How To Eat Like a Champion

Record-setting competitive eater Crazy Legs Conti on how to train your mind, body, and gag reflex.

Photo: Stephen Chernin / Getty Images | Licensed to Alpha Media Group 2013

Train Your Mind

“Some competitive eaters say yoga helps with digestion, but for me it’s about the mind-body connection. I’m able to concentrate more and stay in the zone. Sometimes I’m eating in front of 40,000 people. There are topless women and competitors to my left and right; you have to ignore all that and focus on your plate alone. Being reflective in yoga and holding poses is helpful for that.”

Photographed by Jonathan Snyder | Licensed to Alpha Media Group 2013

Train Your Stomach

“Watching what you eat year-round is important. If I eat French toast 11 days in a row during the off-season, that’s not going to help me. Right before a contest, I eat a lot of soft, malleable foods. Japanese ramen soup is great be­-cause it fills you up, but it’s lower in calories and your body can digest it easily. Post-contest I’m not the best role model: I’ll smoke a victory cigar and have a beer to celebrate.”


“I’ve run two marathons, which didn’t interfere with my eating regimen. Most people wouldn’t eat 200 dumplings before the New York Marathon, but for me it was fun to see the limitations of my stomach and my hamstrings. When I ran Boston, I was in a Nathan’s qualifier. I ate 21 hot dogs and ran the 26.2 miles the next day. I found that 21 in both miles and hot dogs is kind of the breaking point.”

Photo: Bobby Bank / WireImage | Licensed to Alpha Media Group 2013

Try to Look Ok

“I’ll go to the gym a few times a week for 45 minutes, just to work on my vanity muscles and look at girls in spandex. Competitive eater Tim ‘Eater X’ Janus is a real gym rat, and he’s found that sometimes he can feel his stomach expand against his six-pack, and it’s an uncomfortable tightness. So I try to stay with the pony keg. I have about two abs that are visible, and that works for me.”

See what all the fuss is about over National Donut Day or check out Taco Bell’s New Waffle Taco.