Review: Should You Use MyFitnessPal to Track Calories?

If you’re looking for some help losing weight, building muscle or otherwise changing your fitness, you should try checking out the app store on your mobile device! Both the iTunes App Store and Google Play are packed with fitness apps and many of these can be very helpful in aiding with your workouts.

And one of the very best examples on the market is MyFitnessPal. This is a tool that is instrumental for a lot of people when it comes to improving their diet and it just may be what your workouts and diet are missing. Read on and let’s take a look at what this app is and whether it’s right for you.

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What Is MyFitnessPal?

MyFitnessPal is an app that tracks calories. As you’re eating, you simply add each item of food and it will then tally up a total for your day.

The good news is that doing this is pretty simple. Often, you’ll only have to scan the bar-code using your camera and it will automatically add all the information from there. This will include the calories in your food, the grams of protein, the micro-nutrients and more.

Otherwise, you can search for an item and you’ll normally find that it’s in the database. This includes most brands of foods that you might get at your local grocery store, as well as meals at restaurants and items of fruit and vegetables.

99% of the time, one of these methods will work, meaning that there’s no need for you to manually enter anything. If it doesn’t though, you can simply make your own entry and enter the calories and grams of macronutrients yourself.

Also handy is that anything you enter will then be saved, meaning you can access it from a ‘favorites’ or ‘recents’ list. This means that if you eat the same thing on a regular basis (which most of us do), you’ll be able to quickly select it from a list.

All this makes it much quicker and easy to keep a comprehensive list of everything you’ve eaten on a given a day and then see a total number of calories, macros and micronutrients.

Additional Features and Benefits

MyFitnessPal has a couple of other handy additions that makes it useful. One is the fact that it will sync with most popular fitness trackers, be that one from Fitbit, Garmin, Microsoft etc. This then means any workouts you perform will automatically be logged in MyFitnessPal, which can alter your target calories for that day.

In other words, if you’re trying to lose weight by maintaining a calorie deficit, you can do that by eating less, or by eating the same amount and combining that with a little exercise which will burn through some of your calories. By syncing with your fitness trackers, MyFitnessPal can take this additional information on board with no need for you to add it manually. This should give you a better idea as to whether you can really get away with that extra snack considering all the exercise you’ve done that day.

MyFitnessPal also has the option to enter a goal, which is based on your AMR (Active Metabolic Rate) and which will tell you what targets you should be aiming for with regards to your diet. Finally, there’s also a social element, which lets you friend people and then see how they’re performing – ideally this should make people less likely to cheat.

The Review – Pros, Cons and Final Verdict

So just how useful is MyFitnessPal and does it deserve a place in your training regime?

I would argue that an app like MyFitnessPal is certainly a worthwhile experiment for pretty much anyone hoping to change their body shape through their diet. It can be very surprising to track your diet and to learn just how many calories you are taking in and just how many of your calories come from different macronutrients.

Until you try tracking, it’s very easy to misjudge your intake and you might find you’re eating far above what you should be or far below. It can also surprise you just what the biggest culprits are and all this information makes it easier for you to tweak your diet and routine in a way that helps you match your goals. From there, continuing to track is just a great way to ensure that you stay on track to meet them.

And as far as calorie trackers like this go, MyFitnessPal is certainly one of the best. Apart from anything else, this app has probably got the largest database of foods already inputted, which makes it much quicker and easier to keep adding foods from your diet. This is on top of a great set of features and the best compatibility with other hardware and services in the market.

But before you rush in, it is worth noting that the app also has a few drawbacks. For starters, MyFitnessPal can be a little buggy in places. In particular, it has a frustrating tendency to ‘change day’ while you’re entering your recent food. This is very frustrating as you can go to add your recent snacks, only to find that they are now added onto yesterday’s meal instead of today’s!

The social aspects can also sometimes fall flat, depending on what your real-life network is like in regards to both technology and fitness. It’s not MyFitnessPal’s fault but right now, I am the only person in my network. Which isn’t quite as encouraging as it could be!

And finally, it’s worth noting that – like most other calorie trackers – this really isn’t aimed at bodybuilders. The AMR for example is based on weight rather than lean body mass (a more accurate measure if you work out) and there is no option to set a goal around lean gains – you can only set it to gaining or losing weight.

So with all that in mind, MyFitnessPal is by no means a perfect product. It can be fiddly at times and you’ll need to work around some of its limitations if you’re here to build muscle. But it is the best there is at what it does. And what it does is mighty useful, so it comes highly recommended.

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