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THE LIST YOU OBEY
Amtgard Fitness: Counting the Calories
[01/06/2012] [Glen]

Introduction

I have spent the last year taking careful measurement of my caloric usage at Amtgard. For those of you who did not read it, in part one (http://www.electricsamurai.com/main_page.pl?action=view_article&file=20110329120035-Guests.txt&dir=General) I reviewed some of the common calorie monitoring techniques and came to the conclusion that the Body Media Bodybugg is the most accurate device for calorie monitoring. Further research indicates that the accuracy of the MedyMedia device is accurate for low to moderate intensity exercise but becomes inaccurate for high-intensity exercise (Drenowatz & Eisenmann, 2011) (Brazeau, Karelis, Mignault, Lacroix, Prud’homme, & Rabasa-Lhoret, 2011). High intensity exercise is defined as above 10 METs. To put that in perspective, if you’re in moderate shape, and you run a mile in under ten minutes, you have, just barely, reached the 10 MET threshold. It is safe to say that Amtgard fighting does not meet this level of exertion. With this in mind, the BodyMedia device can be considered accurate for our purposes.

The Subject

At the time of the study, I was 38 years old. I was fairly physically fit, cycling an average of 75 miles a week, in addition to bi-weekly hour-long weight lifting sessions in the gym. I was 6’2” tall and weighed 200 pounds.  I am a left-handed fighter and significantly above the average skill level in the locales in which I fought. Skill level is relevant because a more skilled fighter will expend less calories to accomplish the same amount of fighting due to greater efficiency and economy of motion in combat. A more skilled fighter also tends to spend more time fighting and less time standing around being “dead.” I am passionate about fighting and spend the vast majority of my Amtgard time engaged in actual combat.

The Fighting

The majority of my fighting took place in warm weather, either due to overall climate or time of year. When I fought in sub-zero temperatures I burned about 10% more calories on average. I did not fight in deep snow. All my exercise took place in unobstructed terrain, which enabled great freedom of movement. I suspect that fighting in snow or difficult terrain would result in lower calorie usage.

I discovered that I burned slightly more calories at events than at regular park days. This is due in large part to the non-stop ditching that I can participate in events. Regular battlegame days are a mix of ditching, battlegames, and individual sparring, which together makes up a less-intense workout than non-stop ditching. For those who do not spend all their non-battlegame time sparring and ditching, the calorie burn is probably far lower. However, I am not such a person and spend almost all my time at Amtgard in motion.

In addition to Amtgard events and regular battlegame days, I also participated in and recorded my calorie usage at Dagorhir. On average, I burned about 10% more calories in Dagorhir. This is not due to their heavier weapons, but rather due to the “instant respawn” type of games they play, which allow a motivated player to do far more fighting and “running back to the spawn point.” I am one such motivated player and this extra cardio accounts for the increased calorie usage.

I also participated in a NERO event. I burned almost as many calories per hour at the NERO event as at an Amtgard event. It should be noted that I am far from the normal NERO player and that I was playing a mid-level NPC with infinite lives and a ten-second respawn, who was outnumbered about ten to one. The numbers for NERO are included only for fun and are in no way whatsoever indicative of the caloric usage of the typical NERO player.

To provide context, I have also included numbers for one of my fencing practices.  I fence with the BGSU fencing team. This practice included some open fencing at the end of it. It is interesting to note that I burn less calories fencing than fighting at Amtgard.

The Numbers

Activity

Avg. Mets

Avg. Cal/Hr

Min Cal/Hr

Max Cal/Hr

Cycling @15 MPH

4.02

528

*

*

Cycling @12 MPH

3.8

357

*

*

Fencing

3.13

275

*

*

Dagorhir

4.2

373

230

445

Amtgard @Sunday

3.41

314

276

375

Amtgard @Event

3.65

334

217

410

Amtgard @Event @Cold

4.12

373

317

410

Amtgard @Event @Warm

3.59

329

217

433

Amtgard Battlegaming

2.77

254

226

292

Amtgard Ditching

4.03

369

303

433

NERO

3.45

313

*

*

The Next Step

While these results are interesting and useful in and of themselves, the average Amtgardian can be excused for a certain amount of hebetudinous imperception. In the next article, I will examine how Amtgard calorie usage impacts our need to consume energy after our initial energy reserve is consumed. The use of Gatorade, both low-calorie and normal, protein recovery beverages, and other avenues of maintaining energy levels and avoiding a decrease in performance will be explored in depth to provide a nutritional profile to maintain peak performance.

Raw Data

Biking:

Time

Miles

Minutes

Calories

Avg METS:

Cal/Hr

Morning

12.5

50

440

4.02

528.00

Evening

12.5

64

381

3.8

357.19

Fencing

Type

Minutes

Calories

Avg METS:

Date:

Cal/Hr

Practice

122

560

3.13

October 3, 2011

275.41

Dagorhir Battlegame

Type

Minutes

Calories

Avg METS:

Date:

Cal/Hr

Stop and Start

234

1145

3.22

April 9, 2011

293.59

Orlando Dag

382

1469

2.53

June 11, 2011

230.73

Toledo OH Dagorhir

154

1111

4.86

October 1, 2011

432.86

Toledo OH Dagorhir

187

1342

4.92

October 15, 2011

430.59

BG Dagorhir

265

1782

4.6

October 23, 2011

403.47

Toledo OH Dagorhir

164

1215

5.05

October 29, 2011

444.51

Amtgard - Battle Day

Type

Minutes

Calories

Avg METS:

Date:

Cal/Hr

Mostly Non-stop

240

1500

4.01

March 6, 2011

375.00

Had to hunt sparing partners a lot

310

1428

3.05

April 10, 2011

276.39

Good fighting

314

1763

3.69

April 24, 2011

336.88

Low Intensity Day

228

1140

3.15

June 5, 2011

300.00

Traveling in Florida

324

1573

3.2

July 23,2011

291.30

Traveling in Florida

246

1260

3.37

July 24, 2011

307.32

Amtgard Event

Event

Type

Minutes

Calories

Avg METS:

Date:

Cal/Hr

Winters Edge Coronation

Friday Night Ditching

150

891

3.82

March 11, 2011

356.40

Winters Edge Coronation

Saturday Early AM Ditch

138

696

3.25

March 12, 2011

302.61

Winters Edge Coronation

Saturday Battlegames & Ditching

762

3714

3.14

March 12, 2011

292.44

Winters Edge Coronation

Sunday Early AM Ditch

138

997

4.65

March 13, 2011

433.48

Feast of Fools

Friday Day Ditching

180

1231

4.5

April 1, 2011

410.33

Feast of Fools

Friday Night Ditching

71

465

4.37

April 1, 2011

392.96

Feast of Fools

Saturday Events

330

1744

3.48

April 1, 2011

317.09

Unknown Event

Friday Night Ditching

240

1481

4.1

April 15, 2011

370.25

Unknown Event

Saturday Early AM Ditch

100

607

3.99

April 16, 2011

364.20

Unknown Event

Saturday Battlegames & Ditching

876

3304

2.48

April 16, 2011

226.30

Unknown Event

Sunday Early AM Ditch

156

899

3.79

April 17, 2011

345.77

SKBC

Thursday Night Ditch

88

542

4.05

April 28, 2011

369.55

SKBC

Friday Early AM Ditch

94

552

3.65

April 29, 2011

352.34

SKBC

Friday Classes and Ditches

553

2240

2.67

April 29, 2011

243.04

SKBC

Friday Night Ditching

187

1343

4.75

April 29, 2011

430.91

SKBC

Saturday Classes and Ditch

538

2288

2.74

April 30, 2011

255.17

SKBC

Saturday Night Ditch

136

915

4.43

April 30, 2011

403.68

RW WM Tourney

Tournament with light ditching

372

1345

2.38

May 22, 2011

216.94

Salt Wars

Thursday Ditching

479

2976

4.1

May 26, 2011

372.78

Salt Wars

Friday Early AM Ditch

88

577

4.32

May 27, 2011

393.41

Salt Wars

Friday General Fighting-Ditch Heavy

782

4255

3.59

May 27, 2011

326.47

Salt Wars

Saturday Early AM Ditch

68

402

3.89

May 28, 2011

354.71

Salt Wars

Saturday General Battlegaming

490

1989

2.68

May 28, 2011

243.55

Salt Wars

Sunday Early AM Ditch

252

1528

3.99

May 29, 2011

363.81

Rakis

Thursday Ditching

562

2926

3.43

June 16, 2011

312.38

Rakis

Saturday Night Ditching

360

2095

3.83

June 18, 2011

349.17

RW Crown Quals

Tournament

186

710

2.49

August 21, 2011

229.03

RW Crown Quals

Ditching

108

612

3.66

August 21, 2011

340.00

NERO Event

Event

Type

Minutes

Calories

Avg METS:

Date:

Cal/Hr

Florida NERO Event

Day of Questing

578

3020

3.45

May 14, 2011

313.49

Graphs

Fencing - October 3.JPG

Figure 1: Fencing - October 3, 2011

Dagorhir - June 11.JPG

Figure 2: Dagorhir - June 11, 2011

Dagorhir - October 1.JPG

Figure 3: Dagorhir - October 1, 2011

Dagorhir - October 15.JPG

Figure 4: Dagorhir - October 15, 2011

Dagorhir - October 23.JPG

Figure 5: Dagorhir - October 23, 2011

Dagorhir - October 29.JPG

Figure 6: Dagorhir - October 29, 2011

Amtgard - July 23.JPG

Figure 7: Amtgard - July 23, 2011

Amtgard - July 24.JPG

Figure 8: Amtgard- July 24, 2011

SKBC-Friday Classes and Ditches.JPG

Figure 9: SKBC Friday Classes and Ditching - April 29, 2011

SKBC-Friday Night Ditching.JPG

Figure 10: SKBC Friday Night Ditching - April 29, 2011

SKBC-Saturday Classes and Ditches.JPG

Figure 11: SKBC Saturday Classes and Ditching - April 30, 2011

SKBC-Saturday Night Ditching.JPG

Figure 12: SKBC Saturday Night Ditching - April 30, 2011

Rising Winds Weaponmaster.JPG

Figure 13: Rising Winds Weapon Master and Light Ditching - May 22, 2011

Salt Wars Thursday Ditching.JPG

Figure 14: Salt Wars Thursday Ditching - May 26, 2011

Salt Wars Friday Early AM Ditching.JPG

Figure 15: Salt Wars Friday Early Morning Ditching - May 27, 2011

Salt Wars Friday General Fighting.JPG

Figure 16: Salt Wars Friday Fighting (Mostly Ditching) - May 27, 2011

Salt Wars Saturday General Battlegaming.JPG

Figure 17: Salt Wars Saturday Battle Gaming - May 28, 2011

Salt Wars Sunday Early AM Ditching.JPG

Figure 18: Salt Wars Sunday Early Morning Ditching - May 29, 2011

Rakis - Thursday Ditching.JPG

Figure 19: Rakis Thursday Ditching - June 16, 2011

RW Crown Quals Tournament.JPG

Figure 20: Rising Winds Crown Quals Tournament - August 21, 2011

Works Cited

Brazeau, A., Karelis, A., Mignault, D., Lacroix, M., Prud’homme, D., & Rabasa-Lhoret, R. (2011). Test–retest reliability of a portable monitor to assess energy expenditur. Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism , 339-43.

Drenowatz, C., & Eisenmann, J. (2011). Validation of the SenseWear Armband at high intensity exercise. European Jounal of Applied Physiology , 883-7.

 

 

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