Before every single food challenge that I do, I follow the exact same pre-challenge ritual, and I won’t start a challenge until that ritual is completed. Similarly, I wear the same shirt during every single challenge that I do. There have only been 2 challenges out of the over 170 challenges that I have defeated where I did not have my challenge shirt on. That was only because I had a set schedule while in Ireland and the airline lost our luggage for a few days. Do you have any kind of rituals that you do? Many athletes have some type of ritual. I don’t know of any other eaters that take rituals as serious as I do, but mine definitely aren’t changing any time soon.

Once the food arrives at my table, I take a whole bunch of photos with my nice camera, and then I take more with my camera phone so that I can post pictures afterwards on my social media. I always wear my A&Z shirt so that my brand is always seen in every photo posted. After the photos are completed, I go to the bathroom one last time to get rid of any remaining water, since I can’t use the restroom during the challenge. After washing my hands, I take a knee, make the sign-of-the-cross and say a little prayer for a victory while taking 6 deep breaths, and then I stand up to look in the mirror and say “It’s challenge time baby!!” Typically I try to make sure I am the only person in the bathroom when I do that, because I have found that I get really strange looks if people are watching!! I then take my A&Z shirt off to reveal my “These aren’t guns, they’re cannons” cut-off shirt that I always wear, and then I walk out to take the challenge. After making sure that all my camcorder equipment is on and focused, I do my video introduction. After the introduction is over, I take a deep breath, make another sign-of-the-cross, and then I turn my hat around and make the switch from Randy Santel into ATLAS, an eating machine. Many people think it is taken from Ash turning his hat around before Pokemon matches, but really it is from one of my favorite “manly” movies, Over The Top, with Sylvester Stallone.

Once my hat is turned around, I go ahead and give the 1, 2, & 3 to start the challenge. There are 2 things I wear and use during each and every challenge. I always use my “Hannah Montana” mp3 player because I could listen to “Party In The USA” by Miley Cyrus all day long. Miley and Ke$ha songs fill up half of my playlist. Also, I wear my necklace that was made for me while I was in New Zealand on the set of Spartacus back in 2010 after winning a national body transformation contest. It was an amazing experience. Here is a video about that:

I go through the exact same ritual every time I do a food challenge, and doing that helps me remember where I started from and the long & lonely path that it took to get the point I am at today. My foundation is a degree in Construction Management, so everything I started back in 2010 has been self-taught. Remembering all of that hard work keeps me motivated through each and every challenge that I do. Now that you know my pre-challenge ritual, consider creating your own!! It doesn’t have to be as serious as mine of course, but think of something that you want to do before your challenge that will help keep you focused and motivated. When people watch me, they know that I care about what I do, and that is why they watch. If you don’t take the challenge seriously, don’t expect anybody else to either. I’m not saying that you have to have a ritual to be considered serious, obviously, but I am saying that it is a good way to keep you focused. To possibly spark some additional thought, here is a short documentary that my friend created for her class project that further explains all my rituals:

Thanks for reading about creating a pre-challenge ritual and using!!

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