After reading this post from Greatist about the best health and fitness apps, I decided to try MyFitnessPal. It’s a calorie-counting app that hooks up with RunKeeper (I first mentioned it here). When I joined it asked me how much I weigh now, how much I want to weigh in the future, and the rate at which I would like to lose weight. Then it comes up with how many calories you can eat per day, a number which grows when it adds in workouts from RunKeeper or ones you put in manually.
Today is the fourth day that I’ve been using it and so far I’d give it a 6 out of 10. I’ll start with the good: The front screen of the app tells me what I need to know at a glance- how many calories I have left today. There is a huge database of different foods and their nutritional information. I haven’t had a problem finding almost exactly what I’ve been eating. Sometimes portions are an issue (what does 8 oz of cereal look like?), but I just over-estimate and figure that should take care of it. I love being able to see the total nutritional information of one day. Any categories that are really out of balance (ahem, cholesterol and sodium???) show up in red and are really easy to see. It’s not hard to pinpoint areas that I need to improve on. The graph feature is great as well- at a glance I can see how well I ate that day. Finally, the ability to connect to RunKeeper is awesome, even if it is slow most of the time (I’ll get to that later).
Onto the bad: Let’s start with the front screen again, this time we’ll discuss the useless newsfeed. I’m not one of the “diet with friends” type of people, so it’s annoying to have a little banner that says “Diet with friends and lose up to 3x more. Learn more” staring me in the face every time I open the app. No I do not want to learn more, MyFitnessPal. Below that is a newsfeed that updates incredibly slowly with no option to manually update it. For example, the only two items on my newsfeed now happened three days ago, even though I’ve been using the app everyday. If you’re going to have a newsfeed, at least have it update more than once every three days.
One of the main problems I have with the app is that it gives you a lot of information, but not necessarily a good way to analyze it. The graph charts and daily/weekly/monthly detailed nutritional information are all awesome, but it’s a little overwhelming and hard to know where to begin in improving your eating (except for the aforementioned red numbers). With so much information on such a small screen, the app is really clunky and hard to figure out. For example, the side to side arrows that let you switch between days are tiny and half the time it takes me a while to actually press them. If I wanted to see my nutritional info from a week or two ago, it would take forever! Compared to RunKeeper, where all it takes is a simple scroll down to see my past activities, this is very inconvenient. Speaking of RunKeeper, the connection is really slow. It took over an hour after my run for the activity to show up on MyFitnessPal (I know, first world problems), and there is no way to sync between the two apps. By the time it finally showed up, I had given up and already input the activity myself so I had to go in and delete the manual input. A small annoyance, but an annoyance nonetheless.
Overall, the app is somewhat difficult to use and fails on quite a few fronts. If you take it as just a calorie-counting app though, it does the job and connects with RunKeeper to boot. Will I keep using it? Yes. However, I hope the developers update the look, feel, and user-friendliness of the app soon!