Saturday, February 21, 2009

iPhone Fitness Apps: Lose it!

I've been trying out a few different fitness-related iPhone apps, and a few are pretty good. I'm giving the food and exercise tracker, Lose it! a try for a few weeks instead of Fitday. It's a really nice program that works well for rough tracking, but is limited in how precise you can be. It is very pretty and easy to use, and has a very comprehensive food and exercise library. But more important, you can add your own foods and exercises. It's designed with weight loss in mind, so when you set it up, your only options are to maintain your current weight, or lose weight at a rate from 0.5 to 2lbs/week. It automatically calculates your target calories based on your goal, and it's really easy to change goals whenever you want. If you choose to lose weight, you choose the rate and it tells you the date you can expect to meet that goal by. The recommended calorie ranges pretty much agree with calculations I have done for my body weight in the past, assuming a sedentary activity level. And exercise you do is added to your calorie budget on a daily basis. So, if you exercise more, you get to eat more.

I like:
  • customizeable nutrient tracking. If you want to monitor fat/carb/protein ratios, sodium intake, etc, you decide what you want to track and it displays it. You also don't have to see nutrients you don't want to track. I personally only care about fat/carb/protein stats, so that's all I've chosen to track.
  • food database includes lots of fast food items and major brands you find at the supermarket
  • every pre-programmed food and exercise has a cute icon, which makes it pretty to look at
  • it fits in my pocket and I can log my foods anywhere without having access to the internet
  • Under the nutrients tab, it displays both your current daily stats as well as your weekly averages. Very cool.
  • You can create your own custom exercise, so if you use a heart rate monitor and know your exact calorie burn, you can use that. Very cool.
  • It gives you immediate positive reinforcement when you exercise, because it adds on the amount you just burned to your daily calorie budget.
  • Your current number of calories consumed so far are displayed at the top of your food log section in a cool mathy formula. It shows your total budget - calories eaten - exercise burn = your net calories. And your remaining balance is shown next to that. It toggles between a green "under" and a red "over" to tell you how you're doing.
  • You can make your own recipes! You just add all the ingredients and then tell it how many servings it made and it automatically divides it up. It will definitely help keep your food log less cluttered!
I don't like:
  • the food database doesn't have many units to choose from. Most foods are measured by volume (cups, tablespoons, etc) with no option to use grams or ounces. Boo.
  • You may only select whole numbers of your unit between 0-99, and fractions 1/8, 1/4, 1/3, 1/2, 2/3, and 3/4. It seems pretty good, but here's an example of it being a pain: My Greek yogurt has a serving size of 8oz or 227g. I wanted to input it in grams, but can't add more than 99g. blah. Also, sometimes I have 1/16 or 7/8 of a unit. I want those there, too!
  • There is no option for a decimal point. For example, if you input a new food that contains 2.5g saturated fat, you have to either enter 2 or 3 grams. Boo.
All in all, this is a great app, especially considering it's free! If you want to log your food (and exercise) and you have an iPhone, I would totally recommend this app. It's much more convenient than a paper log or a web-based log.

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