If you’ve ever looked into what it takes to lose weight, you know that nutrition is more than half the battle, and that abs are made in the kitchen, not the gym. But while it’s easy to have good intentions, it’s also easy to be deceived about what you’re actually putting into you body, given America’s super-sized portions. Calorie tracking apps—especially ones with databases of pre-loaded foods—can make it easier to pay attention to how much you’re really eating so you don’t unconsciously sabotage your weight-management goals.
While there’s a zillion different calorie trackers on the market, we asked several local trainers to tell us their faves. Here’s what they had to say.
“My favorite app for calories tracking and weight loss is MyPlate. I recommend it to all my athletes. Not only is it easy to use (I’m not a techie), it also has the widest variety of exercises and foods in its database. When weight loss is the goal, don’t do guesswork. Log the calories you eat. Log the calories you expend. Stay in the game.” – Errick McAdams, personal trainer at EMPT
“The MyFitnessPal app is the only app that I recommend to my clients. MyFitnessPal brings awareness to calorie intake, which helps my clients whose primarily concern is weight loss. MyFitnessPal also allows you to share your information, so you can create a real support team. This feature is great for my online clients. It’s another way for me to monitor their progress. The only thing that I don’t like about it is, it gives people additional calories based on their activity/movement for that day. I tell my clients to ignore the higher numbers and to stick with their original target numbers.” – David Franklin, personal trainer at DLF Fitness
“A couple years ago, I tested five different apps in the same week and by far I found MyFitnessPal to have the largest database. Also, on one screen I can see the clients weekly total for the calories and macronutrients percentages.” – Ali Gelani, personal trainer at PerfectFit Personal Training.
“I use it to count my macros, so not just my caloric intake but also my protein and fat intake. The types of calories you’re eating in avocado vs. chicken vs. doughnut make a difference, so it helps break that out for you. There is some annoying work upfront for two weeks when you are adding your meals and information for what you typically eat. There is a search feature and a barcode scan but if you’re eating fresh foods, that you prepare—as you should—you have to custom load everything in. After you get your typical meals in tracking and updating is very easy and painless and can really help you reach your fitness goals especially during ‘bulking season.'” – James Barnett, coach at Solidcore and Cut Seven
“The user gets a certain number of calories—a target built off of your goals. Users have to set up a challenge—some days are easier than others. It’s more of a day-to-day approach and very user friendly.” – Jennifer Blackburn, group fitness manager at Equinox