What does Blaine Sumner, a 400 pound elite powerlifter, have to eat to maintain weight and bench press over 1,000 pounds?
When you think about the amount of calories an elite athlete needs to consume in order to maintain weight and performance, you’re typically looking at somewhere between 3,000-5,000 calories a day. But, how much does a superheavy weight powerlifter consume? To give you some insight, 4x World’s Strongest Man Brian Shaw consumes around 12,000 calories a day, and Kelly Branton, who’s a superheavy weight powerlifter at 360 pounds, has to force down six to eight heavy meals a day just to maintain.
So, let’s just say the caloric intake of a superheavy weight powerlifter is generously over the 5,000 calorie mark. Now, how does Sumner, or “The Vanilla Gorilla,” fuel up to to bench over 1,000 pounds and set World Records?
Sumner bench pressed 1,003 pounds at the Arnold Sports Festival in March to beat his previous record by a whopping 88 pounds. He previously held the IPF World Record for the single lift bench press at 915 pounds, but has since shattered his own IPF World Record.
“If you’ve followed me for long enough you know all about the Chicken Shakes.”
BarBend got the chance to catch up with Sumner about his diet — which may come as no surprise — but is a dedicated workout within itself.
“During prep and year round, my diet always looks the same,” Sumner told BarBend. “If you’ve followed me for long enough you know all about the Chicken Shakes.”
Brace yourself for the shakes, because who wants to chew anyways?
“Ninety-percent of my diet consists of blended shakes. My protein base is always chicken or beef.” Sumner can’t be bothered by the amount of time it would take to chew all of his food. “I work a demanding full-time job so the ability to reach in my cooler and chug a shake allows me to get in enough calories that I otherwise wouldn’t.”
When he’s not chugging down “Chicken Shakes,” he’s filling up on carbs like white rice or sweet potatoes. He also gets a lot of his fat intake from nuts, like almonds. “I’ll throw in some spinach for a little color and chicken or beef broth for digestive help,” Sumner said.
Watch Sumner and Kelly Branton chug “Chicken Shakes” and squat 915 pounds.
It’s fair to assume that someone who weighs 400 pounds would have a massive appetite, but Sumner said that’s not the case for him.
“Believe it or not, for being 400 pounds, I don’t have a big appetite. If I only ate food I wouldn’t have the appetite to be this big. Chugging the shakes allows me to get my caloric requirement.” In order to make sure he’s getting all of his shakes down in a timely manner he sets a timer on his phone to drink one every 2-3 hours.
“Each shake has about 80 grams of protein, 80 grams of carbs, and 35 grams of fat. This is roughly 1,000 calories per shake and I drink eight of them a day.”
So, short answer to what one must eat in order to bench press 1,003 pounds? Upwards of 8,000 calories a day should do it.
Feature image from Blaine Sumner’s Instagram @thevanillagorilla92.