With the new year well underway, and, many people excited about this year’s new health and fitness resolutions, I thought it would be a good idea to review a wonderful gem found in the App Store. When it comes to staying fit, our gadgets and some well chosen apps can actually give us the edge or the push needed to reach higher levels of athletic performance. If, like me, your goal is to attain better overall health while using an app that’s not going to break the bank on your iDevice — and having fun at the same time — you must read on. I completed some intensive testing of an app called ‘MyFitnessPal‘, which integrates both nutritional and physical performance metrics, turning your iPhone or iPad into a powerful training tool.
MyFitnessPal is a fully customisable and versatile training and dieting assistant. On one hand, it tracks nutritional information for over 2 million food items and on the other, it lets you record over 350 cardiovascular and strength training exercises while giving you the flexibility to add your own information as needed. At the end of each day you have a clear picture of your caloric intake and expenditure but also vital information such as your total protein, fat and carbohydrate consumption so you can adjust your nutritional and activity levels as need be.
MyFitnessPal has a nicely refined user interface that is easy to use and gives you quick access to your information. Your data is easily and quickly inputed manually or automatically using the handy UPC code reader via your device’s camera. Likewise, your data can be retrieved effortlessly in order for you to track your nutritional and physical activity trends. On the iPad, the app comes into an eye catching full resolution HD version.
The app works as a standalone application but your data is also synced automatically to the cloud and can be accessed using any computer by navigating to MyFitnessPal’s website and logging into your account. The website gives you the opportunity to access complimentary features, track trends and set goals for yourself. You can also use the app with fully integrated popular fitness accessories such as heart rate monitors and scales, making it easier to monitor your progress.
To make the app more complete and to motivate users, you can get fit with friends by letting each other have access to your metrics. Study after study confirms that people tend to be more successful when making these life changes with peers rather than going at it alone. You can even use your Facebook account to invite friends to join you on your way to better health.
Another great feature of the app is that it adapts to your nutritional needs. For instance, on days where you are more active, your daily nutritional values and goals will go up in order to meet the increase in physical activity.
Room for Improvement
While I find this app to be well rounded and complete, there are a couple of things I would like to see added. First, having access to an even more in depth analysis of nutritional information would be extremely useful. For example, I have found it very difficult to meet my potassium consumption values. The app could somehow act as a nutritionist and give recommendations on what type of food or supplements to take. A section dedicated to supplements and vitamin intake would also nice. Second, the integration of even more third party accessories is a must. My devices of choice (e.g., Nike Fuelband) are not yet supported by the app and I had to input my data manually. While it didn’t take long to do so, automation is key for these type of apps to remain successful. If you are in the market for a new heart monitor or scale I would suggest you try the app for a couple of months and then purchase a device supported by MyFitnessPal.
To sum it up, I would definitely recommend downloading this app and using it to achieve your fitness goals. It is free in the App Store so you don’t have much to lose by doing so. If you’ve ever tried to write your own food and fitness log and failed or given up after a few days, MyFitnessPal may be the very app you’ve been waiting for. This one gets a ‘Grab It’ rating.
|Reviewed Ver:||3.7.1||Min OS Req:||5.0|
|Price:||Free||App Size:||19.8 MB|