Competitive eater Matt Stonie, like most people, has his own style. Stonie believes his desire to be different is what helped him latch on to professional competitive eating.

Stonie started eating competitively when he was 19, but started testing the sport before that.

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“I really started experimenting with competitive eating about four and a half years ago when I turned 18,” Stonie said. “I started doing restaurant challenges, like five pound burritos, big ten pound burgers—stuff like that.”

Stonie said he always watched the famous annual Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest, but it was an eating challenge with his friends that got him hooked.

His passion for competitive eating has only grown from there, as the sport has taken up a lot of his time.

“It’s a lot of work,” Stonie said. “I put a lot of hours into this.”

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Stonie even created his own YouTube channel to broadcast his training at home. In fact, home plays a big role in his training. During contest time, Stonie’s fridge is loaded with hot dogs.

Stonie competes in roughly 12-15 contests a year, with the menu ranging anywhere from oysters to hot dogs. Stonie is noted for winning competitions that saw him eat 120 Twinkies in six minutes, 182 slices of bacon in five minutes, a 20 pound pumpkin pie in 6 minutes as well as others.

“I like to relate it to bodybuilding,” Stonie said. “There are a lot of styles, and in the end it comes down to boot strength and how much you work at it.” 

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