Joey Chestnut is an American hero. It’s weird putting those words together knowing the San Jose, California resident is only famous because he eats way too much food. Then again, the United States is one of the most obese countries in the world, so it’s only fitting the No. 1-ranked person in the Major League Eating championship league hails from America.
Every Fourth of July, the eyes of the nation turn to Coney Island, New York for the annual Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest. For 10 minutes, 20 of the world’s best eaters stuff hot dogs and soggy buns down their gullet while we watch in horror as 20, 30, 40, 50 hot dogs per person are devoured. It’s like a horror movie, but we keep coming back, and no one is more polarizing than Joey Chestnut.
The world-record holder at 74 hot dogs and buns is a machine. He’s won 11 of the last 12 events, including in 2006 when he defeated six-time defending champion Takeru Kobayashi, a Japanese competitive eater who holds numerous world records of his own.
Ever since, Chestnut has become the star of the show.
But how does a competitive eater train? Contrary to popular belief, competitive eaters are (somehow) athletes. They train their throat, neck, and stomach to swallow pounds upon pounds of food, which requires a workout routine you won’t find at your local Planet Fitness.
In a new ESPN 30 for 30 documentary titled The Good, The Bad, The Hungry, Chestnut revealed the unorthodox, strange, unique, kind-of-gross, mostly-genius workout routine he created leading up to a big eating competition.
Mashing down on a stress ball. Lifting a bag of weights using his neck. Swallowing air and burping it up.
Gross? Genius? Both?
Check out his accomplishments over the years and figure that out for yourself. The craziest part? This isn’t even the complete list…
Joey Chestnut’s World Records
- Shrimp Cocktail: 18 pounds, 9.6 ounces in eight minutes
- Mutton Sandwiches: 81 in 10 minutes
- Ice Cream Sandwiches: 25.5 in six minutes
- Hostess Donettes: 257 in six minutes
- 3-Inch Tortilla Tacos: 126 in eight minutes
- Glazed Donuts: 55 in eight minutes
- Gyros: 30 in 10 minutes
- Boysenberry Pie: 14.5 pounds in eight minutes
- Gumbo: 15 bowls (almost two gallons) in eight minutes
- Turkey: 9.35 pounds in 10 minutes
- Pierogis: 165 in eight minutes
- Fish Tacos: 30 in five minutes
- Deep Fried Asparagus: 12.8 pounds in 10 minutes
- Twinkies: 121 in six minutes
- Hard Boiled Eggs: 141 in eight minutes
- Apple Pie: 4.375 pies in eight minutes
- Corned Beef Sandwiches: 20 in 10 minutes
- Taco Bell Soft, Beef Tacos: 53 in 10 minutes
- Pizza Hut P’Zones: 7.5 in 10 minutes
- Philly Cheesesteaks: 23 in 10 minutes
- Funnel Cake: 5.9 pounds in 10 minutes
- Chicken Wings: 182 in 30 minutes
- Jalapeno Poppers: 118 in 10 minutes
- Grilled Cheese Sandwiches: 47 in 10 minutes
The women’s competition of the 2019 Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Contest, highlighted by five-time Mustard Belt winner Miki Sudo, begins at 10:45 a.m. on July 4th. The men begin at noon and the competition airs on ESPN2.
Champion Joey Chestnut is the favorite to take first-place once again, looking to re-break his own world record for the fourth year in a row.