T Nation

Sumos vs. Bodybuilders

Hi guys, first time poster long time listener.

While contemplating my next bulking routine, I came across an article that made two points I found interesting:


  1. Weight gain in beer swilling, twinkie munching, couch potatoes comes in the form of a 2:1 ratio. That is, for every two pounds of fat, one pound of lean muscle mass is gained. This was based on a hundred day study on people eating 1000 excess calories a day of junk food, and doing nothing else.

  2. The largest sumo wrestlers have more lean muscle mass than the largest bodybuilders.

(Edit: Tracking down the study, suggested that sumos had more muscle mass than bodybuilders based on a study of 37 sumos, 14 “highly trained” bodybuilders, and 26 untrained men. I doubt if an off-season Ronnie Coleman was asked to participate.)


I know well the importance of food in the bulking process, but I’ve never come across an article that explicity states that excess eating even in a sedentary lifestyle, will build muscle. And, if the study is to be believed … that fat ass that just put on 30 lbs in a month eating twinkies and pizza, probably put on more muscle mass than the majority of gym rats in a year.

Sounds unhealthy as hell, but for ultimate mass gains, I’m thinking the sumos might be on to something.

Any thoughts on this sort of insanity?

Best,
BB

(ps I would happily post a link to the article I found this info at, entitled “Shit or Get Off The Pot Part II” by Kelly Bagget, but I’m not sure the policy on linking to other websites.)

i find that really hard to believe but what the hell do i know. it seems strange that in a “sedentary” lifestyle you can put on lean body mass. it is an interesting study though.

I found the studies:


Upper limit of fat-free mass in humans: A study on Japanese Sumo wrestlers

http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/abstract/110504362/ABSTRACT

(only the abstract, sorry)

Relevant bit: Sumo wrestlers had a significantly greater FFM (fat free mass) than bodybuilders, who had a greater FFM than the untrained men.


Genetic influences on the response of body fat and fat distribution to positive and negative energy balances in human identical twins.

Relevant bit: “The mean body mass gain for the 24 subjects in the 100-day overfeeding experiment was 8.1 kg, of which 5.4 kg was fat mass increase and 2.7 kg was fat-free mass increase.”


Best,
BB

How did we go from a parade of small guys terrified of food to this? LOL! If nothing else it’s a change of the usual pace we’ve seen here lately. Nobody will care if you link to the site.

Probably all the mean body mass is in the legs, to hold up all that weight :slight_smile:

Hell I can almost relate to that when I was 324 sadly to say. Legs are still one of the good remaining features of being there, thats a good thing :slight_smile:

Interesting concept…I’d love to see the study done with 1000kcal excess of good clean food rather than crap to see what difference that would have made.

One thing that is overlooked by the general public (perhaps not on this site) is that Sumo’s are real athletes. They train incredibly hard. It’s just that being lean is not an advantage, just the opposite. As long as they can remain quick, the more weight the better.

If you stripped all the fat off many of the top sumo wrestlers, they would have very high levels of muscle mass. They might not be as asthetically pleasing as a bodybuilder, since their mass has developed as a function of their sport, but they would still be quite impressive.

Junior sumo wrestlers are required to go without breakfast, and eat a large lunch then they take a nap. Their diet seems mostly clean http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chankonabe

with exception to the fact that they eat fried meats, and tofu. After the chankonabe(stew consisting of chicken, fish, tofu, vegetables, noodles) they eat that with rice and wash it down with beer.
I think just eating more calories than you use, while keeping your diet as clean as possible is the best option because you’ll have less fat to burn off later and the majority of the weight that you do put on will be muscle. Then again it’s just my oppinion.

That’s pretty much the rationale behind the nutrition program that backs up Doggcrapp training – eat like a sumo (though clean), and exercise like a “powerbuilder” to keep fat gain to a minimum and muscle building to a maximum.

Long-ass discussion here:
http://www.T-Nation.com/readTopic.do?id=1142392

Perhaps this relates to the fact that overeating in itself is anabolic. If you ever notice one thing about fat people, they are almost always strong. Compare the strength of a fat person that has never trained to the strangth of a skinny person that has never trained. Fat person wins majority of the time.

you might have a point there.

Poliquin stated that the leg strength of obese individuals were “off the chart” compared to normal sized untrained people.

obviously a relut as somewone stated earlier about carrieng around the weight.

maybe it is something else too as you suggested.

a loooong time ago, i knew a guy who was in his 40’s, never trained before, and was morbidly obese. he did construction work all his life. i got him into training and the FIRST time he squatted, he squatted 315 for reps, the first time leg pressing he used 10 plates each side, FIRST time benching he hit 275 for reps. within a few months, he squatted over 500, benched over 400, and we could not get enough plates on the leg press machine to challenge him.

he probably is dead from a heart attack now, but he was strong. lol

Hey, thanks for the feedback gents, and the DC link.

Particularly this bit:


“There was a study some years back which included 3 groups–elite sumo wrestlers who did no weight training whatsoever, advanced bodybuilders and advanced powerlifters–about 20 in each group. Now there is a lot of variables here but they took the lean muscle mass of each group and divided it by their height in inches. Surprisingly the sumo wrestlers came out well ahead of the powerlifters (2nd) and the bodybuilders (very close 3rd). This is a group who did no weight training at all but engorged themselves with food trying to bring their bodyweight up to dramatic levels. How is a group that is doing no weight training having more muscle mass per inch of height than powerlifters and bodybuilders? For anyone that doubts food is the greatest anabolic in your arsenal, you better get up to speed and on the same page as what my trainees have found out. Gee now what would happen if you actually ate to get dramatically larger like a sumo, but actually weight trained like a powerbuilder (which is what we train like), and also did enough cardio/carb cuttoffs etc to keep bodyfat at bay while doing all this? Are you guys coming around to how I think yet…in how to become the biggest bodybuilder at the quickest rate but keeping leaness on that journey?”


I’m thinking I might train DC, but go Sumo-style chanko eating, twice a day.

I know, it’s fuct.

But here’s something else I found that some might find interesting:


Midnight Snack Won’t Pack Fat
Activity, Not Meal Timing, Key to Weight Control

By Daniel DeNoon
WebMD Medical News

Feb. 2, 2006 - A midnight snack won’t make you fatter than a midmorning munch, monkey studies show.
It’s a widely accepted truism that food eaten after dark is more fattening than the same food eaten in the light of day. And there’s a reason to believe this: The body does slow down at night.

Researchers have tried to look at the issue, but it’s been hard to do a definitive study in humans. That’s why Judy L. Cameron, PhD, senior scientist at the Oregon National Primate Research Center in Beaverton, looked at 20 female monkeys instead.

To mimic human menopause, Cameron’s team removed the monkeys’ ovaries. To mimic human junk food, the researchers fed the monkeys a high-fat diet. And because some of the monkeys ate about two-thirds of their calories at night, Cameron and colleagues were able to look at the effects of nighttime meals.

“The outcome was, there was no difference at all,” Cameron tells WebMD. “Whether they eat by day or by night, monkeys have an equal probability of gaining weight. So weight gain depends on how many calories we eat, and not when we eat them.”

When not doing monkey research, Cameron is professor of physiology and pharmacology, obstetrics and gynecology, and behavioral neuroscience at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland. She and her colleagues report their findings in the current issue of Obesity Research.

Weight Gain Knows No Clock
None of this surprises Leslie Bonci, MPH, RD, director of sports nutrition at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and nutritional consultant to the Pittsburgh Steelers football team.
“People just assume that after 6 p.m., calories that will become fat go straight to your butt,” Bonci tells WebMD. “But the body is clueless about what time it is when you eat too much. It knows how to store calories every hour of the day.”

For most of us, this is good news.
“We don’t have those lifestyles where we go to bed when the sun goes down,” Bonci says. “If it were true that nighttime eating made you fat, everyone in Spain would be obese – because they don’t eat dinner until 10 p.m.”

The myth that midnight snacks cause fat can be harmful, Cameron says, if your weight loss plan is simply to stop eating when the sun stops shining.

“The story one wants people to take home is you should watch your calorie intake,” she says. “Whenever you take in calories, they are going to matter. It is one thing not to eat at night. But if you want to lose weight, don’t eat so much during the day. Just not eating at night is not an effective strategy.”

The Key to Weight Control
Even though they ate a high-fat diet – nearly quadrupling their calories – not all of Cameron’s monkeys gained weight. A few got fat. Some stayed lean.
What happened?

“It was mostly due to activity level,” Cameron says. “The strongest predictor of weight gain in adult monkeys was how active they were. Very active animals did not gain weight, and very sedentary animals gained quite a bit.”

But these are just monkeys – aren’t they? Actually, Cameron says that monkeys are a lot like humans in terms of how they eat, sleep, and exercise.

“We think monkeys are a very, very good model for humans,” she says. “As far as we can tell, their mechanisms of weight gain are the same as humans.”

A real problem with obesity research is that it’s almost impossible to know for sure how much human study participants actually eat and exercise. That’s not a problem in monkey studies. Cameron says we can look for more information to come from her monkeys – including studies on the impact of menopause and hormone replacement on weight.

SOURCES: Sullivan, E.L. Obesity Research, December 2005; vol 13: pp 2072-2080. Judy L. Cameron, PhD, senior scientist, Oregon National Primate Research Center, Beaverton; professor of physiology and pharmacology, obstetrics and gynecology, and behavioral neuroscience, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland. Leslie Bonci, MPH, RD, director of sports nutrition, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center; nutritional consultant to the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre company.


Food for thought.

Best,
BB

[quote]bulkboy wrote:

Feb. 2, 2006 - A midnight snack won’t make you fatter than a midmorning munch, monkey studies show.
It’s a widely accepted truism that food eaten after dark is more fattening than the same food eaten in the light of day.

[/quote]

Does it show what type of food these monkeys were eating? Was it protein or carbs? I would be interested to know that.

[quote]crou wrote:
bulkboy wrote:

Does it show what type of food these monkeys were eating? Was it protein or carbs? I would be interested to know that.[/quote]

This is all it said:

“To mimic human junk food, the researchers fed the monkeys a high-fat diet.”

When I think of human junk food, I think of almost everything in the middle of the grocery store which are mainly carbs and fat. I realize that there are plenty of high fat protiens out there, but my first thought was carbs and fat.

[quote]Petedacook wrote:
Perhaps this relates to the fact that overeating in itself is anabolic. If you ever notice one thing about fat people, they are almost always strong. Compare the strength of a fat person that has never trained to the strangth of a skinny person that has never trained. Fat person wins majority of the time.

[/quote]

In relation to what? Having more mass behind them is going to improve the force they can exert. Thats a duh. But bodyweight wise, no, they’d show similar strength abilities.

I don’t find it too hard to believe that the sumo’s style of eating/training produced such dramatic effects, consider the following points:

  1. Skipping breakfast and eating only a couple very large meals should slow your metabolism.

  2. Frequent naps, sleeping in general is anabolic.

  3. They may not train with weights, but they do train with heavy objects, other sumos.

  4. And most importantly, they live according to a lifestyle, it becomes ingrained at a young age and they dedicate their life to it.

I doubt your average couch potato, with a desk job would show as impressive progress. I would speculate, the growth would be limited to what the body needs to lug itself around.

One other factor is designing a diet to allow you to keep the muscle as you drop the fat.

Interesting topic.

[quote]Modi wrote:
I realize that there are plenty of high fat protiens out there, but my first thought was carbs and fat.[/quote]

Fat is my friend. I just got done with a giant plate full of juicy fatty pork chops. I keep waiting to get fat by eating this kinda stuff, but my belly just refuses to grow. When I think of junk food I think of stuff that comes in a box, bag or can, with some notable exceptions.

The points have already been made, but these guys are VERY active. They may not train with weights or spend time on the eliptical, but they are highly athletic. I’d bet they are in better overall health than people in this country weighing a volkswagon less in complete defiance of all that the medical establishment holds dear.

Tirib,

I think that’s what I said or atleast that is what I meant to say:

“When I think of human junk food, I think of almost everything in the middle of the grocery store which are mainly carbs and fat”

I meant chips, crackers, candy, etc.

[quote]Modi wrote:
Tirib,

I think that’s what I said or atleast that is what I meant to say:

“When I think of human junk food, I think of almost everything in the middle of the grocery store which are mainly carbs and fat”

I meant chips, crackers, candy, etc.[/quote]

I kinda figured, but I couldn’t resist the opportunity to throw out a plug for meaty manfood.

[quote]Tiribulus wrote:
Modi wrote:
Tirib,

I think that’s what I said or atleast that is what I meant to say:

“When I think of human junk food, I think of almost everything in the middle of the grocery store which are mainly carbs and fat”

I meant chips, crackers, candy, etc.

I kinda figured, but I couldn’t resist the opportunity to throw out a plug for meaty manfood.
[/quote]

Mmmmm…meat…near fire.

[quote]Modi wrote:
Mmmmm…meat…near fire.[/quote]

Indeed… dead critters do a body good