Another question that many food challengers and competitive eaters have is whether it is more efficient to sit down, stand, or kneel during a food challenge or eating competition. If you watch an eating contest where the competitors are allowed to choose whether they sit or stand, you will most likely see a mix of both sitting and standing, but you probably will not see many people kneeling. Most beginner eaters choose to sit down during contests, simply because they don’t want to make a big scene or be one of the main competitors that spectators are watching. Most of the experienced eaters will likely be standing so that they can move around much easier and help shake the food down into their stomach while they continue eating. In some cases you don’t have a choice whether you sit, stand, or kneel because the restaurant or event host has already selected what you are allowed to do as one of the rules (usually sitting). There are also some other cases where you don’t have a choice, simply because of how the event is set up or the atmosphere you are in. If you are attempting a steak challenge at a fancy steakhouse filled with normal customers that are just there to enjoy a nice meal, it would be frowned upon if you were up jumping around and making a scene. Another factor that eaters use to decide what they will do is considering how much they will have to eat. The benefits for standing and kneeling relate to large challenges and long contests where you will have to eat a lot. If the competition will only last a couple minutes, it may not matter what you choose to do, so pick the position that will be most comfortable for you.

Sitting vs standing vs kneeling at the end of the day is really just up to your own personal preference. Each experienced competitive eater has their own reasons for which position they prefer, but there are definitely strengths and weaknesses for each position depending on the situation. To help you decide what you will do during your next eating event, we have outlined all of the pros and cons of each of the main three positions:

Sitting

Situations where sitting is best suited

1. Typically the only position ever “required” during certain challenges and contests

2. Most widely used when the table in front of the eater is at normal table height

3. The only position available if you must be seated at a booth-style table while eating

4. Most preferred by restaurants with food challenges to avoid disrupting customers

5. Preferred by media during eating events for better video and photo opportunities

6. During long events where you won’t want to be up on your feet the entire competition

7. When you just want to blend in and eat your challenge meal without people watching you

Pros

1. It is the most relaxed and most comfortable position that requires very little movement

2. Since it is a relaxing position, you can be comfortable during very long eating competitions

3. You are closer to your food so it takes less time to get the food from the table to your mouth

4. Since you are close to your food, photos and video can be more zoomed in and higher quality

5. It is easier to blend in while eating a challenge without making a scene and attracting attention

Cons

1. You are basically restricting the use of the bottom portion of your midsection to hold your food

2. You cannot move around as easily to grab plates, dishes, cups, and other items further away

3. You cannot jump, wiggle, and move around to help the food move down your body quicker

4. You are not as entertaining to watch since you are just sitting and not moving around

5. You typically cannot consume as much food as you can when your body is upright (vertical)

Standing

Situations where standing is best suited

1. When the food & drinks are placed on bar height tables (avoid using bar chairs)

2. During an eating competition where you will be eating a lot of food very quickly

3. During eating competitions on open stages with a lot of room to move around

4. When your meal is spaced out all over the table and you need to move & eat quickly

5. At the end of a large food challenge when you are really full and need to move around

Pros

1. You are able to make full use of your body and stomach space to hold more food and liquids

2. You can move and shake to help wiggle the food down your body faster while speed eating

3. You can reach and grab whatever you need on the table during your competition a lot easier

4. Since you are moving around more, you will be more entertaining and exciting to watch

5. You are typically able to consume more food while standing than you can while sitting down

Cons

1. You are higher up so it takes longer to get your food from the table to your mouth

2. It is sometimes outlawed during challenges and contests because of its advantages

3. It does make a scene while at a restaurant so people will be watching your challenge

4. It can be tiring to stand and eat for a very long period of time during your challenge

5. You are bent over most of the time and it is harder to swallow with your head down

6. It is difficult to get close-up photos and video footage with both you and your food

Kneeling

Situations where kneeling is best suited

1. When you are wanting to be upright while still at a height level near everyone sitting down

2. When you know you will need to use your whole body and stomach to finish your challenge

3. When you want to be upright while still being at a level near your food for filming purposes

4. When you really want to stand but you know you won’t want to stand during the entire event

5. When the restaurant or competition host prohibits standing but does not outlaw kneeling 🙂

Pros

1. You can make full use of your body and stomach while still remaining at a seated level

2. You receive most of the benefits that come with standing but kneeling is more comfortable

3. At a seated height level, you can get the food from your plate to your mouth much faster

4. It is easier to move around than when you are seated so you can reach things more easily

5. You can put padding beneath you so that you can remain in the kneeling position longer

6. At a seated level, people will not even know you are kneeling and you won’t make a scene

7. You can typically eat more than you can when sitting down, while still being comfortable

8. At a seated height level, photos and videos can be more zoomed in with higher quality

Cons

1. You cannot use this position if you have bad knees and joints that hurt when you kneel

2. People will definitely look at you weird when they see that you are kneeling while eating

3. You cannot move around as much and as freely as you can when you are standing up

4. You cannot kneel when the competition food & drinks are served on bar height tables

5. You require some extra space behind you so that your feet have room while kneeling

Conclusion

As you can see, there are positives and negatives to all three positions, and there are some situations that are more favorable for one position over the other two. The two most widely used eating positions are definitely sitting down and standing up, and not many people even consider kneeling. I have tried all three positions many times throughout all of my previous challenges and contests, and I have found that I personally favor kneeling over both sitting and standing. Kneeling is more comfortable for me than standing, as long as I bring an extra shirt or item to use as a cushion, and I like the fact that I am upright while still being close to my food and the top of the table. This creates a more zoomed in eating challenge video for my YouTube channel with much more detailed footage. Using the very in-depth list of pros and cons for each position, you can now more easily decide what you want to do during your upcoming challenges and contests. As you continue to gain experience, you will eventually figure out which position(s) you prefer most for each type of situation. There are some times that I sit and there are some times that I stand up. Many times I kneel while eating, and then in some situations I end up doing all three before the challenge is over. At the end of the day though, your eating position makes up only a small part of your competition strategy, but it should not be taken lightly. Use this article to make the best decisions that you can while you are preparing for your upcoming competition. Train. Strategize. Dominate!!

Note: You may want to ask the person in charge what you are allowed to do before your challenge or contest begins so that there are no surprises later on, and so that you don’t break the rules and get disqualified.

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