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Lessons from a Sumo Wrestler

Lessons from a Sumo Wrestler

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There is so much conflicting information on the web today about how many meals we should be eating a day, what we should be eating, and exacting when we should be eating them. One expert will tell you one meal a day is fine. Another will say you that you should be eating every 2 hours. Fortunately the truth is somewhere in between, and is not as complicated as it might appear. For the answer, we turn to sumo wrestlers.

I'm sure you're thinking “Huh?”. What in the world do sumo wrestlers have to do with figure and bikini competition diets?

Just think about it for a minute. If sumo wrestlers are the pros at packing on fat, then shouldn't we learn a whole lot about what NOT to do from them? They have centuries of experience, adding hundreds of pounds of fat and muscle to those frames.

Since sumo wrestling doesn't have any weight divisions, a large part of a sumo wrestler's success is larger dependent upon how much weight they can gain. The fact is that a 200 pound wrestler simply will not do well against a 400 pound one.

I would call them experts for sure on how the body works with fat stores and muscle mass. The Japenese in general are not prone to weight gain, so these guys obviously know what they're doing, so we're going to start there. Then we'll look at how we can turn their fat-building rules into fat-burning logic.

A typical day for a sumo wrestler consists of two extremely large meals filled with protein, rice, and vegetables. They eat one after fasting all night and training all morning. Then they eat another just before they turn in for the night.

The two meals, while filled with healthy foods, are enourmous. They workout for 5 to 6 hours in the morning to build up a ravenous appetite, which aids in their ability to consume such large quantities of food in one sitting.

Hmmmmmmmmmmmm.... oddly enough this sounds remarkably like a typical American diet doesn't it? Don't most Americans skip breakfast, have a pretty sizable lunch, and then eat a late dinner just before hitting the sack? It certainly stands to reason that this may be one significant reason why obesity is an epidemic in the U.S. Lest I digress...

There are really four lessons to learn from the way sumo wrestler's gain weight.


FIRST – the timing of their meals.

They eat just before sleep. The first meal before a long afternoon nap and the second before bedtime. This is to allow the body to store as much of the consumed calories as fat, rather than burning them up for energy.

They also train for many hours before their first meal of the day. This strategy serves to slow down the metabolism, put the body into “starvation mode” whereby it holds on to every ounce of fat mass it has.

----Lesson for Figure & Bikini Gals----
Make sure to eat small meals throughout the day, starting with breakfast. Don't skip! Keep that metabolism revving high all day long. And definitely do not eat a significant meal before bedtime. Stick to a low calorie protein.


SECOND – the amount of calories they consume.

The meals are huge. 10 times a normal meal serving. But since they work out 5 to 6 hours a day, they have to be huge so the body doesn't use the energy intake all for muscle repair.

----Lesson for Figure & Bikini Gals----
Total calories consumed throughout the day needs to be less than maintenance if you want to lose fat. Conversely, it needs to be higher than maintenance if you want to gain muscle.


THIRD – the types of foods consumed.

These athletes are eating healthy foods. Fish and lean meats, grains and vegetables. They are low in fat and dense in nutrition.

----Lesson for Figure & Bikini Gals----
You can gain fat even if you're eating healthy. It's all about portions.


FOURTH – skipping breakfast.

By skipping breakfast and training for hours before their first meal, sumo wresters are ravenous by the time they're ready to eat. They can then consume huge quantities of food.

----Lesson for Figure & Bikini Gals----
Don't skip breakfast. The more you're able to spread out your meals throughout the day, starting with breakfast, the less likely you are to overeat.

Author: Kristin Shaffer
kristin@figureandbikini.org

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