Watch: This Competitive Eater Explains Why It’s a Gruelingly Real Sport

Here’s what it feels like to be a world-class gustatory gladiator.

In a blurb about a documentary featuring the perpetually ravenous Crazy Legs Conti, we learn the professional—or “major league”—competitive eater first saw his destiny when he broke the world record for oyster consumption while in New Orleans. Crazy Legs has been wolfing down all manner of foodstuffs in fevered contests with other similarly gifted consumption athletes ever since. 

In this video, Conti gives viewers some surprising insight into the realities of what he does. It turns out competitive eating is fearfully tough on the body, but for the man or woman in a timed race to see who can put away the most bun-length franks in one sitting, the biggest challenges by far are mental. 

According to Conti, “the wall” might be—in a hot dog-eating contest, for example—about 15. At that point, he evocatively describes how the mind begins to protest.

Conti is one of the top 20 eaters in the world, so he’s dead serious about this. For anyone who believes they could handle the psychological obstacles in competitive eating, Conti has a little cold water as well. 

According to Conti, it usually takes a full day after a contest for him to feel like a normal person capable of consuming a typical meal again. A meal that we’re pretty sure wouldn’t include more hot dogs. 

h/t Eater