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Drummer Lab is a series that follows Nadia Azar’s kinesiology research on some of your favorite drummers.

How many Calories does Brann Dailor burn during a show with Mastodon?

Given that I’d already confirmed Tim Alexander for the study, I decided to look into who would be opening for Primus at the two shows we had chosen. Maybe I could find a way to recruit their drummer for the study, too?

By this point, my study was off to a pretty incredible start. I had collected data on some excellent, high-profile drummers, and I had Vater Percussion and Coalition Music on board to help me recruit more.

Turns out Mastodon and Primus were co-headlining the tour. Awesome. Brann Dailor is not only a wizard on the drums, he also sings on many of their tracks. Not background vocals – Brann often sings lead vocals! He also happened to be a Vater Percussion artist (insert “Everything’s coming up Milhouse!” meme here). I reached out to my contact at Vater and asked him to send my study information to Brann. Later that day, I got an email that Brann was on board, so we made plans for him to wear the armbands at the same two shows as Tim. Two drummers in one night! This was going to be fun.

Here’s what we found:

Mastodon played the same set list at both shows (17 songs over about 78 minutes). Brann’s total energy expenditure (including downtime between songs) was 839 Calories for Show #1, and 891 Calories for Show #2. His average intensity was also similar between shows – about 11 and 12 Calories/minute, respectively. Based on Brann’s body mass, this intensity level is comparable to a vigorous session on a stationary rower.1

Imagine high-intensity rowing for over an hour! No thanks…

At Show #1, there was a three-way tie between “Crystal Skull”, “Precious Stones”, and “Roots Remain” for the title of ‘most intense song’ (all ~12 Cal/min). For Show #2, “Roots Remain” edged out the other songs for the win (~13 Cal/min).

What I found particularly interesting about Brann’s data was that aside from the first song of the set (“Sultan’s Curse”, ~7 Cal/min), there was very little variation in song intensities. All the other songs were clustered between 10-13 Calories/minute, and 85% of the songs were 11-12 Calories/minute. With only about five minutes of downtime per set (~20 seconds between songs), that is a blistering pace!

High-intensity interval training, anyone?

Top 3 takeaways:

  1. Brann burned an average of 11-12 Calories per minute at both shows.
  2. Based on his body mass, this rate of energy expenditure is comparable to vigorous stationary rowing.1
  3. “Roots Remain” was the most intense song at the second show (13 Cal/min), and tied with “Crystal Skull” and “Precious Stones” for the most intense song at the first show (~12 Cal/min).

References:

Calories burned in 30 minutes for people of three different weights [document on the Internet]. Boston (MA): Harvard Health Publishing, Harvard Medical School; 2018 [cited 2019 May 29]. Available from https://www.health.harvard.edu/diet-and-weight-loss/calories-burned-in-30-minutes-of-leisure-and-routine-activities.

Images: Joe Orlando

Nadia Azar

Nadia Azar Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Kinesiology at the University of Windsor, where she runs the Drummer Mechanics and Ergonomics Research Laboratory (DRUMMER Lab). Follow Nadia at @DrNadiaAzar or learn more here.

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