Review of the Bod Pod from Ki Performance

Last week Ki Performance, the company behind the Ki Fit activity tracker, invited me to Urban Retreat in Harrods to try out their latest product, the Bod Pod.

What is the Bod Pod?

The Bod Pod measures your body composition to check body fat levels and lean mass. The Bod Pod itself is a pressurised chamber (or pod) that calculates your body’s fat percentage and lean mass through Air Displacement Plethysmography technology (think along the lines of Archimedes and his eureka moment, but with air instead of a bath tub).

While you may find scales on the market that can do this, the Bod Pod offers a level of accuracy that is unmatched by the Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis method used in such scales (basically, an electrical current passing through your body is still not as good as the old fashioned Archimedes method).

You certainly pay for the level of accuracy though, and the Bod Pod will cost you £100 a session – that is the same price that you could purchase a pair of WiFi scales that measure body fat % too.

But unlike the scales, it is the level of accuracy, the detail report with consultancy on ways to improve and the ongoing support from Ki Performance that make it worth it. Plus, it is what the athletes use, so if you have the money for a premium product and don’t mind the hordes of tourists in Harrods, its the ideal product.

How did the session go?

The session was very quick and painless. Urban Retreat does exactly what it says on the tin and is a pleasant hidden floor within Harrods where those pesky tourists shan’t be bothering you – the lifts don’t even go to the floor!

The session lasted around 30 minutes, from start to finish and the staff were very friendly and polite. It is also worth noting at this point that you can’t eat or drink 2 hours before the session (although water is fine), or do any vigorous exercise 48 hours prior to the assessment as this affects the results.

The session begins by answering a couple of questions about yourself; age, activity levels etc. Then you get measured, taking the following data:

  • Height
  • Weight
  • Waist Circumference
  • Hip Circumference
  • Thigh Circumference
  • Mid-thigh Circumference
  • Arm Circumference

The measurements are essential to calculating the body fat % versus lean mass %. The next step is then to enter the Bod Pod itself for three tests, for a more reliable result. Each test requires you to sit in the Bod Pod, lid closed, for around 30 seconds while a woman explains what is happening and why the strange sounds and changing air pressure sensations surround you. As it’s only 30 seconds, it is fine; but if you are claustrophobic it may not be for you.

And that is it. You get dressed, head on home and wait for the report to come through. This comes the next day and is a PDF document which includes all your measurements, your accurate body fat % and your lean mass %. You will be benchmarked against others of your age and gender, as well as given guidance on whether this is good or bad.

You will also be advised on how your current body type affects your risk of related diseases. It’s a necessary shock to the system for some and a reassurance for others. Either way, it is information we should all know or be trying to find out.

The bulk of what matters is the personalised assessment and consultancy from the Ki Performance adviser, who will of course suggest you wear the Ki Fit, but also offer other perfectly useful advice that has nothing to do with selling their product and is completely tailored to your discussed goals.

Is it worth it?

For £100 a session, it isn’t cheap. However, I am a firm believer that our health isn’t something we should scrimp on, and while in a perfect world this kind of assessment would be part of the NHS service, it is something worth paying for out of our own pockets.

There are cheaper ways – home scales with body fat % calculators cost around the same amount but can be used much more often, and it is often suggested that the consistent method is more important than the one-off accuracy, as change can be measured in a reliable way.

But if you have the money and put your health above life’s other indulgences, I’d recommend at least trying the Bod Pod and seeing for yourself whether regular assessments are for you.

For more information on the Bod Pod at Urban Retreat, Harrods, head over to the Ki Performance website where you can find out more and book an appointment.


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