I do a buddy training session for two women (same age), and both women wear heart rate monitors during the session. Both clients have their age, height, weight, gender, and resting heart rate entered in to their HR monitors. At the end of a 30-minute session, Client “A” has burned 475 calories while Client “B” has burned only 320 calories. Client “B” is frustrated because she did the exact same work out as Client “A” and did not burn nearly as many calories. Based on the HR monitor readings, Client “A’s” max HR during the session was higher than Client “B’s.” Does this mean that Client “B” is more fit than Client “A” and that it is going to take more exertion for Client “B” to achieve the same calorie burn as Client “A?” Is Client “B” not working as hard as Client “A,” even though Client “B” feels like she worked as hard as she could during the workout? Could it be possible that both clients are equally fit and one just has a physically bigger heart than the other?
Hello Emily. “Nope” doesn’t mean that at all. Different people have different metabolic rates (including resting metabolic rates) so calorie burn is very ‘person specific.’ I like to use analogies, so I would analogize this to looking at heart rates as an example. Two people could run the same distance for example, and one of them might have a higher ‘exercise heart rate’ than the other. This does NOT automatically indicate that one was working harder than the other.
If you’re looking for comparisons, always compare the individual to themselves – in other words their calorie burn etc. with different exercise intensities compared to themselves at rest etc.