One of the world’s best competitive eaters is also a champion athlete!
Yasir Salem is renowned for his prowess at stuffing his face and winning extreme endurance races. Amazingly he feels the gluttony of competitive eating and discipline needed for triathlons and marathons go hand in hand.
Yasir, from New York City, says: ‘Some people think that competitive eating and health don’t work together but I say otherwise.
‘They are both extreme endurance sports – triathlons, marathons and competitive eating are three things that I do well and they all work together perfectly.’
While Yasir loves competitive eating, he does admit the sport can be a little unappealing.
‘It’s just like a train wreck that you cannot look away from but it’s fun to watch,’ adds Yasir.
‘I am the cannoli [pastries] eating champion – I set the record in 2013 after eating 32. I also ate 32 hotdogs and 192 chicken wings – they are some of my top records.
‘Normally we have five to six minutes to eat as much as we can so it’s a lot of food.’
The 38-year-old ventured into competitive eating seven years ago and has been gorging his way to the top ever since.
‘My first experience was back in 2008 when I won an amateur falafel eating contest – that gave me the confidence to keep on with competitive eating and keep trying,’ says Yasir. ‘Now I compete in the major leagues – there are 50 ranked eaters around the world and I am number 10 – it’s taken a lot to get here.’
Yasir sticks to a strict diet and exercise regime when not preparing for an eating contest and eats mainly vegetarian food when he is not trying to eat the most hotdogs.
His wife Gweneviere Mann struggles to watch him competing but gives him her fullsupport.
‘To me anything he does is pretty hot but I think this is absolutely disgusting,’ admits Gweneviere. ‘But he isn’t always like that – when we go out he eats like a normal person so I didn’t really know that he had that in him.
‘When he has a competition coming up we will get whatever food he needs and I help him practice. It’s my job to sit and time him and also to yell at him so it’s actually a lot of fun.
‘He is very good about getting physicals and making sure that his health is good so I don’t worry about him in that regard.’
Yasir is hoping that 2016 will bring him more titles – through his appetite and his endurance.
‘I’d like to win a few more Major League Eating championships and I’d love to continue doing marathons and triathlons for quite a while yet,’ he says.