Bod Pod body composition tracking system analysis @ Oak Athletic Development, Bourbonnais, IL

Bod Pod Body Composition Tracking System Analysis – 11-16-13 – John V. Karavitis

EDIT as of May 18, 2016:  I fixed the broken link above. I re-took this test Nov 2015, I weighed 152 lbs, body fat percentage = 9.4%. If I get a chance to scan the most recent test, I will upload here.

A co-worker told me about a body fat percentage test that he had taken called the Bod Pod. I was curious about it, as I have lost a lot of weight over the last few years. I once took a body submersion test, and it required being dunked in a pool of water while sitting on a platform. This test required sitting in a small chamber for 5 minutes wearing only a swim cap and swimming briefs or spandex shorts.

I checked out the videos on YouTube, and called around. The East Bank Club in Chicago has one, but they charge $65. The University of Illinois – Chicago is supposed to have one, but I could not find any mention of it on their Human Performance Lab website. There is a private weight-loss clinic in the northern suburbs, but they refuse to discuss prices over the phone – I’m guessing they want to make a sales pitch for their services, but hey, no thanks, I’ve lost over a hundred pounds and have kept it off all by myself.

I decided to go to the location that my co-worker went to, Oak Athletic Development in Bourbonnais, IL. Cost of test: $39. Given that I drive a very fuel-efficient car, it actually made sense to make the drive all the way out to Bourbonnais.

The test was simple. I stripped down to a small pair of underwear that was one size smaller than what I usually wear (I bought some at CVS Pharmacy the night before – $9 for 3 pair). They recommend tight swim trunks or spandex briefs, and I not only had neither, but since the last time that I went swimming, swim trunks now cost a small fortune, same with spandex shorts. You’re not supposed to have air pockets in the minimal clothing you wear during the Bod Pod test, which is also why they make you wear a swim cap.

The operator calibrated the pod (check out the video on YouTube), and then I was in it for all of 5 minutes. The Bod Pod somehow uses changes in air pressure to determine your body fat percentage. It seems almost too good to be true, but the Bod Pod that I was in had been used by NFL players in 2010. My only complaint was the loud noise made by the magnets as the door was closed. The operator did not warn me about that. As for the confined space, I did not feel claustrophobic at all. Also, my test did not have me breathing through a flexible tube, as the YouTube videos show. I think that’s supposed to take into account the volume of air in your lungs. I asked about that, and the operator told me that the computer figures everything out based on tables and formulas, etc.

The link at the very top of this post is my results. Click it, and then on the link that appears afterward. Not bad.

I don’t see how a DEXA scan wouldn’t be more informative, since the x-ray images would let you see where in your body all the fat is deposited. But for 5 minutes, $39, and allegedly high accuracy, it was worth checking out.


About johnvkaravitis

Senior Financial Analyst: Energy, Insurance, IT consulting, Pharmaceuticals, Publishing, Real Estate
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