Thursday, July 24, 2014

Get This App!

If you're trying to lose weight, gain weight, or even just learn how to maintain your weight, then you should get the MyFitnessPal app. It's a free calorie counter that will keep track of all your logged foods and workouts throughout the day. I've been using it on and off for a couple years, and I've always seen great results when I use it. It's so simple to use and has tons of great features to make your goals easier to attain.

When you set up your profile, it will ask you for details about your height, weight, gender, activity level, goal weight, and how often you workout per week. It will also ask how fast you wish to gain/ lose weight (gain 1 or 2 pounds per week, lose 1 or 2 pounds per week, or simply maintain your weight). Everything is customized specifically for you and your goals. Once you're all set up, it will give you your daily recommended calorie intake, and you can take it further by customizing your macro ratios. So if you're going for a high protein and low carb diet, you can set it to whatever percentages you feel are ideal for you. 

Now here comes the fun part, logging all your food. The great thing about the app is that it already has tons of food programmed into its database so you can simply search for your food. MyFitnessPal has a majority of chain restaurants in its system so it makes going out to eat so easy. For example if you had a Chobani yogurt for breakfast, you can just type it into the search bar and select the right one. And if you don't want to search for it, or the database doesn't have your food, you can even just scan the barcode of your item with your phone, and it will automatically find all of the nutritional facts for that item. And if neither of those float your boat (or the barcode doesn't work for some reason), you can add the item yourself by manually entering as much or as little nutrition facts as you want. 

If you have any meals that you eat regularly, you can program all the contents of the meal once, and save them in a tab called "My Meals" so you can quickly add that meal to your diary when you eat it. If you create your own recipes, you can also save those too in a separate tab called "My Recipes". I have saved a few of my favorite recipes like protein pancakes and pumpkin pie overnight oats. After everything is saved, you'll be able to complete your diary entries in a matter of seconds.

Hitting your macros is also extremely easy because the MyFitnessPal app keeps track of everything for you. It will tell you how many of each you should be eating, how many you have already eaten, and how many you have left. This is so helpful because say you have 100 calories left at the end of the day, and you realize you're low on protein, you know that you should have a high protein snack in order to meet all your nutritional goals. 

Another great feature about the app is that you can also enter in any workouts you've done throughout the day. Some of the exercises (like running and biking) are already in there and it will give you an estimated amount of calories that you burned depending on your duration and intensity. If your workout isn't in the system though, you can enter the amount of calories you think you burned and it will add it to your diary. With this app, the more calories you burn, the more calories you are allotted for the day. Whether you eat back the extra calories you burn or not is up to you; for me personally, I generally only eat 1/3 to 1/2 of those extra calories. 

Every time you weigh yourself, you can log it in the "Progress" tab and see how well you're doing. It will show you a line, graphing all the changes in your weight. Losing weight always seems to be easier when you have a buddy to do it with you, so this app allows you to add friends who are using the app so you can interact with them and and exchange tips and advice. 

Overall, this is an amazing app and I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to improve their health. It makes everything so simple. No more calculators, no more notebooks...all you need is your phone, which you probably have on you at all times anyways. 

If you're new to the app, check out these tips from the My Fitness Pal blog to help get you started: 

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