Competitive Eater

Stretch your stomach and chew like a champion to win 1st place!

Quick Stats

Salary Range
$25,000 – $106,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Competitive Eaters do?

The English language is full of oxymorons, like crash landing, freezer burn and butt head. If you can deduct burgers as business expenses on your taxes, however, your favorite oxymoron isn’t seriously funny, old news or even pretty ugly. It’s professional eating.

Although it sounds like one, professional eating isn’t a contradiction; it’s a career. It’s also a sport. Just ask ESPN, which broadcasts the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest every Fourth of July.

The job of a Competitive Eater, or “Gurgitator,” is training for, competing in and winning eating competitions. The menu — pizza, pie or chicken wings — doesn’t matter, because, as a Competitive Eater, your job isn’t about the meal. It’s about the method.

While typical contests last only 10 to 15 minutes, during which time you must eat as much as you can — records include eating 13 pounds of watermelon in 15 minutes and seven quarter-pound sticks of butter in 5 minutes — you’ll spend weeks “training” by drinking large amounts of water and eating copious amounts of water-heavy veggies in order to stretch your stomach. You’ll practice with the contest food and test timesaving ways of chewing and swallowing. Finally, you’ll eat and compete in pursuit of sponsorships and prize money.

Although the risks are real — Competitive Eaters often suffer from ulcers, stomach paralysis and liver damage — so are the rewards: Like famous Eaters Takeru “The Tsunami” Kobayashi and Sonya “The Black Widow” Thomas, you’ll get a cool nickname, lots of free food and top billing on Career Day.

Should I be a Competitive Eater?

You should have a high school degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Persistent: You keep pushing through, even when faced with tough obstacles.
  • Calm Under Pressure: You keep your cool when dealing with highly stressful situations.
  • Team Player: You're able to listen, communicate, and work with tons of different people.

  • Also known as: Gurgitator, Professional Eater

    How to become a Competitive Eater

    Most Competitive Eaters have no higher education and get on-the-job training. Think about earning a Certificate to increase your competitiveness in the field. Chart?chd=s:9aaaaa&chl=no+college+%2899%25%29|||||&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,99,99
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