American author John C. Maxwell once stated, “A man must be big enough to admit his mistakes, smart enough to profit from them, and strong enough to correct them.” This is definitely a quote that relates to everything you should be doing after each and every eating contest you compete in. Training and strategizing properly before a competition will surely help you perform better during that particular contest you were preparing for, and there is no doubt about that. If you keep on preparing the exact same way though without ever pausing to critique yourself and figure out ways to perfect the various aspects of your ‘game,’ you will never actually improve your long-term abilities. You don’t actually learn by training, strategizing, and competing in the contests. You learn by thinking back and analyzing everything you did prior to and during the competition. You learn by critiquing what you did wrong or what you could have done better. You also learn by analyzing what you did correctly. You then use that newly acquired knowledge to improve yourself from that point forward, and correct your mistakes while perfecting the things you are already doing well. Being a ‘loser’ is only a poor state of mind. Losing a big competition is simply an opportunity to learn from your downfalls and improve so you don’t lose the next time. Admit what you could do better and be strong enough to make those corrections, and then reap the rewards!!

We have a similar article written in our After The Challenge section called Critique The Food Challenge And Improve which will help you analyze a food challenge that you just attempted, and figure out ways to improve your future food challenge related tactics. This article will feature thought provoking questions to help you enhance your eating contest related tactics. Some aspects will be similar in nature since eating contests aren’t really that different from food challenges in the grand scheme of things, so it may be beneficial to read that article as well. With that said, here are some helpful questions to ask yourself after your next eating contest:

1. Was your body well trained for this contest? Should you do anything differently next time? – Did you prepare enough for the particular contest that you competed in? Can you improve your training schedule before the next similar one? Did you prepare more than you really needed to (after shorter contests)? Use these questions to help improve how you train for contests in the future. Be sure you’ve read How To Train For An Eating Contest.

2. How was your eating strategy that you prepared beforehand? Can anything be improved? – Did you follow the strategy that you mentally developed before the competition? If so, was the strategy flawless or do you need to make some minor adjustments next time? Use the “planned versus actual” analysis to prepare better next time.

3. Are there any questions or concerns you wish you had clarified before the contest started? – Was there any confusion beforehand or while you were eating? Did any rules surprise you that you wish you had found out earlier so you could prepare better? Was the contest exactly what you thought it would be? Ask next time!!

4. How were your techniques during the contest? Should you do anything differently next time? – Did you take too big of bites or did you drink too much liquid? Were you happy with your eating speed and techniques? Can they be improved? If you know you need some work, analyze what you are doing wrong and how to correct it.

5. How was your confidence both before and during the contest? Did you know you would win? – Did you think you were going to beat everyone around your level, or did you know you would beat them all? You may have known you’d lose to a highly skilled professional, but you didn’t think you might lose to someone on your same level or below you did you? If you did, figure out what you can do to be sure you are more confident next time.

6. If you did lose, what did those people who beat you do better than you? – There can only be one winner of each contest, and there are ZERO undefeated professional eaters, so hopefully you don’t expect to win every single competition you enter. If you do win every time, then you aren’t really challenging yourself. If you did lose the contest, analyze what the people who finished ahead of you did better than you, and decide how you can improve those particular aspects of your ‘game.’ You can do this if you followed Tips For Analyzing Your Competitors and sat next to the better eater(s). This is also one of the many reasons that it’s smart to video your competitions!!

7. Is there anything you wish you had done directly afterwards to help your body recover quicker? – How did you feel directly after the contest? How did you feel a few hours afterwards, and what did you do to speed up the recovery process? Use this question to figure out how to improve your recovery after the next big contest. Be sure you have read all the necessary articles that pertain to you in our helpful After The Challenge section.

8. Is there any other aspect you can improve to help you perform better during the next contest? – Use this question to critique and decide whether there are any other ways you can strengthen your eating abilities. If something sketchy happened during the event, how can you make sure you are more prepared next time if that same issue occurs again? If you competed in a team eating contest, who was the weakest link? Do you need to find a better teammate next time, or was it you that needs to improve? Get creative here and decide what other things you can do in the future to improve your training, strategy, techniques, & overall contest performance.

Answering those eight questions honestly will definitely help you figure out how to improve your tactics that you’ll use during your next competition. There is nothing wrong with making honest mistakes, as long as you are strong enough to admit those errors and work hard to correct them. As we mention in Elite Eaters Are Made Not Born, no top professional eaters started out as good as they currently are now. They just kept learning from each experience and kept on working hard to strengthen each aspect of their ‘game.’ One way to make this analysis process much easier is to have somebody film you and the people around you throughout the contest. Even if you have no intentions of putting the video online, it would be extremely helpful for you to be able to watch yourself during the entire event. Due to all the adrenaline that kicks in during big contests, and especially if you don’t critique everything until a day or two later, you more than likely won’t be able to remember every minor detail. If you have somebody film you though, you can go back and watch it all, making note of each particular aspect you think you can improve. Then you can also check back at a future date to see how much better you have gotten.

This analysis will get easier as you continue gaining experience, and it will be even easier if you’ve read many of the articles throughout this TIPS category, along with the helpful articles throughout the STRATEGIES category. After you’ve read this article, please check out the last two articles in this Eating Contest Tips section, which are How To Speed Eat Various Eating Contest Foods and How To Lose A Competitive Eating Contest. By using the tips, links, and questions throughout this article and also Critique The Food Challenge And Improve, you will be able to improve your skills, tactics, and performance at a much faster rate than you ever thought possible. Keep making sure you’re “better tomorrow than you were today,” and you’ll eventually get to where you want to be!!

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