Staying Lean!!

No matter how good you get you can always get better and that's the exciting part. - Tiger Woods


Randy Santel Competitive EaterSince becoming a professional eater, I have had some real caloric weekends. There are very few "eaters" that attempt multiple eating challenges & contests during the same week. For my first HUGE experience, I drove up to Des Moines, Iowa and beat 4 good food challenges within 22 hours!! Down in Dallas, Texas, I completed 5 big food challenges in 4 days. Up in New York, I finished 5 challenges in 4 days. While up in Minnesota & Wisconsin, I completed 4 BIG challenges in 4 days. Just recently in Seattle, Washington, I won 6 BIG challenges in only 3 days!! I've completed 2-3 challenges in 1 weekend very many times. When I travel, I do as many as I can!! :)

My favorite trip was going to a wedding in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The wedding was on a Saturday, so I left on that Thursday from my family's house in St. Peters, Missouri near St. Louis, MO. For my first stop, I went to The Fat Sandwich Company in Champaign, Illinois and became the 3rd person out of over 1000 to complete the 20,000 calorie Big Fat Ugly Sandwich in less than 15 minutes. Then I drove to Indianapolis, Indiana and completed a 2.5lb burger for dinner. The next day I did 3 challenges in Indiana. I finished a 3.5lb hot dog, a 4.5lb chicken tenderloin sandwich challenge, & a 4lb burger. Wow!!

Then on that Saturday before the wedding, I drove up to eat a 5lb burger challenge. Yes, I did eat & drink at the wedding. Then on my way home Sunday, I met up with Jammin' Joe Larue, a veteran competitive eater, and we became the first team to beat The Big Ten Pounder pizza challenge at Monroe County Pizza in Bloomington, Indiana. I ate over 30lbs of unhealthy food in 4 days!! Now the question is, "Randy, how did you not gain a ton of weight?" I know exactly what you are thinking, and I am proud to tell you that you are WRONG!! I did not make myself "get sick" once that entire trip. I just spent the next 2 weeks eating healthy and working out a lot!!

I will now explain what my diet & nutrition plan is like when not doing food challenges. It's not really far off from what my contest diet was like to win the Spartacus Challenge. My lifestyle is definitely different now though, especially since I work at home!! So that you can understand and follow my current nutrition plan, please make sure that you have checked out my Staying Ripped!! fitness plan which explains when & what I do for exercise during the day.

On many weekends, I consume thousands & thousands of calories, so during the week I HAVE TO eat healthy and correctly!! To stay lean while eating like I do, it takes A LOT of dedication and self-control, especially since I am not naturally skinny. Hopefully, the information below helps inspire you to start eating a little healthier and to lose a few pounds if necessary. If I can stay lean while eating like I do, I am 100% sure that you can get lean & healthy too!! I will now explain a typical day in the life of a professional eater when not "working" ;)

My Typical Day Of Dieting

► I may work from home, but I still wake up early. Early to bed & early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise!! I wake up at 5:20am to get ready for my 6am boxing/kickboxing workout. I drink my 32oz of water and have a large banana to get my body going.

► After I get home from my workout, I have a protein shake similar to the ones I drank during my diet. I use 1 scoop of whey protein, 1 scoop of casein protein, and 16oz of skim milk. To help you better understand whey & casein proteins, read my Supplements page. 

► A few hours later at about 9:30am, I cook up my breakfast which consists of 1 big red/green pepper, 1 medium green/yellow squash, 3 eggs, a serving of turkey, and a few jalapenos. This gets all my protein & healthy fats, and is low in carbs. If I dont have those vegetables, I use about a pound of frozen mixed vegetables.

► Around noon, I eat some raw carrots, 25 raw almonds, a can of tuna, and an apple/orange. This picks up most of the food groups. Sometimes I switch out the carrots for vegetables like beets, a cucumber, spinach, or peas. This holds me until my next meal.

► Around 2pm, I cook up my 2nd bigger meal. This meal typically consists of 1.5lbs mixed vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, & squash), 1 can of mackerel or salmon, and a few almonds. I then add some jalapenos & salsa for flavoring. Sometimes I add okra to the vegetables, and sometimes I substitute chicken breast for the fish. If my energy is feeling low, I have an apple/orange to help get me through my evening workout since they are pretty tough.

► I usually start my evening weightlifting workout around 4pm or 4:30pm. Then I have my 2nd protein shake consisting of 1 scoop of whey protein, 1 scoop of casein protein, and 16oz skim milk.

► For my last meal of the day around 7:30pm, I have 2 cans of tuna, a can of either green beens or spinach, and a can of beets. I will tell you why I eat beets later. I don't have cottage cheese like during my diet phase because I try to limit the amount of dairy that I consume.

Notes About My Diet

I now want to address some further explanations of my diet:

► This is usually my typical diet during the weekdays. My weekend depends on how big my challenge is. If the 1st challenge is over 6lbs, I train for the challenge the night before with watermelon. For an explanation, please see my Tips For Food Challenges section. If its 5.5lbs or below, I don't really train hard for it. I will just drink a lot of water, and my last meal will be at least 15 hours before my challenge. I try not to train for a challenge unless I need to. As I have said before, the human body does not like rapid changes. Eating 10lbs of watermelon and drinking a lot of water is definitely a significant change for the body to adapt to. Then my challenge is another big change. Over a period of time without rest, the stomach will start to not expand as quickly as before. Therefore, I only train when I need to so that my "eating seasons" last longer. 

► Water plays a big role in my diet, not even referring to helping me train for challenges. I drink about 2-2.5 gallons of water throughout the day normally. Yes I may be a larger guy that requires more water, but in my opinion 8-10 glasses of water is not enough for anybody. Water plays a very significant role in digestion and cleansing your body which is a major part of losing weight and staying healthy!! I have not been really sick since sixth grade (knock on wood), and I attribute that partially towards the fact that I drink a ton of water which helps keep my immune system strong. I start with a quart of water in the morning, and then I continue drinking a lot throughout the day. One funny thing is that when you start to drink more water, you will find that it easily becomes a habit to drink more water because your body starts to become thirsty a lot more often. I don't recommend drinking a bunch of water though before bedtime because then you will have to wake up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. I wake up normally at least once, but waking up once or twice does not really affect sleep patterns. 

► You may have noticed that my diet has a lot less carbohydrates now. I have started to really limit the amount of processed foods that I consume each day. Processed foods are basically anything that is made by a manufacturer. Cereals, desserts, pastas, oatmeal, bread, and other similar carbohydrates that you buy at the grocery store are all made in a factory with a lot of different ingredients. I also try to limit the amount of dairy that I consume too, which is processed. These foods are all A LOT harder for the human body to digest. Back when cavemen were around, they were not eating Nutty Bars, bagels, muffins, spaghetti, rice, and Pop-Tarts. They were eating meats, vegetables, fruits, and nuts. The human body was not designed to digest processed foods. As a professional eater, I always need my body and digestive system in peak operating condition!! Plus, many diseases and chronic illnesses today stem from bad digestive health. My digestive system obviously works really extra hard during the weekends, so I try to be easy on it during the week. Plus, we really don't need as many carbohydrates as we think. Even with a low carb diet, I still have enough energy for great workouts.

► Now I will address one thing that sabotages the diets of millions of Americans each year... ALCOHOL!! The easiest way to lose weight is by avoiding alchohol, especially binge drinking 20 of them at a time once or twice per week. During my Spartacus Diet, I drank only one day during that entire two month period. That day was my one "cheat day" which was Mardi Gras. Other than that, I avoided it completely. To read a good article on how alcohol affects the body, click here. Alcohol is full of "empty calories" which are good for nothing. The reason that alcohol is bad for a diet is because alcohol does not get stored as fat. The alcohol is the very first thing that the human body burns as fuel, and all carbs, fats, and proteins don't get burned until the alcohol is gone. This means that the fat-burning processes are basically halted to a stop, which is BAD!! That is why skinny people that drink a lot still get an unattractive "beer belly."

I myself love the taste of beer. I don't really enjoy hard liquor, and I only drink wine with girls. Other than that, I am a beer man, which is one of the worst kinds of alcohol during a diet. I typically only drink on the evenings after my challenges and/or contests, as long as I am not driving. Other than that, if I am really craving a good beer during the week, I limit myself to less than three. I really don't keep any beer stored at my house so that its a lot less accessible. Its like the remote control being next to the tv. If you have to get up to get it, that sucks!! haha therefore you settle for just watching what is on currently. Making it so that I have to drive up to the liquor store just to get a beer usually keeps me from actually having a beer. To find out about many of your favorite beers, please click here.

► Just like almost every other normal person, I love & crave sweets!! Sweets, just like alcohol, can kill a diet plan. I try to avoid sweets during the week, and I usually have something to calm my cravings either right after a challenge if the restaurant will give it to me free or a few hours later. One really big thing that helps me is that I chew sugarless gum right after every meal. By doing this, I am giving myself something sweet to taste and not all the calories. This really helps me, especially all the new dessert gums that Extra just created!! I love the Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream flavor!! Studies have shown that chewing sugarless gum after every meal can cut your daily calorie intake by over 120 calories per day by helping to keep your from snacking or having a real dessert. Whats better for your diet... a slice of apple pie or sugarless apple pie gum??

► Finally, I want to discuss a big thing that helps me which I have hinted towards up above. When I do a challenge, I am consuming thousands of unhealthy calories at a time. Therefore, I get all of my cravings out along with that challenge. If I am craving beer, pizza, and ice cream, I will pick a pizza challenge to eat, have ice cream as dessert, and then drink a few beers. I get all the cravings out at once so that I can be very good during the rest of the week. That is one big thing that people don't understand. When trying to lose weight, its better to eat 7 cookies at one time for a dessert than it is to eat 1 cookie everyday for dessert. The way that I figure it... If I just ate 5,000 calories, what difference does adding a few hundred more calories make? Not much when you think about it!! I get everything out at one time so I can be good the rest of the week.

My Conclusion

If being a professional eater was easy, there would be more people trying it!! It takes a lot of dedication and hard work to do what I do, and its even harder to maintain my figure while doing it!! Do I always have abs? No of course not!! Every so often, I have to take a break to diet and get them back. If Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino on Jersey Shore had abs all of the time, he would not be called "The Situation" now would he? I am not trying to ruin my health by being a professional eater, so that is why I do what I can to be easy on my body so that I can perform longer and harder. If you are worried about my cholesterol, please stop!! I am 25 years old and workout a lot, so my "good cholesterol" is very high which makes my overall cholesterol  actually pretty low. I get everything tested fairly often.

Also, just to get one thing straight, I do not make myself puke after challenges. It would definitely be a lie to say that I have never "gotten sick" after a big challenge, but it has never been because I forced myself. The one big thing that I hate is when ignorant people try to lecture me about what I do. I know exactly what I am doing and I try to do it as safely as possible. I even eat beets multiple times per week because they are one of the healthiest vegetables for your gallbladder and digestive system. They don't taste as bad as you think!! Working out & eating is what I enjoy, so thats what I do! If you live your entire life thinking about tomorrow, you will grow old with a lot of regrets, and your grandchildren will get really bored listening to your stories!! I'll take the credit for making that up :)

Hopefully this page has shown you a few ways to improve your diet. I constantly try to improve myself everyday, and learn from my mistakes. For even more tips about improving your fitness & nutrition lifestyle, please check out my Fitness & Nutrition Advice section. Hopefully you have already seen how I ate during the contest on my Getting Lean!! page. If you are interested in finding out what additional things I take, check out my Supplements page. 

Do you need some real motivation?? Check out my videos in my Challenges section!! If I can stay lean while eating all of those, you can DEFINITELY get in shape & eat healthy!! You just have to put your mind to it, and use a lot of the ideas that you have recently discovered throughout this website!! If you need help, contact me :)


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