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AWC provides helpful, healthful road map

By Julie Fiedler | 1ST INF. DIV. POST | July 21, 2014

I feel like Bane from “The Dark Knight Rises.”

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 exhaled.

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 my health.

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 evacuation capsule.

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 health.

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 data.

More importantly, I had a plan.

For more information or to schedule an AWC appointment, call 785-239-9355.

Tag fitness   Tag Fitness Assessment   Tag Wellness Center