I’m a bit obsessed with understanding everything about my body. I’m constantly circulating through new apps or websites to track my health, or learn new things. Through the dozens that I have tried (and seriously, it’s pathetic how many are on my phone right now), I have three that seem to be my most-used and most recommended to others:
My most used and tried and true is MyFitnessPal. MFP is a very user-friendly and no fuss calorie counter. You sign up, set your current weight, specify your goals, and there ya have it! It automatically sets nutrition goals for you based on your basic information, but you can also adjust it if you are looking to hit specific targets as well– like, for those who are on a special diet program. You add your food to your daily tracker either by entering it manually, or by scanning barcodes on the packages. You can also save “meals” that you frequently have for easy and quick tracking.
For fitness, you can track your cardio and strength training as well. The app will adjust your daily recommended caloric intake based on your exercise for the day so you can better judge how much food you should be eating based on your activity level.
My favorite part of this app though is it’s ability to sync up with other apps. I can sync my FitBit to it, so it will automatically adjust my caloric recommendation based on my daily level of movement that my FitBit tracks. I have yet to find an app that doesn’t sync with MFP, so it’s a really great app to start with. It’s my go-to when I want to keep track of my food, and I use it almost daily.
MFP can also be accessed online, and you can use the community features. It has forums to talk about fitness or health related activities, plus a blog option allows you to a place to reflect and help stay focused on your goals. This was my favorite part of MFP when I was first trying to lose weight in 2012.
Very similar to MyFitnessPal, but has a slightly different feel. It is a calorie counter, but if you update to the Pro version of the app, you can also set specific dietary needs or goals: gluten free, allergies, vegan or vegetarian, Paleo, lower blood pressure or cholesterol, breastfeeding, heart healthy, etc. This one was actually recommended to me by a college professor.
You track your food pretty much the same as with MFP, but Fooducate also doubles by serving you with nutrition information as well. When adding a food to the app, it gives you a letter grade for that item based on your dietary needs and the overall nutrition of the food. It will also alert you if the food you are entering goes against any of your specified dietary restrictions (ie. if you enter french fries, it will alert you it goes against your dietary specifications to eat “heart haelthy”). I love using this app for grocery planning and using the letter grades to plan my meals, as I like to think about the quality of the food I am eating as well as the caloric intake.
Fooducate also has a community aspect like MFP, and as a bonus, connects to the iPhone Health Tracker option. It is not as user friendly as a calorie counter as MFP is, but does a great job of helping you understand the quality of your food, which is why I use it with MFP.
SWORKIT is an exercise app that a friend introduced to me not that long ago. It is essentially a no-equipment circuit training workout app. You can choose from 4 categories: Yoga, Stretching, Cardio and Strength. Each major category also breaks down further for more specifically targeted exercises, like upper body strength, boot camp cardio, etc, etc. The app allows you to select the type of workout you want to do, the amount of time you wish to exercise, and then will take you through a workout.
It’s great for a beginner, as the app will show you a video example of the move you are supposed to be doing as it goes, so you can learn as you workout. Even as someone who considers myself a workout novice (or, at least at one point I was, but let’s not talk about that), it still has challenging moves so it can give you a good workout despite not using any equipment. I did an upper-body strength workout last week and was still sore two days after, if that gives you any indication.
It also tracks your workout, so you can see your progress as time goes on. SWORKIT syncs up with MFP too, so your workout calories get added into your daily calorie count automatically.
I purchased SWORKIT Pro to avoid the ads, and it still only cost $2.00. It really comes in handy when I don’t want to drive to the gym (like today, for example), but would also be totally fine to use at the gym too, like using the yoga moves or ab workouts. I definitely recommend this one to anyone.
Combine all three, and who needs an expert? You have your own gym, dietician and nutrition teacher all rolled into one (sort of!)
What are your favorite apps? Share them in the comments, I’m always looking for new ones!