Progress: Bod Pod versus Impedance

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The Bod Pod: Body Fat Percentages 

The Bod Pod is the Cadillac of body fat percentages.  I have a scale in the bathroom and it does electrical impedance.  They are notorious for being 12 percentages off depending on hydration.  I decided to have the measurement done at our local wellness center to see where I stand and for motivation.  

Recently, I have lost motivation. This might be just what I need to pick up the pace.  So where am I?  

What is a Bod Pod?

A Bod Pod is a machine that uses gas volume to measure the body fat composition of your body.  The concept is simple.  The more volume you take up, the less dense your body is to a certain extent.  Muscle weighs more but take up less volume.  Fat is less dense and takes up more space.  Two people may have identical body weight but if one has more fat, they will take up more space.  The Bod Pod compresses the air to determine how much air volume you displace.  

Who Should get the test done?

Body fat plays an important role in our health and too much or too little is not a good thing.  It protects our internal organs, provides energy, and regulates our hormone levels.  I would recommend this test to anyone who needs that extra motivation or just needs to know how inaccurate their bathroom scale is.  You can also use this result if you are serious athlete to help adjust your training program.  Trust me, this test will give you results but it might not be the ones you are expecting.   

The Comparison:  Aria Scale Impedance Measurement 

Fitbit Body Fat

Fitbit Body Fat – Aria Scale

Above is a chart showing the impedance measurement of body fat using the Aria Scale from Fitbit.  By measurements, I hover between 20.3 and 20.4 percent body fats for the past 2-3 weeks.  My weight is stable at 202-204 depending on hydration.  That would be about 40-42 pounds of body fat.  So how does this compare to the Bod Pod?  

Bod Pod

Bod Pod

The Bod Pod Test

I had an awesome experience but I an not exactly the most claustrophobic person.  The sticker for me was having to dress in spandex (I wore regular shorts over them to avoid blinding the public)  The test took a lot less time than I expected.  The experience started in a small room with the technician.  You have to strip down to compression shorts (male).  I am sure you can use a sports bra for women.  It was weird being in a room with nothing but spandex shorts and being put in a very small space (the pod).  It is not for someone claustrophobic because I would describe the Pod as a cocoon of plastic.  It is a very small space with some odd sensations during the test.   I would post photos of me in the Bod Pod, but no one needs to see me in spandex.  

The first sensation you feel is when they close the door.  It is a very tight space and it is what I would imagine as being back in the womb.  You hear a sound that is sort of a beep followed by a sucking sound that is similar to a dog panting.  I believe it was more of a pressurization than a sucking of the air out.   Then your ears begin to feel like they are under pressure.  It is not painful but you do feel it.  Before you know it, the test is done.  It took less than 30 seconds.  They repeated the test once to make sure the measurement was accurate.  

Bod Pod Composition Results

Bod Pod Composition Results

The above image is the results.  It estimated that I weight 199 with 22.3% body fat.  It also estimated 44-45 pounds of body fat.  Just like the sucking sound of the Bod Pod, the results were a little deflating but hopefully it will encourage me to stray less over the holidays.  

Bod Pod Composition Recommendations

Bod Pod Composition Recommendations

The above picture is the recommended composition for body fat.  I have work still to do.  I need to get below 20%.  I wish I had done this test before I started.  I wonder is I was actually at 32-34% at the start?   I highly recommend you invest in one of these tests if they are available locally.  I have read horror stories but do not believe them.  I would have the test done again and I might after Christmas to document my progress.  

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About the Author

ChuckH
I am a family physician who has served in the US Army. In 2016, I found myself overweight, out of shape, and unhealthy, so I made a change to improve my health. This blog is the chronology of my path to better health and what I have learned along the way.

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