While other countries around the world struggle with famine, our country is so bountiful that we make up shit to do with our food besides eat it for simple nourishment. By adding a dash of competition to the mix, eating has become a sport and suddenly, having a food addiction just means you’re an athlete in training.
If you think you can hold your own in the Olympics of Food, here are a couple of things you need to do to give Kobyashi a run for his hot dogs.
1. Work Out
You finally find a sport that celebrates your devotion to gluttony and you have to work out?! Unfortunately, yes. Talk about a buzz kill. Competitive eating is different from spontaneously participating at a pie eating contest at your local fair. It’s serious business with serious competition that requires more than rolls of back fat and a healthy appetite to succeed. In fact, being fat is actually a hindrance.
Successful winners of the past have been skinny because their stomach stretches easier when it’s not pushing up on layers of fat and shame. Some of the world’s top competitive eaters weigh less than 150 pounds. If you can find time to fit in a workout between your bucket bobbing for Kentucky Fried Chicken, you’re well on your way to becoming an eating force to be reckoned with.
2. Check Yo Self Before You Wreck Yo Self
We can certainly all agree that when your full time job consists of you unnecessarily eating mountains of food, it will put a bit of strain on your whole body. And by “bit” we mean “A LOT.” Before you start hustling the fast food restaurants for a sponsorship, make a doctor’s appointment first and see if you have any health problems that could stop your competitive eating career before it starts.
3. Eat Something Before You Eat A LOT of Something
Although it seems like a good idea to show up to the table with an empty stomach, it’s actually one of the worst things you can do before you compete. It’s much better to eat little things throughout the day, like lettuce, because it’s a good way to help stretch your stomach while keeping your caloric intake down. Having an empty stomach causes it to shrink, which is something you definitely don’t want when you have to cram a steak the size of a mattress down your face.
4. What’s On Your Menu?
Not knowing what you’re going to be eating is like training for the Olympics and not knowing what sport you’ll be competing in. When you know what you’re eating, you can start developing personal eating techniques, whether you’re eating for quantity or for time, and simulate the competition at home. Practicing will help you figure out the smoothest way you can shove platefuls of buffalo wings down your gullet without accidentally asphyxiating yourself. It’s not as easy as you think, trust us.
5. Grease The Passage
Water is an important and essential tool when it comes to competitive eating. You can use water to help stretch your stomach while you’re training and you can use water during the competition to dunk your food in. Dunking food in water is a technique that most competitive eaters employ because it makes the food easier to chew, swallow and digest. When it comes to competitive eating, water is that rare true friend who won’t tell anyone about the time you hit on a girl that you later found out was a dude who happened to have long blond hair. In your defense, this mistake was common during the big hair band era in the 80s. Too bad it happened last week.
6. Eat Up Johnny!
Competitive eating is a sprint, not a marathon. Much of the eating starts in the beginning of the competition. It’s important to start off strong from the very start before your brain can register that your stomach is overflowing with fried pickles. Once you start feeling full, your pace begins to slow down making it harder for you to continue eating and explaining to your brain that winning the cash prize is worth instantaneously clogging all your arteries.
Written by Elaine Chaney who could easily win an eating-Circus-Peanuts-out-of-a-feed-bag contest. Read more from her at Sanity, Interrupted.