Review: MyFitnessPal

Review: MyFitnessPal

Calorie Counter and Diet Tracker by MyFitnessPal
From MyFitnessPal
Free at time of writing

I’m giving my whole (healthy) hearted endorsement for this one. πŸ˜‰

As some of you know, I work with medical folks. I’m not a clinician myself…I just train ’em. Not on their clinical work, but on their software and efficiencies.

So, I’m not claiming any medical expertise here, although I do get exposed to the concepts more than the average person.

MyFitnessPal, which is available for the Kindle Fire, Android, iOS (iPhones and iPads), Blackberry, and Windows Phone is the best app I’ve seen for tracking your health habits (diet and exercise)…certainly, the best free app.

The concept is pretty simple: tracking what you eat tends to make you eat better, since it makes you more mindful of what you are consuming.

It’s especially good if you can track calories, sodium, cholesterol, and so on, and have a goal.

The problem for most people is that it’s just too much work (well, that, and a lot of people would rather not know). πŸ˜‰

That’s what makes this app work so well for me.

I’m a vegetarian, and already a pretty healthy eater. Typically, if I want to track something like Morningstar Farms Breakfast Patties, your typical app isn’t going to know what they are.

MyFitnessPal lets people “crowdsource” foods…if one person enters it, it’s available to everybody.

That does mean that the same food may appear several times, because people entered it somewhat differently (for example, it might appear both with and without the brand name).

However, I didn’t find that to be daunting.

For example, if I put in “veggie breakfast patty” in the search, the basic Morninstar Farms one comes up twice…once for “Morningstar”, and once for “Morningstar Farms”.

That’s not hard, though. I just add it into my meal, and I’m good.

The next time I go to do the same meal category (say, lunch), it will come up as something I’ve done before…I don’t have to keep typing it in.

On my Kindle Fire, you couldn’t scan a barcode, but on my Samsung Captivate SmartPhone, you could.

So, that part is easy. πŸ™‚ There are unprocessed foods as well, of course.

If you are using a processed food, I find it knows the nutrition facts, allowing it to track items like sodium.

That’s just the beginning.

You can also enter exercise, enter your weight and some measurements (including neck size…I know some of the people who care for your heart care about that one).

You can track your water use, which some individuals like to do.

During the day, it tells you how much you have “left” of the different values…when you enter exercise, you get more calories to burn, for example.

While the interface isn’t completely intuitive, it’s clear enough. From the Home screen, you can tap “Daily” and see your “scores” for that day…then swipe backwards for previous days.

These are my “nutrient details” for yesterday (and how many bloggers would show you that?) πŸ˜‰ I try not to make the blog “all about me”, but this is for purposes of illustration:

Screenshot_2013-04-03-15-24-54

It syncs between my devices seamlessly (including my PC), but, and this is a big thing, you do not need to be connected to enter data. The upload just happens the next time you open the app.

You can even have friends and share data with them (having exercise/diet buddies really helps some people, although I haven’t tested that).

Oh, one other thing on the food: you can save an entire meal (I often eat mostly the same thing), and then just have it enter that meal. That’s in addition to individual entry, and “multi-add” (check off several of your previous foods, and add them all at once).

As you can tell, I highly recommend this one. πŸ™‚

I do have a couple of little quibbles. It only remembers a food for one meal category: when I entered a food as a breakfast food, I had to enter it again as a lunch food. That’s not a big deal, but I can’t be the only one who eats the same thing at different times of the day (I may have a carrot at any time of time, for instance…Doc). πŸ˜‰

I’d also like it to open to the Diary, as opposed to the Summary, but that’s just a one tap change.

Oh, and I should mention: this is a free app, and there are tiny ads. They are as unobtrusive as any ads I’ve seen in an app…they don’t cover up the buttons you use, or bounce around annoyingly.

If you want to stay in shape, or even just track your food intake because of possible allergies or something like IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), the this is the one app I’ve seen so far that I would endorse.

===

Bonus deal:

One of today’sΒ Kindle Daily Deals is

Tobacco Road

by Erskine Caldwell, originally published in 1932, and later a long-running play and a movie. It’s a tale of the poor rural south. It’s $1.99 at time of writing (do check to see it’s that price for you before buying), and normally the digital list price is $14.99. You can get the audiobook with the Whispersync for Voice deal for $4.99, read by Mark Hammer, who comes up in the “Favorite Narrators” discussion at GoodReads:

http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/2271-who-are-your-favorite-narrators

Bonus bonus deal: πŸ˜‰

Another one of the Kindle Daily Deals today is

Against the Fall of Night

by Arthur C. Clarke (again, check the price before buying it…as I was reminded on April Fool’s Day, some of you see these posts the calendar after I post them).

If the ABCs for you are “Asimov/Bradbury/Clarke”, this is a good one to add to your e-book collection.

While not Clarke’s best known work (that might be Childhood’s End, although the author is also very associated with 2001: A Space Odyssey, of course), this one has its fans as a less complex work than a lot of science fiction. It is an earlier version of The City and the Stars, but they are different enough that each one has its adherents.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in theΒ I Love My Kindle blog.

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13 Responses to “Review: MyFitnessPal”

  1. cardinalrobbins Says:

    Bufo, that is an *awesome* app and I’m so glad you reviewed it. While I know it won’t work on my Kindle Touch, I’m looking forward to the day when I finally get a smartphone — and then I’ll snag that app immediately. You *rock* and I ***always*** appreciate your work with this blog and on the Kindle boards.

  2. Pam Says:

    AND you get a promotional $1 credit on MP3 songs to boot by buying the free app! Awesome! Thanks, Bufo!

  3. Brian Says:

    A good companion app for MyFitnessPal, particularly if you are a hiker/walker/runner, and you want to track your mileage and route is Endomondo. You can link the two so that your exercises and calorie count in Endomondo automatically sync to the MyFitnessPal app. If your workouts are mostly static then it is less useful, but if you like to do your thing outside then it is the cats meow. Available for Android for sure, most probably for iOS (boo! hiss!) as well.

  4. Kutya Run The World Says:

    I looooove this app. I write mini review too, if you want look: http://runningkutya.blogspot.cz/2013/03/perfect-app-calorie-counter-diet-tracker.html

    The best part is Frieds – this one motivate me so much πŸ™‚

  5. linnerlu Says:

    Thank you sooo much! As a brand-new smart-phone owner, this is the first “outside” app I’ve gotten. It’s very easy, even for us not-so-savvy users! I always follow your posts, and appreciate your reviews and suggestions.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, linnerlu!

      I’m glad you like it! I’m using it regularly myself, and I always appreciate a user-friendly interface, even though I can get by without one. πŸ˜‰

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