I feel like Bane from “The Dark
That’s what popped into my
mind as I lay down with a mask on my face at the Army Wellness Center. Each
breath I took registered on a machine to measure gases as I inhaled and
It’s a fancy machine, state
of the art, used to determine my resting metabolic rate – one of several
assessments available at the wellness center.
In the spirit of improving
my health, I signed up for three assessments: metabolic, fitness and body composition.
All are offered free.
This particular test would
give me an idea of how many calories my body burns in a day. From there, I could
figure out how many calories I’d need to consume to lose weight. Rather, Andrew
Hudson, health educator, AWC, would figure it out.
Hudson was my guide for the
morning, walking me through the assessments, letting me know what to expect
from each one, how to interpret the results and changes I could make to improve
Truth be told, I had
dreaded the appointment. After all, who chomps at the bit to hear bad news? I
know I’m a bit doughier than I want to be. I know I should eat better and exercise
more. I said as much in the self-assessment I completed before my visit.
But perhaps, I told myself,
some cold, hard data might help motivate me.
So, I put my ego aside and
made for the BOD POD.
Donning a skin tight sports
bra, biker shorts and swim cap (I know – hot), I entered what looked like a spaceship’s
This was the BOD POD, which
uses air displacement to calculate one’s volume and density to determine percentages
of fat, lean muscle and more.
As I stepped into the pod,
I was apprehensive, but the test couldn’t have been easier.
You just sit there. Each
run through of the assessment only takes about 30 seconds. There are some light
popping noises and you’re done. There is also a large window in the machine to
keep you from feeling claustrophobic.
Then, Hudson and I reviewed
my results, discussed my self-assessment and talked about my overall goals.
Far from a finger-wagging,
“you oughta do this,” our discussion was frank, yet refreshing. Hudson listened
to my personal challenges and together we brainstormed a few simple, concrete
solutions Icould easily incorporate into my routine.
Next, we started my
metabolic testing with the Bane mask. As I listened to the whir that sounded
with each breath I took, I had a second thought. I was more like Darth Vader.
For this test, all I had to
do was lie down, breath normally into the mask and play on my smartphone for 15
minutes. Piece of cake.
I took a quick Snapchat selfie
with “Luke, I am your father” written on it and relaxed.
Afterwards Hudson led me to
another cubicle where he conducted a fitness assessment.
A few minutes on a
treadmill or stationary bike, some easy strength tests and a nice stretch are
all that are required for this test.
Then we went over my final
two results for the metabolic and fitness assessments.
There were a few things I already
knew, some pleasant surprises as well as a real wakeup call. How on earth could
I be considered borderline “very poor” on cardio-respiratory fitness? Tight
pants and vanity aside, my biggest takeaway was that I needed to improve my heart’s
Throughout my appointment, Hudson
was a wealth of information. Sometimes it was a lot to take in. I kept nodding
my head, thinking I’d never remember all of it. Fortunately, he provided test results
of everything he had gone through as well as some resources to check out on my own
time. He encouraged me to make a follow-up appointment in 30 days at which point
any of the assessments could be administered again to track my progress.
Coming away from my visit,
I had more than a vague notion of what my overall health was like. I had cold, hard
More importantly, I had a
For more information or to
schedule an AWC appointment, call 785-239-9355.