is a motto I live by. So pushing a workout back to tomorrow is not the end of the world because you are still going to complete it!
Do something productive instead
Don’t sit there afterwards getting more and more annoyed at the fact a hypo hit mid-workout. Get up and do something else that is productive for you.
I found this to be a very useful tip and way of looking at it because you are still achieving. While that might not be the workout you planned, it can be time well spent rather than thinking that you have wasted time.
To keep my mind occupied and to feel a sense of accomplishment, I like to read, do some cleaning/tidying, cooking or meal-prepping. These are just some ideas, but obviously choose something that will help you and keep you feeling productive.
Learn from it
Once you have recovered and you are in a good state of mind, have a look at the possible reasons as to why a hypo hit mid-workout.
Obviously sometimes hypos can pop up out of the blue and there is little you can do to prevent them.
But a lot of hypos are preventable when we start to look at different factors.
For example think about:
The type of exercise you were doing
All of the insulin doses you took prior to working out
What did you eat before training
How were you feeling before training
Once you have looked at the different reasons why, you can now implement preventionmethods before your future workouts. For example, if you realise that cardio causes a hypo mid-workout, take this into consideration before training. Have an extra snack/more carbohydrate, decrease your insulin dose and make sure you are feeling well and ready to train before working out.
A final point to note is to utilise your CGM or FGM to build some data about how different types of exercise impacts your sugar levels differently. For example, my FGM helped me to realise that cardio makes my levels drop quickly, whereas weight lifting can initially cause my sugar levels to spike a little. So if you train a lot I would highly recommend trying out a CGM or FGM to make sure you are getting the most out of workouts.
We all know how important exercising is for our overall health, from decreasing the risk of having health problems, such as obesity and heart disease, to reducing stress and anxiety. Exercise also plays a fundamental part in lowering HbA1c and helping to keep glucose readings in range.
Many people living with diabetes know that exercise is important, but might need some guidance about what type of exercise to do, and how to avoid slipping into a hypo during and after exercise.
Keep reading for a simple guide to different types of exercise, and how they might impact your glucose readings!
LISS (Low Intensity Steady State Training)
LISS training is activity that takes place over a longer period of time and is less intense. It is recommended that 30 minutes is completed everyday, that can be walking, jogging, cycling or swimming.
This type of training is great for lowering overall sugar levels, and I find walking to be the best treatment for a hyper, alongside an insulin correction dose. But, a lot of people slip into a hypo very quickly during LISS training.
So, to prepare for LISS training I would recommend making sure your sugar levels are steady at around 7.0-8.0mmol/L before exercising, and potentially decreasing your insulin dose very slightly before your session. Always make sure you have water and a source of glucose with you at all times when exercising.
Keep an eye on your sugar levels for a few hours following exercise to make sure you don’t drop into a hypo.
HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training)
HIIT are circuit type workouts, where you have periods of very intense training, followed by rest periods, for example 1 minute of sprinting, followed by 30 seconds of rest.
This type of training is perfect for a busy day when you are pressed for time. HIIT can sometimes cause sugar levels to riseinitially due to a surge of adrenaline, but shortly after, sugar levels can drop quite rapidly. So if you notice that your levels are rising during a workout, make sure you don’t over-correct.
HIIT can also continue to burn calories for hours after finishing a session, so bear in mind it could cause a hypo during this time too. I recommend having a balanced snack afterwards containing carbs, a source of protein and fat. This should help to avoid a sudden hypo after your workout.
Weight Lifting / Resistance Training
Weight lifting and resistance training are super important to incorporate into your routine. The benefits of this type of training include building muscle, strengthening bones, and increasing metabolism. Resistance training can be split into two categories, heavy training and light training.
All resistance training will increase your strength, build muscle and improve endurance, but you can tailor your training to fit your specific goals.
If you want to build more muscle mass, focus on training heavier weights and less reps (I’d say 10 reps or less per set). However, if you want to build general strength and tone, opt for lighter weights and more reps (10-20 reps per set).
In terms of sugar levels, resistance training can actually have the opposite effect to your sugar levels. Generally I find that heavy resistance training can cause sugar levels to increase, and I have heard the same from some other people living with Type 1. So if the same happens to your sugars when lifting weights, I would recommend to not train if your glucose levels are 9.0mmol/L or above.
Furthermore, I would leave your insulin dose before exercise the same, or even increase it a tiny bit. I like to increase my dose by either half a unit, or one unit. If you have a CGM or flash glucose monitor take full advantage of this, keep track of what your sugar levels are doing, make comparisons and then make adjustments to your insulin dose, and what you are eating before and after exercise.
If you are opting for lighter resistance training, this can mimic cardio based exercise meaning your levels might drop. Bear this in mind, and prepare as you would for cardio based training.
Yoga / Pilates
Stretching can sometimes be overlooked, and a lot of people are shocked by the benefits of yoga and pilates when they start training it.
Some advantages of stretching can include increased flexibility, protection from injury and help with muscle tone and strengthening. I would recommend performing a form of stretching everyday, as it aids recovery and is great at helping you to relax.
In general yoga and pilates will not impact sugar levels too much, depending on the intensity. Of course more intense yoga sessions may cause sugar levels to drop, but a gentle stretch will not impact sugar levels.
Some final tips
Ideally all forms of exercise should be completed regularly, because each type contributes to the health and overall function of the body.
If you are trying out a new form of exercise, definitely pay close attention to what your sugar levels do, so you can put measures in place to keep sugars as balanced. This will contribute to you getting the best results and the most out of the workout.
Also take full advantage of the psychological benefits of exercise, and enjoy it! I would always recommend choosing exercise that you want to do. If you feel forced to take part in certain types of exercise it can strip the benefits and have a negative impact on your mindset. So if you hate running but love walking, walk instead!
Thank you for reading my simple guide to exercise with diabetes! I really hope you can take some tips away and try something new! Always remember that you can do anything while living with diabetes, you just have to be prepared.
Lipohypertrophy is when lumps appear under the skin, due to continuous injections in the same area, over a period of time.
The lumps are made up of fat that has become swollen due to constant injections.
Diagnosing lipohypertrophy can be slightly tricky. If you think you may have lipohypertrophy in some of your injection sites, bring it up in your next meeting and a specialist will be able to advice you.
Why can Lipohypertrophy can be an issue?
The formation of lumps under the skin can impact glucose control and here is why…
Insulin can get trapped in little pockets inside the lumps, meaning absorption is not occurring as it usually would. This can cause spikes in glucose levels.
Also, if this insulin starts to be released from the pockets, it can then cause low glucose.
Another potential issue is feeling self-conscious about the appearance of this area and feeling like you have to hide away.
I used to feel really self-conscious when I had lumps on my legs, but people never noticed the lumps until I pointed them out. We are always overcritical about ourselves, so try not to worry about it!
How to treat Lipohypertrophy
Lipohypertrophy is extremely common for people living with diabetes, and can resolve itself, so don’t panic!
If you have been diagnosed with lipohypertrophy, avoid injecting in this area until the lumps have fully gone down. This can take 2-3 months, if not more, depending on how large the lumps are.
It is important to avoid massaging the area because there can still be excess insulin in the area. Massaging the area will stimulate the release of this insulin, meaning there could be a risk of a hypo.
Preventing Lipohypertrophy and rotating injection sites
To prevent the appearance of lumps under the skin, it is vital to make sure you are rotating your injection sites!
Sometimes it is hard to remember to rotate your injection sites because it is an automatic process, it is common to inject in same area just out of habit!
Here are some tips on preventing lipohypertrophy!
If you like injecting in your stomach try injecting in a clockwise or zig-zag motion throughout the day (see picture below).
Don’t be scared to inject further round on your waist or hips if you are struggling with your current injection sites.
If you prefer to inject in your limbs, remember to switch arms and legs with every injection.
Do not neglect your glutes! This is a large area for injecting, I personally always inject my slow releasing insulin in this area.
One final tip is to make sure you are changing your needle with every injection! If needles are repeatedly used, they become more blunt. This means the needle will cause more damage when it is injected into the skin, potentially contributing to lumps underneath the skin surface.
Thanks for reading! Please email me any questions or feedback!