As I’ve moved into the second half of my 20’s and noticed my metabolism slowing down I’ve begun to pay more attention to my health. MyFitnessPal HD is a free app touted as one of the best for keeping track of your daily calorie intake and exercise regimen.
There are many apps available for getting fit and staying in shape, so can this one live up to their ambitious claim that “there is no better diet app”? Will it replace your need for a personal trainer? Read on to find out all that this app has to offer and to determine if it’s worth implementing into your daily routine.
Setting Your Goals
In order to set your workout and weight loss goals you are asked to answer a couple questions when first getting started. You’ll be asked things about your current height, weight, how much you would like to weigh (with the choice to use American or metric units), and your workout routine in a typical week. Once you’ve got your account set up MyFitnessPal HD will tell you how many calories you can eat each day in order to reach the goal you’ve set.
Inputting Calories and Exercise
At this point I should quickly mention that I have never been someone who counts calories. The thought of counting calories on a daily basis has always been one that seemed burdensome and ridiculous. When I decided it was time to pay more attention to my health I wanted to make sure whatever app I found wasn’t going to consume my time. One of the biggest reasons I decided to check out MyFitnessPal HD was the availability for fast input of calories using the database of over 1,200,000 foods.
Inputting food at each meal is pretty simple. Type into the search bar what you’ve eaten and you’re presented with a list of options based on brands (including restaurants or homemade foods) and serving sizes. The app even includes some of the most popular recipes from well-known food websites like allrecipes.com. The more you use the app the faster and easier it becomes to input each meal. MyFitnessPal HD will also remember your selections and serving sizes making them easy to input again in the future.
If you’re looking for an easier way to input foods, tap the barcode symbol next to the search bar and quickly scan the code on the packaging.
One of the most useful features in MyFitnessPal HD is the ability to remember meals for future use or copy meals to a certain date. Just tap the wrench symbol next to a meal to choose one of the options. You can also add calories very quickly manually if you have trouble finding a food in the database. The app remembers your most frequent and recent foods for quick input (including serving size). If that wasn’t enough, there is also the ability to input custom foods or recipes and have them analyzed for their nutritional content.
Make sure to input any exercise you do throughout your day, even if it’s just taking a leisurely walk. The calories you burn exercising will count towards increasing how many calories you’re allowed to eat in a day.
More Than Just a Calorie Counter
One of the other things I really like about this app is the ability to track things other than just calories. For anyone who’s trying to pay attention to another part of their health such as blood pressure most foods in the database also contain other information like the amount of sodium, cholesterol, protein, etc.
I had been using the iPhone version of MyFitnessPal HD for months, but I discovered the iPad app includes a handy pie graph on the home tab to see the breakdown by percentage of your carbs, protein, and fat intake each day. This helped me quickly see that most days I eat twice the amount of fat as protein – the opposite of what is recommended. You can also tap the weekly button on the home tab to see a weekly overview of your calorie intake and evaluate if you’re regularly hitting your goal.
If you wish to keep better track of how you’re doing go to the progress tab. Here you can input your weight, neck, waist, and hips measurements daily and view the results over time on a graph.
Like most apps, the developers of MyFitnessPal HD have incorporated social features. Unlike many apps where the social networking seems forced, it actually makes sense here. Studies have shown that people who diet with friends lose three times more weight on average than those who try to go it alone.
You can create a profile, post status updates, and send messages to friends. Every time you finish a task like completing your log for a day or exercising it is automatically added to your news feed. You can change what you want to make public and keep private in the news feed privacy settings. In the settings you can decide who can see your entire diary in case you want to share with friends to see what they’re eating and support and encourage each other.
Making a Lifestyle Change
After using MyFitnessPal HD for several months I’ve found that it has truly inspired me to make a change in my lifestyle. It makes keeping track of what you’re eating and your exercise so simple that I’ve been more inspired to pay attention to my health than ever before.
I was amazed at the fact that the more I used the app the more useful features I found. For example, if you’re worried about getting into the habit of logging your calories you can schedule reminders in the settings area so you don’t forget until you get used to using the app regularly. Also, all your information is automatically synced between the website and iPhone and iPad apps. If you’re at all interested in maintaining or improving your health I would recommend MyFitnessPal HD.
Are there any other apps you’ve found useful for tracking your health? Have you used MyFitnessPal HD at all?