Matt “MegaToad” Stonie, ranked 4th in the world, is the 2nd featured eater in our holiday special. You can find our interview with our 1st featured eater, Miki Sudo, here. The MegaToad is no stranger to the competitive eating game, having been an active competitor in the sport for 3 years now. However, Matt doesn’t like to limit himself to just competitive eating and over the course of his career has established a following of more than 100,000 subscribers on his YouTube channel. I was fortunate enough to be able and chat with the MegaToad about his career, his love of the character, and some of his activities beyond eating thousands of calories.
Mondo: How did you discover your talent for eating?
Matt: I’ve always liked food. I was always the kid at birthday parties who would eat pizza fast so he wouldn’t get shorthanded. There was a lobster roll eating contest near my house so I decided to sign up for it just for fun back when I was 18. I showed up at contest and there was a professional there, not with Major League Eating but someone who was independent. I ended up beating him, pocketing $600 for 10 minutes of eating, and I was like “why not?” I’ve always been a competitive person as well and I’ve always taken everything I do seriously. Ever since I won that contest I’ve been actively training for things and really having fun with it.
Mondo: Ok, you mentioned training, what kind of training regimen do you specifically do to help become better at competitive eating?
Matt: I get this a lot. It’s hard for me to answer because competitive eating isn’t like other established sports. There is no real good way to train and my training regimen has changed so much over the years. 3 years ago I would try and eat a bunch of broccoli to help expand my stomach and it’s changed over the years. With more serious competitions coming up I find myself eating more hot dogs. Drinking more water, just a bunch of different things and it’s impossible to say what has or hasn’t worked since I’m constantly changing up my training.
Mondo: Yeah, that’s understandable. I’ve watched your videos for a while. You’re Matt “ MegaToad” Stonie. Everybody who has some familiarity with you knows that you love Toad but how did you come about to actually adopt the “MegaToad” moniker, when did that start happening?
Matt: It kind of started when I began competitive eating because everybody had a nickname. Joey(Chestnut) had “Jaws”, Sonya(Thomas) the “Black Widow, the guy with the face paint(Tim Janus)is Eater X. Everybody had a nickname. So I felt if I’m going to be jumping on stage doing these contests, if I’m going to be doing all this stuff it calls for a nickname. So I kind of fished around, asked some people, and threw it up on facebook. I like the Mario Brothers, Toad’s the best character in Mario Kart, and Matt “MegaToad” Stonie kind of had a ring to it so it stuck. It’s one of those things that’s a bit childish I’ll admit. When people ask me what I prefer I just tell them Matt Stonie, without my Nickname, but I’m stuck with it. It’s what I got and I can’t complain.
Mondo: I mean I like it. I like the shirt you have with the mushroom on there. It’s rad. You talked about the Mario brothers a bit and now I am curious, what has been your favorite brother’s game to date? You can choose any of the sports, party or kart games.
Matt: I like Super Mario 64. I remember I really loved that game. That was back in 6th grade, I would spend all day playing that. That and Mario Tennis.
Mondo: Mario Tennis is pretty fun, I’m not gonna lie. When I first heard about it I thought it was dumb.
Matt: It sounds kind of lame (laughs).
Mondo: Yeah. It’s most fun when you play with other people and everyone is running across the screen but its pretty rad. So I feel you on that it is definitely a fun game. Alright, let’s jump back into some more questions. You’ve been competitively eating for about 3 years now, has being in the game this long affected how you eat when you sit down to have a normal meal?
Matt: It’s definitely changed a few things. After all back then a lot of food was a big bowl of food and now a lot of food is like 10 big bowls. After I started competitive eating I’ve had to really watch my diet a lot more. I’m being more conscious of what I’m eating when I’m not eating 50 hot dogs or whatever. I don’t go splurging when I am out with friends that often or with family or what not. When I do go out, I don’t go out too often, I do eat a little bit more. I like to enjoy myself and have some fun. I don’t get as satisfied as easy as I used to but overall I would say I don’t eat too much differently than I used to.
Mondo: Ok. You just have more capacity which makes sense.
Matt: The big thing that’s changed is usually by the end of the meal I’ll have gone through 8 glasses of water.
Mondo: I gotcha. You’ve been at this for a couple of years, in your personal opinion what you would say has been your toughest challenge to date?
Matt: You know a lot of the videos I put up online look very hard but I would probably say my toughest challenge to date has simply been competing at these contests. When you look at like the Michael Phelps video or any of them where I eat a lot of food it looks like I’m in a lot of pain. If you were to see me during my training runs- the training that I do to train for these contests specifically hot dogs, twinkies, or whatever it might be is brutal. Its miserable enough. That’s why I say the hardest challenge is pushing my limits training to increase my capacity and keeping up with guys like Joey.
Mondo: I feel you. You’re top 4 right now so everyone in your range is super fast and you have to keep up with them which is probably difficult as the years go by.
Mondo: So beyond eating do you have a day job or anything on the side?
Matt: I’ve been lucky. I’m just going to school right now and studying nutrition. Aside from school I just sit around at home and do my youtube stuff. I’ve been really fortunate that my youtube has been doing really well. So getting a job isn’t an extreme necessity or anything. I’m just a student right now focusing on college.
Mondo: That’s cool. I actually have two questions. The first of which will focus on school. So you say you’re going to school for nutrition, down the line are you looking into being a nutritionist or a fitness coach? Or are you still uncertain?
Matt: I don’t know, nutrition is kind of broad and the only reason I’m really studying it right now is because I’m really interested in it but I don’t have any specific set path. With all this competitive eating that I am doing I am more focused on that and figuring out what I am doing with that. But with nutrition, I’m interested in it. I like to figure out how the body works and it helps me too.
Mondo: Oh yeah. You get a little edge because you understand how the body works and you get a better perspective.
Mondo: Ok, the other question I had was related to you youtube channel. I found out about you via youtube as a friend and I were randomly watching videos one morning after a night a drinking. Somehow we came across yours and were hooked. After following you for a while I noticed that you recently crossed the 100,000 subscriber mark and have become rather prolific on the internet. What I want to know is what inspired you to start your channel in the first place, where do you get inspiration for the challenges you take on, and why do you think you’ve been able to amass the amount of followers that you have?
Matt: My youtube started pretty much when I started competitive eating. One of my first videos was just footage of that lobster roll contest that I did. Then I did a bunch of challenges, like man vs food type stuff, and uploaded the videos online. I don’t really know why I have gotten so attached to it. I have fun doing challenges and then I have fun going home and editing the footage. -The making and prepping of what I just did, like making a montage of your family trip or something. I just had fun doing It and this was back when I was scratching 100 subscribers. I was doing it for the fun of it. Then people in the competitive eating world started getting to know me more and people on youtube started finding me more. I don’t really know exactly when it started from shifting from purely me liking what I do into me trying to eat regularly and keep up with the competition on youtube. I just love making videos. I’ll be honest, I enjoy seeing how boring a long 20 minute video of raw footage is and shrinking it down to 5 minutes while making it fun & exciting. It also makes me happy knowing that there are people out there that really enjoy the stuff I put up.
Mondo: I love the videos and in regards to editing you actually do a really good job. You just posted that backwards McDonald’s video and that was really cool to watch. I’ve noticed on a good number of challenges you’re doing the calorie counter and the grams of fat which is cool. You’ll have the dramatic music and the really cool cuts, so I’ve seen the natural progression because that wasn’t always there. You’ve gotten better not only as an eater but as an editor and that really shows.
Matt: That’s part of the fun, that’s why I like it. I don’t like to just put stuff up just because I feel the subscribers want to see a video every once or twice a week. I want to make something that they want and enjoy but I also want to produce something rich.
Mondo: Yeah, and you do. It’s pretty high quality video stuff as opposed to just vlogs so I appreciate you taking the time to really craft an awesome product. Speaking of working on these videos, I’ve noticed your brother works on a lot of them with you.
Mondo: Did he just happen to volunteer or did you kind of tell him to record you? How did that work bringing him into the fold?
Matt: I have a great brother, I love him. We’re kind of best friends. We’re about a year apart and we like going out to eat together. When I’m shooting stuff he’s chiming in and filming; he gets a kick out of it. He loves making fun of me on camera. When I am doing my training for these contests he’s like my personal trainer. He’ll me to speed up or whatever. Yelling at me and scrutinizing me. It’s funny because he has become part of the whole Matt Stonie video experience. Everybody knows my brother. I was actually at a contest a few months ago and a few people came up while I was doing an interview and said “hey, you’re Morgan. Can I get your autograph?” It was pretty funny.
Mondo: Your brother will always have some commentary and say a few blurbs here and there. It’s always funny to hear his voice. He seems like a nice guy.
Matt: It’s kind of funny, he’s like my alter ego. Everyone always comments on him; that he is slow, dry, and the jokes are weird. It works out great.
Mondo: Does he have any interest in competitive eating at all or does he just like to watch and help out?
Matt: He did but he doesn’t anymore. It was probably two years ago. He would see me going to these contests and picking up money from eating food. There was a point where he was trying to do all these independent contests in the area. He would have me train him for burger contests and what not. It was fun situation with the tables being turned. He tried it and didn’t do all that well. He doesn’t have the drive that I guess I do. He’s not that type of person. It ran its course It was fun and he did his stuff but he is no longer interested. He likes jumping in on the videos every once in a while but nothing serious.
Mondo: I’ve seen him in the turkey challenge and the Milky Way challenge so I’ve seen him a couple of times trying. I think the Milky Way was the funniest one because it took him so long.
Mondo: I have one more question. I’ve noticed you’ve done a few chug related challenges that normally have alcohol involved but you replace the alcohol with soda or something. Was that because you weren’t of age at the time or because you just don’t care to drink?
Matt: I think I did one on St. Patrick’s Day where I did root beer instead of beer. I was still 20 when I did that. I was officially illegal at that moment. Even now, some of the youtube guys do videos where they chug beer or alcohol and gets millions of views or whatnot. I like to have fun going out drinking once in a while but I don’t like doing stupid stuff. I mean I am not going to chug a whole bottle of vodka just for a few views. There’s a limit that I want to maintain and I don’t want to be responsible for any bad ideas in anybody’s head.
Mondo: Makes sense, the MegaToad has a level of honor for his trade. I got you.
Mondo: Alright, I have a final question. You’ve talked about the Major League Eating scene and this is something I discussed with Miki but I’ve noticed that there are a lot of the same faces around; so you guys are kind of like buds. Is there anyone that is maybe your eating BFF or someone you bro down with a bit more than the rest?
Matt: Hmm. I would probably say one of the closest people, as far as like friends, currently is Mr. Chestnut because we live 10 minutes away (from each other),from the same town, we see each other at the contests all the time. I’m trying to think of anyone you might know. Everyone on the circuit, we all hang out all the time. It seems like they’re always there to me. So it’s kind of hard to. I don’t know if you sent them an email or not but do you know Juan Rodriguez? He’s down in Las Vegas too. I like going to contests with him, he’s a fun guy; hanging out with him after contests and whatnot. There are a lot of guys. Pat Bertoletti, he’s not with Major League Eating anymore but he used to be. I like hanging out with him.
Mondo: Miki was talking about him a bit because he was one of the hosts of the show Stuffed on the Tasted channel. She was just talking about how everyone who knows him loves him, he’s always down to hang out, and is just a rad dude. So that’s cool. That’s it as far questions go. Thanks for doing this man.