I’ve mentioned before how I started out my fitness experience with eating whatever I wanted in hopes that simply working out 3x a week would keep me in good shape. Well, although I was more fit, that approach was far from perfect. So instead of just eating whatever I wanted, I decided I would look for foods high in protein. Protein is what builds muscle, so my thoughts were that I would eat all the food I wanted, but try to make it high in protein. Well, that worked for a bit. I saw that I was becoming more muscular, but far from being in good shape.
For years, I tried tweaking what I ate, progressing, hitting some fitness goals and dropping weight. I eventually heard of a phone app called MyFitnessPal. This is an app where you can enter the food you eat each day, and it’ll tell you how many calories you consumed including protein, carbs, and fats. Not a bad idea, so I gave it a shot for a while.
FYI: This is NOT a review of MyFitnessPal, but an attempt to generalize the pros and cons of fitness food apps. Here are some of the pros and cons…
Pros Of Using A Fitness Food App
Using the food app made me more aware of how many calories I was consuming each day. I never counted my calories before so having a place where I could enter what I was eating was pretty cool. And it gave me tons of information. I was able to enter my current height and weight, in addition to my activity level and my weight goals. MyFitnessPal recommended my daily calorie goal in order to lose the amount of weight I wanted to lose each week. MyFitnessPal also made it really easy to enter my food by selecting from a list of pre-loaded popular items or even scanning a bar code to enter the item myself. The food app became my guide to what I would eat and how many calories I had left to eat after each meal. It did a great job keeping me informed and on track.
Cons of Using A Fitness Food App
I found it to be a problem to have to enter everything I ate every day. Sure, it wasn’t too bad for the first few days, but after that I had to discipline myself to keep this food diary every day. It may not sound like a lot of work, but it’s kind of a pain in the butt. I also found that it was tough to gauge the portion sizes to enter. I felt like I had to be very specific and accurate about what I ate and entered. Otherwise, the results would be inaccurate. This made using the app seem like work, and not a fun thing to do to help me watch my weight.
Fitness food apps can be a great way to count your calories and provide some great insight to your eating habits. I learned more about nutrition, the calories my body needs each day, and what kind of foods I should be eating and which ones to stay away from. MyFitnessPal, like many others, is very good at what it does. It’s a great teacher and one I’m thankful I experienced. That being said, I wouldn’t use one again. Despite how easy it was to enter my meals, it was still a pain and took time. I don’t want to go through life having to enter my food into my phone every day. There are more fun and productive things to do.
I believe fitness food apps are great for when you’re just learning about nutrition and want to know what you should and shouldn’t be eating. I would highly recommend anyone to use one for a week or two. Take a look at your typical diet and see how it measures up. Tweak your diet and track that. See how you can improve. Once you gain a good understanding of your diet, you shouldn’t need to use a fitness food app anymore. After that, it just seems like common sense. You pretty much know what foods are bad for you. Fitness food apps like MyFitnessPal show you why they are bad.