Jun 26, 2014 | by AIF
MyFitnessPal is an easy to use tool for those wanting to record their food intake and energy expenditure, says Thamsin Dunn, Master Coach at the Australian Institute of Fitness in SA.
With studies showing measuring food intake and energy expenditure are effective in those wanting permanent weight management, the MyFitnessPal may be a good, free iPhone/android app to recommend to your personal training clients.
There are two main functions of MyFitnessPal.
- Food recall.
The user enters everything they consume over a period of time. This is best done after each meal to ensure accuracy. The software has a vast database of over 973,000 commercially available foods (search via genre or brand) with all of the nutrient and ingredient information. If a food is not in the database, there are simple instructions to enter the product, which is then saved for future reference. The user can then review food consumed, total calorific intake and total nutrient intake in grams. MyFitnessPal uses regression data working from your current weight to your target weight to estimate if you are on track to reach your goal. If you consume too few calories, it will also give you a stern warning about the dangers of under eating!
- Exercise recall.
The user enters exercise performed daily. This can either be from estimated calories expended using a heart rate monitor, or by selecting the time and intensity of exercise performed from a given exercise library. This library is vast, and estimates calorific expenditure based on age, weight, height, and the reported intensity performed at. Obviously this is an estimate at best, but it gives great comparison material to link with food recall.
Do be aware that the calories and energy expenditure are estimated though and may not always be 100% accurate the calories in some of the homemade foods for instance are underestimated.
Overall the app is a useful tool for those wanting to record their energy intake and expenditure without having to carry an extra diary around. It’s well designed, gives motivational tips, and also allows the user to link in with friends, sharing triumphs and messaging each other support.
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