"It is possible to die from eating. But I think to be professional means you don't die." (Takeru Kobayashi)

Saturday, April 01, 2006

The tao of Takeru

How can this be the body of the world’s greatest competitive eater? How can a man who once ate 53 and a half hot dogs in 12 minutes weigh a buck thirty with a six pack that belongs on the cover of Men’s Health? Most people in this kind of shape probably haven’t eaten 50 hot dogs in their lifetimes. But for some freakish reason, Takeru Kobayashi is able to defy the physiological laws of the human body, time and time again.

Now let’s just assume he’s able to stay in such great shape by exercising religiously (which he does) and by maintaining a strict and healthy diet during the other 364 days of the year when he’s not gorging on processed meats and carb-laden buns (which he doesn’t). Once we get past that, we’re still left with the question of how someone with a body fat percentage around two percent is able to do it. I mean, everyone knows it’s the guys whose midsections resemble a Mini Cooper that are able to eat the most, right? Wrong.

According to a theory by the IFOCE and Ed Krachie (the 470 pound man whose 22 hot dogs stood as the world record five years before Kobayashi more than doubled it by devouring 50 franks in 2001), the big guys are at a decided disadvantage because fat impedes the ability of the stomach to expand outwards. It’s called the
Belt of Fat Theory and the only possible explanation for the success of eaters like Sonya Thomas, Tim Janus, and Joey Chestnut.

But back to Kobayashi.

Truth is, I hate this man. Not because he can bench press a small cow or because he’s got millions of adoring female fans (mainly in Japan where eaters of his caliber are worshipped like rock star demi-gods). No, I hate him because he’s able to do both of those things simply because he can eat massive quantities of food in one sitting.

Okay, I guess I don’t hate him. But I do envy the hell out of him. After all, he’s been able to accomplish what I’ve only aspired to in the blurb under the title of this blog. Ever since I was 10 years old and I bet my parents that I could eat 10 McDonald’s cheeseburgers, I’ve wanted to be a professional competitive eater – even before there was such a thing.

By the way, I was only able to down seven of them before conceding defeat. That’s only 62 fewer than Kobayashi’s record-setting total in the
Krystal Hamburger Eating Championship in November of 2004. Did I mention he did it in eight minutes and won $10,000 for his efforts? Okay, maybe I do hate him.


Blogger Liz said...

First of all, you have to give yourself credit; McDonald's hamburgers are bigger than Krystal Burgers, and doing 7 in 10 minutes when you're a kid is pretty good! If only you'd started training then...

Second, you have to think about how a body like Kobayashi's (or anyone's, really) "processes" all those hot dogs. Like, I think the stomach and intestines get rid of it all pretty fast; I bet not a lot of those calories or fat grams are absorbed. His real talent is in the masterful control of his esophagus.

11:03 AM

Blogger Mega Munch said...

True. And, of course, I was eating them "picnic style" in the back seat of a Toyota Corolla. No water-soaked buns and cheering crowd for me. You've renewed my spirit, Liz!

5:03 PM

Anonymous ojrifkin said...

One minor correction, Kobayashi was 172 pounds and not 130 at the Krystal Square Off (before eating) last November (see link)

8:12 PM

Blogger Melissa Marie said...

I don't know how many eating competitions Takeru competes in annually, but just looking at Sonya "The Black Widow" Thomas' website gives an insight into how competitive eaters can stay fit: lots of exercise, and eat in moderation when not competing. I think I'm doing that in reverse!

I must say, however, I envy them both for their eating ability and their physique (although upon seeing Sonya I want to take her out for ice cream and fatten her up!).

6:47 PM


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