Have a question about the BOD POD?  Below should answer any question you might have.  

Q: What is the BOD POD?

A: The BOD POD is a Body Composition Analysis machine.  It measures your Body Fat and Fat Free Mass to a 99.9% accuracy rate.  It is also used for estimating Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) and Total Energy Expenditure (TEE). 


Q: What does the BOD POD do?

A: It determines body density by measuring your body mass and volume with the use of a scale for mass (weight) and volume (with the use of air pressure) from the BOD POD.  The end result estimates the amount of fat and lean tissue in the body.


Q: How long does a scan take?

A: You will be sitting inside the BOD POD® cabin for about 3 minutes. However, during that time, the door will be opened and closed between two 50-second trials. Total time including goal setting and reviewing the results is approximately 10 to 15 minutes.


Q: Does it hurt, or is it uncomfortable?

A: No, there is no discomfort when using the BOD POD.  A person simply sits inside, like they would sit on a chair, and the machine does all the work.   The person does not feel anything.


Q: Do I need to do anything special before getting a BOD POD Scan?

A: Yes, to get the most accurate reading, it is very important that a person not exercise, eat or drink 2 hours before their scan.  A few sips of water is ok, but drinking a gallon is not.  Also, men should wear or bring a speedo or tight fitting boxer briefs, and females should wear or bring a bathing suit, or underwear and a bra/sports bra with no padding or underwire. 


Q: How accurate is the BOD POD?

A: Research studies in all major universities have established the outstanding accuracy, safety, and speed of the BOD POD.  Before the BOD POD, the most acceptable method was underwater weighing (the “dunk tank”).  BOD POD and underwater weighing usual agree within 1% body fat for adults and children.  Other methods, such as skin fold calipers, bioelectric impedance, and dual energy x-ray absorptiometry, have been shown to be much less accurate.  BOD POD accuracy is also increased because of its easy test process.


Q: What BOD POD test—retest variation can be expected?

A: Research studies have shown the BOD POD to be very precise, with average test-retest variations within 2% of body fat.  Therefore, a small test-retest variation is normal.  Compliance with BOD POD test protocol will also ensure the accuracy and precision of the measurement, so it’s important to be relaxed, still, and avoid talking and coughing during the test.


Q: What is Body Fat?

A: A certain amount of fat is absolutely necessary for good health. Fat plays an important role in protecting internal organs, providing energy, and regulating hormones.  The minimal amount of “essential fat” is approximately 3-5% for men, and 12-15% for women.  If too much fat accumulates over time, health may be compromised.


Q: What is Fat Free Mass?

A: Fat free mass is everything except fat. It includes muscle, water, bone, and internal organs.  Muscle is the “metabolic engine” of the body that burns calories (fat) and plays an important role in maintaining strength and energy.  Healthy levels of fat-free mass contribute to physical fitness and may prevent conditions such as osteoporosis.


Q: What is Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR)?

A: Your RMR (kcal/day) represents the minimum energy your body needs to support its basic physiological functions, including heartbeat, breathing, maintaining body temperature, and all of the numerous biochemical reactions required to keep you alive.  In essence, it is the amount of energy that the body uses at rest.  Your daily Total Energy Expenditure (TEE, kcal/day) consists of three components: RMR, Physical Activity, (PA), and Thermic Effect of Food (TEF).  Of these three, RMR is the largest contributing component of TEE at around 60-70%.


Q: How can I find my RMR?

A: Due to the strict protocol and technical difficulties associated with obtaining an accurate measurement of RMR, prediction equations have been developed to estimate RMR based on parameters more easily measured.  Research studies indicate that prediction equations which account for both fat and fat-free mass provide the most accurate estimates of RMR.  Therefore, the equation of Nelson et al (AM J Clin Nutr 56:848-56, 1992), which includes accurately measured fat-free and fat mass as predictors, will provide a reliable and accurate estimation of your RMR.  This equation is also useful in tracking changes and estimated RMR that occur with a change in either fat-free or fat mass.


Q: Why do I need to know my RMR?

A: Most of us understand that weight management depends upon the energy balance equation: the amount of energy you put into your body (your caloric intake) versus the amount of energy you expend (your TEE).  The way you lose body fat is to maintain a negative energy balance.  This is accomplished by reducing caloric intake, increasing TEE or, preferably, a combination of both.  Your RMR is dependent primarily on the fat-free part of your body, and accounts for the vast majority of your TEE.  So, to improve your overall fitness, it is critical to know your RMR. 

Q: Are there restrictions regarding RMR and TEE?

A: Yes, estimated RMR or TEE should not be used for children under the age of 18 years old, pregnant or lactating women, or individuals in which metabolism may be affected by disease or medication.


Q: How do I lose my excess body fat?

A: The most effective way to shed excess fat is to combine sensible exercise with healthy dietary choices.  Research shows this to be the most successful approach in the long run.  Keep in mind that each pound of fat has a caloric value or 3,500 calories.  If you combine 250 calories worth of exercise each day, along with reducing your food intake by 250 calories, this will add up to a 500 calorie-per-day deficit.  Over seven days, you would lose a pound of fat.  However, you should never consumer less than 1,200 calories per day, and you should consult your physician before beginning any weight loss and/or exercise program.


Q: What is a safe weight loss and muscle gain goal?

A: Research shows that losing 1-2lbs of fat per week and 1% body fat per month is a safe and effective long term weight loss/muscle gain goal.


Q: How do I increase my lean muscle mass?

A: The best way to increase muscle is through resistance training.  Healthy and vigorous muscles are consistent with good health, as muscles support the activity of the body and burn calories. 


Q: How can the BOD POD be used in my weight loss program?

A: Consider working with a trained health care or fitness professional.  They can review your BOD POD test results and design a program to help you achieve your goals.  Be sure to retest in the BOD POD regularly so you will know if your progressing towards your goal!


Q: Are there any age-specific body fat standards?

A: Research has shown that a moderate, natural increase in body fat with age occurs in many individuals.  To account for this natural increase, % fat values provided in the body fat rating table on the BOD POD test print-out sheet should be viewed as recommendations for adults 18 years and older, the values being adjusted upwards by possible 3-5% fat for older adults.