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What is the Sumo Wrestler Diet?

The sumo wrestler diet is a most interesting training phenomenon. In and of itself, it is probably one of the healthiest approaches to eating there is, and does not necessarily contribute to weight gain. However, the training regimen and the attendant lifestyle of the sumo wrestler are what contribute to the signature size of the sumo athlete.

The daily schedule of the sumo wrestler

The daily routine of the sumo wrestler is highly regimented, and designed to contribute to weight gain. Upon awakening, the wrestler engages in a significant workout. This is done prior to having anything to eat, and serves two purposes. First, it enhances the strength and conditioning training of the wrestler, improving his stamina and ability to compete. Second, because the training is prior to eating, his body’s metabolism slows down, and calories are consumed at a slower rate.

Following the daily workout, the wrestler has a large meal. Traditionally, the meal is “chanko” or “chankonabe”, a stew. The stew is protein and vitamin rich, consisting of a variety of meats or fish, and vegetables all cooked in a broth and served with numerous side dishes – including rice. In and of itself, the stew is highly nutritious and would be a healthy part of any diet. The sumo wrestler, however, consumes at least 4500 calories at the meal; beer is the traditional beverage.

After the large meal, the sumo wrestler diet requires that the athlete take an extended nap, typically about four hours. Because he does not exercise after such a large meal, it is stored as fat, to be tapped into later. Soon after the nap, another large meal is consumed.

The idea behind the sumo diet

This meal is designed for weight gain because of the demands of the sport. By not eating before exercise, and having only two meals per day, the body is trained to store nutrients and calories. Sometimes referred to as going into famine mode, the body’s metabolism slows down because of how food is consumed, and the burning of calories is slowed. If the athlete were to eat something throughout the day (every four to six hours), calories would burn faster and weight gain would not occur.

All in all, it is a curious phenomenon. The sumo wrestler’s training regimen is one of the most intense and demanding in all of sports, and burn several thousand calories each day, but success in the sport depends, in part, on weight. The idea then, of the sumo wrestler diet, has been to manipulate the body into retaining more calories than it consumes.

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