You don’t really think we want you to actually lose any competitive eating contests do you? This article’s goal is to point out the many ridiculous things amateurs do before, during, and after eating contests that make all the professionals just shake their head, wondering what the heck that person is doing (that definitely isn’t a good thing). Because every individual is different with unique preferences and abilities, there is never only one right technique or way to go about any particular aspect involved with competitive eating. Whether you are training or actually competing in a contest, what may work best for somebody else may not work for you, and what works for you may not work for anyone else. While there is no “one right  way” to do things, there definitely are a few wrong ways of doing things, which will surely hinder your ability to perform well during certain events. DO NOT do any of these things during your upcoming contests, and be sure to look out for anybody that is doing one or more of the behaviors on this list. You are free to discount them as beginners who have no basic idea what they are doing, and you don’t need to consider them strong competition that you should keep track of throughout the event. Anybody who does any of the things mentioned is basically sabotaging their ability to eat fast or eat a lot of that particular item. From a professional’s point of view, it is almost like that individual is trying to lose the competition, and that’s why the article is titled the way it is. If you do these things, losing is almost inevitable:

1. Smothering your food with with sauce before the contest – Any person who smothers their french fries and other side items with ketchup, barbecue sauce, or any other type of sauce is going to soon find out they messed up bad. This also goes for anybody covering their pancakes, waffles, and other similar breakfast foods in syrup. Things are going to get really messy if you try to eat those items really fast, and you will get tired of the taste soon too. Sauces are meant to be used to Mix Up The Flavor once the original taste of the food begins tasting dull, and not meant to be added from the very beginning. Keep in mind though, adding a sauce to help your dry or chewy food go down better is a different story. For example, somebody may put a little BBQ sauce on their meat or they may put salsa on their tacos or burritos, if they are even allowed to. Those may definitely help, but adding a bottle of ketchup to fries is totally counterproductive and unnecessary. Do NOT learn the hard way!!

2. Eating smaller items one-at-a-time – I was in a meatball eating contest years ago and the meatballs were so small that I could  fit about five or six comfortably in my mouth at one time. While I was eating them by the handful, there were other people next to me putting just one or two in their mouth at a time, wondering why I was beating them so badly. It’s one thing to eat large items one-at-a-time, but you need to put as much in your mouth as you comfortably can so that you can swallow and move on to the next mouthful. Anybody who is just eating one little bit at a time is basically trying to lose to everyone else who is actually trying to speed eat.

3. Not dunking during a contest with buns/breads that allows dunking – You would never knowingly “bring a knife to a gun fight” would you? Then why would anybody not take advantage of being able to dunk during a hot dog eating contest? I really hate dunking foods in water and other beverages, but I am definitely aware that it’s hard to compete with a bunch of people who are dunking if you personally aren’t. This doesn’t really apply to contests where dunking won’t actually help people realistically eat faster, but if you see a person not dunking during a hot dog, burger, pizza, or sandwich contest which allows dunking, that person obviously is a rookie.

4. Being really disorganized without any type of plan or strategy – It is pretty easy to tell whether a person has put any kind of thought into what they are doing, and whether they have much experience doing a particular activity. You just have to quickly analyze how that person carries himself or herself for the few moments you are watching. Professional eaters know that strategy and keeping organized throughout the event are extremely important, and you’ll never see them constantly moving drinks around and wasting precious time. There is a reason for every particular movement they make, since a few wasted moments can mean losing the contest. If a person is completely disorganized before/during the event, showing that they have little experience and didn’t develop any “game plan” beforehand, that person is basically trying to lose. Failing to plan is planning to fail!!

5. Being too messy or too clean – You are competing in an eating contest and you aren’t on a first date or dining with your grandparents. At the same time though, you aren’t at the circus eating with the pigs and other wild animals. You will be too slow if you try to be as neat and mannerly as possible, and you will be too unproductive and inefficient if you are too messy. If you see somebody just throw their hands into a burrito without any type of strategy involved, getting sauce and debris all over their mouths, that person most likely is trying to make it look like they know what they are doing even though they do not. If that person is wiping their mouth with a napkin after each bite, he or she probably isn’t eating very fast. Have a strategy when you eat, and maintain at least some level of self-control. You’ll be much happier with the results, and everyone watching will thank you.

Those are the five most common mistakes that rookies make before and during eating contests, unknowingly setting themselves up to fail and lose the event. If a person does win even though they did one or more of the things listed above, they most likely didn’t have significant competition, and the competitors were probably all making these mistakes too. That happens sometimes during smaller contests when no significant prizes are awarded. During upcoming competitive eating contests, be sure to avoid those five behaviors while following all the other helpful advice featured throughout Eating Contest Tips. If your question isn’t answered in this section, then it is somewhere else in the TIPS and STRATEGIES categories. Thank you for reading!!

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