When Matt "the Megatoad" Stonie arrives at Homestead-Miami Speedway this Sunday, he'll have one thing in common with the NASCAR drivers who will compete that afternoon: speed.
The racecars can top 200 mph, but
The number one ranked competitive eater in Major League Eating, Stonie enters this challenge off a high of winning the 2015 Nathan's Famous Fourth of July hot-dog-eating contest, defeating eight-time champion Joey Chestnut in the annual battle. Stonie's other accomplishments and records include eating 182 strips of bacon in five minutes in Daytona this past February 22, downing ten pounds of spaghetti and red sauce in ten minutes at Martorano's Masters World Pasta Eating Championships in Las Vegas, and chowing 20 pounds, 13 ounces of pumpkin pie in eight minutes at the Elk Grove Giant Pumpkin Pie Festival.
The professional eater says he's looking to set the bar high Sunday by swallowing ten full racks of ribs in five minutes, with the time limit more of a concern than the amount of pork he's facing. "It's the first time we're doing a five-minute discipline. It's going to be fun and exciting."
The eating champ says he has no super secret; he was simply born with a special ability. "I'm a basic, average person, though I think I have a superhuman metabolism. I'm not the biggest guy out there, but I've made this my career."
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Stonie found his purpose in life while in college. The biology student entered a lobster-roll-eating contest. "There was a $1,000 prize. I figured if I won, I'd get the money. If not, I'd still get to eat some lobster rolls." Stonie won and never looked back. The biology classes, however, proved beneficial to his newfound talent. "I also took a few nutrition classes, and that helped me to understand what exactly happens to your body when you eat that many calories. It's given me an upper hand in how to stay healthy and in shape. We need to be in shape. These competitions are like a ten-minute sprint. We're sweating and breathing hard. If your cardiovascular system isn't in check, you'll slow down."
With competitive eating now considered a true sport that's garnering international attention from the media, including ESPN, a growing number of people are trying to enter the arena.
Even the champion knows his own boundaries, saying no to eating contests that involve superspicy foods. "I stay away from things like jalapeño-eating contests. I have a very low spice tolerance."
With Thanksgiving coming up,