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by on April 16, 2013

Here’s another little tool for your gym bag:

For M, I thought I’d share an app that I’ve found incredibly useful.


Though fitness and diet are too complex to reduce to a simple formula, it’s generally a safe bet that if you want to lose weight, you need to burn off more calories than you take in. If you want to maintain, you need to be keeping those two in balance, and if you want to gain weight (must be nice), you want to take in more than you’re using up. (You probably want to make sure you’re taking in the right kind of calories too, which is not the point of today’s post.)

Myfitnesspal is great for tracking calorie intake and estimated calorie burn. When you set up your personal profile, you input important data, average activity level, and weight loss goals which allows the app to calculate a daily calorie count to suit you.

Each day, you enter the calories you’re taking in and the exercise you do. The app keeps a running total of each day’s efforts so you know how much wiggle room you have when you’re thinking about the next meal. If nothing else, the app is great for keeping you honest and making you see how much you’re taking in.

You can scan UPCs and almost always get the nutrition information off the web. Since the app is accessing nutrition information, it can also track your daily and weekly intake of sodium, protein, fat, carbs, and so on. You can look at summaries to see how much of each you’re getting, with a breakdown of what percentage of your diet falls into which category.

The pic above shows how detailed you can get – to include the candy-style multivitamins I take each morning, or the 5-calorie-per-stick Solstice gum I love to chew at work.

There are options for storing personal recipes as well, so if you have a diet routine or a regular favorite home-cooked meal, you can scan in the ingredients, divide by the number of servings, and get a calorie count for each serving of deliciousness.

The app allows for social interaction so that you can keep up with your friends, and you can comment on each other’s posts. You won’t see all their info, but if they lose some pounds, or stay under their calorie goal, or do some exercise, you’ll see a post in the home page.

When I have been successful at losing weight and getting in better shape, it’s because I’ve closely monitored not only my exercise but my food intake. This app puts all of that at my fingertips, and allows me to update my food log with a simple scan.

I’m sure it’s not the only one out there, but it has done everything I hoped and more, short of working out for me or slapping the fork out of my hand if I reach for some cake.

It’s one of my absolute favorites. I’m sure you’ll love it too.


From → Gym Bag

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