Body Composition


The BOD POD is an Air Displacement Plethysmograph which uses whole-body densitometry to determine body composition (fat and fat-free mass) in adults and children. It is a complete turnkey system based on the same gold standard operating principle as hydrostatic (or “underwater”) weighing, except that the BOD POD uses patented Air Displacement Plethysmography, instead of water, for highly accurate, fast, and safe results. The BOD POD also offers information on Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) and Total Energy Expenditure (TEE) as an optional component of every body composition test. This data is provided without requiring the subject to perform any additional testing maneuvers, and a complete assessment requires only about 5 minutes.

BOD POD Highlights:

  • Proven accuracy using whole-body density measurement
  • Uses a dedicated computer system with data management capability
  • Option to either directly measure a subject’s Thoracic Gas Volume (TGV), or use prediction equations
  • Provides information on fat and fat-free mass, Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR), and Total Energy Expenditure (TEE)
  • Fast test time (about 5 minutes)
  • Accommodates a wide range of populations
  • Excellent repeatability
  • Safe, non-invasive, and ideally suited for repeated testing
  • Simple and easy for both subject and operator. No special technician licenses are required
  • Mobile – System can be rolled to various locations

In comparison to other body composition assessment methods, the BOD POD’s air displacement plethysmography has eliminated the invasiveness of Dual Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry (DXA) as well as the difficulties associated with underwater submersion in hydrostatic weighing. This is why the BOD POD is considered the practical gold standard for body composition assessment. It can be used with most subject types, including special populations such as children, the elderly, the obese, and those with physical disabilities.

The roomy interior of the BOD POD accommodates a wide variety of human shapes and sizes, including those up to 7 feet tall and 550 pounds. This is because the unique egg-shaped design of the BOD POD maximizes interior space. This is why the BOD POD is used routinely for testing such a wide variety of subjects, including professional/collegiate athletes and sumo wrestlers! It’s also the exclusive body composition testing method of the NFL Scouting Combine.

The BOD POD’s precision, accuracy, and reliability have been validated through many independent research studies with various subject populations (see BOD POD Research), and in the field by leading universities, sports teams, fitness clubs, military organizations, and weight management centers.

How It Works

Body Fat Percentage will become a new standard for health in adults.
C. Everett Koop
Former Surgeon General

The BOD POD is the only patented testing device to offer Air Displacement Technology to determine body composition. In this convenient 5 minute test, the BOD POD accurately measures your lean mass and body fat percentages. User friendly and highly repeatable, the BOD POD provides the most accurate results on the market today.

Leading universities routinely use the BOD POD in their research programs. Now the NFL and Navy SEALS have added this device to their training and fitness programs. The most recent and well-known use of the BOD POD can be seen on the NBC hit show “The Biggest Loser.”

What To Expect

First, you are given a swim cap to wear (to compress your hair). Next, you are weighed and some basic identifying information is entered into the program. Then you step into the BOD POD and sit comfortably for three brief (40 second) measurements. Your results are printed out and that’s it – all done in less than five minutes!

How To Prepare

It is essential you wear approved form-fitting clothing for accurate results.

Acceptable clothing includes:

  • Spandex, Lycra, or other Speedo®-type swimsuit
  • Spandex or Lycra compression shorts and lightweight sports bra (no padding or wires)
  • Do not exercise within two hours prior to testing
  • Do not eat within two hours prior to testing
  • Use the restroom, if necessary, prior to testing

Over the years a number of methods have been developed to measure body composition. Until the BOD POD, all of these methods had drawbacks, such as being inaccurate, messy, difficult, requiring extensive training, or invasive.

In measuring body composition, it’s not only important what the result is, but also how you arrived at it. For example, let’s say you’re a woman with a skinfold or bioelectric impedance body fat measurement of 22%. At first glance it seems that you fall into a healthy body fat range. The problem is, since the error factor for both of these methods is up to +/-8%, this number could mean your actual body fat might be as low as 14% (risky – low body fat) or as high as 30% (borderline excess fat). Inaccurate information like this is no better than no information at all, and can be downright dangerous if being used to determine an appropriate diet and/or training program. This is why it’s so important to receive an accurate body composition assessment. It’s the only way to get the proper information necessary for making sensible decisions regarding nutrition and fitness programs.

Why is body composition important?

Body Composition is one of the best indicators of your health. Body composition (percent fat and lean) reflects the results of both physical activity and nutritional practices. Body weight alone can be very misleading. The scale cannot tell the difference between a pound of fat and a pound of muscle. Over time, people tend to gain fat and lose muscle without an obvious change in their weight. And, even though we need a certain amount of fat in our bodies to insure good health, excess body fat has been found to increase the risk of diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has now declared obesity an epidemic, with 66% of adult Americans either overweight or obese (having excess body fat). On the other hand, too little body fat can also pose a number of health risks, especially for women.

What is a Metabolism Assessment; and what does it tell me?

A Metabolism assessment provides information on the body’s “Metabolic Engine,” or caloric intake versus energy used. Metabolism assessments which include Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR)* and Total Energy Expenditure (TEE)**, along with an accurate body composition assessment, provide the information necessary to establish sensible health, weight management, and fitness goals.

Changes in RMR can be used to influence changes in your body composition. If you lose body fat and replace it with muscle, you should see a steady increase in your RMR – this is a good thing. Having your RMR monitored throughout a health, weight management, or physical performance program can help you track improvements in your muscle mass and optimize your fat loss and fitness/nutrition program strategy.

* Resting Metabolic Rate = The amount of calories required to maintain vital body functions (i.e., heart rate, brain function, breathing). It is the number of calories a person would burn if they were awake, but at rest all day.

**Total Energy Expenditure = The total amount of energy spent, on average, in a typical day.

After a Bod Pod test and consultation with Lean Healthy Life, we give you a printout which will include your body composition information, as well as your estimated RMR & TEE because we think it’s important for you know how many calories you burn in a day in addition to your body composition percentages.

How does the BOD POD compare with other body composition assessment techniques?

Body composition measurements from the BOD POD have been found to be equivalent (no statistically significant difference) to those obtained using 4-compartment model reference techniques. The BOD POD is also referred to as the “Practical Gold Standard” because testing is so easy and offers excellent repeatability.

How does the BOD POD measure body composition?

The BOD POD measures body composition by determining Body Mass and Body Volume. From these two variables, Body Density is computed and used with an equation to provide body composition information.

Body Mass is easily determined by the use of an accurate scale.

Body Volume is determined by applying the gas law (p1V1=p2V2), an expansion of Boyle’s Law, pV=c. Three steps are performed to determine Body Volume. First, the volume of the test chamber while empty is measured. Second, the volume of the test chamber with the calibration cylinder in it is measured. And third, the volume of the test chamber with the subject inside is measured. By subtraction, the volume of the subject is then determined.

Body Density is calculated using the Body Mass and Body Volume measurements, from which body composition is then computed.

How long does a BOD POD test take?

A complete test, including printed results, takes about 5 minutes.

How big of a person can fit in the BOD POD?

The BOD POD is designed to accommodate a wide variety of human shapes and sizes. Because of its generous-sized interior and oversized window, NFL and NBA teams, as well as sumo wrestlers use the BOD POD routinely without difficulty. The BOD POD can accommodate subjects up to 7 feet tall and 550 pounds.

Do clothing and/or hair affect BOD POD results?

Clothing, hair, jewelry, and eyeglasses can have a significant impact on the volume and mass measurements performed during a BOD POD test. Therefore, it is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT that all subjects tested in the BOD POD remove all jewelry and eyeglasses, and wear minimal, form-fitting clothing such as a Lycra® or Spandex® swimsuit during testing. Single-layer compression shorts and/or lightweight jog bras are also acceptable clothing (without padding or wires).

A swim cap must also be worn to compress any air pockets within the hair.

What should a subject expect during a BOD POD test?

Subject compliance for testing in the BOD POD is very simple. They need only to sit comfortably and quietly inside the BOD POD for the brief measurement period (no talking or laughing). Sounds relating to valves opening and closing may be heard, but most subjects are unaware of the slight pressure changes that take place during a BOD POD test. A few people have noted a feeling similar to that of moving from the first to second floor in an elevator.

Can subjects be tested in the BOD POD right after exercising or eating?

No. Subjects should wait at least two hours after exercising or eating, and always be in a completely relaxed state (normal breathing) when testing in the BOD POD.

How do I get my results and what do I do with them?

After the test we will offer a free consult with a Physician, review your health and fitness goals, share what a Physician does, and discuss your test results. Depending on your goals and test results we will discuss the best way to utilize the results to achieve your goals.

How long should I wait before scheduling my next test?

We have seen considerable changes in individuals in as little as 45-60 days, but it really depends on your goals. Discuss this with the Physician during your test session to decide when retesting makes sense.


How much does this health program cost?

Our programs prices vary. We offer a free consultation with one of our physicians to talk about your specific health goals. You can also qualify for a FREE Bod Pod Test by attending one of our weight loss classes held each week.

How long do I have to stay on this health program?

This is a two-part program. Initially, you will reach your target weight, then you will go into a maintenance phase where you’ll practice the healthy habits you have learned. Many clients choose to continue to order the meal replacements even after the maintenance phase because it’s so easy and convenient – and fits today’s busy lifestyles. However, the choice to continue is yours.

Do I have to prepare elaborate meals or store anything?

No. The program is designed to take the guesswork and hassle out of eating frequently. Pick out the items you like, take them with you and eat/drink them every 2-3 hours.

Can I have alcohol?

NO. Alcohol will slow the metabolism and take you out of the fat burning state. During your weight-loss phase, it’s highly recommended that you don’t consume alcohol. After you’ve reached your target weight and are in the “maintenance” phase – you’ll have a multitude of choices and options regarding your continued health. Alcohol consumption, on any level, is a personal choice.

How much weight can I expect to lose per week?

As long as you stick to the program, you could lose an average of 2 to 5 pounds per week. Men tend to lose a little more; women a little less (sorry ladies!). And remember, your weight-loss is directly related to how committed you are.

I have a friend, family member or business associate who would be interested in this health program. Can I refer them to you?

Yes. We’re happy to help anyone who is interested in living a healthier life. If you are one of our patients we will add a $25 credit to your account for each person you refer who joins the program. Just let us know who you’d like us to contact. If you prefer, send them to this website and they can contact us.

Does my Physician offer any online resources for me?

Yes. Our office can help you get setup with your interactive online resources. By signing-up, you’ll have access to tools designed to help you have even better success with the program. Tools include:

  • weight and measurement tracking system
  • library of articles
  • discussion boards
  • and more…

Is there exercise involved with this health program?

Yes. If you are currently exercising, it is recommended you cut back slightly for the first 3 to 4 weeks until your body adjusts to the new caloric intake. If you aren’t exercising, we will guide you in quality exercises that will get you started. You’ll want to incorporate an exercise program that gradually increases to build muscle tone and cardiovascular health.

If I am hungry, can I have snacks?


I am diabetic (type 2 diabetes). Can I do this?

Yes. There is a program for diabetics. This is very important information to communicate to our office.. We’ll also recommend you consult your doctor regarding the program and potential changes in your medication. For many of our Type 2 Diabetics they have been able to lose the weight and stabilize blood sugar. With the help of their primary physicians they were able to reduce and eliminate their medication.

I am on medications. Do I stop taking them?

NNo. Consult with your doctor about the medications and the effect that losing weight will have on dosages. This is very important information to communicate to me. Most clients find that within a couple of weeks – dosages usually get lowered on many medications due to the success of the program.

I am pregnant. Can I do this?

No. You can our meal replacements to supplement your diet, but the caloric needs of an expecting mother are higher and it is not recommended to be on the program for weight loss at this time.

I am over age 70, can I do this?

Yes. There is an option designed specifically for people over 70. The caloric needs are different for this age group and must be addressed differently.

I have had laproscopic gastric band (lap-band) or gastric bypass surgery, can I do this?

Yes. Many clients have experienced a weight-loss plateau even after having these procedures. This program is designed using small meals that are perfectly balanced to allow for continued weight loss, safely and effectively.