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Thursday, February 3, 2011

Spinning Diabetes?

The beauty of being on an insulin pump is the fact that I can turn down or turn off my insulin when I'm going to exercise.  And sometimes that exercise isn't "exercise," like grocery shopping or cleaning the house.  But I can still tailor my insulin needs depending upon my activity, not the other way around. 

That being said, there is still some research and tweaking to figuring out what basal setting work best for you and your activity.  I've wrote about finding a good basal setting for going walking with my dogs, and I've slowly started figuring out my basal settings for a few other things. 

  • Walking--8%, set 30 minutes before, during, and 30 minutes after.
  • Wii Fit--If only 30 minutes, no need to disconnect.  But if going for almost an hour, completely disconnect beforehand.
  • Cleaning--20%, try to set 30 minutes beforehand if I remember, but still working on that. 
  • Grocery Shopping--25% set 30 minutes before and during.  

And now that I've officially joined a gym, I need to figure out what basal settings I need for all those fun machines (elliptical, anyone), and I'm toying with the idea of doing the spinning class.  To be honest, this is kind of scaring the crap out of me.  Whenever I envision a spinning class, I see sweaty, exhausted bodies leaning over the handle bars like they're on a torture machine with a Nazi-like trainer at the front screaming, "Faster!".  So why do I want to try this class?  Because it is one of the best calorie-burning workouts!  And I'm trying to get rid of some of the fluffiness that my sedentary job has led me to.

So now I'm seeking out if there are any other diabetics out there have have successfully (or not) gone through a spinning class.  Even if you were unsuccessful and had to leave early with a debilitating low, tell me how it was and what you would do different.  I'd like to be as prepared as I can be.  My initial plan is to set my basal to 50% at least 30 minutes before the class (maybe an hour, I don't know), then completely disconnect during the glass.  I plan to have Constance front and center on the bike (if that's possible, but she'll be nearby that's for sure) and bring some Gatorade for the first few classes to make sure I have something quick to bring me up if I need it. 

Anyone else out there ever done a spinning class (D or non-D)?  What should I expect?  Am I crazy?  (Only in relation to this post, please.)


  1. Scully at Canadian D-Gal does spinning, you may want to check out her blog if you haven't:

    I just joined a gym and am planning on attending a kettlebell class on Saturday morning (unless I chicken out). I, too, am a little nervous about winging it with the insulin on a new activity!

  2. Holly, I've participated in one spinning class, about a month after I got my pump with my tennis team in high school. So I don't know how much assistance I can give. However, I've wanted to try it again, but my gym & work spinnning schedules just don't mesh. Whatever you decide, just have a lot of sugar with you, and a smile and I'm sure you'll be fine :)

  3. I have been spinning and I opted to test before the class began and if all was in range, disconnect my pump entirely and be prepared to get off the bike and test if necessary. I found that it worked very well for me. I felt more comfortable disconnected than connected (too sweaty) and I sometimes ended up with post-exercise high blood sugars, but not every time AND they came down. It did mean I had to do a 3am blood sugar test just to be sure, but I don't a a friend like Constance to help me. All the best, let us know how it goes.

  4. Hi Holly -

    I do spin classes about once a week. I'm sure it works differently for everyone, but I decrease my pump by 50% starting an hour and half before the class begins. I find that I feel sick if I disconnect from the pump for too long, so when the class starts I set a really low temp basal of 10%. I keep a bottle of gatorade on the bike, too just in case. It is really difficult for me to sense my lows during a spin class, so I keep an eye on the CGM and test midway through the class.

  5. My CDE gave me a really cool sheet on pumps and exercise. I, too, have been experimenting...

    I used to be a spin instructor, but was using injections then, so I've been trying to get back into the classes as well.

    The general rule of thumb for "average" (non-elite) individuals is to start with decreasing your basal rate 50% 30 minutes before exercise, during exercise, and for the same amount of time you exercised after you exercise (i.e For a 1hr. long spin class, decrease basal rate(s) for a total of 2.5hrs).
    For some people, they have to do the same thing with the 'before' time as they do with the 'after' time (decrease for the same amount of time you will be exercising). It all depends on your body, how conditioned you are, and even things like if your body perceives exercise as stress or a release!

    One other thing my CDE told me...that of course my stubborn self somewhat ignored, is to stay on the safe side with decreasing basal rates. You'd rather be a little high than plummeting into Larry Low's while your out on a run or on a spin bike!!

    ...[it happened to me 2 weeks ago]. I had to call my boyfriend to pick me up because my bg plummeted down to 42mg/dL about 40 minutes into a 60 minute run.


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DISCLAIMER: I am not a doctor, nurse, certified diabetes educator (CDE) or any medical professional of any kind. (But I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express!) Therefore, please do not use any of my postings as medical fact. I am simply a blogger expressing my highs and lows (pun intended) with diabetes. For changes in your medication, exercise regiment, or diet please consult a qualified physician.

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My name is Holly and I live in north Alabama with my hubby, two cats, and a dog.