Advanced MyFitnessPal – how to get the most from the MFP app

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Many of us have heard of MyFitnessPal, and use it regularly, in particular to calorie-count and track food intake and activity levels. (In case you haven’t used it before, check out this short article for some basic info).

It is based on the long-proven concept that tracking and monitoring progress and achieving “mini-wins” makes it more likely that you will reach your goals (whether these be fitness, weightloss, muscle building… whatever)

But did you know that there is a lot more to this fantastic app than just tracking?

Check out my list of the top 6 functionalities of MyFitnessPal that you’re probably not using yet…

  1. Accountability and support

Isn’t it often easier to go to a new class if a friend comes with you? Or more enjoyable to start a healthy eating routine when your partner or family are on board too?

MyFitnessPal offers this support in a virtual capacity – you can link up with your friends who are also on the app, monitor each others progress, like and comment on completed diaries, exercise, or multi-day logging streaks. All of which appeals to our ego (just a little bit, and in the most positive way) and gives us that extra nudge to keep going when the going gets tough.

  1. Macros tracking

Without going overboard on the whole macros tracking thing, it is often a really good idea to get a breakdown of the macronutrients you consume, even if your fitness goal isn’t that specific. MyFitnessPal offers a pre-defined percentage breakdown of carbs, fat and protein (plus other micronutrients like sugar, sodium etc.) so this can give you a great overview of your diet. The app will also give you a notification if you go over your macronutrient goals.

When I work with PT clients, I find this is a great area to monitor as it can help the trainer in making recommendations.

Check out MyFitnessPal’s Nutrition 101 series for a comprehensive overview from a registered dietician to explain in detail.

  1. Recipes

We often get stuck for ideas when we want to eat healthy – there’s only so many times you can have a stir-fry, or an omelet for lunch AGAIN!

This is where I find the MFP recipes are a great resource.

They are normally hosted on the blog (or also in the community forum), and display on your feed when you choose Home on the app. It is a brilliant way to get ideas, find recipes for food that is in season and also for recipes that are specific to your goals (weightloss, muscle building, reducing sugar-intake, to name just a few). It’s my go-to place whenever I’m stuck for a meal idea.

  1. Connect to other devices

Wearable devices are all the rage these days, in particular FitBits, Garmins and Apple Watches. For many people, they are a great motivation to get active and stay active. And thankfully, you can sync your wearable devices with the MyFitnessPal app. It’s really straightforward, just check out the instructions here.

And for a list of even more apps and services that link to MyFitnessPal, check out this article.

  1. Customise your goals (not just weight-specific)

As mentioned already, not all goals are weight-related. And this is where MyFitnessPal can really support you with other health-and-fitness related goals. You can use it to set a goal-specific macro intake, monitor your level of daily activity, manage your intake of micronutrients and see how varied your diet is. And if you look at the other apps and services linked to MyFitnessPal, you will see that the data can also be used for data analysis in areas like fertility and illness management.

  1. Community/Blog for ideas

I already mentioned Recipes above, but that is just one area where the blog and the community support MyFitnessPal users. There is a lot of other content there that you can use to help you on your way to your goals. For example, they have different workout routines, specific groups/forums where you can interact with others… groups like Clean Eating, Success Stories, Non-Scale Victories… Whatever you can think of, you can probably find a group to join – for a full list, have a look here.

So there you have it – MyFitnessPal offers you a wealth of information and functionality that go way beyond simple food and activity tracking. And whether you’re a newbie wanting to run your first 5k, or a body builder on a 4-week shred – you’ll find something extra to support you along the way.

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