Competitive eating might sound like the opportunity to eat a lot of food and get paid, but it’s a bit more complicated than that. It is in fact a sport, and some contests attract serious competitors. If you fancy yourself with an appetite for competitive eating, here’s our guide to making money as a player.
Start by researching more generally, taking a look at the major organisations that run and manage eating competitions. Check out Eat Feats for worldwide competition listings, or Eating Challenges for a more UK-centric selection. By starting with some research, you have the opportunity to pick competitions that appeal to you to help direct the focus of your training.
Learn to increase your stomach capacity
Capacity for food is vital to
become competitive. Training to increase your stomach capacity is difficult, and requires serious dedication to achieve. It’s also a process that is quite detailed and technical, so take a look at this guide from Food Challenges for a step by step guide on how to increase capacity using either food or water (or both).
Analyse the components of each challenge
Eating is not just about shoving in food: it’s also about strategy. Take a look at the meal you are going to attempt as a competition. This means learning to break down the components of each meal that you will be presented and start to think about what is the best way to approach each. For instance, you might be best starting with foods you actually dislike – get these out the way first, and leave more delicious components for the end, if you can! For more ideas on specific strategies for certain kinds of eating competitions, keep Food Challenges on hand for updates on all sorts of strategies, food by food, to help you train and be the very best eater in each category!
Order your eating
Once you are aware of the requirements of your challenge, be sure to break down the components of each challenge. Start by drinking the required beverages. This is a pitfall of many competitors: they drink too much liquid whilst eating. This means they run out of space to finish eating by the end of the challenge. So make sure to drink beverages first before moving onto solids, and prioritise required over optional beverages (which should be saved for the end of a competition).
For competitions that include a combination of meats or proteins and carbohydrates, start with the meats and proteins. Meats and cheeses that come warm, for instance, will be easier to eat before they cool down. Keep breads and other potato based foods for the end. Learn to look at the composition of meals and divide up the steps in this way!
Needless to say, just like any sporting competition, you are going to have to train and practice before the big event.
Build up confidence by doing some trial runs of the competition before the big day – time yourself, analyse how you perform, and ensure that you will be able to compete with the other pros. Of course, you shouldn’t execute the competition exactly as it is run, right before the real event. But try and schedule out an attempt before you go in for the real thing, especially if you have never competed in an eating competition before.
Start by stocking up on the food items you will need – take a look at Student Money Saver for deals to help you get started cheaply. This will add to the stomach capacity training and help you feel more comfortable about creating a sound strategy for any upcoming competition. It gives you a chance to figure out what works best for you.
Get in the zone
Like any sport, confidence is very important to success. By training and practising, you should start to feel more relaxed and confident in what you are about to do as a professional eater. Consider using music to help you get in the zone, and stay focused on the task. Start by choosing a more reasonable competition – don’t start with food challenges that are completely disproportionate!
Entering a food eating competition may sound like fun but it will also be a bit of hard work. However, it’s also a great way to earn some extra money doing something you can train at from the comfort of your own home – eating! Follow these steps and make some extra cash as a professional eater. Good luck!