BodyGem Indirect Calorimetry Device FAQ

BodyGem Frequently Asked Questions

When should an RMR measurement be taken?

To obtain an accurate resting metabolic rate (RMR), the BodyGem measurement should be done at least 4 hours after eating or exercise.

How often should I measure my metabolism?

If you are losing weight or participating in a fitness program that includes strength training, we suggest measuring your metabolism approximately every four weeks.

Monitoring your RMR will allow you to adjust your daily calorie targets if your metabolism changes. Repeat measurements should be performed at the same time of day under similar conditions.

Can I reuse the mouthpiece?

The mouthpiece are single-use items. They contain filter material to prevent cross contamination and should be disposed of after each measurement. Always use a new breathing attachment when performing a measurement.

How do I order new mouthpieces/nose clips?

You can order new mouthpieces and nose clips online by clicking on BodyGem Mouthpieces or through Microlife Area Representative David Wilcoxson at 303-808-2291

What does the reading on the BodyGem unit mean?

The number that appears on the LCD display of the Body Gem indirect calorimeter is your resting metabolic rate (RMR). RMR is the number of calories your body burns each day at rest and with little activity.  It can also be referred to as basal metabolic rate (BMR)

For many people, RMR can represent up to 75 percent of total metabolism. Lifestyle, activity and exercise make up the rest of total daily calories expended.

Your RMR measurement helps determine how many calories you should eat to maintain your weight management and fitness goals.

How accurate is the BodyGem measurement?

The BodyGem unit has been validated against the Douglas Bag method, the gold standard in metabolic Measurements and compared to other metabolic carts.

The BodyGem unit is as accurate and reliable as any indirect calorimetry system on the market. In several studies the BodyGem has repeatedly demonstrated an accuracy of 1-3% when compared to other standard reference systems.

The BodyGem’s portability makes measuring metabolism possible for most individuals and professionals.

What is metabolism/RMR and how does it relate to me?

Metabolism is the body’s process of combining nutrients with oxygen to release the energy needed for the body to function.

Metabolism is measured in calories and provides the total number of calories a person burns each day with little or no activity. Additional calorie needs come from lifestyle factors (how active you are in your daily life) and purposeful exercise.

Metabolism is different for each person and can change over time. Your metabolism is determined by your body composition (amount of muscle and fat), body weight, age, and gender.

The best way to learn your RMR is to measure it using the BodyGem device. Monitoring your metabolism over time will help you balance the calories you burn with the calories you eat. Weight loss or a change in body composition can lower your RMR.

I have lost weight. Why is my metabolism lower?

Metabolism is influenced by total body mass (your body weight). When you lose weight, your total body mass is lower and it takes less energy for your body to maintain vital functions.

By performing strength training exercise while you decrease calories, you may be able to maintain a higher metabolism. Keep in mind that a decrease in metabolism during weight loss is normal.

I exercise a lot and my metabolism has not increased. Why?

Aerobic exercise burns calories during the activity, but doesn’t have a significant effect on increasing your metabolism during the rest of the day.

Your metabolism temporarily increases after aerobic exercise while the body cools down, but this calorie burn is relatively low unless the exercise intensity and duration have been high. The calories you burned during aerobic exercise will help you balance the calories you eat.

Strength training burns fewer calories during the exercise, but can increase muscle, which will lead to an increase in metabolism.

Muscle is more metabolically active than fat and burns more calories to maintain at rest. Body fat burns very few calories.

You will have to do strength training several times a week to increase lean body mass and see the results in your metabolism. Try a combination of aerobic exercise and strength training to get the benefits of both!

I sometimes feel sleepy when I do my RMR measurement. Is it okay to sleep?

Metabolism is lower when you are asleep than when you are awake at rest. If you drift off to sleep during a BodyGem measurement, your measurement will be low and not truly representative of the number of calories you burn in a day at rest.

During a BodyGem measurement, relax and breathe normally, but do not fall asleep.

I did two BodyGem measurements and I got different results. What should I do?

Make sure you did both measurements under similar conditions and at the same time of day. Relax and breathe normally during the measurement.

Measuring your RMR is similar to measuring your blood pressure. Because your body is constantly changing, RMR may vary slightly from measurement to measurement.

Will smoking affect the RMR measurement?

Nicotine is a stimulant and will increase RMR. Refrain from smoking one hour before a measurement.

Any stimulant, including caffeine, some over-the-counter drugs and some nutritional supplements will temporarily elevate your metabolism.

Do I need to buy any software to use the BodyGem device?

No. All you need is the actual BodyGem unit, power supply, and the single-use mask or single-use mouthpiece and nose clip.

BodyGem Analyzer software comes with each BodyGem purchase to allow for developing accurate weight management plans for your clients..

I got an error message when trying to start the measurement/warm up the device.

To begin a BodyGem measurement, make sure the unit is plugged in and push the amber button on the top of the BodyGem device.

It is very important to leave the BodyGem device sitting upright on a flat surface, away from any forced air vents or fans, when you push the button and throughout the self-calibration period (while the amber light is flashing).

Do not pick up the BodyGem device until the unit beeps and the light begins flashing green.

I keep getting an air leak error when I take a measurement. How do I prevent this?

Make sure your mouthpiece is firmly attached to the BodyGem unit. The breathing attachment should fit snugly into the unit and be flush with the unit. The nose clip should completely close your nostrils and you should be breathing only through your mouth.

Relax and breathe normally.

When do I know the BodyGem device is calibrated?

To begin a measurement, press the amber button on top of the BodyGem device. The unit will calibrate, beep and the lighted button will begin flashing green.

You are now ready to begin the measurement. The measurement needs to begin within one minute after calibration is complete.

If the measurement is not started within this time, the lighted button will turn amber and you will have to push the button again.

How do I know the BodyGem device calibrated correctly?

The BodyGem device is designed to self-calibrate. If calibration is not completed, error message Er05 will appear in the LCD and the lighted button on top of the BodyGem device will turn red.

This message indicates the BodyGem device has detected a flow of air during the calibration and was unable to complete the calibration process.

If you continue to experience Er05 messages, contact Microlife at 1-800-968-1378.

What do I do if the BodyGem device does not calibrate correctly?

Remove the power cord from the side of the BodyGem unit and reinsert it.

Repeat the steps in the BodyGem User Manual, making sure there are no air vents nearby. If the BodyGem device continues to display an error message, try moving to another location to perform the measurement.

If for some reason you receive an Error 23 measurement, be sure the flowtube is completely flush with the BodyGem casing.

If you continue to receive an Error 23 contact Microlife at 1-800-968-1378

What if I cough or lose the seal around the mask or mouthpiece?

The lighted button on top of the BodyGem device will turn red, indicating you have an error. The error message Er04 will appear in the LCD, indicating the BodyGem device has detected an interruption during the measurement.

Remove the power cord from the side of the BodyGem unit, reinsert it, and then follow the steps to begin a new measurement.

How do I clean the BodyGem device?

If necessary, wipe outside surfaces of the BodyGem device with a soft, clean, dry cloth and soap and water.

Take care to avoid the round metallic sensors on the internal surfaces of the BodyGem device. Do not submerge the BodyGem device in water or allow water or any solution to penetrate the display windows, sockets, metallic sensors or openings on the product.

Do not attempt to clean and re-use the mouthpiece as these are single-use only items.

Can children use the BodyGem device?

If the mouthpiece or fits comfortably on the child, it is possible to measure a child’s RMR. However, a physician or Registered Dietician should be consulted when making dietary recommendations for children.

For more information, click on BodyGem

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2 thoughts on “BodyGem Indirect Calorimetry Device FAQ”

  1. I would like to know if the BodyGem is appropriate to be used in a hospital setting for patients who are alert and awake, but with wounds, etc. Also is there a CPT code that can be charged for this? I look forward to your response. Thank you. -Pam

  2. Pam,

    Thank you for your interest in our indirect calorimeters. I sent you an email with pricing on the BodyGem and MedGem. For insurance billing, you would need to MedGem, as it is an FDA-approved medical device.


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