Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A bit of knowledge

     Well I guess this has been a long time coming. What makes a competitive eater successful? What makes Adam on “Man vs. Food” so good at his job? How does Kobayashi eat over four dozen hot dogs in just twelve minutes?
     There are many strategies and 'secrets' I have found through online research to help the layman train for an eating competition or challenge. These gems of knowledge range from small exercises, such as eating a lot of light foods, to drinking tons of water. I want to spend this post talking about tactics to becoming a great eater, record holders in competitive eating, and a bit of why it fascinates me. Enjoy.

  Food                            Record                                                            Holder
Cow brains                   17.7 lbs in 15 minutes                       Takeru Kobayashi
Cheesecake                11 lbs in 9 minutes                             Sonya Thomas
Butter                          7- 1/4 lb sticks in 5 minutes               Donald Lerman
Matzo Balls                 21 baseball sized in 5 min 25sec         Eric Booker
Hot Dogs (w/buns)        53 1/2 in 12 minutes                          Takeru Kobayashi

(Statistics referenced from: http://people.howstuffworks.com/competitive-eating3.htm)
     Depending on who you ask, you will get drastically different ideas of what training is effective for competitive eating.  The number one listed element an eater needs is willpower. Even if one trains for weeks to prepare for an event, they stand no chance if they don’t have the guts (or stomach, if you will) to finish. Victory could mean one more hot dog, and if a competitor quits because they are full, then why even take part? There are tons of clichés to back this element up: as Ricky Bobby says “If ya aint first, yer last.” Or, as the old adage goes, “second place is the first loser.”
     Next comes strategy. Some eaters are known to drink as much as a gallon of water in one sitting to stretch the elasticity of their stomachs. They finish the gallon in thirty seconds, and repeat this as often as three times a day.
     Record holder Sonya Thomas only eats one meal a day and it’s almost always from a buffet. The amount of food she eats usually sits somewhere between five and six pounds in her single meal. Adam Richman, host of Discoveries “Man vs. Food”, does a very intense leg and back workout before each meal to attempt to jump start his metabolism. (ESPN #1)
     In other sports, coaches and trainers peddle the same workouts and training, just molded to their personalities. Eating is different. Each individual eater seems to have a different secret to eating their opponents into the ground.
     For me, competitive eating is more of a journey than a test. Most times, I honestly think about how good the food is going to taste compared to how much the pain is going to suck (minus the hot wings. That was all pain and suck). More than anything, I just try to remember how stupidly full and content I will be after each food challenge, and await the next time I get to feel that joyous feeling again.
Anyone care to join me?

ESPN #1= (http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=angevine/090930)

Edited by: John Lapine
If you like my work, you should check out his blog as well.


  1. Very interesting, Josh! Competitive eating takes commitment, that's for sure!

  2. I am just getting into competitive eating and I'm looking for some amateur events in michigan. Its been hard to find any online. Do you know of any coming up in a few months?

  3. Keith, I don't know any off hand, but I will do some research to see if I can find anything for you. Until then, best of luck with your training and preparing. I didn't realize just how hard competitive eating was until I did this blog.