Feb. 18, 2014 -- A Wall Street Journal reporter recently asked three Olympic hopefuls to wear a Fitbit for a week—while they were in full training mode—and then hand them over for a little analysis. The elite athletes' results were predictably ridiculous: Freestyle skier Grete Eliassen burned 7,601 calories in one day; freestyle moguls star Heather McPhie took nearly 20,000 steps within 24 hours.
These stats are fun to ooh and aah over, but what should us non-Sochi contenders be shooting for? We asked NYC-based Nike Master Trainer Holly Rilinger for realistic goals that you can track with your FitBit, NikeFuel, Jawbone, or old-school pedometer. On an average day, try to:
Walk at least 10,000 steps
Sleep for at least 420 minutes (7 hours)
Be active (i.e. work out) for at least 45 minutes
The number of calories you should burn really depends on your goals—if you're looking to lose weight, for instance, you should aim for a calorie deficit of about 500 calories a day to lose roughly a pound of week (say, you work out and burn 250 calories, and you cut 250 calories from your standard diet, that cuts 500 total calories).
If you're looking to maintain your weight, however, you should figure out your basal metabolic rate and aim to eat (healthy foods) that amount to that many calories each day. For an inactive woman who weighs 150 pounds, you burn about 1900 calories just by existing. If you also burn 250 calories through moderate activity, it would mean that in order to maintain your weight, you should consume about 2150 calories per day.
For more information about maintaining your weight, check out How is maintaining your weight different from losing weight?