A swift blow to weight gain

Sean Ammerman

Metabolism calculator aids in weight loss

The BodyGem, a device used to calculate a person’s resting metabolic rate, was recently brought to the Student Recreation and Wellness Center to help patrons better plan their diets. John DiCesare, sophomore music education major, came to the Rec center

Credit: Jason Hall

Everyone has noticed it. Some people can pig out without gaining weight, while others try every diet to no avail.

Some of the difference lies in a person’s resting metabolic rate, said Kayla Scherf, wellness education team leader at the Student Recreation and Wellness Center.

A new machine at the rec center can give students and members an accurate resting metabolic rate reading.

The device, called the BodyGem, is getting more popular at fitness and nutrition centers, Scherf said, because it is a helpful tool for anyone who wants to lose weight or gain muscle.

“Honestly, I think it is good for anyone,” she said. “Even if you’re just the casual walker, it gives you a bench mark of where to start for your diet.”

A resting metabolic rate is the number of calories your body burns to maintain normal body functions such as breathing, keeping your heart pumping and your brain working.

After breathing into the BodyGem for about 10 minutes, it will tell the basic calorie intake that person needs to survive, allowing them to base a diet around it. Scherf operates the device and then works with the users to help explain the results.

John DiCesare, sophomore music education major, decided to try out the BodyGem even though he is not overweight or active in a lot of sports or fitness programs.

“I just work out and try to lose weight, and I figured this would help me,” DiCesare said. “I don’t want to starve myself and not do it right. What’s the point of lifting and not getting anywhere?”

There are several mathematical equations people can use to find their RMR based on estimating things such as amount of sleep and activity. However, DiCesare said these tended to give him inaccurate readings.

“The equation said it was 1900 and this one said 1720,” he said.

The accuracy for the BodyGem is plus or minus three percent.

In order to ensure accuracy, users cannot eat, smoke or exercise four hours prior to using it.

The majority of BodyGem users want to lose weight, Scherf said, but in order to be successful, checking your RMR throughout a diet is vital.

“You hear it all time; (people say) ‘I can’t lose any more weight,'” she said. “Well, it’s because your body is changing.”

The goal for most dieters is to have a higher RMR, Scherf said, because that means they are burning more calories without doing anything. The problem is, many factors such as weight and exercise can alter someone’s RMR.

“With weight loss, your RMR goes down, which makes weight loss so hard for some people because they hit a plateau,” she said. “So after so many weeks of doing a fitness program – they can come back in here, get it read again, see where their at and then make the adjustments they need.”

Right now the BodyGem costs $25 for students, which Scherf admits is a little pricey.

Nevertheless, Dicesare said it was worth it for him. Now he and Scherf are working on a diet unique to his metabolic needs.

Contact Student Recreation and Wellness Center reporter Sean Ammerman at [email protected].