Inside the Bod Pod: Fast, Easy and Accurate


Gym members know that gyms are always extra crowded in January. The combination of New Years’ Resolutions and specially priced gym membership fees means that there are a lot of new faces surrounding the cardio equipment and weight machines.

In addition to reduced rates, many gyms offer body fat composition analysis to new members including digital body fat analyzation tools and the skinfold caliper. One of the newest and most accurate body fat testing methods is the Bod Pod.

The Bod Pod uses air displacement technology and is considered to be the gold standard of body composition measurement. It is as accurate as hydrostatic (underwater) weighing, but quicker and easier to perform. The range of error for this test is ± 1 to 2.7 percent. Bod Pod testing is completed in three minutes and results are immediate.

Since body composition is one of the key indicators of overall health, it is a good idea to have yours tested and the accuracy and ease of the Bod Pod makes it an attractive option. Fit Metrics, a leader in the body composition tracking industry, offered to sit down with Chicago Athlete to show us how the process works.

Dan Bergeson, owner of Fit Metrics not only oversees all of the equipment located in their Libertyville based testing studio, but he also ensures that every Bod Pod client receives an accurate body composition reading, eliminating any variable that has the potential for interference. Because loose clothing can increase volume, Fit Metrics ask you to wear a swimsuit or spandex clothing for the test and to refrain from physical activity and food or drink two hours prior to the session.

I expected that my Bod Pod test would be uncomfortable and lengthy, but I was completely wrong. The spaceship-like, pod-shaped device stood in the corner of the room with a small interior seat and large window, providing a clear view of the room and preventing a claustrophobic effect. Dan administered the test and stood near the Bod Pod the entire time, talking me through the process.

Once the Bod Pod was closed, I heard a small pop and several gusts of air as the pressure changed inside of the pod. The effect was much like riding on an airplane or elevator. After 45 seconds, the pod door opened and then closed again, repeating that same procedure three times. Once finished, I exited the pod and my results were instantly printed out.

I figured that I would be given the results and would be left to interpret them on my own; however I was incredibly wrong as Dan proceeded to walk me through all of the numbers and percentages. “If we don’t explain the science and reasoning behind the test results, it is a meaningless number,” stated Dan, stressing that all of the testing services are crafted to the individual. “We recommend testing every three months to monitor your individual progress and whether your goals are being met. We make recommendations based on the quarterly test numbers.”

Dan explained what the body fat and body mass percentages meant and how they converted to an individual’s weight. We then talked about what normal ranges were and what was healthy for someone my age, height, weight and gender. The Bod Pod was also able to calculate my resting metabolic rate, or number of calories burned while my body is at rest.

Fit Metrics not only presents this numerical information, based on the Bod Pod test, but an individual consultant discusses daily caloric needs based on your personal activity level and overall goals. “One pound of fat has the caloric value of 3,500 calories,” Burgeson explained, “So to lose one pound, we would look at your caloric intake for the week in combination with your physical activity and create a plan to help you achieve your overall goal.”

The Bod Pod is a remarkable tool for anyone looking for a healthy body management plan but it is especially important for athletes, who are looking to burn fat without losing muscle. This test is the precise indicator to show if fat loss is being achieved without compromising muscle mass.

A healthy diet and exercise are the keys to well-being. However, I now believe there is a component missing in this formula. Without accurate knowledge of your body composition, there is no way to measure what your health truly is. I urge our readers to obtain a body composition test to assess overall health, rather than stepping on the scale or utilizing a tape measure.

You can schedule a Bod Pod appointment with Fit Metrics on their website

A true human performance lab, Fit Metrics offers human performance testing including Body Composition Tracking with the Bod Pod including Fat Percent – Lean Percent Analysis, Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR), VO2 Max, Lactate Threshold, Calories per Hour – Metabolic Efficiency and Video Analysis with Motion View. Fit Metrics is housed at CrossFit Freedom in Libertyville, an easy-to-find fitness facility with a great group of athletes and a plentiful café. Although its home is in Libertyville, the Bod Pod is completely mobile in a stunning trailer that can house the Bod Pod, a treadmill for the CO2 test and even a changing facility.

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Mandi has been running for over 25 years and has participated in the Chicago, Detroit, and Boston Marathons. Mandi regularly competes in regional events and enjoys being a part of several running groups including CARA and the Badgerland Striders. She is a co-host on the Ten Junk Miles podcast and looks forward to hosting the Chicago Athlete Podcast. An RRCA certified coach and Les Mills certified instructor, Mandi is also a coach with Chicago Athlete Coaching. Mandi is a local government attorney by weekday and race warrior by weekend.


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