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Tue, 10 Sep ’13

So You Want to be a Sumo Wrestler?

Then we hope you are into eating 20,000 calories/day!

First Things First: Thinking about a life as a sumo wrestler? Let’s get a few small things out of the way. First, you have to be a man. Well, that’s not techinically true. Women’s sumo is a growing sport, but the wrestlers were traditionally men. Secondly, you have to be, how do we put this, rotund. If those are both check marks, you’re good to go. Why so strict? Sumo has been around since about 500 years ago, and though the sport has remained popular, it hasn’t exactly kept up with the times.

Lunch Time: To maintain that famous shape, Sumo wrestlers consume a mind-blowing 20,000 average calories a day, which is a Michael Phelpsian level of caloric intake. Their meals are made up of mostly a stew called Chankonabe, which consists of fish, vegetables, meat and tofu. While the wrestlers eat an astonishing amount of food, the food they eat is very healthy, so while Sumo wrestlers are definitely super-sized, they don’t suffer many of the same maladies that their Western “big boy” cousins might.

Practice Makes Perfect: A Sumo’s life is one of regimen and discipline, with practically no time off. Sumo wrestlers live in schools known as Heya, which are basically 24-hour-a-day boot camps. Daily training starts at 5 AM sharp and doesn’t let up until they break to eat the aforementioned absurd amounts of food. We also hope you like bruises because part of the daily training is an exercise in which the wrestlers are repeatedly whacked in the chest with wooden planks. Fun!