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20 September 2012

Advanced body composition reader available for $10 fee

Bod Pod at the Wellness Center. Nicholas Gangemi // Contributing Photographer

The Wellness Center is always looking for the latest in fitness technology. After last year’s full makeover brought in brand new machines, the Wellness Center has now added another state-of-the-art tool called the Bod Pod.

“The Bod Pod gets closer to recording actual body composition than anything we’ve ever had,” said Tony Musto, associate director of fitness programs. “Skin folds are useful for recording change but not much more, and the process, using caliper pinchers, is more painful. Underwater weighing is effective, but very difficult to do.”

The Bod Pod uses a two-step process to get results. First, the participant steps onto a scale to record his or her body weight into a computer attached to the machine. Second, he or she steps into the Bod Pod and the machine begins working.

The device already knows how much air is inside the chamber so when the participant steps in and displaces air, it can measure his or her body volume by seeing how much air was displaced. Once it has a person’s body volume and weight, it can calculate body composition. For the most accurate results, participants wear tight-fitting underwear and put on a swim cap. This minimizes any added volume on the body, which would skew the results.

The Bod Pod is an egg-shaped chamber with one seat and not much breathing room. Once inside, the machine hums for a few seconds. The test is over after a few moments inside but is repeated three times to ensure accurate results.

“The process is not very complicated,” Musto said. “It is also a very quick test. We can do about four individuals every 20 minutes or so.”

The Bod Pod is already helping some varsity athletes improve. The women’s and men’s basketball players have already gotten their body density results, which will help coaches and trainers develop conditioning and strength programs for each specific player. For example, depending on the results, a player may need to do more cardio or weight training.

Students can find out their body density and body fat for a $10 fee. For a slightly higher fee, even non-members can take advantage of the Bod Pod.

Similar to the athletes, students’ results can help them figure out not only what workouts to do but how to change their diets to lose weight. The new technology has some students eager to improve their fitness.

“I’ve done skin folds test before and it isn’t fun,” said sophomore Max Schlesinger, a Wellness Center employee. “So I would love to try out the Bod Pod so I can change my diet and workout plan without the hassle.”

Some students are just curious to see what the machine is all about.

“I hadn’t really heard about it before,” sophomore Brock Reich said. “I would probably do it, just to see how that machine works.”

Musto, one of the individuals responsible for bringing the Bod Pod to Miami, thinks utilizing the new piece of equipment should be a no-brainer for students.

“You get the most accurate body density results possible from a $32,000 machine for $10,” he said. “Whether you’re an athlete or not, that’s a deal.”

To use the Bod Pod, students and members can go upstairs to the Wellness suite and sign up or call the Wellness Suite at 305-284-5433. It cost $10 for students, $35 for members, and $50 for non-members. Bod Pod testing is by appointment only.