The Amount Of Food This Sumo Wrestler Eats In A Day Will Make Your Chest Hurt
We love to marvel at the daily caloric intake of man-beasts like The Rock. It’s fun. Hell, sometimes we even like to try and go bite-for-bite with the consumption champions. The world loves big dudes who eat entire grocery stores every day.
Today, let’s marvel at the daily eating regime of Byambajav Ulambayar — a back-t0-back sumo world champion. The 30-year-old is 6’1″ and tips the scale at 360 pounds. Everyday, before Ulambayar even touches a croissant, he has to work out for five hours. FIVE HOURS!
In traditional sumo training like what Ulambayar went through in Japan, the rikishi (wrestlers) don’t eat breakfast. Mornings begin with a grueling five-hour training session on an empty stomach. That’s five hours of pure physicality: grappling, pushing, shoving, the friction of skin hitting the mat. Any food bubbling around inside a rikishi during those five hours is bound to come back up in an unpleasant way.
After five hours, I’m not even sure I’d be hungry. You know when you get passed that point of hunger and you’re just like “I’m good with this one peanut.” Not the case for sumo wrestlers. After five hours of pushing other 300 pound men around, they’re ready for a huge meal. Just like your mom.
That workout is usually followed by an enormous lunch of chanko-nabe, the dish most culturally tied to sumo wrestling. It’s a hearty stew that can be made with almost any kinds of vegetables (bok choy, daikon, mushroom, anything you can think of) and protein (chicken, fish, meatballs, tofu) in a dashi broth. The same rules apply to the sumo diet as most other sports—a balance of meat and fish, safe starches like rice and noodles, and as many veggies as you can scarf down.
While relatively healthy, chanko-nabe is rarely eaten in small quantities. A sumo’s daily caloric intake is more than double the average human’s—Ulambayar eats somewhere in the range of 4,000 calories a day (not the 10,000 calories as jokingly reported elsewhere). But because sumo isn’t a seasonal sport—rather it’s a series of six two-week tournaments that take place every other month—the training and diet are year-round.
The champ explained he’s not a big fan of sweets or beer. So his life pretty much sounds like hell. Hell and a ton greens.