Invasion of the Body Snatchers

Posted May 23 2015, 5:48 pm in


Yay! I’m being kidnapped by aliens while wearing a sports bra!

I’m the first to admit it. When it comes to dieting, weight loss, and exercise, I am all about the data.

I’m that girl who weighs herself every day… with an actual medical scale. I’m the person who obsessively researches every fat loss tracking tool, who owns three tape measures and even an “at home” set of body fat calipers (albeit still in the original plastic, because, seriously… who can use calipers by themselves??). I actually have my OWN MASK for VO2 testing, as if getting on a treadmill that is then cranked up to max elevation and speed is the kind of fun, whacky thing I plan to do on a regular basis.

In other words, I’m constantly in pursuit of the one technique, tool, measure or process that will keep me motivated to stay on my diet and exercise plan…while allowing me to obsessively track my progress along the way.

So, really, is it any wonder that I signed up for Bod Pod testing?

The Bod Pod is a high-tech machine that uses air displacement to calculate your body fat percentage, or the amount of fat in your body, exclusive from everything else (bones, muscles, water, etc.).

Basically, your body fat percentage is the how much your fat weighs in relation to your overall body weight. Example: you weigh 150 pounds. Out of that 150, you have 120 pounds of lean mass . . . those extra 30 pounds of fat equate to 20% body fat (30 / 150 = .20). For those playing along at home, you generally want to increase your amount of lean mass while decreasing your amount of fat.

While body fat calipers wielded by amateurs can yield wildly inaccurate and inconsistent results, and handheld body fat measuring devices can be notoriously touchy, the Bod Pod advertises 98% accuracy and, even more important, consistency over time. In addition, it beats the next most accurate tools to measure body fat, which involves underwater submersion or the equivalent of a CAT scan.

Clearly, the Bod Pod was something I had to have.

The process is simple:

  • You show up to your appointment wearing close-fitting clothing like an exercise bra (if you’re female), and tights (some locations have you don a swimmers cap). Then you are ushered into a room with a pod, which looks like the giant egg last seen on Mork & Mindy (high five if you remember that show).
  • Attendant opens the pod.
  • You climb in and sit down with your back against the back wall, and your feet flat on the floor.
  • Attendant closes the pod.
  • You smile like the woman in the picture above, gamely trying not to let claustrophobia get the best of you. Importantly, YOU HAVE OXYGEN WHILE IN THE POD, but this doesn’t mean that you still don’t feel like you’re about to get shot into space and abducted by aliens. You’ve been warned.
  • Five minutes later, the attendant opens the pod, makes sure you’re not hyperventilating, then recloses it to run the test again.
  • You get out, act like you are completely zen about nearly dying in a space pod, and get your results.

Usually at this point you are given a target body fat percentage, a few suggestions on how you might arrive at that happy state (assuming you’re not already there), and a pitch for personal training services (depending on the facility).

Then you are set free, clutching your documentation, flush with knowledge and the unstoppable urge to get super healthy.

Or at least, that’s the theory. As I launch my current push for health, I’m scheduling my second Bod Pod test… and hoping that the attendant is NOT the same woman who tested me the first time.

Because when I’m being abducted by aliens, I’m in no mood to be judged.

What about you? What tools and techniques do you use to measure fitness?


1 Comment


One response to “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”

  1. Jenn Stark says:

    UPDATE: I just completed my bod pod test on May 28. I will be scheduling another one in a month, and will report on the differences!

    And it was the same woman who tested me before. Her comment (bright and chipper): Well! You’ve gained weight!

    As if I’d be here otherwise?? 🙂

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