If I were to ask you who Joey Chestnut, Takeru Kobayashi, and Juliet Lee do for a living, how would you answer? Wrestlers? Singers? Maybe martial arts masters? Not hardly. These three people along with many more do something for a living that we, the observers think is "the easiest job" in the world.
These people are competitive eaters. Do not look so shocked. We have all at one time or the other, watched Chestnut and Kobayashi go mouth-to-mouth (get it?) on ESPN's coverage of "Nathan's Annual Fourth of July Hot dog Eating Contest," held each year from Atlantic City, New Jersey.
Competitive eating is tough
I never dreamed just how tough this type of competition was until a few Fourth of July celebration's ago when I was flipping through the channels and there he was, Joey Chestnut, eating hot dogs as if there were not going to be anymore hot dogs manufactured on ESPN's coverage of the "Nathan's Annual Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Competition," held in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
At first, I was growing hungry for hot dogs (when I could eat them), were among my favorite foods. Then as I became engrossed with Chestnut and Kobayshi literally eating themselves into a frenzy, my hunger was replaced with admiration for how these guys and girls eat so much without being as "big as an interstate highway."
Expert competitive eaters say
that there are three main areas that amateur competitive eaters must do to be able to compete in these competitive eating challenges. If you are thinking seriously about being a competitive eater, these are very important.
- LEARN – Currently, there are over 100 articles throughout the "Competitive Eater" section(s) of the Internet. Seek out these articles and print them out. Invest time in learning the easiest and safest tips on how to be a "successful" competitive eater.
- FIND – Okay. You have now studied all of the tips and articles and you have a good idea of what it takes to win food challenges and eating contests, now you need to find and select which challenge or contest you want to try first. Since food challenges only involve you and nobody else, you need to try a food challenge first so that you can accurately gauge your current abilities. There are not always eating contests available around you each month because contests are typically held only once per year, but challenges are available every business day or once per week at the very least. Perform a Map Search or List Search to find which food challenges that are around you. Select which challenge you feel most comfortable attempting based on size, type, and the time limit. Learn to dominate your challenge, and then you will be more confident during your first contest. And make sure to start slow and safely.
- TRAIN – Apply what you learned by reading and watching videos into practice and start training your body so that you can prepare yourself for your upcoming competitions. Please start slow and build up gradually. You won’t start out being able to beat seasoned professionals, and every big journey starts out with a few small steps, so as you continue to train, you will figure out what works for you and what does not, and you will quickly be able to decide which training methods work best for your body and stomach.
Wonder what Joey has for dinner after these competitions?
Just take a look
at this list that I compiled of famous and very tough competitive eaters:
- Patrick Bertoletti (2004–present) Ranked #3 in the world by the IFOCE. More than $130,000 in career winnings. Bertoletti was the winner of 50 career eating contests with 26 second place finishes. Bertoletti holds 23 IFOCE eating records, including corned beef and cabbage (10.63 pounds in 10 minutes), calamari (6.6 pounds in 10 minutes), ice cream (1.75 gallons in 8 minutes), jalapeños (266 in 15 minutes), 7-11 Slurpee (22 oz in 9 seconds), boneless buffalo wings (9 lbs in 10 minutes) and strawberry shortcake (15.25 pounds in 8 minutes). His record of 21 pounds of grits eaten in 10 minutes at the 2007 Louisiana Downs World Grits Eating Championship stands as the most food by weight ever consumed in a competitive eating contest.
- Eric "Badlands" Booker (2001–present) Ranked #10 in the world by the IFOCE. Career winnings total more than $20,000. Booker holds IFOCE eating records in candy bars (two pounds in 6 minutes), corned beef hash (4 pounds in 1 minute 58 seconds), glazed doughnuts (49 in 8 minutes), and matzo balls (21 baseball-sized balls in 5 minutes, 25 seconds).
- Jeff "The Beast Man" Butler (2013-present) Currently ranked #10 in the world by Major League Eating, At his 2013 debut at Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest, Butler ate 31.5 hot dogs and buns, earning first place amongst men. 125 Hooters Chicken Wings in 10 minutes, 160 Day-lee foods Gyoza in 10 minutes. Known for his aggressive approach at the table and tolerance for spicy food.
- Joey "Jaws" Chestnut (2005–present) Currently the #3 ranked competitive eater in the world by the IFOCE. Best known for defeating Takeru Kobayashi in the 2007 Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Contest, ending Kobayashi's six year championship reign. Winner of 55 career eating contests (25 second place finishes), including Wing Bowl victories in three consecutive years (2006-2008) and eight consecutive Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest wins (2007-2014). Featured on a Topps sports card in the 2008 Allen & Ginter set featuring baseball players and notable athletes from other sports.
- Jason "Crazy Legs" Conti (2002–present) Ranked #15 in the world by the IFOCE. Is the subject of a competitive eating documentary, "Crazy Legs Conti: Zen and the Art of Competitive Eating." More than $10,000 in career winnings. Conti holds five IFOCE eating records, including green beans (2.71 pounds in 6 minutes) and sweet corn (34.75 ears in 12 minutes).
This is Brooke Burke
who is not a competitive eater. I purposely put her photo here to see if you were paying attention.
A Hank Williams, Sr. tidbit:
When Hank Williams, Sr., was just starting out, in order for his band, The Drifting Cowboys and himself to have food to eat, he was shrewd enough to enter them and himself in the pie eating contests that they would run into at state fair's while upon the road.
Whether they won or lost, no one went hungry.
My Sad Confession:
Years ago when I was physically able, I worked the "late shift,' at our local newspaper and would get home sometimes very late at night and starved to death. So I hereby confess that once, I was so hungry that I microwaved an entire pack of weiners in a plastic bowl and ate everyone of them.
My daughter never let me live that down.
These days, I can only dream about such events thanks to this diet that my cardiologist put me on in November. At current date, I have lost 105 pounds.
"Thank you for reading my materials."
Hold on, competitive eater wanna be's
there are problems ahead for you "if" you do not follow your training, studying, and competing (slowly at first) to be the best competitive eater you can be.
And on top of these crucial tips (as mentioned above), I found these
10 Obstacles Facing All Competitive Eater Wanna Be's
10.) Excessive Napping - - can and will plague any competitive eater wanna be. Usually, the amateur competitive eater will study, work, and train for his or her first competion. Then like clockwork, they win hands down. Or stomach down. And it happens. The winning competitive eater wanna be begins to dwell on just how good it will feel to just lay down at their residence all alone--no girlfriends, phone calls or drinking buddies, and sleep. Just sleep for hours until the huge amount of food (in their systems) is fully-digested.
9.) Friendly Distractions - - as I have stated, being a successful competitive eater is not easy. The training, studying, and discipline must be a vital part of one's life who has chosen this pathway to happiness, fame, and fortune. Allowing parents, friends, and hot, needy girlfriends (or boyfriends) to manipulate your life into going places and doing things that are directly against your competitive eating training is bad. You need to stop it before you are embarrassed by an unknown challenger from somewhere even more unknown.
8.) Neglecting Physical Check-ups - - is very important. Hey, just because you have a few win's under your belt (that has increased three sizes), you do not need to neglect your body. Make sure a doctor examines you thoroughly before each competitive eating contest.
7.) Ulcers - - can creep into your career as a competitive eater. Why? Well, you are human and you worry way too much about your next eating challenge. Do things that reduce your stress such as: Listening to CD's which have soothing sounds of nature, read an interesting book or simply make it a habit to take a good walk outside when you feel stress coming on.
6.) Self Pride - - so what if you hold "the" title for downing more raw oysters than any of your 12 competitors in your town's Annual Fourth of July Celebration. You still need to work and view competitive eating as if you were just a beginner, which you are. You can lose at any given event. Bash that dangerous ego by saying, "I am just an instrument in the hands of my life love: Food," outloud many times before you hit the sack or before each eating contest.
5.) Physical Exercise - - must not be overlooked. "Hey, Ken! I only use my mouth, esophagus and stomach," you argue. But to be the best, you have to maintain the best physical condition the year around.
4.) Shyness - - should not even be mentioned in this list of things that could beset you and your admirable efforts to be another Joey Chestnut. But as the competitive eating contests start small at first, soon you will be entering eating contests on bigger stages in front of more and more people. Many competitive eater wanna be's fall by the wayside by allowing shyness to defeat them before they really hit their stride.
3.) Freeloader's - - who are just "on your bandwagon," for what you can give them is definitely something you do not need. You are not going to have time to deliver "Rob," a guy from your grocery store who asked for your autograph, a few free hot dogs you got in the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Competition last Fourth of July. Before long, it's "Rob," today and "Bill," tomorrow. Watch out for these parasites who are only using you for the freebies. NOTE: use Elvis Presley as your example of having too many hangers-on in your career.
2.) Too Much Publicity - - is not a good thing for up and coming competitive eaters. Just as with freeloader's, if you devote too much personal time to promoting yourself, you are subtracting valuable training and study time that you always need to help prepare you for the next "Corn on The Cob Eating Challenge" or something of that nature.
1.) Love Life Abuse - - and this has nothing to do with unspoken taboo's held behind closed doors, but if you have a girlfriend or boyfriend, see them on a moderate level. Not every moment of the day or night. If you fall into the "Love Trap," you will definitely stay on the amateur level of competitive eating.
Now that I have shared this priceless information with you, I need to ask, "Care to make me a submarine sandwich and hold the catsup?"
Kenneth Avery (author) from Hamilton, Alabama on April 05, 2016:
Thanks for your comment which I agree with except for the huge bucks that Chestnut and the top tier of these eaters win, but oh my stars, how they punish their bodies.
The CTE/NFL line was hilarious.
Peace to you and write anytime.
CJ Kelly from the PNW on April 05, 2016:
Funny piece. I find these guys totally disgusting. I can't even look at them. What kind of shape will these folks be in 10 years from now? If the NFL has CTE, "competitive eating" will have its own health scandal.