01/25/10 — Reporter vs. burger

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Reporter vs. burger

By Laura Collins
Published in News on January 25, 2010 1:46 PM

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Reporter Laura Collins eats a Big Angus burger from McDonald's for lunch, one of the many parts of her training schedule.

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News-Argus reporter Laura Collins, left, is dwarfed by News-Argus pressman John Penner as they prepare to face off in Andy's Big "A" Cheese-burger Challenge. Despite their size difference, Ms. Collins is confident she can not only finish under the time limit, but also faster than her challenger. You can follow her daily training regime on her Workin' It blog on NewsArgus.com

The Job: Professional Eating Challenge Contestant

The Company: Andy's Burgers, Shakes & Fries

The Location: Goldsboro

The next cow I see, I'm punching in the face.

In the past week, I've consumed nearly 10 pounds of ground beef in preparation for what could be my toughest job yet.

Granted, participating in The Andy's Big "A" Challenge isn't technically a job, but getting ready for it has definitely been hard work.

The challenge consists of eating a nearly three-pound, six-patty cheeseburger, a large order of fries and a 24-ounce drink in 30 minutes. It's a mission that many have tried, but few have won. I plan on being one of the few.

So, for the sake of victory, I decided to come at this challenge like an athlete training for a competition. My editor Matt Whittle has taken on the role of my manager/coach and, after a little research, came up with a two-and-a-half week eating plan geared toward jaw strengthening, stomach expansion and food adaptation.

I kicked off the training last week with a mini-eating challenge against reporter Steve Herring. We both ordered deluxe burgers at Texas Roadhouse. Needless to say, the challenge ended poorly for Steve. He claims it's because his had tomatoes and mine didn't. I think the defeat led to his next question.

"Why are you doing this?" he said.

"For pride," I said.

"Pride's a sin."

"So is gluttony," chimed in reporter Phyllis Moore. It's clear the support for this endeavor has been less than overwhelming.

I started this training weighing in at 132 pounds and said I would be willing to gain 20 pounds during the training, again, for the sake of victory. As of Friday I had only gained four, but I expect that to increase exponentially this week because the amount of beef I'll be eating almost doubles from last week. There's a good chance I could single-handedly keep area burger joints in business this week.

Here's a peek at today's menu:

Breakfast: Oatmeal. Bacon. Fruit. Milk. Juice.

Lunch: The biggest burger Hardee's offers plus fries and a drink.

Dinner: Cook at least a pound and a half of hamburger at home for dinner. Do not completely drain grease. Be sure to include bread, rice, cabbage, brussel sprouts, pasta, etc.

During the day: Chew gum for six consecutive hours. Drink six 20-ounce bottles of water a day.

The big day is tentatively planned for Wednesday, Feb. 3. To make things a little more interesting, I have been challenged. My challenger is my co-worker, John Penner IV. He is a beast of a man who is roughly the same size as my apartment. He clocks in at 6-foot-6 and 295 pounds. He is clearly in over his head going up against me. Poor fella. John has previously tried the Big "A" Challenge and failed. He finished the meal, but not under 30 minutes. I think I can use this against him.

During the next week and a half, you can follow my progress, menu, weight and general disdain for all things hamburger on my Workin' It blog at www.NewsArgus.com. I'll also post pictures and videos of my training and hopefully more mini-challenges throughout the city.

And if you have a suggestion, bring it on -- I will need all the help I can get. Send your ideas or comments to me at lcollins@newsargus.com.