The strongest “muscle” in your entire body is not located in your legs, chest, arms, or back. The human mind is definitely the most powerful “muscle” and a strong mind can push you through any reasonable obstacle. In the words of Henry Ford, “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you are right.” This quote is very true in the world of food challenges and competitive eating. If you go into an eating contest thinking that you will get second place, you will probably get second place, or less. If you begin a food challenge and aren’t totally sure that you can finish it within the time limit, you more than likely will fail the challenge. Every now and then, you might surprise yourself and end up completing the challenge, but that is very rare. Food challenges are a huge mental game, meaning that you have to have complete confidence in yourself in order to be successful.

“Always make sure to flex your mental muscles!!”

The human body is capable of extraordinary things, but a strong body will never achieve its maximum potential if it is attached to a weak mind. On the other hand, a weaker body attached to a powerful mind will continue to grow stronger and stronger as long as the person allows the body to gradually catch up. If you aren’t fully confident that you can win, you should not even try. If you do try, make sure that you have your wallet with you to pay for the meal after you lose. It has happened to me a few times, usually on trips where I am doing one or two challenges per day. Every now then a time comes when I am not too confident that I can fit it all in, but I go through with it anyway because people will be there to watch. More often than not, I fail. I have learned over time not to over-schedule myself, so typically now I only do challenges that I am confident I can win.

The easiest thing to do to help make sure you show up confident and ready to eat is to select a challenge that you know you can beat. To do that, make sure you have read Selecting The Food Challenge Right For You. You can think you have all the confidence in the world, but if you don’t pick a challenge that you can beat, you will fail. There is a difference is between having confidence and living in a “false reality” where you think you are better than you really are. Don’t overestimate your abilities when selecting a challenge. The next most important thing to do is remember that “knowledge is power, and confidence is king.” Read all of the articles throughout this website that you can so that you can learn how to train, strategize, prepare, win, and then recover. Even knowing how to recover from the challenge will help boost your confidence because you will feel better knowing that you won’t feel bad for very long afterwards. Learn as much as you can, and use it to strategize and prepare for your challenge. If you arrive at the restaurant and have already visualized how the challenge is going to go, you will have the confidence required to make that visualization a true reality. Expect to win, and then leave no doubt.

Train for the challenge, and make sure that your “max out” meal was larger or close to equal to the actual challenge size that you are attempting. If you know you ate more the night before during your max out meal than what your challenge actually weighs, your confidence will be really high. One thing to also remember is that confidence and cockiness are two different things. If you act really cocky before the challenge while you are at the restaurant, you may be talking yourself out of a victory. To find out why, please read Never Talk Smack To The Restaurant Staff, and particularly the chefs cooking your challenge meal. There are many different factors that go into making sure that you are truly focused and confident that you will win. Make sure to cover all of the different aspects so that you can show up confident, without having to say you forgot to do something you wish you would have done beforehand. Don’t think or hope that you can win. Know you will win, and then do it!!

“Visualize yourself winning the challenge, and you will win!!”

Just to clarify, I am not meaning that you should pick easy challenges that you know you WILL easily win. I am referring to making sure you pick a challenge that you CAN win. There isn’t much satisfaction that comes from winning a challenge that you didn’t even have to train for. What I am mostly meaning is that you should not attempt a challenge that is 2lbs heavier than you can handle. 2 star eaters should not be attempting 4 star challenges, and thinking that they can win. The math just doesn’t work. If just starting out, pick challenges that you know you have a good shot at winning. Once you have built up a large amount of real confidence, then it is ok to attempt challenges that are border-line out of your league. Doing this early in your career though is just setting yourself up for failure. Use your powerful mind to train, strategize, and dominate your competitions.

Thanks for reading why your mind is your body’s strongest muscle and using!!

To go back and view other Before The Challenge articles, click here.