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Originally published 12:36 p.m. PDT August 28, 2014 on RGJ.com.
The following is a transcript of a live chat with Joey Chestnut, frequent Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-off eating contest champion, prior to the 2013 event (which he won). Chestnut dictated answers that were transcribed and edited by the RGJ:
A chat with Joey Chestnut
RGJ: Submit your questions now. Remember, all questions are queued, so don't worry if you don...
RGJ: Hello everyone. Welcome to a live chat with competitive eater Joey Chestnut, who will compete in the 6 p.m. rib-eating contest at the Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-off
RGJ: See yours immediately.
Unknown: How painful are your bathroom visits after competitions?
Joey Chestnut: Some are worse than others. This one shouldn't be too bad because my body is used to digesting meat.
Joey Chestnut: It's harder when I'm not used to the food.
Ribeater: How do you manage to stay relatively fit despite the massive amounts of food you stuff in your face?
Joey Chestnut: I have to count my calories in the long run. I fast going in to every contest. I'm on a diet after each contest, and my total intake isn't too much more than a normal person.
Joey Chestnut: I used to go to the gym, but it doesn't burn enough calories. It has to be dieting.
Guest: Do you prefer a certain bbq sauce or do you have a choice in the competition?
Joey Chestnut: We don't really have a choice. They're prepared the same for everybody.
Joey Chestnut: They're going to be lightly sauced with a sweet sauce.
NwReno: Do you prepare the same for each eating event? And, how do you prepare?
Joey Chestnut: Every contest I prepare a little differently. My basic routine is a practice contest, and then fasting for 2.5 days before the main event, and then I do the big event. And when I'm fasting, I'm drinking lots of liquids. No solid food.
Joey Chestnut: I want to go into every contest absolutely empty. That makes it easier to digest the food.
Joey Chestnut: It depends on who's going to the contest. Sometimes I train more. I'm a lazy American, I only work as hard as I have to. :)
Guest: How did you get into competitive eating?
Joey Chestnut: My little brother -- i had five siblings -- knew I was the biggest eater in the family. He was a fan of competitive eating. He made me do my first contest. I really didn't want to do my first one.
Joey Chestnut: I thought it was too weird! Other than competitive eating, I'm really normal. After the first one, I fell in love with it it.
Joey Chestnut: It was really hard to get on stage and eat in front of people. It was something you do in private -- rushing after a big lunch. In restaurants, everyone eats very, very reserved
Guest: Is competitive eating considered a sport? Should it be?
Joey Chestnut: I have to consider it a sport, because I put so much time in.
Joey Chestnut: I push myself to such an extreme limit.
Joey Chestnut: There are some people that don't consider it a sport, just like some people don't consider golf a sport. But when you look at the competitie aspect and the physical aspect of competitve eating, iit's hard to deny it's a sport.
Guest: What's your favorite food to compete with?
Joey Chestnut: Ribs and chicken wings. The quality of food is really good, usually.
Guest: are you allowed to use a laxative before the event, and do you?
Joey Chestnut: You can use a laxative, it's not a bad idea. My preparation makes it easy for my body to digest my food naturally. I have tried laxatives, I notice you feel nauseous if you take them.
Guest: does your brother do competitive eating too?
Joey Chestnut: No. He eats like a child.
Steve: Are hot dogs your favorite thing to eat?
Joey Chestnut: I love hot dogs. At times, they're my favorite. I really love to eat. When I go to a baseball game, I eat a good hot dog.
Guest: How many contests have you competed in? Do you know all the other competitors?
Joey Chestnut: Yearly, I compete in 20-25 contests. A lot of the competitors, we're pretty close. It's almost like a fraternity.
Guest: Do chicks dig the competitive eating?
Joey Chestnut: I don't know if they dig competitve eating, but they like winners.
Joey Chestnut: I do see a lot of bromances. Guys will buy me beer quick.
Guest: What's the best/biggest prize you've ever won?
Joey Chestnut: Wing Bowl in Philadelphia, I won a motorcycle and a Toyota Tundra. I practiced for that contest once!
Guest: what was your favorite competition so far?
Joey Chestnut: By far, Nathan's Fourth of July hot dog contest. It's electrifying. There's 40,000 people there. It's what competitive eating is about. It was my goal. It's my only contest where I'm really pushing myself to the limit, even if I'm beating everybody.
Renoite: What was the worst food you've ever had to compete on?
Joey Chestnut: It was in South Korea. I ate kim chee. It was literally rotten, spicy vegetables.
Joey Chestnut: It came out of my pores.
Renoite: How much longer do you think you'll be competing? For the rest of your life?
Joey Chestnut: I plan to compete less. I could see myself competing for the next three or four years, to a degree. But I do want to scale it back and do other things.
Guest: Is there good prize money for winners?
Joey Chestnut: First and second place usually is pretty decent. $2500 here. I've been very lucky. I can make a living off of it. There's people that lose money on every trip. They're addiccted to it, and they're not getting the payoff.
Joey Chestnut: But it's competitive eating, not nice eating.
Guest: What's your favorite food to just sit back and enjoy (off the clock)?
Joey Chestnut: Prime rib. Prime rib is up there. My mom's cooking. She makes good lasagna.
Guest: Do you have an ultimate eating goal?
Joey Chestnut: I've accomplished all my goals already. Right now, I'm having fun. I don't know where I'm going to go with it. I don't know where it's taking me. But I'm going along for the ride. The main goal was to win Nathan's. And then it became to win Nathan's seven times. Break every one of Kobiyashi's records.
Guest: How many autographs do you get asked to sign?
Rob: If some one wanted to start out where would they start
Joey Chestnut: I get quite a few autographs in the mail. Topps and Upper Deck both have collector's cards for me. Whenever i go home, I get a stack of letters I need to read and sign.
Joey Chestnut: As to starting out, I would keep a journal. Of everything you eat and how you feel. And how much you're eating. And keep a log of what you weight. You have to figure out your body. There's no books written about it, no trainers. It took me about two years to really come down with my techniques, and I'm still modifying them.
Joey Chestnut: You have to figure out your body.
Joey Chestnut: You can't just go to a buffet three times in a week. You really have to pay attention to your body.
Ty Bicks: I've seen you on the Blackjack tables. How much is the most you've won in one sitting?
Joey Chestnut: Usually, I end up losing. I've walked away up a couple hundred. But I don't know when to stop.
Rob: Do you ever go to a buffet if so about how long are you there for?
Joey Chestnut: I don't go to too many buffets. I'm always on a diet of some sort. And when I eat, I want to make sure it was really quality food.
Joey Chestnut: I'm pretty good about not eating fast food anymore. If I'm going to waste calories, I'm going to waste them on good food.
Guest: Do you miss competing against Kobayashi?
Joey Chestnut: Absolutely.
Joey Chestnut: He made me work for every win.
Guest: how many times have you competed head to head with Kobiyashi, who's ahead
Joey Chestnut: I don't know who's ahead. It's close. We've competed against each other -- let me count it up --
Joey Chestnut: I know we're close. I think he might actually have one or two wins than I have against him. I've beaten him in hot dogs. He's beaten me in hamburgers.
Guest: Who's your biggest rival?
Joey Chestnut: My biggest current rival is Matthew Stonie.
Guest: Do you like visiting Reno-Sparks?
Joey Chestnut: Yes, I do.
Joey Chestnut: I always have a good time here.
Joey Chestnut: It's a very adult-friendly place.
Guest: What's your favorite place to visit?
Joey Chestnut: I love New York City. New Orleans is also amazing. I like Portland, too. One of my favorite things about the eating is I get to travel, a lot.
rob: do you bring the Mustard yellow belt with you when you travel
Joey Chestnut: No.
Joey Chestnut: I leave it at home.
Joey Chestnut: For a long time, I kept it in my mom's house. Now, I have three of them. One stays there. One is at an ex-girlfriend's house. One is in my living room.
Guest: Are you going to beat Stonie today?
Joey Chestnut: I'm going to (expletive) him.
RGJ: I think that's our finale. Continue to check RGJ.com for a transcript of this chat, and check out the rib eating contest at 6 p.m. at the Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-off.