Is it possible to work out three to five hours a day, seven days a week, eat a relatively low‐fat diet, and still gain weight? Yes! This is the training way of Sumo wrestlers, and a way of life which allows them to pack on the pounds. The world’s biggest people are experts at putting on fat, which means that the lessons they’ve learned can help teach us how to keep the weight off. If you do not want to gain weight, follow these tips. The wrestlers, of course, will be doing just the opposite.
Make your workouts slow and steady, not fast and frantic. Sustained moderate workouts lasting 30 to 60 minutes are more helpful at burning calories than exerting yourself in a brief, intense burst of exercise. Sumo wrestlers train to win at a sport whose rules are simple: one of two wrestlers loses when he is forced out of the wrestling ring or if anything other than his feet touch the playing surface. The average sumo wrestler stands about 6 feet tall and weighs 336 pounds. Their training is focused on being powerful enough to push over something the size of a refrigerator. Going for a 3‐mile run or riding a bicycle for 60 minutes is not a priority for sumo wrestler workouts.
Don’t skip breakfast. Try not to go longer than four to five hours without eating. Your body will adapt to the threat of starvation and decrease your metabolism so that you can survive on less calories. Most sumo wrestlers eat only twice a day.
Eat small meals and snacks throughout the day. Split up your daily calories among breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a couple of snacks. You’re less likely to put on weight eating small meals and never overeating, rather than letting yourself get too hungry and then eating too much. Sumo wrestlers eat about one‐half of their overall daily food calories at one meal. For a person the size of a sumo wrestler, that can be over 3,000 calories every day just for lunch!
Choose a well‐balanced diet with a lot of variety. Remember that balance, variety, and moderation are cornerstones of good nutrition. Sumo wrestlers eat a relatively low‐fat diet, but tend to have a diet heavy in complex carbohydrates, protein, and vegetables, with little fruit.
Source: Anderson J, Christensen N, Hoffman E, et al. Eat Right! Healthy Eating in College and Beyond. San Francisco: Pearson Benjamin Cummings, 2007:67–79.