The Sumo Wrestler Diet

messages Apr 05, 2009

In thinking of what questions people ask me on a regular basis, a lot of them have to do with nutrition.  Exercise is a choice - either you do it or you don't.  When it comes to eating, it's not an optional activity and we're forced to make choices several times a day, every day.  With this in mind, I'm going to be doing a series of postings on good nutrition strategies - be sure to keep checking back or click the RSS feed "Follow This Site" to the right to get automatic updates!

How often do you eat?  Do you eat several small meals with a few snacks each day or do you eat one or two huge meals with nothing in between?  If you only eat 1-2 times per day, whether you want to or not, you are on The Sumo Wrestler Diet.

Have you ever wondered

how Sumo wrestlers

gain so much weight?

1.  They Skip Breakfast.  Skipping breakfast sends a message to your body that there is no food.  No food = survival mode = decreased metabolism = hang on to as much body fat as possible.  If there is no energy coming in to the body, your metabolism (the rate at which your body creates/uses energy) slows down in order to conserve energy.  Fat is the most precious energy resource your body has to keep you alive, so it will hang on to it as long as possible and will break down stored protein - YOUR MUSCLES - and use that as energy instead.  Loss of muscle mass makes the metabolism run even slower.  In survival mode your body wants to store as much fat as possible, so by the time lunch rolls around, guess how much food you're going to eat?  Too much!  Where will those extra calories go?  To the fat cells.

ALWAYS EAT BREAKFAST.  Ideally eat within about an hour of getting up, otherwise your body goes in to survival mode.  It doesn't have to be an enormous amount of food - it can be a small glass of juice, a piece of fruit or a slice of toast.

2.  They Workout On An Empty Stomach.  If there is no food in the system your body is in survival mode.  Remember what happens in survival mode?  Your body wants to preserve as much fat as possible.  What's the energy supply in survival mode?  It's not fat, remember?  Survival mode = hang on to as much body fat as possible.  Your body will break down muscle and use it as energy.  Yes, you read that right:  If you exercise on an empty stomach with no food in the system, your energy source is muscle, not fat.  Also, if you haven't eaten, how much energy are you going to have for a great workout?  Not much.  You'll be dragging.

How much are you going to want to eat after the workout?  Too much.  Where will those extra calories go?  To the fat cells.

ALWAYS HAVE ENERGY IN THE SYSTEM FOR A WORKOUT.  Whether you workout in the morning, afternoon or evening, make sure there is energy in the system so you are not in survival mode.  You are going to have to experiment with how much food is enough - it doesn't have to be a lot.  If you are working out first thing in the morning, you could do juice - it gets in to the system very quickly.  If it's more like an hour before you workout, eat something that will stay with you a little longer - something that contains some protein, fiber and/or fat.

3.  They Take a Nap After Eating.  After eating a huge mid-day meal, they take a nap.  They've put a lot of energy in the system by eating such an enormous amount of food, and how much energy do they expend while sleeping?  Very little.  Where does that extra energy go?  To the fat cells.

When do you eat your largest meal?  Is it dinner?  What do you do soon after dinner?  Go to bed.  Ouch.

How do you feel after eating a huge meal?  Food coma.  A huge mid-day meal is going to make you sleepy in the afternoon, and a huge dinner in the evening is going to make you feel like a sloth.  Who can do nothing buy lay in front of the television.

STAY ACTIVE AND EAT REASONABLE-SIZED MEALS.  Instead of being sedentary after a meal, try to be more active.  It doesn't have to be anything crazy - fold the laundry, play a game with the kids, go for a leisurely stroll - just don't lay down after eating.  Eating a reasonable amount of food will also help in that you won't feel like you've got the food coma going on - you'll have better energy.  Do this by eating several small meals and snacks throughout the day.

4.  They Eat Their Largest Meal Late In The Day.  With Alcohol.  Think about this:  they skip breakfast, workout on an empty stomach, eat a big lunch, take a nap, wake up and then eat an enormous dinner with lots of beer or saki until they pass out.  Their fat cells are loving it!

EAT REASONABLE-SIZED MEALS AND WATCH THE ALCOHOL.  We've already talked about why we don't want to over eat.  The good news is that if you are eating small amounts throughout the day, you most likely won't be starving and over do it at any one meal.

Alcohol very quickly adds a lot of extra calories and stimulates the stress response - which releases cortisol - whose job it is to deposit fat around the midsection.  Drink alcohol in moderation.  For women this means no more than 1-2 drinks per day (if you're small keep it at one) and men should have no more than 2-3 per day.

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