What Competitive Eater Joey Chestnut Taught Adam Richman On Man V. Food - Exclusive

While Adam Richman managed to master dozens of mind-boggling, stomach-stretching food challenges on Man v. Food, the former host openly admits that it was by sheer force of will more than anything else. Richman was not a professional eater and had no formal training before he started filming the show. But he picked up some tips and tricks along the way that helped him take on some of the biggest or spiciest meals you can get your hands on. That includes some game-changing advice he got from the ultimate master of food challenges, Joey Chestnut. In an exclusive interview with Mashed, Richman shared what he learned from the world-famous competitive eater, perhaps best known for dominating Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest an incredible 13 times (via USA Today). 

Richman says he met Chestnut pretty early on in his Man v. Food days, back when "I thought I knew what was what," as Richman puts it. But he still had a lot to learn. He says Chestnut taught him to "drink an entire gallon of water in five minutes" right before starting a food challenge. Between breathing, sweating, and using the restroom, Richman explained that "you eventually lose the water, but your stomach is kind of more stretched." The logic certainly makes sense — you need as much room as possible if you're planning to dig into a sandwich that's bigger than your face.

Richman has his own tricks for taking on food challenges

At the end of the day, if you're thinking of taking on a food challenge and want to know how it's done, Adam Richman says "watch the pros." And while he may not have considered himself one of those pros at first, many would agree Richman deserves the title after the amount of food challenges he's conquered.

Richman says he developed a whole arsenal of tactics to help him get through the crazy food feats he attempted. But his most important strategy pretty much relied on basic common sense. He told Mashed, "I was just doing it just coming in really hungry and I would do workouts ... I would do jump workouts or sprints, do lots of squats." Richman says a lot of exercise was key for him to build up such a huge appetite and get his metabolism up. And he'd fit it in wherever he could. He explained, "I remember being in the hotel rooms and putting phone books and shoes and stuff into my suitcase and doing shoulder bloated squats."

Of course, there was a whole different approach to super spicy challenges. Less about stretching the stomach, and more about preparing your body for the onslaught of intense heat. Richman advises "having a little bit of white rice and some bananas beforehand for protection."

You can watch Adam Richman on The Food That Built America and Modern Marvels, both on the History Channel and currently streaming on history.com.