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, youíll 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, youíll be sporting a gold medal!

EditDoing Long-Term Preparation

  1. Consult with your doctor to make sure you can participate. Eating contests can be tough on your digestive system and overall health. Youíll also need to exercise regularly to stay healthy while training. Either call or make an appointment with your doctor to have a conversation about whether you can handle the contest.
  2. Pick your contest. Go online and use your favorite search engine to find contests near you, or in the closest major city. Choose a contest where youíll be eating food you enjoy, as this will make training and competing easier. Decide whether you want to compete over speed and quantity, or something else.

    • Most contests will require you to try to eat the largest amount of a certain food in a timed competition. This means youíll need to train to eat a lot of food as quickly as you can.
    • Other contests may just want you to eat their Mega-Hot spicy wings.
    • Make sure itís a contest youíre allowed to compete in. Some are reserved for ďamateurs,Ē and theyíll bar professional eaters from competing.[1] This means that if youíve already earned money from winning an eating contest, you wonít be allowed in.[2]

  3. Learn the rules of the contest to train properly. There are lots of strategies competitors use to win, but some wonít be allowed at certain competitions. Check your competitionís website or call to ask about specific strategies and requirements, including:[3]

    • Dunking, which means that you ďdunkĒ foods into liquids before putting them in your mouth. This makes solids easier to chew and swallow.
    • Anything-goes eating, which allows you to do anything you want to eat food faster.
    • Picnic-style eating, which means that you need to eat food how itís meant to be eaten. You canít dunk, mash food up into balls, or separate items that go together (a hotdog and a bun, for example).

  4. Set up a strategy designed for your contest. Once you know the rules, plan for them. Write down all the different elements of the meal youíll be eating, and think about how youíll tackle each one. Determine what parts of the contest will be easiest and hardest for you based on your current eating habits.[4]

    • For example, if you know your mouth gets dry when you eat lots of bread, stuffing buns in your mouth is going to be tough. Plan to address this in training, and strategize by sipping liquids with the breads.

  5. Increase your jaw strength by chewing faster. As soon as youíve signed up for your contest, begin doing long-term training. Chew gum whenever you can. When you eat, chew faster. These exercises will help strengthen your jaw.[5]
  6. Learn to swallow bigger bites for speed eating. Start by training with water. Take a big gulp, tilt your head back, and allow gravity to help you swallow. Increase the amount of water until your mouth is completely full, and try to swallow this gulp. Practice daily.[6]

    • Once youíre comfortable with water, graduate to soft foods like rice and quinoa. You can then do more difficult foods, like steak. Move slowly through this process, as you donít want to choke.
    • Never do this kind of training without another person present. If you do have a problem, you need to be able to get help quickly.

  7. Train with low-calorie, high-fiber foods. If your eating contest will judge you on the quantity of food you can eat, youíll need to work on expanding your stomach. Begin eating large amounts of low-calorie, high-fiber foods that fill you up quickly.[7]

    • How much you need to eat depends on your size and competition. Some competitive eaters will eat several pounds of cooked or raw cabbage, for example, in a single sitting while in training.[8]
    • High-fiber foods will make you feel fuller earlier, and youíll stay full longer. This will make training with them more difficult than with other foods, because youíll be fighting against that feeling of fullness.[9]
    • You can also train with fruits like g****s and melons, as well as steamed mixed vegetables.
    • While some competitive eaters also train by chugging gallons of water or milk in a single sitting, this could be dangerous for your health. Stick with the cabbage.

EditTraining Right before the Contest

  1. Use training sessions to figure out which techniques work for you. Try different strategies, such as dunking, tilting your head back to swallow, or eating lots of small bites that you can swallow without lots of chewing. Pick the ones that work best for you.[10]

    • Remember to stick to the rules of the competition in all your training sessions.

  2. Eat the exact food from the contest two weeks out. Use the competition website or call to find out the exact brands and preparation of the foods youíll be eating. Mimic this meal as closely as you can to get used to the food. Donít eat the amount of food youíll be eating at the contest, however.[11]

    • This will help you anticipate any trouble spots with the meal.
    • You should do this a minimum of one time, and a few more times if you feel like you need the extra preparation.

  3. Begin expanding your stomach one week before the contest. During the beginning of the week, eat one extra large meal during the day, then keep your other meals normal. On days four and five, you should have two large meals only.[12]

    • The actual meal sizes will depend on you and your typical portions. As a general rule, try doubling what youíd normally have.
    • For the beginning of the week, consider eating a light breakfast and having the large meal at lunch. You can then eat a normally sized dinner.
    • For the end of the week, have your large meals in the mid-morning and mid-afternoon.

  4. Eat a max-out meal 22 hours before the contest. A ďmax-outĒ meal means that you should eat as much as you physically can in one sitting. Make this a low-calorie meal with high-fiber foods. Be sure to have this meal no less than 18 hours before the beginning of the contest.[13]

    • Visit an all-you-can-eat salad bar and continue eating until youíre at the point of discomfort. You donít want to go too far, however, and make yourself sick.
    • This is the last real meal you should have before the contest.

  5. Drink water and get sleep the night before. Wait an hour after your max-out meal, then begin drinking some water to help your digestion. Get as much sleep as you can to feel rested on the morning of the contest.[14]
  6. Avoid eating solid foods on the morning of the contest. Wake up several hours before the contest begins to get your body moving. Drink a large glass of water and eat a non-solid breakfast an hour after you get up.[15]

    • For non-solid foods, try a protein shake or a yogurt.
    • If your contest is in the late afternoon or evening, you can add some light solids to your breakfast, such as eggs or cereal.
    • You may also want to exercise before the contest, as this could increase your hunger level. Donít overdo it, as you donít have a lot in your body to keep you going. Try a brisk walk or a light jog for 20 minutes.

EditStrategizing during the Contest

  1. Use a stopwatch to keep track of your time. The contest officials will almost certainly keep time for you. Theyíll also periodically tell competitors how much time is left. Still, itís a good idea for you to have your own watch. Place it somewhere you can easily see it while eating.[16]
  2. Be sure to follow the rules. Remind yourself of the rules before the contest begins. Donít break any of them, as this will automatically disqualify you from most contests.[17]
  3. Listen to music to stay focused. So long as itís not against the rules, bring headphones and something to play music on. You can create a special playlist designed to help you focus. Be sure to put music that pumps you up at the end of the list, as youíll need the extra help.[18]

    • If you need ideas for songs, look online for ďmusic to keep you going during an eating contest.Ē Music for workouts will also work well.

  4. Eat proteins first. Attack the meats while theyíre still warm, fresh, and taste good. These will also be some of the heavier elements of the contest, so itís important to get these down as fast as you can.[19]
  5. Move on to carbs next. Once youíve finished the meats, you can move on to the carbs (such as buns and french fries). These pair well with liquid, so you can sip on something to help them go down easier.[20]
  6. Eat fast in the beginning but finish strong. Take advantage of your high energy at the beginning of the contest and eat quickly. Once youíve gotten past that initial burst of energy, settle into a steady rhythm. Use this rhythm to help push you through to the end. You want a completely clean plate when itís all over![21]
  7. Add new flavors with different beverages to keep yourself going. Usually, contests will allow you to pick your beverages. Plan to have a cup of water, something flavored but non-carbonated, and something carbonated and flavored. To keep your taste buds energized throughout the contest, drink the water in the beginning, the non-carbonated beverage next, and something like a soda last.[22]Advertisement

  8. Hop up and down to swallow faster. If youíre allowed to stand up and move around, use this move to allow gravity to help you out. Be sure it doesnít interfere with the rhythm of you picking up food and taking new bites, however. [23]

    • Only try this if you found that it worked for you in training.

  9. Press against your stomach to push food lower. If you start really feeling full, gently push on your stomach. You may be able to move the food down slightly, giving you more room.[24]


  • To win an eating contest, you need to be confident that you can do it! Attitude is key.


  • Donít sign up for more than one or two contests per month. You should also train with lower-calorie foods when you can, and make sure you maintain a very steady exercise plan.

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