Mike Gustafson on What to do With All That Halloween Candy

Mike Gustafson on What to do With All That Halloween Candy

By Mike Gustafson//Contributor  | Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Beware, swimmers: The scariest event of the year isn’t the ghosts, goblins, and ghouls of Halloween. Nay. The scariest event of the year is the Day After Halloween. The day when coaches (who have stayed up all night conjuring spooky and scary butterfly and long-distance freestyle sets) maniacally design workouts to offset all the previous day’s candy consumption.

Make no doubt about it, fellow Trick or Treaters: November 1st is the scariest day of the year.

After an entire day spent gorging on sugar, chocolate, and candy of all colors, swimmers must return back to the pool with a tummy full of bad things and a body on the verge of a Sugary Shutdown. There’s a reason why Michael Phelps doesn’t down a bag of chocolate before every 100-meter butterfly. (If he did, you could be sure that the chocolate industry would have exploited this by now).

How can a swimmer prepare for (and survive) November 1st? What can a swimmer do to get mentally and physically ready for that post-Halloween 10x100’s butterfly, or 8x400 IMs descend?

Let me count the ways.



Sweet and sour might be good for Halloween, but it won’t help you get through November 1st’s starts and sprints. Hydration is key. Stay hydrated throughout the day and flush that sugar from your system. Carry a water bottle around. Gulp some fluids. You’ll need ‘em.


2. Candy Limits.

Just like highways have speed limits, swimmers need candy limits. Make little rules for yourself like, “For every piece of candy, eat a piece of broccoli.” Your vehicle (body) will thank you.


3. Not all candy is created equal

Read those nutrition labels. Some candy is just really, really terrible for you, full of strange and mysterious ingredients. Stay away from the super bad kinds of candy.


4. Do you *really* need fourteen bags of candy?

Probably not. While I understand that trick-or-treating dives into a swimmer’s ultra-competitive side, (“MUST FIND ALL THE CANDY FIRST”), remember that the best defense is, well, a good defense. Defend your body against candy hoarding. Your future swim self will thank you.


5. If you get sick-to-your-stomach… You have only yourself to blame.

As a swimmer, I loved sushi. Loved eating sushi for dinner. But I knew, the next morning, if I ate sushi, that food might not agree with a 6 a.m. sprint lactic acid set… Every time, it happened. Same thing with candy. If you stay up all night on Halloween and gorge on sugar snacks, I salute you… both now, and when you’re sprinting to the bathroom on November 1st.


6. Have fun anyway.

On the flip side, life is short… November 1st may not feel good, but you’ll only have so many Halloweens to live it up (before you get old like me, and candy isn’t quite as easy to flush from the system).

So go, young swimmer! Seize the day! Carpe Diem! And eat that candy like there’s no November 1st.



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