Audiophile: Listen Smarter

A world-ranked competitive eater talks training, hot dogs, and vomit

Lauren Hansen
June 11, 2014
*Subscribe to The Week's podcasts on iTunes, SoundCloud, and TuneIn.*

I have long marveled at the competitors in the Famous Nathan's hot dog eating contest in New York City's Coney Island. Out in the blazing July sun, in front of thousands gathered on the boardwalk (not to mention the countless more watching on ESPN), these presumably hungry men and woman shovel 10, 20, 30, 40, even 60-some-odd hot dogs into their mouths. Many call it quits before time, some vomit, while only one rises above the gag and — covered in mushed-up hot dog bun, belly extended — walks to the awards stage triumphant.

How on Earth do they do this? Do they really just love hot dogs, or possess a stomach of steel? Is there training involved?

Imagine my surprise when I found out that one of my colleagues at The Week is a world-ranked competitive eater! That's him, Yasir Salem, on the left in the photo above, during a Nathan's qualifying contest in St. Paul, Minnesota, on June 1.

During the day, Salem is a nicely dressed, successful marketing executive. On the weekends, he tries to eat more food than any other competitor — sometimes as much as eight or nine pounds worth — and keep it down to score the grand prize.

Recently, I stole Salem away from his marketing duties to talk training, endurance sports, and how he got over the fear of vomiting. Listen to the podcast below.

Read more about Yasir Salem and the Nathan's Famous hot dog eating contest:

LATEST
PODCASTS
3:45
Scott Meslow

A movie gem to stream this weekend: Mitt

7:12
Lauren Hansen

This week I learned the kind of gross but quick way to boost your mood, and more

26:33
The Week Staff

4 stories: Our wayward modern manners

6:16
Matt K. Lewis

Is the GOP better off nominating a conservative or a moderate in 2016?

Neda Semnani

How to not write about love in Paris

4:00
Scott Meslow

A movie gem to stream this weekend: June 17, 1994

7:08
Lauren Hansen

This week I learned the counterintuitive cure for baldness, and more

23:04
The Week Staff

4 stories: We are what we eat