If you’ve been looking for some of the latest tech to help you with your fitness journey then you’ve probably come across MyFitnessPal. It helps you by tracking what your macro-nutrient intake (carbs, fats, proteins and vitamins and minerals) from the food that you eat.
One of the better things that it does is analyse and provide you with a breakdown of each individual portion of food that you input into it: highlighting how much fat, protein and carbohydrates are in them and then how many calories you’ve consumed.
Being in a calorie deficit (meaning you’re eating a lower number of them than you’re burning) is important if your goal is weight loss. This is because you will generally only see progress through all of the effort you’re putting in if you consume fewer calories than you’re burning with your health and fitness programme.
The app can also highlight the different minerals and vitamins you can get from certain foods and whether or not you are consuming a bit too much salt (important if you have high blood pressure or any cardiac disease in your family history).
Tracking and reporting
If you’re with a fitness professional who offers a boutique personal training experience like at Shapes then you’ll probably have discussed what protein, carbs and fats targets you should be hitting every day.
In the same discussion you will have spoken about the number of calories that you should be consuming each day too, and your personal trainer or health professional will be able to monitor and track what information you’re putting into the app.
If you are doing this then it’s important to be honest with what you’re eating because that will make your accountability a lot easier.
Is MyFitnessPal reliable?
It is and it is not.
The data that you will see from it is only as good as what you enter, so if you’re eating and drinking more than what you’re entering (so that you get inside your calorie limit) but actually snacking on more calories then you’re cheating your future self.
It’s also then much harder if you see a PT or diet coach because they will advise you on what you’re doing, and try to discover what’s going wrong with their advice and guidance: when it might just be that you’re not entering all of the information in the app and so the actual issue is over-consumption of food.
There’s also the fact that lots of the foods in the database have been added by people who use the app and not all of them have been verified, and there are many different entries of the same food item by different people.
This can become confusing and lead you to wonder about its reliability.
Monitoring exercise and movement
The app also monitors your exercise and movement. If you have a smart phone then as long as you allow it access then the app will sync with your device’s step counter and record all of your 10,000 or so steps throughout the day.
It will then take the steps and turn them into a calorie reduction in the app. This is both good and bad. It’s great because you can see how many calories you’ve burned, but bad if you believe you’ve then got all of those extra calories in the form of a snack in the evening. You haven’t (or shouldn’t) if you want to lose weight.
Also, you can add in your strength workouts that you do in the gym and the system will calculate how many calories you will be burning through from a session.
However, this is similar to the above where you should treat it as guidance of calorie burn rather than your ability to overeat the calorie limit you’ve set yourself.
Lots of our members choose not to enter their strength workouts or when they come to our fitness classes at Shapes because it tends to give them too much information that they don’t really need.
Advantages of using a diet/food app
Because tracking your calories does matter. If you should be consuming 2,000 a day and you’re actually eating a whopping 3,000, and then wondering why the heck you’re not losing weight, then you can see straight away what’s happening.
You can see at each meal how much reducing (or increasing) a portion size of a certain food can affect your overall calorific goal.
Another step on moving forward with your health and fitness and sculpting the body you’ve always wanted in life.