Justin McGilvery and Tom Taglang know firsthand that their BodySpex body fat scale can help people meet their fitness and health goals.

Since the two began using the product they created, McGilvery and Taglang have lost 17 pounds between the two of them.

The BodySpex scale is a kiosk-like device that measures users' body fat percentages and weight. McGilvery and Taglang say their company, Fat Statz LLC, plans to place the kiosks at gyms nationwide, so that fitness-minded people have an easy way of measuring their body fat percentage. The two, both managing partners of the company, say this measurement is a better health indicator than weight because it is a calculation of fat mass and lean mass, helping to pinpoint the amount of fat in a person's body.

The kiosks, which sell for $2,395, feature a touch-screen and can be configured to accept payment for each use. At a few of the five health clubs where the scale is in use, gym members pay $2 to use it; at others, the service is provided free to members. The scale takes a body fat measurement by sending an electrical current up the user's bare feet and measuring the body's resistance to the current.

About 15 seconds after someone steps on the scale, the kiosk prints out the data.

"I said the scale has got to be self-serve and easy to use, so people can do it on their own," said McGilvery, a former television producer.

With plans to place the kiosks in malls and offices in addition to gyms nationwide, McGilvery hopes the scale will become an integral part of fitness culture.

Currently, Fat Statz is run out of a home office in Encino, but the modestly financed company expects to receive about $4 million in funding later this month, which will allow the company to greatly expand its operations, including the redesign of the BodySpex Web site. Currently that site is simply a data-tracking tool for BodySpex users and features a small community-oriented component, but Taglang wants to make the site a community-based fitness destination, where BodySpex users share data and compare workout routines.

"We are trying to make a garage company into a multi-national conglomerate," said Taglang.

The scale is practical because alternative methods for body fat measurement are often invasive or inaccurate, said McGilvery. Calipers are often used on skin, but they are relatively inexact, and methods such as bone density scans or hydrostatic underwater weighing are far more complicated than stepping on a scale barefoot.

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