Are Morning Workouts Causing Blood Sugar Spikes?

Just a quick little note to add this morning that might help some t1’s out there confused as to why their blood sugars get erratic during and after exercise in the morning. I was reminded of this possibility while re-reading parts of Dr. Bernstein’s book “Diabetes Solution” this morning. Due to the stress hormones released in the morning, some diabetics out there experience a “dawn phenomenon” causing blood sugars to spike shortly after waking up. Exercise, a stressor, can exacerbate this phenomenon. For those who have a hard time managing blood sugars in the morning with exercise, try moving your exercise routine into the afternoon. Be careful, your blood sugar will most likely react very differently in the afternoon than it does in the morning so keep an eye on it. If you can’t move your exercise routine to another time of day, experiment very carefully with a small bolus of insulin right before exercise in the morning. A supplement that has worked incredibly well for me has been creatine (about 5g) taken the night before. Although my dawn phenomenon is very mild compared to some, I’ve found this supplement before bed radically improves high blood sugars in the morning and prevents blood sugar spikes during intense exercise in the morning. This supplement has been so effective, I’ve completely stopped solacing  with insulin prior to an early morning workout.

One last idea. If your blood sugars spike in the morning and you’re eating very low carb, you might experiment with some additional carbs. This doesn’t work for everyone so you might need to play around with this. I’ve been playing with the online tool and app “” which is a useful and intuitive food and exercise log that can track your macronutrients. After using this website, I learned that my diet is not as low carb as I once thought. Instead, it’s more of a slow carb diet with most of the carbohydrates (sometimes up to 100g) coming from vegetables. If anyone is curious, I can post some of my meals that I’ve tracked through myfitnesspal on this blog.

Hopefully, some of this can help you folks out there struggling with erratic blood sugar readings in the morning. Let me know.


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