Legendary competitive eater Joey Chestnut reveals what happened to his body after he ate 76 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes

Joey Chestnut
Joey Chestnut told Insider what happens to his body after the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest. DON EMMERT/AFP via Getty Images
  • Joey Chestnut won the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest after eating 76 hot dogs in 10 minutes.
  • After the contest, he said he starts sweating, and people have said it smells like hot dogs.
  • Chestnut also told Insider that it takes two full days to start feeling normal after a competition.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Joey Chestnut has won the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest 14 times, recently breaking his own record by scarfing down 76 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes on the Fourth of July.

But what exactly happens to his body after the competition?

“Most people relate to feeling really bloated and tired after Thanksgiving,” Chestnut told Insider. “It’s kind of like that, except really, really bad.”

Chestnut – who recently joined forces with Nathan’s Famous to donate 40,000 pounds (18,144kg) of meat on National Hot Dog Day – revealed how he recovers from a big competition, and why he still isn’t tired of hot dogs (which he loves to eat with Cheez Whiz).

Right after the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest, Joey Chestnut is always ‘sweating like a madman’

Joey Chestnut
Defending champion Joey Chestnut competes during the 2021 Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest at Coney Island on July 4, 2021 in New York City. John Lamparski/Getty Images

“People have told me they can smell the hot dogs,” Chestnut said. “I really can’t, but the sweat afterward, it feels sticky and greasy. My girlfriend says it smells different.”

After he finishes his interviews – which help Chestnut “focus and stay calm” – he then goes back to his hotel for a much-needed nap.

“Afterward, I’m crazy exhausted,” he said. “And usually my first thing is either I’m thirsty or I want to go to sleep. I usually take a nap as soon as I can.”

It’s always around four hours after the contest when ‘nature starts taking its course’

Joey Chestnut
Chestnut said it takes two days to start feeling normal again a competition. John Lamparski/Getty Images

“It’s natural,” Chestnut said. “If you eat a lot of food, you’re going to go to the bathroom.”

But Chestnut always makes sure to go into the contest “super empty” with the help of a two-day cleanse that consists of just water and lemon juice.

“My body knows that it’s going to be digesting a massive amount of food really quickly, so I make sure it’s easy to digest,” he said. “Most people, when you eat food, it takes nine to 10 hours to really digest it. After I do a cleanse, things are moving quick.”

Chestnut said it takes two full days ‘to really start to feel normal again’

Joey Chestnut
But Chestnut said he still loves eating hot dogs. John Lamparski/Getty Images)

“It’s hard on the body, there’s no way around it,” he said.

But that hasn’t changed Chestnut’s love for hot dogs, which he still eats when he’s not training or 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.”

Chestnut’s favorite hot dog toppings are mustard and raw onions, but he also loves adding Cheez Whiz to his frank.

“Some people are so snobby and I’m like, ‘Dude, Cheez Whiz is delicious,'” he said. “Cheez Whiz and grilled onions – it’s kind of like a Philly cheesesteak. Oh my God, it’s great.”

“I’m not one of those hot dog purists, I’ll even put ketchup on every now and then,” he added. “I’ve put kimchi on a hot dog, that was really good. Cream cheese really tastes good on there, too.”

Competitive eating can be tough, but Chestnut has no plans to stop anytime soon

Joey Chesnut
Joey Chestnut has won the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest 14 times. Michael Nagle/Xinhua via Getty Images

“As long as my body’s cooperating, I can see myself doing it for years,” he said. “And one of these days someone is going to come – some absolute boss, man or woman – and challenge me, and I’m looking forward to it.”

“I love the competition, and it’s still exciting,” he added. “Even if I end up getting beat, it would be really hard to walk away.”