Why aren't competitive eaters really fat?
Tips from professional eater on maximizing your Thanksgiving meal
Unfortunately, thanks comes once a year. What all means, great food you are about to encounter is just a fleeting experience. You want the best out of it but you can only eat so much, right?
What if you could eat more?
No one can eat better - much more - than professional eaters. So we three knocked on the best and have come up with their tips for wrapping it in Thanksgiving. [Leap]
Disclaimer: Please be clever. These guys are (literally) professional eaters. You cannot eat as much as them, nor should you try to do so. If you have medical conditions that could be exacerbated by overeating then you are likely overeating shouldn't be friggin ', Mmkay? When in pain, stop. You are responsible for breaking your own digestive system.
Meet our eaters
We reached out to the International Federation of Competitive Eating (real), which runs Major League Eating (also real). In response, she gave us three highly rated (yes, there is a ranking system of competitive food) eaters who kindly offered their strategies not just for competitive food but specifically for Thanksgiving.
The infamous b.o.b.
Age: 44. Weight: 285. Currently ranked # 5
B.O.B benefits include: Eating 2.4 gallons (312 fluid ounces) of salmon chowder in six minutes (with a spoon); Downing 95 Krystal Hamburgers in Eight Minutes; 13.9 pounds of chilli spaghetti in 10 minutes; 36 peanut butter and banana sandwiches in 10 minutes; 7.9 pounds of french fries in 10 minutes; and 2.2 pounds of blueberry pie in 60 seconds.
Crazy Legs Conti
Age: 38.Weight: 215. Currently ranked # 17
Crazy Legs Conti is one of the most colorful characters in competitive food that says a lot. He once drank 34 dozen oysters (the 408) over a period of three hours. He recently took on Guy Fieri's American cuisine and bar (no, he didn't like it, either) and there's even a documentary about him called, Zen and the Art of Competitive Eating.
Age: 37. Weight: 230. Currently ranked # 24
Steakbellie always wears traditional Scottish costume to competitions. It seems to literally "If I can" on the phrase, "Si Je Puis," but Americanized it is "Are you going to quit this?". He holds the record for haggis at 3 pounds in 6 minutes. Yes, haggis. That summer he set the pork record at a contest in Guam. It's huge in Guam.
These are our Manimals, now let's hear from you in their own words on how to dominate Thanksgiving.
I exercise by drinking large amounts of water. Here is close to the formula that I train with. Take what you think is a huge amount of water. Round that up to the nearest gallon. Add 1 to 2 gallons to what I drink and prepare food competitions. But I've trained for over 10 years teaching my body to accommodate that volume ... there are probably only two people on earth who can come close to the volume of water I can drink. If only we had a water chugging competition ...
I also won't be eating solid foods for two days before a competition to make sure I have enough space to eat.
(1) Fitness: I prefer to start my training lifting weights and kickboxing to harden my body and sharpen my competitive advantage. The extra muscle mass increases your metabolic demand for food. I like full body movements like squats and deadlifts to stabilize the core and build my pain threshold. I complement my workouts with forward-fold yoga poses that simulate the feeling of a full stomach and place pressure on the diaphragm. Hold these poses and focus on breathing in the basics of the lungs.
(2) Capacity: Creating a bat den in yourself. Eat fewer meals but larger meals as Thanksgiving approaches. Choose low-calorie, high-fiber foods like the bulk of your exercise plan, like 5 or 6 heads of romaine lettuce, or a few pounds of cabbage. When you've eaten full, start drinking water so that the cabbage swells and your stomach continues to stretch. Go lay down and find out about Honey Boo-Boo until you feel better.
(3) Thanksgiving Week: Thursday approaches, reduce your calories but maintain your cardio workout. Guarantee maximum room for your stomach to expand, discontinue solid foods after lunch on Wednesday and only have a protein shake and a beer with dinner. The next meal will be the glorious turkey.
Before the game
Crazy Legs Conti emphasizes that appropriate clothing:
Sweatpants or any base elastic waistband. A nice shirt and tie and no one will notice that you are looking at the equivalent of diaper pants. You have to feel free and airy as you take every side dish offered. Have you ever seen a male pornstar in skin tight jeans? Anticipate the need to anticipate the room so fashion takes a back seat.
Go for a morning stroll and find a distraction from your roaring hunger.
Approach the table, make sure you spot an end. This is an important pivot point on site at the table. They kind of determine how the quarterback goes in a soccer game, where the ball, or in this case food, goes.
Steakbellie sees it differently:
Start scoping from the best seat at the table an hour before your meal. The middle seats often have the least amount of space but the greatest access to the bowls.
Where to start
Each of the guys has a different perspective on how to kick off the food themselves.
Like a game of Tetris, the order in which the food is placed will help determine how much you can cram in your stomach and how quickly you start to digest it. Start with the turkey and ham; They are the densest and you should find these foods closest to the pyloric sphincter at the base of your stomach. Use minimal sauce so that the fats don't satisfy your hunger. Make sure that you cut them up small so that you don't chew too much energy early on in the game. Moving with a conscious purpose, become a champion today.
Crazy Legs Conti:
"Pre-Sert" - I recommend book ends with two pieces of cake - that way your meal becomes a full circle (not unlike a Lazy Susan). Plus the quick sugar rush will follow a Pavlovian prep for the meal. The Big Cookie Jarvis used to have a brownie fifteen minutes before each contest to go to his digestion. Of course post competition cookie would finish the pan, but I swear by pre-sert.
Knowing food is key here; this is what separates the great eater from the really good eater. Are the mashed potatoes very fluffy and airy? If so, this will be your year. Most people tend to wait for them thinking that the strengths will fill them. In truth light, mashed potatoes actually sink easily and they can break quickly and leave your stomach. This allows for even more food. So I like to put one in a quick 2-3 pound mashed potatoes before anyone suspects what's going on. [Ed. Jeeeez, please don't try to match the portion size.]
Something to drink
Crazy Legs Conti:
Using beer or soda is a surefire way to do it yourself before you hit fourths or sevenths. Don Ho got it right - it's all about those little vesicles that make you feel full when you're really just bloating. Switch to scotch and bitter - use them to act as a digestif while you get drunk.
Wash the potatoes down with hot liquid, something you should always have a full glass if you want a contender.
Here's where the champions separated from the puked boys in the corner.
If you continue with round after round food, don't be afraid of the turkey. Just be careful with dried meat that was on the outside of the bird. Dark meats have a higher moisture content and are easier to eat.
Crazy Legs Conti:
Using the Buddy System - not only good for tijuana or swimming, pairing your dryer meat with moist foods in the same fork will keep you longer and will help make the food stack more easily in your stomach. Are you drying turkey? Mix only with the mashed potatoes. Filling that sawdust tastes good? Sauce it.
When you get the meatsweats, it means your liver has just kicked on, like an oven, to process the protein. Time for switchgear and put a thin layer of greens like lettuce, green beans or spinach. These are lighter foods but the fiber in them will slow down the surge in bloodsugar from the mashed potatoes that you eat next. Once you are two thirds full then switch to something lighter like stuffing. Casually begin serving scarf after serving of filling until you feel the top of the stomach tighten. Ok at this point, start some casual small talk with your relatives while you keep drinking your water. Take a deep breath to apply pressure in your bowels.
About 20 minutes into the meal the turkey starts emptying your bowels and still opens up room for more food. If you experience taste fatigue, chose stronger tasting items or sweets. Would like to get cranberry sauce or sweet potato cake at this point. Try to relieve constant pressure or start sipping coffee.
Dessert time, I usually have the competition under control. However, if you are still in a tight race you need to focus on the pumpkin pie and avoid all other desserts. You have to go hard on the drink. Get the drink hot enough that it will melt the pumpkin pie and it will sink faster than ice cream on a hot day.
When you think you've had enough, take a slow walk. This will help stimulate peristalsis and keep digestion going. It will also prevent you from falling asleep from the load of calories in your blood. If you snaked back into the kitchen, you'd have even more room for more! Grab a turkey thigh so you can hold food while you go to check the outcome of the game.
Crazy Legs Conti Offerred the following information, which we do not recommend, but we like it anyway:
Add an element of danger - nothing stimulates the appetite like adrenaline so instead of just ingesting caffeine tablets or energy drinks - try deep-frying the turkey blindfolded or usually "throwing all the utensils like a knife thrower" into place. Or just bring two dates and don't tell them. Your stomach butterflies will soon be smooched by the mashed potatoes.
So there you have it. You now have the knowledge to be in complete control of your Thanksgiving dinner. Please use this wisdom for good, not bad, and never to the detriment of your health.
Big thanks to Major League Eating and the International Federation of Competitive Eating, the infamous B.O.B, Steakbellie and Crazy Legs Conti.
Top Image Credit: Shutterstock / Lisa A
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