How to Win an Eating Contest

Competitive eating contests give you the chance to win prize money and enjoy a very hearty meal. Eating contests come in all forms. You may be competing over spiciness, speed, quantity, or some combination of factors. To blow away your competition and win contests, you’ll need to prepare in the months and weeks before the contest. Adhere to a strict training plan right before the contest starts and follow a clear strategy during the contest itself. Soon enough, you’ll be sporting a gold medal!


Train your stomach to expand


Knowledge How (Eating Contest)


Our bodies have what’s called a satiety reflex—once we fill our stomachs to a certain capacity, usually around 1 liter of food, our brain is triggered by the message that we are full. Adding any more food to the mix runs the risk of causing what Major League Eating calls a “Roman incident” or “urges contrary to swallowing.”

Competitive eaters can overcome this reflex by training their stomachs to expand, often by drinking larger and larger amounts of water in short periods of time. Eventually, even peristalsis, the muscle movements that push food along through the digestive tract, can be stalled allowing for larger food intake.


Work out your jaw muscles


Knowledge How (Eating Contest)


Along with training their stomachs, competitive eaters also need to work out their jaws. Consuming 69 hot dogs in under 10 minutes requires a lot of chewing. A LOT. Some competitors chew 20 plus pieces of gum at once in order to build up jaw strength.


Keep yourself cool


Knowledge How (Eating Contest)


This tip may seem impossible since many competitive eating competitions are held in the summer often to maximize the number of spectators. However, if your body is overheated, you tend to eat less. Temperature changes are often to blame for why the winner of a competition may fall far short of a world record, even if they are the one who set the record in the first place.


Perfect your technique


Knowledge How (Eating Contest)


How you use your hands is also an important part of competitive eating. Being able to fit unlimited burritos into your stomach does not matter if you cannot get the food in there fast enough. 


Stand up


Knowledge How (Eating Contest)


Another, faster way to clear space for an expanding stomach is simply to stand up. When we sit, we are automatically compressed, making breathing slightly more difficult. (Note that this is a helpful tip for those recording a podcast as well!)

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