woman playing tennis

Imagine being so active that part of your job requires you to take in 3,000 calories a day. That's the scenario for the many of the women athletes taking part in the 2012 Summer Games.

Get fit with the
Summer Games

Yes, "I'll have bacon on my burger and a slice of chocolate cheesecake for dessert" could be part of your vocabulary! Oh, to dream.

But for us mere mortals who don't train six hours a day, that sort of diet would land us at the tailor's with a request to let out all the seams of our pants.

The good news is you don't have to take your workout to extremes to reap the benefits of an active life. You can still perform some of the same sports and games and burn off a respectable number of calories -- maybe not enough to reverse a cheesecake bender but enough to lose a pound a week if you made it a habit.

Here are some of the top calorie-torching activities you, too, can do. After all, what's more important, a gold medal or being able to fit into your summer capris? I think you know the answer.

The following calories counts are from the American College of Sports Medicine for a 150-lb woman exercising for 60 minutes:

1

Rowing

Calories burned: 500

This refers to stationary rowing, no lake required. With or without water, you'll develop killer back muscles (hello, backless swimsuit), toned shoulders and biceps. Legs also get into the action through the push-pull.

2

Tennis

Calories burned: 500 for
singles/approx. 400 for doubles

Start playing because of the cute outfits, stay for the calorie burn and the fun. It's worth taking a few lessons from a pro to avoid injuries like tennis elbow.

3

Mountain biking

Calories burned: up to 600

At 600 calories, mountain biking is hardly a hard sell. Join a biking club to learn proper technique and safety. Many groups meet on weekends and after work, and can take the place of cocktail hour if you're really motivated. Get ready to sweat.

4

Gymnastics

Calories burned: 286

You'll likely need some coaching if you think vaulting and doing somersaults mid-air is the way to go. Secondarily, calisthenics class burns just as many, if not more, calories and can be found at most fitness clubs.

5

Swimming

Calories burned: 500 to 700

Since not staying afloat isn't an option, kicking, doing laps -- whatever it takes to keep you on top of that liquid playing field is going to take some calorie-burning. No wonder Michael Phelps has to eat up 10,000 calories a day.

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