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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Body Fat 101

The To Be Continued Corrective actions are going to be discussed in another post.  Today we moved on to body fat.

Have you ever had your body fat tested?  This goes on my list of favorite things of all time.  Seriously.  Who doesn't love some skinny trainer at the gym taking your roll(s)(s)(s) of fat and pinching them with a set of calipers?  Humbling for some.  Embarrassing for others.  

For me, well, mostly I just feel squishy.  Then I'm over it. 

Having your body fat tested can be a good indicator of how healthy you are.  For me, body fat is another way for me to track my progress and success.  In addition to weight and body size measurements, I'll keep track of my (hopefully) diminishing body fat percentages.

"Excess fat has been linked to numerous health problems such as increased risk for diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.  Having excess fat, especially surrounding the internal organs, can damage your health and contribute to serious medical conditions such as liver disease."  For a good description about what body fat is, click here:

I've had my body fat taken at the gym several times.  These tests confirmed what I had been suspecting: I'm still squishy.  And calipers don't get washed between squeezing's.   Try not to think about how many people they have been used on.  *shudder.*  Panis Party!

One non-invasive way to get your body fat tested is at the Bod Pod at The University of Utah.  This is a machine that uses air pressure to measure your body fat and correlates it to your height and weight.  I had this test performed on me about four years ago and knew what to expect.  

For the test, men strip down to a pair of biker shorts (ladies can wear a swim suit) and you apply a swim cap on your hair.  Then you step on the scale to be weighed.  Then you sit in the Bod Bod for a few rounds of tests.  (Butch-looking Bod Pod operator, optional.)  You can hear the machine whir and click as the air pressure changes inside as readings are taken.  When you emerge from the test you can pretend you are Mork from Ork emerging from the egg.  (Ok, that really dates me.)  How about Lady Gaga instead?

Bod Pod.jpg

Here are my results.  I'm 36.3% fat.  Just about 94 pounds of jiggle.  That's a lot of fat on my 6-foot frame.

So where does that put me on a scale of healthy to not so much?  Well, the big BOLD purple X points out that I'm fat.  No surprise.  Am I healthy?  Sure.  Over the next few months I'd love to be in the Moderately Lean category.

I plan to return every few months to get tested so I can measure my progress.  You do have to fill out a bunch of paperwork and release forms.  I always check 'Yes' to the question of if they can use my results in research.  Of course--because it is for Science!!  (And I've been in the same spot as a former grad student needing people to submit data for my course work.  Help a brother out and say 'yes' as well!)  

Tests are $25 for non-U students/employees by appointment only.  If you want to schedule your own test, contact the University of Utah PEAK Health and Fitness at 801-585-7325.


  1. Fancy and science-y! Much better than those dumb calipers.

  2. Very cool. I was going to go up there and get my RMR tested, maybe I'll throw in a body fat test too if it's only $25. I've done the biometric handheld/scales before and I think they're way off for me. Usually 32-33%. Calipers have me at 26%. That's a big difference.

  3. Cool! The last time I did a body fat test was in high school with calipers. I've already called to set up an appointment to do the BodPod test.

  4. Fancy! And interesting.

    I must add, I'm a big fan of Mork from Ork!