We know Michael Phelps' personal answer to this: 12,000.
But how many calories do Olympians really need?
As it turns out, the amount of fuel an Olympic athlete’s body needs is highly dependent on the sport in which they compete.
Take for instance a wrestler or gymnast — you should slow down your caloric intake before an event in order to keep yourself light on your feet.
On the flip side, here's what NPR had to say about endurance and other sports:
Endurance athletes need the most calories because they are competing for hours, while basketball players go hard for a shorter period of time. Gymnasts, meanwhile, are stopping and going. Weight-lifters and shot putters harness a lot of energy for a very short burst. How much muscle mass each athlete has and their weight also affects how much energy they use.
So, taking that into consideration, athletes whose sports require more long-term cardiovascular activity eat more calories — between 3,000 and 8,000 a day — and athletes whose sports are more anaerobic, like power lifters, gymnasts, and rowers, eat fewer calories a day — anywhere from 2,000 to 6,000!
And that's why we're going to start running marathons!
[Image via AP Images.]
Tags: answer, athlete, body, calories, diet, eat, energy, gym, hot, marathon, muscle, olympic, player, running, sports, weight