Let the Bod Pod tell you what you're made of

Bod Pod
Bod Pod

The Bod Pod has become a regional draw.

The Bod Pod is a gold standard body composition tracking system rarely available to the public. UMKC’s Wellness Center makes one available to its entire community.

“We are one of four places listed on the website, www.bodpod.com/clients/locator, that has a Bod Pod in Missouri,” said Alison Kramer, Swinney Recreation Center wellness coordinator. “Other places might have one, but not for public use. It might be in their athletic department, and only athletes might use it.”

The Bod Pod tells you how much fat your body has and estimates the minimum calorie intake your body needs for different activity levels.

“It’s a really quick procedure,” Kramer said. “No more than five minutes, and it gives you a printout (a test result sheet) at the end, showing you your body fat percentage and your lean mass percentage.”

The Bod Pod has an airtight testing cabin, which measures air displacement within the cabin to determine the body volume of the person sitting in it. Then, it calculates the body density using the person’s mass (weight) and volume. Finally, it takes into account the person’s gender, age and height and analyzes the body fat and the lean mass composition.

Lean mass includes muscle, water, bone, internal organs and anything besides fat. Healthy lean mass may prevent conditions such as osteoporosis. But excess fat or low levels of fat may pose health risks, according to the Bod Pod test results sheet.

The Bod Pod earned the gold standard label for its accuracy. This label identifies testing methods, which provide highly accurate results. An alternative to the Bod Pod is underwater weighing.

“Underwater weighing is (also) considered the gold standard for measuring body fat, but you have to be completely underneath the water,” Kramer said. “The Bod Pod is noninvasive. It’s very quick. You’re not having to get under water, you just have to sit in the chamber.”

Bod Pod

Bod Pod users strip down to their underwear and sit inside an egg-shaped chamber that gives a comprehensive body composition analysis.

Kramer said to get an accurate measurement, a person must abstain from food and exercise two hours before testing.

“Some people feel a little bit of pressure in their ears, like if you are going on an elevator or on an airplane,” Kramer said. “But all the person does is sit there, breathe normally and relax.”

The time in the chamber consists of three 40-second tests.

“You’re not in there for very long, and we open the door between the tests,” Kramer said. “There is also a cancel test button in there, so if you feel uncomfortable you can hit it and you can open the door.”

People use the body fat analysis for different reasons. Some want to lose weight, others need to maintain it.

“The Bod Pod helps them track their progress,” Kramer said.

“We’ve also had people that are very fit,” Kramer said. “I had someone come in that was going to train for a triathlon and he wanted to keep his body fat pretty persistent. So he would come in often to check it.”

Tracking body fat changes is a highly accurate way of monitoring a healthy body, Kramer explained.

“You have to keep in mind that when you are working out and you are building muscle, muscles weigh more than fat,” Kramer said. “People might be toning up, but they are not losing weight because they are replacing the fat with muscle. So instead of watching the numbers on your scale change, you’re watching your body fat percentage change.”

Kramer uses the Bod Pod to track the fitness progress of Swinney’s clients, but the technology is available to everyone.

“It’s for anyone, students, members here, community members,” Kramer said. “I’ve had people drive from Lawrence to come and use it, because we are the closest place for them to go.”

The test costs $35, but the center also offers discounted packages.

“And we run specials every so often,” Kramer said. “Right now, it’s the Back-to-School special that costs students only $10.”



  1. Rick Wilson

    April 3, 2017 at 1:01 PM

    I get a test every 3 months since I started strength training again. My weight has increased 10lbs over the last 10 months but my % body fat has dropped 2%. Also i find the RMR (resting metabolic rate) number provided to be a most helpful baseline for managing daily caloric input for Weight and Composition maintenance.

    At age 68, i feel like I am back in control of my weight, fitness and composition, thanks to the BOD POD.

  2. Benjamin J Bieker

    December 24, 2019 at 8:51 AM

    Who do I contact at UMKC to get this done if I’m not a student and live in Lawrence?

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