Every July 4th, we celebrate the founding of our nation by watching a man shove at least six dozen hot dogs into his body as fast as possible. That name of that man, as every patriotic citizen knows, is Joey Chestnut: gustatory gladiator, hot dog hero, and the living embodiment of the American dream.
But we the people only get to gaze upon Chestnut in his moments of triumph; what happens when the fanfare dies down, the cameras shut off, and the 70-some-odd hot dogs have their way with his body? Insider interviewed the 14-time national champion to find out, and his answers are pretty much exactly what you’re imagining.
“Most people relate to feeling really bloated and tired after Thanksgiving,” Chestnut told Insider. “It’s kind of like that, except really, really bad.”
After scarfing down a flotilla of franks, Chestnut makes the post-competition rounds with a hungry national media, doing interviews which he says helps him calm down. As soon as the hoopla dies down, he takes a nap, allowing his body to recover and letting the hot dogs work their magic on his biological processes. About four hours later, the pulverized wieners rouse the weary athlete from his slumber.
“It’s natural,” Chestnut said. “If you eat a lot of food, you’re going to go to the bathroom.”
But there are other ways in which the vanquished hot dogs escape from Chestnut’s body: through his largest organ, the skin.
“People have told me they can smell the hot dogs,” Chestnut told Insider. “I really can’t, but the sweat afterward, it feels sticky and greasy. My girlfriend says it smells different.”
The competitive eater always goes into a major event with an empty stomach. Before the contest Chestnut does a two-day cleanse, subsisting on nothing but water spiked with lemon juice to make sure his pipes are clean so the hot dogs have an unobstructed escape route.
As for Chestnut’s relationship with hot dogs, he says that he never gets sick of them, and enjoys the occasional snappy wiener even when he’s not competing.
“Runners, they look like they’re going to die at the end of a marathon but they still love to run,” he said. “And I love a good hot dog.”