Pro wrestling champion Fabio Makisig goes old school with sumo-style chankonabe
Photos courtesy of Manila Wrestling Federation
Last December, local pro wrestler Fabio Makisig had finally achieved the milestone most wrestlers dream of. After nearly seven years of performing and fighting in the Philippine scene, he had finally become the Manila Wrestling Federation (MWF)’s top champion, an honor very few have claimed so far.
When you look at Makisig though, you’d think he’d have gotten to the top sooner. Other than being one of the most brutal wrestlers in the country, he certainly looks the part as he stands a striking figure with his well-defined muscles and athletic body.
He’s also one of the few who looks like a legitimate muscle-bound wrestler. This isn’t throwing shade or anything though; looking like a professional athlete is tough and both mentally and financially demanding, especially when you’re not actually a full-time professional athlete.
When you look at Fabio Makisig though, you’d think he’d have gotten to the top sooner. Other than being one of the most brutal wrestlers in the country, he certainly looks the part as he stands a striking figure with his well-defined muscles and athletic body.
As a pro wrestler myself who had been chasing the beefy look our industry is known for, I’ll be the first to tell you that had I not had the resources to invest in my body—and in my younger years, I most certainly did not—I wouldn’t even halfway look like one. Fans may not completely understand it, but while nice to have, the aesthetics aren’t the most important thing in the business.
Anyway, back to Makisig. The newly minted MWF champion has been active since he was a teenager, building his body and athleticism up as a martial artist and tricker. This explains why he already looks like a true fighter. But he isn’t stopping there, as he wants to bulk up even more to really look the part, especially like the kind of wrestler in Japan that eschews modelesque low body fat percentages and packs on real mass. This is so Makisig can hit harder and look even more imposing. More legit, in other words.
To do so, he’s had to go the tried-and-tested way to get bigger: eat more and stay in a caloric surplus. His food of choice is the old-school sumo-style chankonabe, or the big stew of meat and vegetables that sumo wrestlers eat daily to attain their legendary mass. For anyone looking to pack on more meat on their bones, this is pretty much how you do it—there are no shortcuts.
When I saw you then, even if you were lean, I had noted you still had a good bit of muscle mass. I was so jealous of your muscles. Did you eat particularly to gain that kind of musculature, or could you just eat whatever then your body would end up that way regardless?
Since 2014, I’ve been on a high-protein diet or I try to have a high-protein diet. I’m still not meeting the daily protein requirement for athletes because protein is expensive. But in 2016 to 2018, I had a habit—and this is really unhealthy—of eating three to six kwek-kwek a day on top of drinking egg yolk. It’s Rocky stuff. Don’t do that. That’s stupid. But I was really young and broke. So that was my only way. Whey protein is expensive.
Yeah, it’s good that you mentioned the cost aspect, so it really is a lot. But did you know how much protein was in your kwek-kwek meals?
Duck eggs, eggs, and chicken were my major protein sources before. Based on research now, 8 to 14 grams of protein, I would assume depending on the size of the eggs. So I will be eating a minimum of three, maybe up to eight. I would eat before going to work and then after work. Then I would be eating peanut butter. Then if I can get chicken, I always get chicken.
It’s unhealthy, but you didn’t really look unhealthy. Like it didn’t look like you were ‘dirty bulking.’
Yeah. Because that’s the benefit of youth. I was what, in 2016, 21? And I lived an impossibly active lifestyle.
“I’ve actually always wanted to bulk because honestly, if I did not get into pro wrestling, I would either be competing in men’s physique [bodybuilding] or MMA. Those two things have long been my interest”
What is impossibly active?
So I would be doing my day job. I’d be going to a language center to teach English. After that, I would go to Ninja Academy to train in athletics, tricking, and parkour on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and on Tuesdays and Thursdays, I would be in the gym working out. And then on Sunday afternoons I’d be in UP Diliman where I was doing tricking in the grass because, for me, that’s relaxing. But those had high caloric requirements.
You mentioned a while back that you decided to start bulking. Why did you decide to start bulking?
I’ve actually always wanted to bulk because honestly, if I did not get into pro wrestling, I would either be competing in men’s physique [bodybuilding] or MMA. Those two things have long been my interest.
But honestly, I’m thinking maybe if we had a better schedule, if I was earning a lot, maybe I can compete in men’s physique. I decided to bulk up because working with [legendary pro wrestler] Yoshihiro Tajiri, you know, he said you have to eat like a pro wrestler—see that’s the term, eat like a pro wrestler. Eat and train like a pro wrestler.
Do you subscribe to the philosophy that pro wrestlers have to look bigger, bigger than you are?
Honestly, I don’t think that we should be ‘bodybuilder big.’ I don’t think we should have cuts. I don’t think we should walk around with single-digit body fat. However, I think we should eat and train like an athlete. You know, eat and train like a pro wrestler, which often has the end result that you will look beefier, you will look bigger. You won’t look shredded. You won’t look like an underwear model, but you will be more athletic-looking.
You’ll look like a Japanese pro wrestling tito.
Yeah, you’ll look like an ‘80s to ‘90s dojo boy!
So you’re posting a bunch of your meals on social media. I get a few glimpses of it like I see what it is. Can you explain what exactly you’re eating right now? Are you just eating everything that you can eat? Or is there still a method to it?
There’s actually a method to it. So it’s inspired by sumo wrestling chankonabe. It’s their staple food, they make it at 10 a.m. and then they eat it throughout the day.
So I do something like that, I start with slow-cooked chicken with fish sauce, soy sauce, salt, pepper, the usual spices. I slow cook a large batch of it. Then I’d mix in extenders, no joke, fish balls, kikiam, squid balls, if I have extra money I’d buy gyoza. A fun thing is I fry tofu and before I eat it, normally I also boil eggs.
“There’s always like a less intense way of [bulking up], especially if your goals are scaled. Because, this isn’t an easy industry by any means, right? There are a lot of sacrifices and almost impossible things as pro wrestlers are essentially achieving impossible things”
And when I reheat nabe, it’s like you reheat it in like a day or two days. For me it lasts three meals normally, half a kilo of chicken would last three meals, and that’s very conservative.
But I’ve also seen you eat a lot of other food just to get calories here.
Yes, yes I would. Because if you just eat stew all throughout, you’re gonna get tired of it. So what I do is I eat something else, always with egg. My strategy now is eat rice with a non-protein heavy meal. What I do is I put two eggs on the rice, put it in the microwave, and just heat it. So now I have egg-coated rice. Kinda tastes disgusting, but you just get used to it.
I also saw in your Stories that you get close to throwing up in your attempt to eat so many calories. How do you deal with all of that?
Here’s the thing, if I have a meal, I don’t force myself to finish that. I would normally like to finish two-thirds of it okay? And I already feel like puking; what I would do is I would do something else, and go back and finish it 10 minutes, 15 minutes, 20 minutes later. I don’t drink water in between; I’d finish it and then drink water.
And then how many times are you able to eat in one day?
I eat five times a day. So I eat breakfast, lunch, middle of lunch, and dinner. I eat 9 a.m., 12 nn, 3 p.m., 6 p.m., and normally 10 p.m. I work out at 9 p.m. So I eat again after I work out.
The other aspect of this article is to help put people on the leaner side fill out and maybe gain mass or muscle. So would you suggest eating the way you are right now? Or is there, in your opinion, a smarter and less intense way to do it?
There’s always like a less intense way of doing it, especially if your goals are scaled. Because, this isn’t an easy industry by any means, right? There are a lot of sacrifices and almost impossible things as pro wrestlers are essentially achieving impossible things. We’d get thrown on hard mats, and then stand up to get thrown again, 5 to 10 times in one match.
“So for what I do, I’m not saying that everyone else should try it, like this is a way to bulk up. Because I have a rather steep goal”
So for what I do, I’m not saying that everyone else should try it, like this is a way to bulk up. Because I have a rather steep goal. My normal weight for the longest time was 64 to 65 kilograms. And I got up to 66 to 68 in around a year. And that’s muscle, not just fat. I know it’s muscle as I was still able to maintain a relatively lean and fat percentage. So from 66 to 68, I was able to shoot up to 72.
But for normal people, let’s say you are a 60-kg guy who just wants to add more heft, more meat to you, you can get to 65 rather easily if you just increase the sizes of your meals, even if you eat three times a day, just increase like maybe half a cup more rice, a little bit more meat than your diet, and then whey protein because supplementation makes your life more convenient.
If you had the resources you need, what would you rather be eating to bulk up?
I would likely be meal prepping properly and not making hot pot to consume in a day or two. So likely, I will subscribe to a good meal prep service, have a good spread of protein and carbs. I’ll make sure that I still consume the micronutrients because health isn’t all about macronutrients. So I would likely be eating the magic formula of chicken rice and broccoli but with a lot more micronutrients mixed into it.
And of course, proper supplementation. Because if you’ve been on creatine and you go off creatine, you’d feel terrible.