Tuesday, March 29, 2011
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.
Sunday, March 13, 2011
Between the two of us, Nick claims to be the hot food authority. Every time we meet for lunch, he gets hot peppers on his meal if he can; only complaining slightly about the heat. I, on the other hand, hate hot food. The last challenge with the hot wings almost ruined me, so I let him venture forth on this round solo.
Nick, Jaclyn and I walk toward the bowling alley entrance discussing this challenge and passing words about the weather. Wings and Things is a small bar and grill located inside the Marquette bowling alley. The hidden sports museum is garnished with memorabilia from most of the local teams. By local teams I mean the big three; Lions and Packers and Bears…oh my!
We stroll into the pub and immediately here the trivia game that is being ‘enjoyed’ by almost all in attendance.
“Number three; Are Zebra’s black with white stripes or white with black stripes,” comes from the small host. I say small and I mean it very literally. This gentleman stands no more than three and a half feet tall and needs to jump to seat himself in his chair. I don’t mention this to…*sigh*… belittle him, because as it stands, he is probably the smartest person in the house.
We sit and joke about the test Nick will soon face. The pizza is aptly named the ‘Sudden Death’ pizza and only a handful of people have actually completed it. Eight slices stand between this titan and glory. We read the poster and it tells of the jalapenos, habaneros, and hot sauce that make this pizza very much sudden and even more death.
To give you a tiny bit of background, a jalapeno pepper usually runs around two thousand and five hundred on the scoville scale (the official scale used to measure pepper and chili heat index). A habanero sits anywhere between one hundred and fifty thousand to five hundred and seventy five thousand on that same scale and who knows what was in their hot sauce. This stuff is no joke!
Our waitress comes to the table and takes our drink orders in a rush and then disappears into the kitchen.
“Well that was kind of rude,” I mumble. “So Nick, what do you think are your chances of actually completing this thing and not wimping out?”
“This is going to be cake. I am going to dominate this thing and reign victorious,” he shouts drawing attention to our table.
Back with our drinks, the waitress takes the order of sudden death and a glass of milk. As she walks away, we can tell she has already seen the foreshadowing.
Five minutes go by and we argue over answers to trivia as does almost every other table.
“I think that little guy is giving me the stink eye,” Nick says looking into the distance.
“Umm…which one,” Jaclyn returns as we both turn to look.
“Are you kidding me? The little one. The VERY little one!”
“OHHH, that one,” I chuckle. “Nah, I don’t think he is.”
“Dude that guy better stop looking at me,” Nick replies growing more anxious. “And you better not write in your blog that I was saying stuff about how small he is either!”
Our horseman finally returns bringing death with her and the smell fills our area immediately.
“Good god,” is all I can manage to say. I pause and then start the recorder and Jaclyn snaps a few pictures. “Well, dig in champ.”
Nick grabs a slice and a plate. Confidence runs through is veins and sweat rains down his forehead. He takes a bite that erases approximately one third of the piece and we can absolutely see his pain the second he closes his mouth.
“Holy sh*t!” he mutters over a mouth of fire. The atmosphere grows tense as he chews the first bit and swallows. Before the food can clear his throat, milk follows.
“Wow! This sucks, but I can do it.”
The second bite goes in and we can see him work it from left to right. Eyes shut, swimming is sweat, our warrior pushes on. Good King Leonidas would be proud, because tonight Nick really is “Dining in hell!”
The first piece and two glasses of milk are finally gone and Nick falters greatly.
“No way am I finishing this,” he breathes.
“Try sandwiching two slices together, oh and Mrs., could we get more milk please?” The waitress nods and heads to the bar.
Sandwiching the slices Nick tries to continue.
“Describe the pain to me you big baby,” I joke.
One bite goes by and already the sandwich idea is out the window. Fighting still, Nick separates the slices and tries to pull all of the toppings off and eat the crusts and breading first, saving the pain of the peppers until end. We all nod that this is a good choice, but the thought is fleeting. Napkin in hand, one crust filled mouthful later, Nick throws in the towel. Less than three out of the eight pieces were completely eaten.
“Whew,” he stammers and goes to the bar for more milk.
“What a baby,” Jaclyn whispers so Nick cannot hear. “I’ll finish it.”
Nick returns with his milk to watch our new contender smothering her two slices with ketchup.
“That is really gross,” I wince.
“No, I am just smarter than you guys, obviously,” she returns.
And she’s off; biting and chewing, biting and chewing.
Face flushed as if she has just finished a night of tequila, we can tell that this challenge is harder than we thought.
“How you doing champ?”
No words are spoken. She has resorted to sign language because it hurts to speak. Tears stream down her face and she signs that she is going to vomit.
Our laughter is met with an icy glare, somehow not melted by the food.
“Well, this blows,” I pout. “Food is not making this much fun anymore.”
Challenge rating 5/5
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
I guess Nick and I are doing 'Solo Round pt. 2' tonight so I will post about that soon and also what it takes to become a professional eater and current records. Catch you guys tomorrow
(also, the language has been updated to be a bit more PG friendly. hope it helps)
(also, the language has been updated to be a bit more PG friendly. hope it helps)