Sumo Dieting: You’re Probably Doing It

Sumo Dieting: You’re Probably Doing It

"Sumo Diet? No way, not me." That’s what I thought when I heard about sumo dieting, and I’m guessing you did, too.

I mean, the average weight of a sumo wrestler is over 300 lbs. That’s pretty impressive!

The life of a sumo wrestler is not as glamorous as you might think. They work extremely hard and eat an insane amount of food to train as hard as they do. Getting up at 5 a.m. for a good 3-hour training session is no walk in the park.

And I don’t know a lot of 300lber’s who can easily do the splits... yeah that's right, THE SPLITS!

The more I read about sumo wrestlers and their daily routines, the more I realize that maybe sumo wrestlers and I have more in common than you might think, especially when it comes to the way we eat.


Read on to find out why...

A Day In the Life of A Sumo Wrestler

Sumo wrestling is the national sport of Japan and is considered to be one of the world’s oldest organized sports.

Wrestlers belong to stables where they eat, sleep, train and breathe everything sumo. They start their days around 5 a.m. They skip breakfast and go right into a 3-4 hour training session that focuses on flexibility, balance, strength, speed, stamina, and stance.

Then they eat a long lunch, consuming around 10,000 calories all chased with a hefty quantity of beer, followed by a long nap.

So, let’s recap: Sumo wrestlers wake up and skip breakfast to train for several hours on an empty stomach, then they eat, drink, and take a nice long nap.

After the nap, they wake up, eat and go back to sleep again.

Training that hard on an empty stomach pretty much deprives their bodies of the calories they need to fuel their training, which then triggers the hormone cortisol into overdrive, directing their bodies to store as much body fat as possible in response when they actually do eat.

So, no wonder Sumo wrestlers are built the way they are. This approach to training trains their bodies to convert the calories they eat into fat storage rather than allocating them to where they could be used more effectively instead.

fast food for sumo dieting

A Normal Day For Us

Not everyone’s day is like this but I’m sure you can relate to a similar schedule every now and then.

The alarm goes off and the snooze button gets hit several times before you roll out of bed. You’ve left yourself enough time to jump in the shower and quickly dry off before running late out the door.

Since you didn’t have time to eat breakfast, you stop by Starbucks and grab a coffee. The combination of skipping breakfast (starving yourself) with stimulants (coffee) creates a stress hormone (cortisol) release, which then causes the body to allocate those calories for fat storage instead of burning them up throughout the day.

You get to work and stay busy until lunch. Since you woke up too late you didn’t have time to make lunch so you have to go grab something. Maybe a quick burger and fries. Then you head back to your job. Sit at your desk until it’s time to go home.

Eat a big dinner and go to sleep.

Sound familiar? It’s not too far off from the same type of schedule that sumo wrestlers keep. Maybe most of us are sumo dieting too!

Intermittent Fasting vs. Sumo Dieting

You might be asking yourself if intermittent fasting is the same as sumo dieting?

It’s not. They’re two very different things.

Some popular intermittent fasting methods:

  1. 16/8 Method: Skip breakfast. Your eating period is 8 hours (like 1:00-9:00) and the fasting period is the remaining 16 hours.
  2. Eat-Stop-Eat: Once or twice a week you fast for a complete 24 hours (dinner to dinner).
  3. 5:2 Dieting: Two non-consecutive days of the week you only eat 500-600 calories. The remaining days you eat like normal.

Intermittent fasting, specifically the 16/8 method, has very similar feeding patterns as sumo dieting. But they are very different.

Intermittent fasting stays within set calorie and macro parameters based on physique/performance goals.

Sumo dieting is all about fasting and then bingeing. This puts the body into a calorie surplus while hormonally vulnerable, which is a surefire way to pack on body fat.  

Breakfast of Champions

The typical American lifestyle is fast-paced and busy. We focus so much on our busyness that before we know it, we added an extra 20 lbs.

Where do we start?


It’s easy to forget that when you lay down to sleep at night you’re starting your nightly fast. If you are lucky enough to get 8 hours of sleep, then you have just fasted for 8 hours! When you wake up in the morning, your body needs fuel!

Your blood sugar fuels your muscles and brain. If you don’t get that fuel, you likely end up overeating later in the day.

Breaking the fast (break+fast=breakfast) also reduces stress hormones and jumpstarts your metabolism from its overnight slumber.

Break the fast rule: eat some sort of breakfast within 30 minutes of waking up. If you’re going to start anywhere, start with this.

Starting your day off with a win can set the stage for the rest of your day. Mentally and physically!

What are you looking for?