By Alex Gross ’24
While awkwardly sitting in a pill-shaped capsule wearing nothing but your underwear and a hair cap, you can receive one of the most accurate body composition tests in the market today. The Bod Pod is widely regarded as the standard for body composition testing and has helped revolutionize the sports medicine industry, giving us a better understanding of body construction and what we can do to achieve a healthier body.
The Bod Pod measures the volume of the body via air displacement, and can therefore determine density. Using a prediction formula based on scientific research, the Bod Pod can very accurately predict your percentage of body fat and lean body mass.
The testing process consists of a 10 to 15-minute calibration mode just before the test, which consists of two sessions of less than a minute each. It is not recommended that a person eats or works out prior to the test as it can drastically skew the results.
Brophy students in Honors Anatomy and Physiology and Sports Medicine have the opportunity to learn how to use the Bod Pod and even administer their own tests. For the past 9 years, Body Technologies has lent Brophy the Bod Pod, budget cuts that took place last year.
Used across professional sports such as the NFL and MLB, the Bod Pod has changed how sports medicine doctors think about the body. By understanding that body composition goes beyond simply weight, athletes have been able to fine tune their bodies to achieve ideal measurements of muscle mass and body fat.
Though the Bod Pod is an ideal tool for athletes, Brophy’s program hopes to extend testing to benefit students who aren’t at their ideal level of fitness. Mr. Chris White says, “I wish we could reach more students who really need help or that may be in some unhealthy situations.”
Brophy’s testing program has been cut back drastically due to the pandemic, and is now on an e-mail based appointment schedule. Mr. White encourages all students to get tested and take advantage of the opportunity that Brophy is fortunate to have.
Though the industry has been quiet recently, developments continue to be made in the world of body composition testing. Interesting techniques include the Dual Energy Xray Absorptiometry (DEXA) Scan, which involves radiation for bone density and osteoporosis testing, or Bioelectrical Impedance, a quicker yet less accurate method for analyzing body mass.
The future of body composition testing could involve ultrasound technology, which has been utilized for diagnostic imaging. “Non-invasive, very quick, very easy… I think there’s gonna be cheaper, easier, quicker techniques,” said Mr. White, regarding what new developments could look like in the future.
Despite being over 20-years-old, the Bod Pod continues to be used for its accurate body composition tests throughout the medical field, whether it be at the NFL combine or in a freshman class at Brophy.