Sunday, March 10, 2013

The Sumo Endurance Athlete

I got a chance to watch some live sumo wrestling today and I got to see Kelly Gneiting compete.

Things you need to know about Kelly. He has finished the LA marathon twice and is training for his third. He is an avid swimmer and is planning to swim the English Channel.

The diet of a sumo wrestler and what keeps them so large is two parts. They drink sumo soup (Chankonabe) every day which is essentially a soup that includes all the nutrients they will need, but the real secret to their weight gain according to them is this soup allows them to eat a lot more bowls of rice which is the real secret to their weight gain.

We some myths here. We believe marathons or any endurance race to be the pinnacle of athletic ability and that lots of cardio makes you skinny. Kelly proves this to be false (avid runners come in all shapes and sizes and will stay in all shapes and sizes). Kelly also proves that you don't necessarily have to be really lean to finish a long race, you just need a giant heart. Another myth that is incorrect is, sumo wrestlers are just fat guys, they are more than that, they are actually quite athletic and train 10 hours plus a day (and sweat off 10-15lbs of water weight off).

There is also the myth that, Asians are all skinny and they eat a lot of rice, so rice and grains can't be the reason people gain weight. This is actually a foolish stereotype that further makes worse the stigma for Asians that they have to remain skinny at all costs (through surgery or eating disorders). Asians also come in all shapes and sizes like any other race, and when parents try to fatten up their kids, they feed them more bowls of rice. "You're too skinny, eat another bowl of rice." They don't say eat more vegetables, eat more meat, they say eat more rice.
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