We had a chat with Riley Murphy AKA Chompamatic about his life of competitive eating.
We all know that one person who could clear out an all-you-can-eat buffet with no hesitation. Your buddy that could eat third servings of dessert, and still get a snack on the way home, or claims to be starving even while already eating something.
Well Riley Murphy, or Chompamatic managed to turn this quality into a profession. And safe to say he’s killing it. We had a chat and found out how he got started in the world of competitive eating, how he prepares for competition, and what happens when he goes full “Chomp Mode.”
Trading Plates: How did you get into competitive eating?
Chompamatic: “A mates’ local pub was launching a new burger tower on their menu, and decided to promote it by hosting an eating competition. The aim was to see if anyone could finish the entire burger tower in 15 minutes.
I was always known to be a big eater among friends, so I signed up, then spent a solid week preparing everyday. I was so keen I even rocked up an hour early on game day with all my gear; my custom made condiment belt and my headphones in ready to rock and roll.
It’s fair to say I took the competition a lot more seriously than the other competitors, as once we started I went full Chomp Mode and blitzed the whole thing in five minutes.
My first ever competition I came first place, so it was pretty much at that point I realised I had potential and this was something I wanted to pursue.”
TP: How do you train or prepare for a competition?
Chomp: “To put it simply, I train by stretching my stomach. Each professional eater has their own method, I used to binge at all-you-can-eat restaurants but these days I prefer to skull water as there are zero excess calories and it helps flush my system at the same time.
“I skull 2-3 liters in about two minutes each day day for at least a week leading up to a major event or competition. It’s not something I would recommend though. Apart from the discomfort of nausea and bloating, the stress on your organs can be extremely dangerous if you do not know your limits.
“Aside from stomach stretching, sampling the challenge food or making a mock up at home a week prior is a good idea so you know what you’re up against. This also helps to decide a game plan on how best to attack to challenge come game day. I avoid eating that same food for the rest of the week so as not to tire of the flavour, then for the 24 hours prior to sitting the actual competition itself I avoid consuming solid food. I may have a very light dinner but generally stick to high liquidy foods such as soup, ice cream, watermelon, oranges and sometimes a little bit of chocolate to kick the cravings of not eating.
“Finally come game day, a heavy weight lifting workout followed by the maximum water skull my body can take at least four hours before the comp. This gives a maximum pre-stretch to your stomach, but also allows enough time to ‘flush’ your system so you roll up to the competition feeling empty.”
TP: In your time eating as a sport have you noticed improvement, in speed or amount of food eaten, in any aspect of the competition?
Chomp: “In speed probably not so much, some people are naturally faster than others but I think I’ve remained at the same pace since I started. However, the quantity of what I can take on board has definitely improved over time.”
TP: Is there anything you’d ever refuse to eat? Do you dislike any food?
Chomp: “I’ll try pretty much anything. Except spicy food. Unfortunately I avoided spicy food for the past 29 years so that’s something I am continuously working to improve. Right now I max out around Nandos mild sauce. It’s pathetic, I know.”
TP: We’ve seen on your Facebook page, videos of you when you’re eating competitively; headphones are in and you’re in full focus. What’s on Chomp’s comp time playlist?
Chomp: “Music is a big part of getting my head into the zone. I feel it helps amp me up both before and during a comp. I listen to tracks I find powerful or upbeat, rap and RnB mainly, artists like Eminem, Scribe, Flo Rida, DMX.”
TP: What’s easier to eat quickly, sweet or savory?
Chomp: “Savory is a lot heavier, so there is generally more chewing involved. However, sugar is the devil and as much as I love my sweets, if you try to put away a whole heap of it your going to feel sick well before you feel full.
“So I would say sweets are faster to eat, but I would much rather eat two kilos of burgers than two kilos of donuts.”
TP: How do you balance out your competitive eating in your daily life? Do you try to keep a healthy diet in between competitions, exercise etc?
Chomp: “Exercise plays a massive part in my lifestyle. It’s incredibly important to make a solid effort to burn off the excess calories my body is taking on board. Plus it also helps to stimulate the appetite prior to a competition or challenge.
“I do try to limit my unhealthy meals to just the weekends or down to a minimum during the week.”
TP: When you are eating competitively do you enjoy what you’re eating, or is it just a matter of getting it down and winning the challenge?
Chomp: “To a degree. Obviously I do eat normally at home but I normally end up ripping apart and destroying most of my food in challenges so I’m not actually all that phased on the taste or enjoyment factor of what I’m eating in the heat of the moment, to be honest.”
TP: Is there a huge eating challenge, maybe somewhere in Australia or overseas that you would love to try and complete or are working towards?
Chomp: “There is a 54-inch 8-man pizza challenge in America, which is fairly well known that I would love to be a part of someday. Besides that, I have actually failed three challenges presently, which I would like to re-sit to prove I do have what it takes.
“Failure tastes bad across any sport, but I won’t quit until I’ve given it my all. If that’s not enough then I’ll take some time away, train up and come back even stronger to avenge my eating honor.”
If you could have a burger named after you, what would be in it?
Chomp: “I do actually already have a burger named after me. I helped design it; it’s on the special burger menu at Burgled and it’s known as the “El Chompo Burger”, comes with:
- Mexican corn chip crumbed juicy chicken patty
- 12-hour slow cooked pulled pork shoulder
- Melted American cheddar cheese
- Fresh mango avocado tomato salsa
- Fresh jalapeños
- Dollop of sour cream
- House Smokey BBQ sauce
- House honey mustard aioli
- Lightly toasted brioche bun
“It’s a Mexican-inspired taco burger. This burger was my pride and joy. It was an incredibly proud moment for me and an opportunity I will always be grateful for.”