PARK CITY — Working out consistently and not seeing results on the scale can be extremely frustrating, but paying attention to a different number could be the answer.
Forty-six-year-old Rich West knows how to work hard in the gym. ”He's awesome because he's super dedicated, motivated," said his trainer, Megan Calder, at Intermountain Healthcare’s Park City Hospital.
Several years ago, though, he had a different focus.
"I was running like five, six days a week," he said. West decided he wanted to up his game. “I was just over 200 pounds,” he said. “When I got to that point, I’m like, ‘I gotta change.’”
Calder introduced him to the Bod Pod to measure his body composition. That’s when West realized the scale didn’t tell his whole story.
Intermountain Healthcare's Dr. Kelly Woodward, medical director at the Park City LiVe Well center, said the Bod Pod is a device that uses displacement plethysmography, which is similar to an underwater dunk tank measurement system.
Woodward said, “It tells people how much body fat you have and how much lean muscle mass you have." He also said it can estimate someone’s resting metabolic rate, which can help determine what their caloric intake should be.
West went to his first Bod Pod test fasting and wearing really tight clothing to not interfere with the measurements. The system makes the calculations in just a couple minutes.
Woodward said it’s important to know all these measurements because losing muscle mass during weight loss can be dangerous.
“Because, as we get older, muscle mass is the difference between a long active life and a frail decline,” he said.
West set a goal to build more muscle and used the test results to guide his exercise plan. He started by mixing up his workout routine. He now includes strength training workouts a couple of times a week into his plan and sometimes even yoga.
That’s when West started seeing results. “Clothes started fitting looser… I felt like I had more energy. I could go farther, go faster,” he explained.
West lost 30 pounds and significantly increased his muscle mass. He said he realized strength training helps his body run more efficiently and has also helped him become a faster runner.
“The leaner you are, the more muscle mass you have, naturally the more forgiving your body is, and so it stays leaner over time versus just always doing cardio,” Calder said.
West said it was motivating and also not as boring since he started exercising in new ways.
Every several months, he jumps back into the Bod Pod to measure his progress and set new goals. “And then you go, ‘Oh, I have something that now I can measure myself on benchmark,’ like I can see the change," he said. "I was actually pretty surprised that it changed that much."