Thursday, February 7, 2013

Fitness Tracker Review

I have been doing a lot of research trying to find an online and mobile app to track calories, exercise, recipes, grocery lists.  The bad news...there isn't one, which I was I am working so hard to develop one for our site.  They all have their good points and bad points.  One is missing recipe integration, another doesn't track calories, and on and on. NONE of them have a decent menu planner or grocery list generator.  Bottom line is you will have to do that separately to get a useful application.  In the meantime I will give you what I have found to be the best app available so far.

First, the losers.

1. SparkPeople - pros: lots of great information, huge calorie database;  cons: menu-planning isn't flexible, UI (user interface) is complicated and clunky, adding custom recipes and food items is nearly impossible
2. MyFitnessPal - pros: huge calorie database, better UI;  cons: searches result in random items (egg will first get you a fried, whole egg), also difficult to add custom items and recipes
3. FatSecret - pros: best recipe integration, complete with directions and printables;  cons: app lists ingredients in odd measurements (i.e. servings instead of quantities) which makes the recipe impossible to follow
4. My Calorie Counter - pros: easier to read dashboard;  cons: no recipes at all, any custom items have to be configured by hand then input

Another huge complaint I have with all these sites is since they depend on data sharing between users, the calorie counts are often inputted wrong. You might see an item with half the calories it actually has, or double even. So adding custom items is a must!  The part I particularly like about making custom recipe groupings on Lose It is if you are in the middle of a recipe and can't find the item you need in the database, you can nearly seamlessly add your own custom ingredient to add to the list without having to save, go somewhere else, add, then return to the recipe grouping to finish adding ingredients. While Lose It still does not allow for inputting recipe directions, it is BY FAR the easiest to add custom ingredients and groupings to. You can also easily share with other users, which is a must for me to be able to share my calorie counts with my hubby and you guys.

The UI is much friendlier than the competitors, easier to navigate, and better to look at. The mobile app is even better, with a barcode scanner that I have found to work quickly and accurately.

Lastly, Lose It integrates with the new FitBit fitness tracker.  I plan to have a review for it up as well soon.

So for those of you who are tracking calories, which I recommend you all do, even if it is for a short time to see what you are really consuming, I highly recommend you check out Lose It!

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