Before I made the decision to reboot my body and my mind and make a lifestyle out of fit and healthy, I weighed 220 pounds. I was in the 22%+ body fat percentage category but sadly I didn’t have it measured. I do know that my BMI stated that I was obese. I also didn’t take any measurements — I basically didn’t do anything you’re supposed to do before starting a program like this.

The first thing I tell my Total Body Reboot clients now is to get their blood tested and — if possible — get a BodPod test done. The problem with body fat percentage is that there are many ways to calculate it and not all of them are as accurate as you’d like. Some of the more accurate tests are very expensive or require a lot of effort to have done. That’s where the BOD POD comes in.

Body fat percentage is a key indicator of progress.

The bathroom scale is the sacred cow of weight loss programs and all progress is based on the magical “weigh in.”

Where bathroom scales are concerned, I recommend the Reagan mantra of trust but verify.

Sure, the scale can be useful. But it doesn’t tell you a lot. Did you lose 10 pounds of fat or 10 pounds of muscle? One outcome is desirable, the other is not. Did your weight stay the same, yet you lost inches? That’s another common occurrence.

All available tools should be used  to verify progress, including: weight, measurements, observation (photos), and body fat percentage.

When you go to have body fat percentage calculated and they tell you the actual percentage of fat lost and what your lean muscle mass amounts to, you can be sure that you’re moving in the right direction. In between body fat calculations, measurements and pictures can help you the most. The scale can be a final check as long as you know that it’s not telling you the whole story.

Enter the BOD POD — A fast, easy, safe, and inexpensive way of accurately measuring body fat.

Here’s a quick rundown on the BOD POD. Note that it’s useful for a few other things besides body fat percentage:

The BOD POD Body Composition System uses the relationship between pressure and volume to derive the body volume of a subject seated inside its fiberglass chamber. Derivation of body volume, together with measurement of body mass, permits calculation of body density and subsequent estimation of percent fat and fat-free mass. This method is called Air-displacement plethysmography.

With the BOD POD, you’ll experience none of the risks and discomfort associated with underwater submersion, x-rays, electrical current, and pinching. During testing, you just sit inside the BOD POD for less than 3 minutes. When your test is complete, you will receive a comprehensive report, complete with graphs, which includes: Non-fat Mass, Body Fat, Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR), Total Energy Expenditure (TEE), and Your Optimal Caloric Intake per Day.

Easy right? I’ve personally verified that it is.

My BOD POD experience was just as advertised.

I made an appointment earlier this week for a BOD POD test at a High Intensity Training center near my home. They scheduled me for this morning at 9am. You’re instructed not to eat or drink anything within 2 hours of the test, nor should you workout. I complied with their recommendations and arrived at 9am. I was done and paid by 9:15. Total cost: $35.

So what were the results? My current weight is 162 lbs (from a high of 220) and my body fat percentage is 12% (previously in the 20%+ range). My goal is to be at 9% by my 30th birthday (July) with a moderate increase in muscle mass.

As with all things in life, there’s an error margin of a couple percentage points. For this reason, I recommend that if you get your body fat tested with the BOD POD that you continue to use the BOD POD going forward. And if you test with any other method to continue to use that method so your results are consistent. While the actual percentage may be one or two points in either direction, the change between percentages from one test to another should have almost zero error margin — in that sense, it’s extremely accurate.

This is the first time I’ve ever had my body fat percentage calculated and I’m glad I got it done — I just wish I had done it back when I was 220. I’ll be going back in July to find out if I hit my goal.

Find a BOD POD testing location in your area…

Here’s a locator tool for the BOD POD testing centers. It doesn’t seem to work if you put in your home address, so just put in your city and use the map from there to find the closest center.

Have you had your body fat percentage calculated with the BOD POD? Tell us your experience and results!

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