The Competitive Eating Contest
The Competitive Eating Contest
Ian "The Invader" Hickman (Competitive Eater) gives expert video advice on: What do you love about competitive eating?; What is your favorite competitive eating contest?; How do you get ready for a competitive eating contest? and more...
What do you love about competitive eating?
I love competitive eating because it's a different way for me to challenge myself. I grew up playing sports, football, baseball, I swam, I played soccer, I did all these things, and I think just trying this after getting out of High School was when I stumbled upon it, thought this was cool and found out I was pretty decent at it. So I think it's awesome to eat as much as you can, eat more than the next guy, and win money at it. I mean its America.
What is your favorite competitive eating contest?
There are tons of competitive eating contests that I've enjoyed doing. My favorite has probably been ice cream, because I love ice cream. I love sweets. I've done a sundae contest twice, and I always have fun. I get a little sick afterwards, just from all the dairy, but in the middle of it, I'm having fun. Even if I'm losing, I don't care. I'm eating ice cream, and pounds of it. You can't beat that.
What is going through your mind during a competitive eating contest?
Depending on the food, I love this. If it's bad food, then I'm like, I hate this, and I want to stop. But I still eat because, as an athlete, you have trained yourself to know that you have to keep going and push yourself as hard as you can. There's a lot of contests where I will drink fruit punch to help me get through the taste if I'm tired of eating whatever it is. I'm not full. It's just that I'm tired of that taste, so I try to take in some kind of liquid to not only soften and moisten the food, but to help me get through the taste barrier.
What do you do immediately after a competitive eating contest?
Usually after a competitive eating contest, I will collect a trophy or check if I win. Whatever the prize is. Afterwards, we all just hang out, talk about the contest, and then we go back to talking about whatever we were talking about. We have normal lives so we just share, BS and hang out. And if it is a hamburger contest then I will have some kind of sweet. If it is a sweet contest then I will probably have like a cup of coffee or something. Pizza, I will have a beer. You know, stuff that complement each other.
Do you participate in competitive eating for money or recognition?
I participate in competitive eating for the recognition, without a doubt. I have a full time job. This is my hobby. I get paid to enjoy my hobby, so even though the money is fine, I usually get free trips to go wherever I'm competing at, that's not really an issue. I love having the title, the trophies. I think it's awesome. I just love saying that I beat out the next guy and I'm doing well at something.
What are the biggest competitive eating contests?
The one that is most recognized is Nathan's 4th of July contest; you know the whole Kobayashi, Joey Chestnut, Pat Bertoletti thing going with the hotdogs. Usually the bigger contests are the one's that are most publicized, most televised, things like that. A lot of people relate to ESPN because they are covering the wide-stream of all sorts of people; people who have cable and are able to access that. In independent contests it is usually the one with the most money involved. I do windmill and that's $500. I've done a black & white cookie contest and that was $1000. So in independent contests it's usually how much the prize is.
How long did it take you to get used to competitive eating?
I'd say prior to the first contest I knew what I was dealing with. Not to say that I rapidly got better or anything like that but it was more of I knew that I had to start training a different way, I need to work on swallowing, how much food could I get into my mouth and be comfortable with it, how could I handle the "meat sweats" A lot of terminology that you'll get hear once you get familiar with competitive eating but I'd say after the first contest I knew I what I was dealing with and I needed to approach it in a different manner.