The magic of a zero basal

I wanted to share a few thoughts I had tonight while running, and I wanted to share the magic of a well-timed zero (or temp) basal.

One of the thoughts that made me laugh at myself a little bit tonight is that I realized what a novice I am in terms of pump usage. I have only used a pump for less than a year!

It was funny tonight to realize that I have less pump experience than many of the fine young people represented on this site - like Liam, Samson, and Cody! I am such a newbie!

I setup a zero basal for a while before my run. I tested my BG right before I started and it was 63. Just 6 months ago I would have taken some carbs before starting, despite the zero basal, and I would have ended up going high. But having played with this a while now, I have learned to trust that zero basal. I started at 63, had absolutely no carbs, before or during, and I ended at 96 (with tests of 75 and 74 during the run).

So the thoughts I had were:

  1. For exercise, having no IOB and doing a well-timed length of zero or lower basal before and/or during lets the magic happen.

  2. Everyone has their own recipe for exercise. Discover it. Test it. Adjust it. Refine it. Perfect it. And then trust in it.

  3. I am still very new to the pump. I know there are others who have just recently started on it. It just takes time and experimentation. I want to encourage them to unlock their own personal formula.

  4. To the endos and CDE’s who say that you need to be 150, or 180, or 200 before you start exercising, I say “wrong”. You can be whatever you want, if you have everything dialed in correctly.

That’s all. I sometimes think “silly” things when running.


Working with a zero basal, when needed, has been a mind expanding experience for me. I haven’t gone too low during intense exercise :), and I also use it if I am trending low and I don’t want to eat anything. IT REALLY WORKS!!!



Kim, if you have a routine you use for your exercise that works for you, we’d love for you to share it!

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This is really great! I can’t wait to read your MO!

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  1. How much time elapsed between when you told your pump to stop dispensing insulin and when you started your run at 63?
  2. Do you know how long it takes to achieve “no IOB”?
  3. Does your pump dispense Humalog or something else?

Not to divulge too much, but Eric’s pump probably delivers vodka…He says he is a diabetic, but some of us feel he might just be a closet alcoholic… /sarc


Every day is a little different, but yesterday I was off about 90 minutes before running. I took a small bolus 3 hours before, which brought me down to the 60’s (because of being off for 90 minutes, I didn’t want to go high, so the small bolus got me started nice and low).

It depends on your insulin activity, which can vary by injection method, site, temperature, physical activity, type of insulin, a lot of things. For me, usually 4 - 4 1/2 hours is enough to get rid of everything. I always try to wait at least 4 hours after eating before I run.

It is a proprietary mix of insulin and vodka. Somehow Chris figured out my secret. :smile: Ha!

Actually I have tried them all. I am using NovoLog now. For me it’s the most stable I think. Day 1 is the same as day 3. Other insulins seemed to flake out after a few days in the pump. Just my personal experience. Not sure if there is a reason for it.


i trusted in you, and then i began to trust in “The Force” and now i am trusting in the Zero Basal :wink:

i need 2.5 hours of 0% basal BEFORE i even begin my swim.

went for a walk with my husband today and i made the terrible mistake of exercising with IOB. i was lucky that i at least had the presence of mind to bring along apple juice. my BGs went crashing from 120 to 40 within 1/2 hour and then just stayed there, even on an 80% TB.

so, i will say this again: trust in the zero basal !!! its deff worth the wait.


My A1c went from 6.1 to 5.6!!! Thank you @Eric - I can’t believe the difference it has made to use temp basals for my spinning classes.


Wow - that IS AMAZING!! Congratulations @Spinlady, this is really thrilling!

The best part is that I am not having too many lows - I just cut down on my pre-workout highs!



Congratulations. That’s great news.

I love the TB’s!

I dedicated one to you on the WKFUD dedication line:


That’s the holy grail of diabetes management and it’s awesome that you’ve found it! Getting a super A1C w/o getting too many lows. Things have to be dialed in SO well to achieve this ultimate goal. Gratz to you!


I agree 100% with that. I feel awful if I get up to 200. I start by cutting down my basals at least 90 minutes prior to several hours of vigorous activity (such as steep hill hiking) to 50%. That means I’m getting about .2U/hr, a fairly low basal for someone my size. I adjust that down to zero if/when I see that my bg’s are dropping below my comfort zone. The thing I have to watch out for is going high following too many hours of very low basal, even when that period includes no extra carbs (or worse, when, I’ve gotten so low I need quick carbs). As my exercise period is coming to an end, I nearly always take a few correction boluses (like 1/2 units) to stop the post-exercise highs that would occur if I simply resumed normal basal rates upon ending the activity. Now that I have a Dexcom, it’s a lot easier to prevent the activity-induced lows, as I get almost real-time (lags about 20 min) data. If I see a downward trend on the receiver, I can always do a finger-stick for real-time info, and act accordingly.

Once we become more confident in stopping debilitating lows, we can approach exercising with less, or no trepidation. Prior to pumping, I would just avoid it, as the results were downright scary. In an effort to protect myself from a low on MDI, I’d end up so high I’d be miserable. And sometimes, I’d just fail to “get it right”, and down I’d go, into a severe low. Ugh.


Great points!

Same for me.

I always dump in a bunch of insulin right when I finish, to cover all the missing basal, and the carbs I have to eat afterward.