Every new year my resolutions are relatively the same: stop eating out so much, exercise more and enhance overall well-being. I usually bounce on and off the wellness track throughout the year, but I am committing to staying on it in 2017.
It definitely helps to have a partner in this journey, and my husband is a little more gung-ho about eating right and staying fit than I am, so he will be my accountability partner throughout the year.
To kick-start my journey, I visited the Fort Bragg Wellness Center on Jackson Street a couple months ago to determine my resting metabolic rate through metabolic testing and overall body fat percentage using a Bod Pod.
The wellness centers are an excellent resource for anyone looking to get in shape. In addition to the services above, the centers offer classes in nutrition, stress management, resiliency, healthy lifestyles and more.
The first service I used at the wellness center was the metabolic test. Overall, it was a pleasant and easy experience. Before the appointment, I had to complete a four-page health questionnaire that included questions about my stress level, dietary and exercise habits.
I also had to fast for five hours before both the metabolic testing and Bod Pod appointments, so I recommend making a morning appointment to avoid feeling sluggish throughout the day.
During the metabolic testing, I laid on a cot with a dome-shaped glass bowl over my entire head. The dome was sealed at the bottom, over my shoulders, and had an opening for an oxygen tube in front of my face. I simply had to breathe normally for 15 minutes.
According to the wellness center staff member, the dome helps measure your resting metabolic rate because it has a controlled amount of oxygen, so the test can calculate the amount you use when you breathe. This tells you the amount of calories you burn while at rest aka your resting metabolic rate.
During the session, the assigned staff member will ask about your current exercise routine and wellness goals. She will use this information, along with your resting metabolic rate, to calculate the amount of calories that you should eat in a day to maintain, lose or gain weight.
Armed with this information, I use the MyFitnessPal application on my smartphone to track my daily calories. It allows me to input the number of calories I should eat per day according to the results of my metabolic testing. I can then enter the food I eat throughout the day and the app will add up the nutritional information for each item.
A week after my initial visit, I came back for my Bod Pod appointment. The Bod Pod has a form-fitting clothing requirement spandex or compression shorts for men, bathing suit or sports bra and bottoms with no metal pieces for women. This is essential for an accurate body fat reading.
The Bod Pod is exactly what it sounds like: a pod you sit in that completely encapsulates your body. It uses air displacement to calculate body fat percentage, according to the wellness center staff member.
Again, this was a fairly painless experience. I am claustrophobic, so sitting in the closed pod was a little scary but it lasted for less than a minute each time.
After a couple of rounds in the pod, the technician gave me a printout that detailed my overall body fat percentage, mass, volume and density. This analysis also contained a Body Fat Rating Table, with body fat ratings from risky (high body fat) to risky (low body fat).
My body fat rating percentage was highlighted in the table. This helped explain my body fat percentage relative to overall health.
To be honest, I was a little surprised at my body fat percentage. It was definitely a wake-up call and has helped me shape both my fitness and nutritional goals for the year. I plan to return to the wellness centers in a couple months to re-test and help confirm how much progress I have made toward my wellness goals.
For more information on the Fort Bragg Wellness Centers, visit them online at http://www.wamc.amedd.army.mil/HealthcareServices/SitePages/Army%20Wellness%20Center.aspx or call 643-2101 (Jackson Street location) or 570-3144 (Gavin Hall location).