Sumo wrestling has long been practiced in the past, with distinctive traditional ceremonies in Japan. Today, sumo wrestlers still have status in Japan and are recognized in virtually every place they go. Even though Japan is the only country in the world where sumo began and is still practiced, the art is gaining its popularity in other nations such as Bulgaria and Mongolia.
One of the unique features of sumo wrestlers is their body physique. Sumo wrestlers weighed an average of about 148 and to maintain this size as well as staying fit and strong, they had a strict lifestyle and diet.
The Lifestyle of Sumo Wrestlers.
Becoming a sumo wrestler is not an easy walk on the path. All professional sumo wrestlers reside in houses commonly referred as stables. Each stable has a master known as Oyakata and his wife also known as Okamisan plays an essential supportive role behind the scenes. In these stables, they are separated between senior wrestlers and junior wrestlers. The junior wrestlers are responsible for cleaning both inside and outside the stables. Sumo wrestlers follow a strict training program that begins early in the morning at around 5.00 a.m. The highly ranked wrestlers are allowed to sleep for long and join the rest later. They do similar training and help the juniors to develop skills. Each stable has a ring where they practice every day.
At 8: 00 am, the junior wrestlers in the stables are allowed to go and cook for other wrestlers. The prepared food is commonly referred to as chanko and it consists of Chinese food, stew, deep-fried food, and sashimi. Stew is the popular dishes among sumo wrestlers, however, rice with curry and hamburger has also in the past been included in their diet. Sumo wrestlers eat two meals daily. Breakfast is served at around 11:00 am while dinner is served at around 6:00 pm. Sumo wrestlers don’t take lunch.
Sumo wrestlers end their practice at 10:30 am when the junior wrestlers are through with preparing meals. When serving meals, the high ranked wrestlers are the ones allowed to serve fast followed by the rest. They eat their breakfast after fixing their hair by tying a knot at the top. After breakfast, the wrestlers are allowed to take bath with the seniors going fast. Once they are through with taking bath, the wrestlers are free to do anything they want. However, most of them prefer sleeping to help them grow bigger.
Sumo wrestlers are not divided in different weight class and as such the heavier wrestlers had an upper hand in fights. In order to achieve this massive weight, sumo wrestlers had to consume an average 20,000 calories a day. This is nearly 10 times the standard intake for an adult male.
Diet of the Sumo Wrestlers.
To obtain the massive body weight, sumo wrestlers ate a typical Japanese hot pot meal known as chanko. Chanko consisted of lots of protein such as fish, tofu, pork, meat, and sashimi all mixed and cooked in one giant pot. They also ate lots of vegetables and broth of soy sauce, dashi, sake, mirin and salt. Chicken is the most popular protein for their meal as the animal stands on its two feet just6 like the sumo wrestlers, unlike pork, fish, and beef.
Chanko is mostly prepared by the junior wrestlers and then eaten together in groups. Chanko can be eaten alongside rice served in large bowls. The wrestlers are also allowed to take several pints of beer when eating. Once they are done eating, udon noodles are then served to help them add more carbs and calories. Each stable has its own way of preparing chanko and most retired wrestlers often open their own chanko restaurants.
How chanko is prepared.
Chanko is prepared in a traditional Japanese hot pot made from clay or a thick cast iron pot called testunabe. The pot is filled with a broth of your choice and boiled thoroughly. Vegetables like Japanese leek, onions, carrots, mushrooms, garlic chives, and cabbage are then added to the pot to boil. Once the vegetables are boiled, chicken meatballs, pork, beef, fish or any other type of protein is added in the pot and cooked till the meat is tender. The heat is then lowered and chanko is allowed to cool before it is served.
I hope by reading through this article, you have had an insight of what the lifestyle of sumo wrestlers look likes and what their diet entails. Do you want to be a sumo wrestler? If so, I guess you got to start preparing chanko and grow big!