Diet Secrets of a Sumo Wrestler: Steps to Gaining Weight

Sumo wrestling has been around for hundreds of years allowing the sport a lot of time to perfect the best way to help athletes gain weight. We can easily learn from sumo wrestlers by doing the opposite in order to lose or maintain a healthy body weight.

Secret #1: Skip breakfast:  Sumo wrestlers skip breakfast because it slows down their body’s metabolism, which means they are burning fewer calories. The word “breakfast” easily explains the importance of eating after a good night’s sleep. When we sleep, our bodies our “fasting” and our metabolism slows down. Therefore when we wake up, we need to “break” the “fast” so that our bodies metabolism can increase and burn more calories. Therefore, skipping breakfast lowers the body’s metabolism which ultimately burns fewer calories.

Secret #2: Exercise on an empty stomach:  When exercising on an empty stomach, your body goes into starvation mode. That means that it is trying to conserve as much energy as possible. Exercising normally increases metabolism, BUT if exercising on an empty stomach, your body’s metabolism will decrease in the long run and you will not burn as many calories.

Secret #3: Nap after a meal:  Sumo wrestlers will eat large meals (lunch and dinner) and then take a nap. When napping, our body’s metabolism decreases, which means it burns very few calories. Therefore, the food that was consumed before the nap gets stored in the body mostly as fat. This increases the size and weight of a sumo wrestler.

Secret #4: Drink with meals:  Sumo wrestlers consume high amounts of beer and other types of alcohol with large meals because alcohol contains no nutrients and the energy it provides will be stored in the body as fat. This will help increase the amount of fat cells resulting in weight gain.

SUMMARY of things YOU can do to help lose or maintain a healthy body weight

ALWAYS EAT BREAKFAST: This will increase your metabolism after you’ve had a good night sleep and will help burn more calories throughout the day.

HAVE FOOD IN YOUR SYSTEM BEFORE EXERCISING: Eating a healthy snack an hour before exercising will give your body energy and will increase your metabolism.

AFTER EATING, BE ACTIVE! : After eating a meal, your body needs help to maintain a higher metabolism. This can be done by going for a walk, bike ride or doing things around the house. It is also important not to over eat. Eating smaller meals with snacks in between is a good way to keep your metabolism up throughout the day.

LIMIT SOCIAL EATING TIME:  When eating alone we generally pay more attention to how much we are eating and putting on our plates, which can save you from consuming extra calories. If eating alone is not an option, limit your time when eating meals socially to 30 or 40 minutes in order to consume fewer calories.

WATCH THE AMOUNT OF ALCOHOL CONSUMED:  Alcohol adds a lot of extra calories and should not be consumed in high amounts. Drinking water or beverages that have nutrition in them are going to be a lot more beneficial to your body than alcohol.


Three things you should know about sumo wrestlers:

  1. The average lifetime of sumo wrestlers is 60-65 years.
  2. Illnesses such as diabetes, liver disease, high blood pressure and heart disease are common in sumo wrestlers.
  3. Sumo wrestlers can consume up to 20,000 calories per day.The average person should be consuming approximately 1500-2500 calories per day.

*Written by: Brittney DesRosiers, University of Manitoba Nutrition Student. Reviewed by: Susan Watson, BHNSc., Registered Dietitian. Provided by:

References and resources for article:

About alittlenutrition

Susan is passionate about teaching others how to achieve optimal health and wellness by taking the confusion out of nutrition and promoting fun ways to stay active. Susan has been a certified fitness instructor for over 8 years and enjoys teaching yoga, pilates, and fitball classes at Elite Fitness and Dance. However, her main interest in nutrition has led her in the direction of becoming a registered dietitian. Susan completed her undergrad in Human Nutritional Science at the University of Manitoba and has recently completed her dietetic internship with the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority. Currently she is now combining her fitness skills with her nutrition knowledge and offering comprehensive nutritional and lifestyle coaching. Prior to becoming a dietitian, Susan worked as a sales executive for a variety of paint manufactures for over 10 years. She created innovative sales initiatives and marketing programs for corporate and independent retails stores. Now with her knowledge of nutrition and her business experience, she helps restaurants and food service operations create healthier meals options for their customers. Susan is highly involved in community health promotion, as she has been appointed to sit on the Recreation and Wellness Commission of Niverville and the Chair person for the South Eastman RHA District Health Advisory Council Western division. She is the co-founder of former the Niverville Active Living and she has put on many community health promotion activities such as: * Lose It For Life - Weight loss / Lifestyle Transformation program * Family Fitness Month…Win A Will Contest * Niverville Fair ~ Smoothie Booth * Community Cholesterol Reduction Challenge * Cooking On A Budget * Couch Potato Race She is a member of the College of Dietitians of Manitoba, Dietitians of Canada, Manitoba Fitness Council and the Canadian Obesity Network. In her spare time, Susan enjoys cooking for her family, gardening, photography and being physically active outdoors with her husband and friends.
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One Response to Diet Secrets of a Sumo Wrestler: Steps to Gaining Weight

  1. Pingback: Napping for Fitness and Weight Loss Success « coachjeremyross

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