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Life Hacks: 

How to win an eating contest

hotdogs body

Only 39 more to go…

The eating contest has spread around the globe. Since Man v Food’s inception in 2008 (can you believe it’s been six years?) every other restaurant seems to be offering a fearsome spicy wings challenge, or a heart-stopping five-patty burger to be eaten against the clock, and not just in the US.

The professional eating champs of the world train long and hard to be able to handle an unnatural amount/spiciness of food, and their dedication is rewarded with big bucks. If you’re finding yourself tempted to enter alongside the big boys, remembering these quick tips is a good place to start…

1. Preparation is key

Eating challenges shouldn’t be entered lightly. As wikiHow suggests: “It is important to ensure that you’re healthy and fit before trying an eating contest. Consult your physician before the contest and get their advice. Make sure that you aren’t on medication that shouldn’t be taken with food.” It’s also wise to practice at home with similar foods that you’ll face on the big day.

2. Small bites equals less chewing

It’s better to take lots of small bites than try and take a few big bites. As professional eater Randy Santel advises: “Don’t put too much in your mouth, because then it will be hard to move food around and to chew, which causes you to eat more slowly. Just chew the food enough so that you can swallow quickly and avoid choking.” Did we mention he was a proffesional?

3. Eat the warm bits first

When taking on a quantity challenge, such as a 5lb hamburger with sides, Man v Food star Adam Richman warns: “You must eat the hot bits first: trust me when I say that cold chips [fries] and cold meat are much less palatable than cold bread or tomatoes.“ He also advises against drinking water during the challenge, to stop the bread swelling inside your belly.

4. Don’t be a chilli virgin

Chillies body

Build up a tolerance to avoid tears

If you’re thinking of tackling a spicy wings challenge without a tolerance for heat, think again. Dr. Connor O’Brien, Stanford, advised that repeated exposure to hot food reduces the number of receptors for spice, improving your ability to handle it. This could take weeks or months. He also advises lining your stomach: “Eating spicy salsa on an empty stomach is going to be more irritating than eating some with a few chips in your belly.”

5. Get moving for recovery

The last word has to go to Adam Richman, who, despite now being svelte and out of the gorging game, is still the people’s champ of chow challenges. Speaking to the Las Vegas Review-Journal about life immediately after his giant burrito challenge, he said: “Being sedentary is incredibly uncomfortable. Despite the fact that the first 10 minutes or 15 minutes on the treadmill might suck, it actually does alleviate a lot of pressure, and you feel better.”

Hotdogs Photo: tacar/
Chillies Photo: Efired/

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I'd rather do a quantity challenge than a spice challenge
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