Appy Hour: MyFitnessPal

App: MyFitnessPal MyFitnessPal icon
Price: Free
Device: Reviewed on iPhone

It’s one month into the new year. Have you lost steam on your resolution to eat right and exercise more? MyFitnessPal can help get you motivated again. This app makes it super easy to set goals and follow through on them. You can also share your progress with friends to motivate each other. Finally, MyFitnessPal has a ton of useful articles on all kinds of health topics, from nutritious recipes to workout guides to ways to improve your sleep.

When you first set up your free MyFitnessPal account, you enter some basic information about your height, weight, goals, and activity level. Although the app focuses on weight loss, some people use it to help themselves gain weight, especially bulking up muscle. Based on your weight goals, MyFitnessPal recommends daily goals for calorie, carbs, protein, and fat intake. You can also customize these goals instead of using the automatic recommendations. To track your progress on these goals, you can log the beverages and food you consume each day, as well as the amount of exercise you got and that day’s weight. The app lets you set reminders if you forget to log in and record this data. What makes MyFitnessPal so appealing is that you don’t have to calculate calories and nutrients yourself. It has a massive database of foods, so you can enter something as simple as “Caesar salad” or as specific as “Starbucks Cinnamon Dolce Light Frappuccino Blended Coffee.” You can also look up foods by scanning the barcode on packages. However you search for it, the database is bound to have all the nutrition information for that item. If the information in the database is wrong, you can correct it or add a new item manually. One helpful feature is the ability to save meals or foods you make or buy often so you don’t have to search for them all the time.

There’s a similar system for entering your exercise data. You can select from a long list of activities ranging from the common (running) to the unexpected (horse grooming). You can use the app’s recommendation for the number of calories burned for each exercise or change it manually. Once again, you can make a list of frequent exercises for easy input. MyFitnessPal deducts the number of calories burned from the number you consumed to give you a net total for each day.

MyFitnessPal also integrates with lots of other apps and devices. Connect it to your smart scale or your Fitbit. You can even let it access your phone’s Apple Health or Google Fit apps to count your steps automatically. If you want to get more engaged with working out, use the app to book fitness classes through Mindbody. Browse by type of class (e.g. yoga or kickboxing) or search a studio near you.

There’s a strong community aspect to MyFitnessPal as well. There are thousands of discussion forums on nearly every health topic imaginable. Chat with other members about body building, personal success stories, or just fun stuff unrelated to fitness. You can also connect to people you know in real life. View their progress or share yours.

MyFitnessPal has so many awesome features, so get back on track with your health today.

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