I have a confession to make.
For someone who preaches a healthy lifestyle, I haven’t been doing much practicing – not until recently, anyway. Last year, I was arguably in the best shape of my life, yet somewhere along the line, I lost the motivation to exercise and eat healthily. However, a fortnight ago, I made a conscious decision to rekindle my passion for fitness, which led me to revisit my notes from last year. Whether it be a diary or a wall calendar, recording your training/dietary progress will help you stay committed to your goals.
This year, I have an iPhone and therefore have access to a whole host of apps that relieve the need for pen and paper. One app in particular, MyFitnessPal, allows me to conveniently track my weight, macronutrients, calorie intake and so on, which has proven to be very useful indeed.
Marketed as a “free online calorie counter and diet plan”, MyFitnessPal can be accessed through either a browser or an iOS app (also available on Android, Blackberry and Windows Phone).
As a new user, you will be required to create an account, which shouldn’t take longer than 5-10 minutes. This involves submitting details such as your date of birth, gender, height, current weight, target weight etc. You will then be asked, “What is your weight loss goal?” Here, you can choose whether you want to lose or gain weight. MyFitnessPal utilizes this information to calculate your daily calorie baseline i.e. your minimum/maximum calorie threshold per day in order for you to reach your goal.
Right now, I’m not all that fussed about my calorie intake. In fact, I’m not sure I ever will be. I’m more concerned about eating cleanly and frequently. Like most people, my blood sugar levels fluctuate when I go without eating for a long period of time, which in turn triggers cravings. With MyFitnessPal, I can log up to 6 meals a day, and thus keep track of my eating habits.
And not just meals – I can log my workouts too, which includes expended calories! However, because no two bodies are the same, you will be required to input these values manually (accurate calorie expenditure can be gauged using a heart rate monitor).
MyFitnessPal also helps you stay committed to your goals by allowing you to connect with your friends via its own network. You can, however, share your progress through Facebook and Twitter too. In regards to the former, seeing your friends’ progress adds a competitive element to the app which helps you stay on track. Feel free to send me a friend request: “arouf1”.
As a MyFitnessPal user, you will have access to a comprehensive database of food items that are crowdsourced by fellow MFP users. This is brilliant because it streamlines the process of entering nutritional information, as there will be high chance that someone else is or has eaten what you’re about to eat. To access this database, you can either type in the name of the food item or alternatively, scan its barcode using your device’s camera – pretty cool, huh?
So far, MyFitnessPal has proven to be a very helpful, thanks to its various different features. It’s nice to have a “diary” that I am able look back through, track my progress on, so that going forward, I’m motivated to stay committed to my goals.