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How To Burn 6,000 Calories (Like An Olympian)

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You've no doubt heard the claims that Olympic athletes consume upwards of 10,000 calories a day to refuel and replenish their bodies after grueling, four-to-six-hour training sessions.

No matter what that exact count may be, most elite athletes certainly do have to balance extreme workouts with calorie-laden meals in order to continue training day after day after day.

Case in point: In the most calorie-burning of sports, Olympians can burn 15 to 20 calories a minute, Mayo Clinic researcher Michael Joyner told The New York Times, bringing a workout's total calorie deficit to 4,000 to 6,000 per session, he said.

That extreme burn is due to factors other than the sheer amount of time these athletes spend at the gym, in the pool or on the track. They're also burning more calories than the everyday athlete when they're watching TV, reading a book or sitting at a desk, since muscle burns more calories than fat at rest, exercise physiologist Amy Knab, Ph.D., told Everyday Health.

A number of Olympic sports are calorie-blasting (and fun!) workouts in and of themselves. But what would it take for us mortals to crank out an Olympics-caliber calorie burn? We rounded up a few common ways to break a sweat, then calculated just how long we'd have to keep at it to hit that outrageous 6,000-calorie mark. We don't get to say this often at Healthy Living when it comes to exercise: Please don't try this at home. (All counts are based on a 150-pound person.)

How To Burn 6,000 Calories
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For more from our "Like An Olympian" series, click here.

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