What did you do for brunch this weekend? I woke up starving with my car under a foot of snow up North. Meanwhile down in sunny Florida, eating champ and YouTube sensation Matt Stonie woke up hungry, headed to Daytona International Speedway… and proceeded to set a new record by consuming 182 pieces of bacon in five minutes.
To full appreciate this feat, let’s break it down: That’s a little more than 11 packages at the grocery store. That’s 7,280 calories (5,733 from fat), 1001 percent of his recommended daily intake of fat, 1183 percent of his daily saturated fat (to be fair: 0 percent trans fats), 637 percent of his daily cholesterol and almost 12 days of sodium. That’s 455 grams of protein. No carbs though. But for the 22-year-old Stonie, that’s nothing. Once on a challenge, he ate Michael Phelps’ 12,000-calorie daily training diet in one 42-minute sitting. In addition to bacon, the man nicknamed Megatoad currently holds world records for consuming birthday cake, Indian tacos, gyros, poutine and two different types of burgers.
And although that sounds dangerously unhealthy, Smithfield Foods—which put on the event—also sponsors Richard Petty Motorsports No. 43 race team with driver Aric Almirola in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. He drives around giving Death the middle finger at 200 mph for millions of viewers every weekend. Listen, we all work for money. If given the choice on Sunday morning: I’d rather have the bacon. So shortly after his record-breaking gorgefest, we caught up with the 5’8”, 120-pound force of nature to ask… so many questions, really.
“I’ve always been a big eater. When I started doing this stuff it was a mental thing. I wanted to win. It’s like any other sport. It takes practice and coaching to get your focus.”
Seriously. How does one eat so much fucking food?
[Laughs] I’ve been doing this for four years now. I practice. I train my body in preparation and training. It’s competitive, so you have to treat it like a sport. Mental training is key. You need to train. To condition your body.
It’s once or twice a week. I sit down with a large portion of food and press myself. Maybe ham, steak. Or just go to a restaurant and pick the biggest thing.
Honestly, most of us do eat too much once a week. How do you not get fat?
The days following I definitely cut back. I have protein shakes or fruits and vegetables. After the bacon I won’t hit the protein shakes. I flush my systems out. Balancing the body, getting back to normal so I can compete again.
I just watched you trounce four Chipotle burritos in front of 1.7 million viewers on YouTube. You have the first one in 30 seconds. I’m full after one. Did I go crazy on the toppings?
I skipped on the guac.
That’s it? Skip the guac?
I’ve always been a big eater. When I started doing this stuff it was a mental thing. I went in and wanted to win. It’s like any other sport. It takes practice and coaching to get your focus.
Right now they’re doing the amateur contest. They’re just trying to eat 30 slices. That’s insane!
Everybody starts somewhere.
Are you concerned about getting diabetes?
It’s not that I don’t ever worry about it, I’m seeing the doctor regularly. Making sure I’m healthy. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t be able to perform like I do.
Do your friends ever egg you on?
At first they were prodding me. But now when I go out with my friends, I actually tend to eat less. If they get big plates of pasta and I’m recovering from an event, I might eat a Caesar salad. But I do this because I love it. At a fast food place I’ll still enjoy myself. Get the burger and a Diet Coke, but skip the fries and shake.
You’re really slim, though. Do you have to work out constantly?
I work out a decent amount. A lot of cardio. I’ve experimented with weight training.
In an attempt to quantify Stonie’s feast, we prepared this very scientific chart. Data based on Smithfield’s Hometown Original Bacon.
How do you do that when you’re on the road?
Eh. Usually I just bite the bullet. Take a nice long walk at night. Keep things moving. Then work out when I get home.
I definitely drink a lot of water. It’s important to keep hydrated. Stuff like Gatorade is not too necessary. I like to drink it during contests just for flavor variety. It’s like, “What do you do after you run a half marathon?” You cool down. You rest. Let your body figure itself out.
Is this the only job you’ve ever had?
Right now it’s hard. I like to say I’m a part-time student. Right I’m studying at Mission College in San Jose. But every week I’m flying out for contests. I’d say I put 90 percent of my focus into competitive eating.
What about someone who hates their job and wants to put everything into competitive eating? I guess at least they won’t starve.
Competitive eating is a sport. You get out what you put in. A lot of these guys who get fourth and fiftth place barely break even in travel. But the winners? We’re getting $2,500 for 10 minutes of work. The league I’m in does one contest a week. I do every other week, sometimes one or two per month.
So a top guy could make a hundred-thirty grand?
Yep. But then there’s sponsorships…
I should note that today was not so much a contest, but an event sponsored by one company. So this was a paid gig.
Right now I’m just trying to save up for my future. Sponsorship for me means I can do what I do best. Things will work out from there.
If you don’t mind my asking: What do your parents think about your career path?
My dad was so stoked. He loves NASCAR, Richard Petty and Aric Almirola. He wants me to get their autographs. We’re all sponsored by Smithfield. They think it’s awesome. When I first started they thought it was a hobby. But now I’m on national television. I’m flying out every week or so. They’re psyched.
So you live at home while you’re in school?
I’m living at home, but I like to do my own cooking. My brother is my trainer behind the camera. I save everything I make, whether it’s to buy a house or a car someday.
So you can’t ever escape it? Just chill out and rest.
Last weekend I went to a birthday cake eating contest in Florida on Saturday, I flew back on the Sunday night redeye. By Monday I was already cooking bacon to get ready for this. I put in a lot of effort to get where I want to go.