Inside the magic egg
A new, egg-shaped contraption proves that weighing scales don’t tell the whole story.
I've seen some wild contraptions, but the University of Minnesota might have the cutest. It has a Bod Pod a giant egg in which you sit to get your body fat measured. The $50,000 (₹23,50,000 approximately) machine uses something called Air Displacement Plethysmograph technology to quickly test a subject's body composition without the need to get wet, pinched or exhausted. With a whir and change in pressure, the white pod measures percentages of fat and non-fat and issues computer readings on lung volume and the resting metabolic rate — the number of calories needed each day to maintain a person's weight.
Measure your fitness
Luke Carlson, founder of the Discover Strength training firm in Plymouth, has incorporated an entire fitness training and results-based programme around the machine for his clients, saying too many people cling to the weight scale as their gold standard of fitness. "A scale only tells us half the story, because it measures just weight loss, but not exactly what we lost," Carlson said. "With the Body Comp program, each person will learn what their bodies need, right down to the number of calories to consume." The Bod Pod is mostly used for research and by the school's kinesiology students. But it's been available to the public since last spring for a fee — $25 (₹1,175 approximately) for students and staff and $40 (₹1,880 approximately) for others. However, groups can come in for one hour and pay a flat $100 (₹4,700 approximately) fee.
Discover Strength client Jenna Nelson, 21, was back last week for a second reading after two months of a strenuous workout programme that involved running, leg presses, triceps work and chin-ups. Before her training, she couldn't do one pull-up. Now she can lift her 112-pound frame three times unassisted. Egging yourself on Student lab coordinator Sarah Mork closed the egg's windowed hatch door, sealing Nelson inside. After three 50-second readings, Nelson sprang from the Bod Pod while Mork printed out her results. Nelson had lost nearly four pounds of fat and gained four pounds of muscle since September. Carlson peeked over. "The average person working out like crazy may lose weight. But she didn't lose any weight," he said, noting that Nelson's body composition changed instead. "This tells you whatever she's doing is working. And she'd never be able to assess that just on a scale."
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