Biking in the countryside

Conquering the Road: My 1-Hour Bike Ride with Steady Glucose Levels

Embarking on a 1-hour and 18-minute bike ride while maintaining normal blood sugar levels felt like a distant dream a few years back. But today, I’m proud to share that not only did I achieve this goal, but I also did it with the simplicity of enjoying just a half packet of fruit gummies. How? Let’s dive into the journey of fasted exercise and advanced insulin pump technology.

Fasted Rides and ‘Temp Target’ – Managing my Insulin Pump and Blood Sugar Levels

The concept of fasted exercise might sound daunting at first, especially for individuals managing diabetes. For me, it involves waking up and immediately setting my insulin pump to ‘temp target’ mode, also known as exercise mode, and holding off on eating breakfast.

Armed with fruit snacks for emergency lows, I embark on my ride.

Eating nothing beforehand isn’t as scary as it sounds, since in the morning I have a natural rise from dawn phenomenon. In ‘temp target’ mode, the pump won’t do any automatic corrections, so I’ll use the exercise to burn off the extra glucose. Exercise uses up a lot of glucose — which is why it’s best to exercise with little or no insulin on board. Exercise also increases insulin sensitivity.

The Perfect Balance During a Blissful Ride

Medtronic 780G Insulin Pump with CGM Graph

This particular morning, my blood sugars were exemplary, which made the ride even more enjoyable. There’s something incredibly freeing about bike riding through the landscape, feeling your body in harmony, and your health in sync with your activities.

My Fitbit watch recorded my heart rate and exercise data, as shown here. It was rewarding, both physically and mentally, a testament to what our bodies can achieve with proper training and management.

Muscle Up, Sugar Down

Building up to this wasn’t just about the physical conditioning – which started with short, exhausting 20-minute rides – but also about learning how to manage my blood glucose so that I can prevent scary lows.

Aside from it being easier to manage blood sugar while fasted (with no insulin on board), it also means that I’m not ingesting many extra calories for the exercise. This aids in weight loss and muscle building, all while keeping blood sugars stable.

Note that it’s not always this perfect… This time it was just really amazing. Some days I have spikes and more challenging times.

Technology Meets Tenacity

Understanding one’s body is a journey, and modern insulin pump technology has been my trusted companion. These devices empower us to pursue our passions and fitness goals with less worry and more precision.

Today, I want to encourage others in the diabetes community to find their balance. Whether it’s a bike ride at dawn or any other form of exercise, it’s about starting small, understanding your body’s needs, and embracing the technology designed to support us.

Energy for Longer Rides

I tend to manage with just some fruit snacks, but I’ve read favorable recommendations for Cliff Blocks from people with diabetes who are doing longer rides. These have Tapioca Syrup which is a slow release carbohydrate for providing sustained energy levels. I actually don’t have personal experience with these — if you do, please comment below!

Gatorade Powder was also suggested as something to carry along, so that you can add it to water if you have low blood sugar. I personally am always concerned about the “what if…” scenario and always bring more food with than needed, just incase.

More from me on Exercise

Your Thoughts?

Have you tried fasted exercise with your insulin pump in ‘temp target’ mode? How did it work for you? Share your experiences below – let’s inspire each other with our victories, big or small!

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Lin May

About the Author

Lin May has a decade of experience living with LADA diabetes and is the author of Success with LADA Diabetes: Achieving Optimal Health with Diet, Exercise, and Insulin. She is dedicated to helping others learn about diabetes.

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