Mike Lee started MyFitnessPal, and it was launched in September of 2005. What first started out as a fun idea and side business turned into one of the most used and respected fitness websites and mobile applications of all time. With 80 million users today, this company is only getting better. Mike first got the idea when he and his soon to be wife were trying to get into shape for their beach wedding. Their trainer gave them a book of over 3,000 food items and pad of paper so they could calculate their caloric intake. Mike grew up programming and knew there had to be a more efficient way to count calories and track your health and fitness goals. To his surprise, there was nothing online that was easy to use, which sparked his idea for MyFitnessPal. He spent weekends and free time getting back into web coding, and slowly built the site this way.
Myfitnesspal.com is a free website, and MyFitnessPal android and apple both offer free applications for users. The MyFitnessPal app for iPhones is just about the same as it is for Android users, so the overall experience is rather straightforward no matter which phone you have. The app is great for on the go use to log and track your food intake when you are not in front of a computer. The great thing about MyFitnessPal is that it is free to use, and it really helps people stay on track with their health and fitness goals. The company has partnered with 4 of the 5 top GPS companies in the world, which makes syncing your Garmin or MyFitnessPal Fitbit tracking device a seamless process. By syncing your fitness tracker, you can let the app know how active you are, and it will adjust your calories based on the results.
In 2015, Under Armour bought MyFitnessPal, along with fitness tracking app Endomondo which gives you an idea of how big this free app really is.
According to wareable.com,
“MyFitnessPal is one of the best food tracking apps around because it gives you targets to work towards which can be easy and glance able (your daily calories) or as detailed as you like when you dive into the graphs (daily fat consumption, vitamin consumption, calories over your target per week).”
Whether you are looking to lose, gain, or simply maintain your weight, this is the most user-friendly application to get your hands on.
How MyFitnessPal Works
If you want to start using the MyFitnessPal platform, you can do so easily from either your computer or your smart phone. You will first want to create a MyFitnessPal log in. It will take you through a series of questions like: how active you are, what your goals are, how much weight you want to gain/lose/maintain, etc. You will set up your profile, and once it evaluates your target needs, it will give you a baseline net calorie target to try and hit each day. There are a couple different exercise diaries you will need to log each day: the Exercise Dairy and the Food Diary. This will ensure you are getting proper exercise for the amount of food and type of food you are consuming each day. If you have foods you periodically like to eat, or meals that are constantly consumed throughout the week you can save those for easier logging purposes. The MyFitnessPal recipes (your recipes) are so helpful, especially if you are in a hurry to log your food.
They recommend you weigh yourself at least one time per week so that you know how your progress is staying on track toward your MyFitnessPal goals. Once you get an idea of how your goals are coming together, you can adjust the settings on your profile. It truly is a user friendly experience, and there are an abundance of food items to pick from, so you are never left settling for a food item that is “similar” to what you consumed. If you are eating a packaged food item with a barcode, you can simply scan in the item and it will record everything relevant in that log. Since May of 2015, the company also offers a premium subscription that users can pay for if they want to have access to custom reports and make customizations to their meal plans overall.
With over 1,000,000 food items in their database (and growing), there is a slim chance you won’t be able to find the foods you are consuming, which makes the process very simple. They also offer different forum support groups, which can help motivate and inspire you to stay connected and on track with friends. There are some pitfalls to avoid, however, when you are using the calorie counter MyFitnessPal. First, how does MyFitnessPal calculate calories burned? Whatever you input, it uses. So if you are not feeling in the mood to add that small scoop of peanut butter you consumed to your tracker, then it will throw your numbers off. It is important to add in everything to the best of your ability to make sure you are on the right track.
If you are not convinced already to use this application or website, take a look at what other users had to say about their experience. For the majority, it was a positive experience overall, but there were a few people with some feedback for the company too! The majority of the negative reviews came from Kindle users, as it would not work on these devices, making it frustrating for some. People loved tracking their food intake and their exercises with the platform, which makes it a good experience for most overall.
Linda (2017, 5 star),
“I started using myfitnesspal almost 3 years ago. During the first year and a half I lost a lost 160 pounds. I averaged 2 to 3 pounds a week. I didn’t start exercising until after the first year. I knew at the time, I had to do something. I didn’t want to pay someone, I made up my mind to lose weight. I set small goals and once, I achieved that goal I added a new goal, knowing in my head where I eventually wanted be. My husband joined about a month after me and lost like 65 pounds. We even purchased a food scale to measure our meat. I know I could not have done this without this app. I have tried to lose weight many times but never stuck with it. I have not reached my final goal but I am still trying. I still track my food everyday. It has become a way of life. At 56, I am happier and healthier. Taking the first step and making a commitment to myself is what it took. I don’t say I’m in a diet. I’m just making better choices.”
Robyn (2017, 5 star),
“I love using My Fitness Pal to keep track of my calories and macros. It’s really helped me ramp up my weight loss because I’m more conscious of what I eat and when I’ve hit my limit. I can’t believe the food database! It’s quite extensive, though I’m not always confident of the calorie counts. The only thing is that while it syncs with Fitbit, it doesn’t always pull the calories burned from workouts on the Fitbit. I’ve had to manually enter them in MFP, but then it lists two workouts on Fitbit. That’s just a minor thing really, and I’m still giving the app 5 stars.”
There are a variety of different fitness, food, fertility, and activity applications you can sync with MyFitnessPal to ensure all of your movements, worries, concerns, and lifestyle habits are being tracked (if you want them to be). Some people really don’t like to add in all of their information to one place, while others see this as easier. I will break down all of the applications that can be synced with your MyFitnessPal below.
FitBit Tracker, Garmin Connect, UA HealthBox, UA Band, The Withings Pulse, Pacer Pedometer, Polar Flow, Misfit, Accupedo Pedometer, Microsoft Health, Fitbug Air Tracker, and Striv Play Smart.
UA Record, MapMyFitness, FitBit Tracker, Garmin Connect, UA HealthBox, UA Band, The Withings Pulse, Pacer Pedometer, Polar Flow, Misfit, Accupedo Pedometer, Microsoft Health, Fitbug Air Tracker, and Striv Play Smart.
UA Scale, UA Healthbox, The Withings Pulse, Runtastic Libra, and Wahoo Balance.
UA HealthBox, Everymove, Saga, and TicTrac.
Garmin Connect, UA HealthBox, UA Band, The Withings Pulse, Misfit, Striv Play Smart, Wahoo RFlkt, Wahoo Tickr, Finis SwimSense, Fitbug Air Tracker, Goji Play, and RHYTHM+ Heart.
Microsoft Health, Polar Flow, Training Peaks, Accupedo Pedometer, Digifit, Finstar Yoga, FitStar, Cyclemeter, RunDouble C25K, Sworkit Circuit Training, PEAR Sports Training, C25K- 5K Trainer, Runmeter, Walkmeter, 5K Runmeter, Bootcamp Challenge, UA Record, Fitbit Tracker, Garmin Connect, MapMyFitness, MapMyRun, MapMyRide, MapMyWalk, Endomondo Sports, Strava, Pacer Pedometer, XiD, Runtastic, Runtastic Pedometer, Runtastic Six Pacer, and RUNKeeper.
XiD, LFConnect, Expresso Exercise, Schwinn 170, Schwinn 270, and Schwinn 470.
Glow, Ovia Fertility, and Ovia Pregnancy.
The Bottom Line
This is an overall innovative, free, and accessible fitness tracking, calorie tracking, and food tracking platform that everyone should take advantage of. If you want to upgrade to premium, you are more than welcome to, but many people feel like the free version gives them everything they need to succeed and more! Do it with friends, family, or co-workers for the optimal experience and support system! MyFitnessPal is a great way to get into shape, track what you are eating, and be mindful of your calories each day, no matter if you are trying to lose weight, gain weight, or maintain your weight!