Too exhausted to Cycle, over 50 and a type one diabetic

Maybe somebody can help me out. When I ride my bike on my trainer it leaves me exhausted. I’m going to say it makes me quite hard to live with. I love riding outside, and I still love riding hard, whatever that means for me personally. It’s not as though I don’t like the trainer. I can’t even manage a low-volume masters plan on the trainer without it taking everything out of me. I’m old, I have young kids, I’m a type1 diabetic. I started taking mental health meds for PTSD a couple years ago which definitely changed my world. I am almost to the point of throwing in the towel on the bike because I can’t ride and function as a husband and a father. Any thoughts would be appreciated.


So what your training history ? What sort of sessions are “breaking” you, are you eating before / on the trainer, are outside rides ok ? if so, do you have enough cooling inside ?

I’m very similar toy toy, I’m 54, T1, so anything I can offer to help, but it may be more fundimental than you think, T1 diabetes is very tiring and being on fluoxetine really knocked the wind out of my sales the last few years, mainly in the morning, but I’ve had a slight reduction and got a lot more enegy back

I say that if performance isn’t important to you and it’s more about the general exercise and experience of riding a bike, stick to the outdoors when cycling and incorporate a different exercise indoors that doesn’t leave you feel so wrecked. I really enjoy calisthenics myself.


55 yo T1 here…

I’ve got a fairly long training history, and totally agree that trainer rides can be very different from outside rides. I think it’s the fact that you can ride the entire workout without ever stopping pedaling. There’s zero rest which makes the “same” effort harder.

If you’re not already tracking (in real time) BG levels while on the trainer, I highly recommend doing so for a week or so, to get a feel for how your body responds during your trainer sessions. I found that my BG can drop precipitously once the work starts, and stay there. While it didn’t always get to dangerous levels, it would be enough to wipe me out during or shortly after the ride. I did some testing on the road and found the numbers didn’t get quite as low, as often.

I started eating a lot more on the bike and the BG behaves much better, and I don’t get wiped out nearly as much as before.


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I have been riding for about 20 years now and I’ve been using indoor training for a few years. Staying on top of my BG is definitely an ongoing ever-changing science project. I cannot believe how much my riding experience has changed basically overnight. I don’t want to get on the bike for fear that I may not be able to function the next day, just simply exhausted. I’m talking a one hour Sweet Spot ride on the trainer. I am trying to think outside of the box and be completely open minded. I know there could be many other health concerns. I know they were many of type one diabetics over the age of 50 that ride with virtually no problems. It would be nice to blame my situation on my age and diabetes, but I don’t think it’s that simple. Once upon a time, if I retired, I could push through and get in a training ride, but now it seems Like I’m exhausted as soon as I touch the pedals.

Are you eating before and during … oh and after ?

I know that the temptation as a diabetic is to only eat when the BS says “it’s time to eat”, but the recommendation for normals is 60 - 90 grams per hour, diabetics are going to have the same requirements, it’s just going to take more effort to get there.

My healthcare person advised me to reduce my insulin so that I don’t hypo, I now reduce a little, but make sure that I have to eat in order to stop going hypo, it helped my performance and recovery loads

I did 100 miles on saturday, stopped to get something savory to eat @ the 80 mile mark, took a little extra insulin, and then my sugar levels feel through the floor and I had to eat loads in the finishing miles … felt great the next day though

It does sound like it my be fueling rather than anything else, if you are new to indoor training, go with just one session per week and see if that helps

I have been using TR for a handful of years now. I am rather comfortable with the trainer. As for fueling, I have tried to get in 60+ carbs an hour, and I have yet to figure out how to do it. Figuring out insulin delivery while on the bike is challenging. How do you, my fellow T1s manage taking in fuel on the bike? I would think for an hour high intensity training ride I wouldn’t need much while riding. Although I could be perfectly wrong. Is it simply more insulin more food? Insulin sensitivity increases so much that it’s really easy to go low. This could very well be my problem.


Pretty much what has been said so far…
I’m only 34, but a type 1 diabetic for almost 26 years. Progressions in CGM’s have made exercise a lot easier and less stressful (as far as blood sugars are concerned) for me.
I try to go into exercise with as little active insulin-on-board as I can. I’ve been trying to eat/drink more carbs (usually Gatorade and banana or gummy bears) during exercise. As I finish the ride/workout, I take a bolus of 75-100% of the carbs I took in during the exercise. I don’t get out on actual rides much ( :cry:), so I mainly get to implement this on trainer workouts.

I see you just posted while typing this:
I’m on a pump with a CGM that keeps a target BG of 100 mg/dL in AutoMode. For trainer workouts, I keep it at that target. My trainer workouts are also usually in the morning, which is relevant because I historically fight a pretty severe dawn phenomenon (or perhaps feet-on floor, either way). So, keeping that target helps fight that rise.
As I said, whatever time of day I exercise, I try to have little or no active insulin. I do as I said above with a bolus at the end of exercise. If I’m on an actual ride, I will do a temporary target of 150 mg/dL to try to prevent a dangerous low BG. I’d like to get comfortable keeping it at 100, but I’m working on it. As I said, I don’t get to do this much, but I do recall I have had to take some small bolus(es) during rides with that higher target to bring BG down a little. On those actual rides, I’m also drinking Gatorade and, if they’re long enough, snacking on gummy bears or Lara bars.

Also, I don’t know much about it, but I guess it’s worth asking… testosterone OK?

I got a CGM about 6 months ago, and it’s been a revelation for regular daily life, and a strong confirmation of what I had largely discovered the hard way, I have to fuel differently depending the type of workout.

Z2 workouts require some carbs, but not too much unless it’s over 2 hrs. Nominally 40g/hr, weighted to the latter part of the WO. Threshold and sweet spot are beastly- I usually have to eat like a normal person- 100g/hr works great and I rarely go high. Failure to get enough in early leads to lows quickly, sometimes scary. Supra-threshold is the toughest to manage- sometimes BG will spike crazy high after the first interval and nothing will bring it down, other times I can get away with just not eating, or eating comparatively little. I never know which it’s going to be, and the few times I’ve tried adjusting insulin have been disastrous.

Rides in the world are easier to manage as they’re usually more varied. Though since I got the CGM, I have had races where I ate nothing because my BG would not come down from the stratosphere. Not fun.


My testosterone was fine as of last check. It truly sounds like other diabetics eat a lot more than I do on the bike. I always go high after a ride, but I never bolus for all the carbs I eat while riding after I finish.

Everybody else has pretty much covered what I do. I’m not on a pump so have to balance my long and short insulin, but I ride most days so I actually take more long acting on the days that I don’t ride

Short rides on the turbo, I will always have have something to eat before hand, usually my sugars will go down, if they don’t I will take some short acting insulin during an interval

Not sure what you are saying here, but I always go high after a ride, if the ride is in the evening, I take short acting immediatly after stopping regardless, most of my rides are before main meal in order to get some “recovery” meal in there

You may want your doctor to test for Addisons disease as people with Type 1 are at risk for adrenal insufficiency. This is not medical advice. Just something to ask your doctor about.