For most of us, life is hectic and requires fine balance between our, often tight schedules. We have family, friends, work and other activities that all require our time. But, after we'd complete all of our everyday tasks, at the end of the day we'd realize that our frantic schedule left us with not much time for ourselves.
This could be particularly bothersome if you're trying to lead active and healthy lifestyle that requires you to keep track of your entire food intake and log all your exercises in order to keep your plan to achieve your goals efficient. Fortunately, there are many web-based and mobile tools that make these tasks easier and on the go.
One of the most popular tools is FitBit mobile app we reviewed recently, which works as a companion to Fitbit activity trackers as well as a stand-alone app.
Another popular solution is MyFitnessPal website, which is an online community that helps people track their food intake, as well as exercise frequency to help them reach their weight loss goals.
It is also available as a mobile app named simply Calorie Counter that allows iPhone and Android users to track their food intake, exercise, and weight management on the go.
You will need an active MyFitnessPal account before you can start using the Calorie Counter app. If you don't have one, don't worry, the app allows you to set up an account from the app itself.
You'll be asked to provide the usual stats and information, such as your main goal (to lose, maintain, or gain weight) and how aggressively you want to pursue it, your height, weight (current and goal), age, gender, and activity level.
Based on the data you've entered, MyFitnessPal will estimate how many calories your body burns on a typical day without exercise, and customize the app for you.
You'll see the number of remaining calories for the particular day on the home screen, without any ability to edit it or track it from there. The rest of the home screen is populated by blog entries from MyFitnessPal website, which I personally found out of place. Sure, having useful articles and recipes is good, but not on the position this prominent, especially in the app that primarily works as a tracker, which should be available at the fingertips.
Basically, the app focuses on logging and calculating calories, which means that you log what you eat every day. The simplest way to do this is by adding the food from the app's enormous database that is constantly populated by user entries, so there's a big chance that you'll find food you're looking for, not only with the name of the food listed, but with the brands as well.
You can do this by tapping on Diary icon in the footer, which would open new screen where you can add food for particular meal time on a particular date.
I found this part extremely confusing mostly because of not so friendly interface. For example, instead of adding entries for today, I've added entries for yesterday, but I couldn't figure out how that happened. Also, some entries added once were duplicated, and I had hard time finding how to delete them.
To add food users can simply use search functionality, which works ok, although without auto-complete feature. Still, whatever you type, you'd probably get bunch of results.
Once you've added food, it would be listed for future entries, which is handy if you eat some food more frequently. Also, you can add your own food with brand and servings, which could only be added to your list, not into the MyFitnessPal database, which means you can't search for it.
As you're adding food, you'd notice that the number of remaining calories changes, but if you want to check more details, for example to view remaining carbs, fat, sodium, or cholesterol, you might get disappointed. This information is only available if you purchase Premium upgrade. In fact, a lot of features are Premium, which makes the free version of this app quite limited.
Beside food, users can also log their activities and optionally, the water intake. You can add strength and cardio exercises from the diary screen that affect total remaining calories number, depending on the data you enter, i.e. exercise duration and calories burned.
Of course, this works better if you connect MyFitnessPal app to one of the activity tracker devices, such as Jawbone, FitBit, or even Apple Watch.
Users can track their goal progress visually thanks to the charts that also show your start weight, current weight, and change in lbs (loss or gain, depending on what your goal is).
When you tap on section 'More' you'll notice plenty of options that are 'hidden' from the plain sight, instead of being placed on the Home screen. Here, users can review their goals and nutrition, create meals and recipes, set reminders, connect apps and devices, find fitness classes near them, participate in challenges or community discussion, etc.
As you could see, Calorie Counter app by MyFitnessPal is not that bad, it's just poorly designed. While it does the job and help users track the calories they consume and burn, there are much better options for tracking your nutrition and achieve your fitness goals.
Benefit: People who want to count their calories and keep track of their exercise