Burning Body Media
diet and weight loss | sleep
Greg Schwartz discusses burning calories in SF vs. at the Burning Man using BodyMedia. He talks about his calories burned in a quiet day, his normal weekend (day), and an intense day at Burning Man. He shares what he did and what he has learned from his tracking.
Hi I’m Greg Schwartz. I’ve been wearing a body media armband which tracks the number of calories I burn each day and I were to burning man to answer two question; how many calories do I burn there and when do I burn most calories. I know I’m a nerd, what can I say!
So Burning Man if you don’t know is a giant festival in the Nevada dessert. In the day time it’s 90 to 100 degrees and at night it can get as low as 40 degrees. A huge temporary community is created and people bring art, perform and socialize. People also bring art cars of all shapes and sizes, and this is an old yacht named McChristy mounted on a bus chassis, and there are huge sound camps which one of the ones I’m part of called Opulent Temple, basically dance clubs in the playa.
So the sensor I wear is a body media armband and with four sensors; galvanic skin response, skin temperature, heat flux which is how much heat is dissipating from your body and a three axis accelerometer so how much you’re moving.
So onto the data I collected before Burning Man to serve as a baseline. Here’s a quite weekday. Staying in rather than going out after work. Overall weekdays range from 3-4,000 calories and on average 3,450.
Here’s a particularly nice day on the weekend. They average a few hundred calories more; 3,387. Get up do some computer work get a massage, with the sensor off; notice the flat line. And then errands and finally fire practice. Yeah I said fire practice. I’m a fire dancer and have been for about two years. I mostly spin poi which are Kevlar on a chain. It’s a lot of fun but the body media sensor isn’t fire safe so I usually don’t wear it when I’m fire dancing.
So anyway, here’s the most intense day before Burning Man. The bulk was from dancing the night before. Add on another poi performance; see the flat line, and walking around shopping for Burning Man gear in total 4300 calories.
So far we’ve seen weekends more intense. Makes sense week days are sent mostly at work. Interestingly, the average weekdays are about even with the least intense weekend and my overall average is 3500 calories a day.
So now onto Burning Man and here’s the quietest day I had there. I burned 4,433 calories. That’s 133 calories more than my most active day in the default world.
Now here’s a normal day at Burning Man. I danced until almost sunrise, slept, worked at my camp and then went out to see some art burn; 5063 calories, 630 more than my most active day here.
Now here’s my most intense day. I danced until early morning again. Slept, explored and then a huge party at my camp 5,764 calories. That’s 34% more than my default world max.
So back to my questions. This graph shows how many calories I burned each day. Right, so needless to say I’m way below 4500 in the default world and way above that at Burning Man. I was very surprised by this.
Here’s a summery review to explain it a little better. The diamonds gave the averages. Notice the range for Burning Man only barely overlaps the weekend. Burning Man is intense but I think it’s actually because in the experiment I didn’t do any day long bike rides or hikes.
Now for my second question; when do I burn the most? Much to my surprise, dancing here and at Burning Man really aren’t that different. The both peak around 10 calories a minute, and they are both comparable to pre-burn work that I did for my camp; electrical and fire effects.
Now my next guest was setting up and tearing down camp and this was really intense, well but actually they’re not as intense as dancing and of course there is sustained efforts for hours so I burned a ton of calories. Tear down was my second most intense day of my burn.
So remember what I said that usually I don’t wear the body media sensor when I fire dance, well I did one night and check it out. The most intense moment of the week, 13 calories a minute which finally answers question number two.
So the last thing I learned was an unexpected source of error. Body media defines days as midnight to midnight. So activity after midnight like dancing is counted for the next day, skewing the total number of calories burned. Defining days as between sleeping would fix that.
So that’s what I learned wearing my body media sensor at Burning Man. Thank you all for listening. I hope the photos of Burning Man and fire dancing peaked your interest. You can follow me on Twitter at UXGreg and my email address firstname.lastname@example.org
Also I’m looking for an awesome company to join; I’m a user experience designer.