I woke up on the morning of July 5 with one thought in my head: “GO WORK OUT.” This was after four days of sitting on my ass because it was too hot and I can’t figure out my air conditioner, and eating burgers, and drinking beers for Amurrrica. I thought about what I had eaten and the level of exercise I had gotten the past few days with regret and a little shame and disgust.
But isn’t this what the first week of July is for? We spent the first half of the year getting in shape for the three months we can wear bathing suits, and now it’s officially summer and we’ve got this fabulous holiday to go on a little bender, right? I don’t think there’s anything really wrong with skipping salad for fries this week, or laying by the pool instead of laying on the bench press. We’ve all worked hard, now let’s shake it up and do something different for a few days, even if it’s not the best thing for you.
Fourth of July marks the day of Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Competition in Coney Island in New York. This is a 12-minute eating contest where any amount of smashing, smooshing and slathering with ketchup and mustard goes and any table manners you possess will only count against you. Contestants are given five hot dogs and buns to start out with and glasses of water for dunking or drinking. This year was the fifth win of Joey Chestnut with a grand total of 62 hot dogs—almost (are you ready for this?!) 20,000 calories. This was also the first year of the Women’s Competition, where winner Sonya “The Black Widow” Thomas ate 40 dogs.
Apparently there is actual training for eating contests that involves workouts as well as a diet. According to an article about Chestnut on Forbes.com, to train for a competition, Chestnut has several timed-eating days and fasts in between them, save for protein supplements and a half-gallon of milk in the morning. A couple days before the contest, Chestnut will stop eating solid food and works to stay hydrated. Chestnut includes running in his training because it helps with breath control, which is necessary to prevent “reversal of fortune,” which I took as a fancy way of saying “up-chucking 15 pounds of sproingy meat.” I believe the contestants get bottles of Pepto-Bismol, the official stomach remedy of the contest, so I’m sure being witness to this “reversal” is fairly common.
What with the smells of different kinds of barbecue wafting from every corner of Capitol Hill, Budweiser being sold in American flag cans, and places like Govnr’s Park serving “The Patriot” fishbowls (red, white and blue layered drinks that tasted like a grown-up Mega Missile popsicle) it’s no wonder my exercise for the holiday weekend was limited to jumping out of the way of stray bottle rockets being shot from the roof. But if eating a Wetzel Dog while sprawled out on the grass and shouting out random lines of “God Bless the USA” is wrong, I don’t wanna be fit.