Day 8 – The Bod Pod

1) The Bod Pod Experience

After making an educated guess in my previous post as to my body fat percentage, I became curious to see if I could find a method that would offer me an accurate answer to this question. I did a little research and came to the conclusion that the BodPod would best suit my need. I am not sure exactly how it functions, but according to its website it is the “practical gold standard” of body composition analysis. That’s good enough for me!

The closest location that offers this service is at Cal State Northridge at the Marilyn Magaram Center. I decide to schedule an appointment for the following day at lunchtime.

I am excited as I arrive on the CSUN campus for my appointment, but finding parking was a bitch and I was afraid that I was going to be late. I fortunately found parking and made my way to the second floor of Sequoia Hall. I met an undergraduate nutrition student named Francesca, who I soon found out would be performing the analysis.
After paying the fee, I get changed behind the blue blinds.

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I am instructed to get onto the scale.

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And then into the pod I go!

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I am required to remain absolutely still while the pod is operating. Little thumps of air come from behind. I remain calm and don’t move a milimeter.

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After getting out of the BodPod, Francesca prints out the results of my test. It says I am 21 percent body fat, way under my estimate. I am dumbfounded and confused. I ask Francesca if she is sure this is accurate. She assures me it is. I ask her if I look like someone who only has 21 percent body fat. She tells me that she normally performs these tests on athletic bodies and has no idea what the body fat percentage of someone with a body like mine might be. Okay, fine, fair enough. (I am silently jealous…she gets to work with college basketball players wearing only their underwear!)

I am still perplexed as I look at the results again.

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I remain confused the entire ride home, trying to rationalize such a low percentage. Maybe my thighs and legs are all muscle. I get back to the office and look at the result sheet one more time. I notice a curious mistake. Francesca has accidentally entered my height as 28 inches. I called Marilyn Magaram Center immediately and asked if an incorrect height would affect my results. “It would,” said the man who answered the phone. Fortunately, this turned out to be an easy mistake to correct. He would recalculate my body fat percentage with my proper height and then send me the corrected results ASAP.

I open the e-mail and look at the PDF. My jaw drops as I read the results:

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I was prepared for a number between 25% and 30%, but not 34.2%. It turns out I am much flabbier than I thought. To make matters worse, the bottom of the report reads:

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I am temporarily alarmed and concerned by the negative health ramifications such a rating presents. I acknowledge them and then immediately forget them. I am, after all, not so interested in being healthy as I am in appearing healthy.

2) Reassessing my Goals

At this point, my previous goals seemed a little far fetched. This alarming news forces me to reassess my goals.

I weighed in at 198 today. 67.7 pounds of pure fat. 130.3 pounds of muscle, water, bones and organs. I am going to make it my goal to lose about 30 pounds of body fat and gain 5 pounds of lean mass. That puts me at 173 pounds with 21.8% body fat.

Bod Pod. We will meet again!

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