Editor's note: The recreational sports department will be giving free BOD POD assessments Sept. 10-13, from 9 to 11 a.m. in McComas Hall. Pre-registration is not available; appointments are on a first-come, first served during the dates and times listed.

“It’s simple, very efficient, and very accurate,” said Edward T. Selian of Concord, Mass., a junior majoring in university studies. In just three 40-second sessions, the egg-shaped BOD POD in McComas Hall measures body composition and resting metabolic rate.

“We are pleased to provide this service to all our students rather than just student-athletes,” said Alison Cross, assistant director of fitness and assessment for the Department of Recreational Sports. explaining that BOD PODS are typically found only in athletic or academic departments.

The Virginia Tech Department of Athletics has had a BOD POD for many years. After students repeatedly asked for a test, the recreational sports department and the athletic department partnered together to do a series of studies comparing the BOD POD and skin fold testing. After realizing how accurate the BOD POD was in comparison with skin fold testing and body mass index (BMI) measurements, the recreational sports department purchased their BOD POD in December of 2011.

Cross said the BOD POD has greatly benefited the recreational sports department and has allowed for numerous educational opportunities for individuals who are interested in testing to learn more about their own health. “It allows us to stay a leader in campus recreation,” Cross said.

The BOD POD measures body composition, which refers to the how much of a person is made up of fat mass and how much is made up of lean mass like muscles, tendons, and bones. “Learning body composition tells you much more information about your health,” Cross said. 

“The skin fold testing allows you to measure subcutaneous fat only,” Cross said. “This is not a full picture of body fat and visceral fat can be extremely dangerous.  As many conditions and health problems are associated with obesity, it is important to know your numbers accurately.”

Cross also said that with BOD POD test results, users can manipulate diet and exercise to better serve their individual needs. “If an individual is aware of their body fat and lean body mass, it is more likely they will seek out programs and services that will aid them in creating a healthy lifestyle,” Cross said.

Students and faculty have been pleased with the ease and results of their BOD POD tests. “This information will be useful to me because I am not really interested in losing weight, but in building lean mass,” said Aubrey A. Baker of Muskegon, Mich., a graduate student studying human factors in industrial and systems engineering in the College of Engineering.  “We all know muscle weighs more than fat, so you can't just look at a scale and know how you are progressing.”

Many students said the BOD POD is a great way for them to assess their fitness levels. “I think it's a great tool for anybody who likes to see numbers that correlate with their health and fitness progress,” Baker said. “It also targets areas you may need to work out, which could be helpful to the trainers or people looking to try to help themselves.”

Outside of Virginia Tech, the reaction to the BOD POD has also been positive. Dr. Logan Brooke of the Tuck Chiropractic Clinic in Blacksburg,Va., said he has increased his cardiovascular exercise and decreased processed foods as a result of his BOD POD test. “All students, faculty, and staff should know this number,” Brooke said. “Everyone should have this performed.”

The BOD POD is offered to Virginia Tech faculty, students, and members of the community. Recreational sports offer a few different fitness assessment options, and Virginia Tech patrons are given access at a reduced rate. The recreational sports department will be giving free BOD POD assessments Sept. 10-13, from 9 to 11 a.m. in McComas Hall.



Written by Logan Hooks of Spartanburg, S.C., a senior majoring in communication in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences.