Controlling the calories: MyFitnessPal vs FitBit review

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Tackling your nutrition is a major component of any fitness goal: losing or gaining weight, elevating performance, and improving your general wellbeing. There are hundreds of fitness apps on the market, both free and paid, but which are the best?

This review takes a look at MyFitnessPal and Fitbit to find out which is the champion of calorie counting and diet/nutrition monitoring apps.

MyFitnessPal

Under Armour are one of the titans of sports brands and MyFitnessPal is part of their huge repertoire of fitness focussed products. The app’s entire function is to track your daily intake and expenditure of calories using an online catalogue of foods. You can also log water intake, exercise, weigh-ins and set goals.

Another brilliant part of this app is the inclusion of their blog on your timeline, offering workouts, recipes, and bitesize research on a range of topics. Push notifications can help you remember to put in meals, and completing your diary offers a prediction of your weight in relation to your eating habits and your goal.

Pros

  • Huge online catalogue of branded and generic foods, meaning less time spent checking packets and manually typing in foods
  • Recipe function allows you to put in the URL of an online recipe and copy over the ingredients – very useful!
  • Links up with most wearables and other fitness apps, including Fitbit, meaning exercises and steps are brought over and factored into your calorie intake for the day
  • Newsfeed includes useful blog posts, including work out routines, meal recipes, and research pieces.

Cons

  • App does not work very well without internet access – wifi is a must
  • Occasional bugs prevent the app from syncing with wearable devices such as Fitbit, meaning exercises aren’t automatically added
  • Adding a new food or meal can be fiddly
  • Newsfeed and diary page can be cluttered with advertisements (unless you pay for premium).

Fitbit

The rival, weighing in at 23.2 million active users, is a tough opponent to beat. Dominating the wearables market for a number of years, Fitbit rarely needs an introduction. Recently, the accompanying app has found more importance as the modern world championed the smart phone.

The app has a variety of functions depending on which model of Fitbit you are using. For the sake of this review, I will be referencing the Charge 2 model. The app is able to track sleep, activity, exercise, sleep, weight, water intake, and calories. So, how good is the latter?

Pros:

  • You have the option of repeating meals, which is key for people who may have the same meals every day
  • No advertisements or news feed to distract from function and goals
  • It’s incredibly easy to directly input calories or to create a food from a packet
  • Inputting water intake is a doddle – just click on the icon of the amount of water you had!
  • Exercise and expenditure of energy is instantly factored into your calorie allowance as all your activity information is recorded instantly from your device without having to input it yourself.

Cons:

  • Much smaller and less comprehensive online catalogue of brands and foods, meaning you may spend more time manually inputting foods
  • ‘Zone’ feature is confusing and could be misinterpreted
  • Calorie goal setting can be fiddly and lacks ideal amount of customisation for specific goals
  •  Deficit / calories for the week has been removed from weekly review.


Both apps struggle with:

  • Online catalogues often do not include restaurant information, meaning you may be searching online yourself or asking for the allergen and nutrition menu from behind the bar! (MyFitnessPal has, in fairness, started to include big chains such as Nando’s and Starbucks)
  • Lack of photo opportunities – many people take photos of their meals, both for social and nutrition purposes. Being able to accompany a meal input with a shareable photo would be ideal.
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MyFitnessPal daily breakdown


Both apps successfully:

  • Weigh-ins are presented with helpful info graphics and the ability to share with friends, promoting a sense of achievement and encouragement
  • Macro nutrients are included and easy to access.

Specifications:

App size:
Fitbit: 95.7 MB
MyFitnessPal: 90.6 MB

Cost:
Fitbit: App is free
MyFitnessPal: Basic app is free, premium at a cost of £7.99+*

*premium literally just removes adverts and allows you to see how a certain food or meal impacted your daily macros.

The verdict – which one suits you?

Both apps will help you gain control of your diet and eating habits, promoting a healthier lifestyle and increasing chances of achieving goals.

MyFitnessPal – Best for losing or gaining weight, as well as other general weight goals such as maintaining, bulking or shredding. This app is also much better for the social types who like to share achievements and photos, helped by the Facebook-style friends and newsfeed feature.

Fitbit – Suits athletic or sporty types who have a sole focus of getting their calorie intake bang on and making sure they’re getting the right macros in. It may also suit users who don’t want to have to switch between two apps.

Do you use either of these apps? Put your thoughts into a comment below!


All screenshots included are from my own usage of the app. Thanks to Alex for helping out with this review!

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