The Ultimate Guide to MyFitnessPal

June 10, 2014
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Looking to take your fat loss progress up a notch or simply make sure you are meeting your nutritional needs? If so, you must make use of My Fitness Pal.

Hundreds of users worldwide use this website and application daily to help track their diet and make sure they are right on the mark, striving towards their goals.

If you’ve ever felt frustrated with your fat burning attempts and are feeling like you just can’t succeed, all it might take is this site to get you going again.

Let’s walk you through everything you need to know about My Fitness Pal so that you can see why it’s such a great site for success.

What My Fitness Pal Is

When most people think of My Fitness Pal, they tend to think of a site that’s just about calorie tracking. And while that is the primary function of this site and why most people do choose to use it, make no mistake, it’s about far more than that.

When you set up an account with My Fitness Pal, you will have access to their popular community where you can go to share your own weight loss experience, ask your own questions about the program you are using or the struggles you’re having, or help other people out by answering their pressing questions.

This adds a whole element of social support into using the website that can help you stick with it and stay committed to results.

In addition to this, you can also gain access to the charts of your progress, which allow you to assess over a time period of seven days, 30 days, 90 days, 180 days, or the full last year.

You can view things like your weight, your measurements, your nutritional stats, as well as your exercise minutes completed.

This goes a long way towards helping you stay accountable and make sure you’re recognizing the progress you are in fact making.

You’ll also have access to a workout program tracker, which allows you to input the cardiovascular exercise you’ve done as well as any strength training activities performed.

This then works with the diet side of the site to help give you a very comprehensive idea of the progress that you are making.

Then of course, you have what the site is known for – the diet and calorie tracker. This allows you to keep tabs on precisely how much you are burning so that you can make sure that you are on track to seeing the weight loss goals that you desire.

So now that you know what the site is all about, let’s walk you through how to get started using it so that you can reap all the benefits it has to offer.

Getting Started With MyFitnessPal

First, you’ll want to register with the site so that you can use all the various functions that the program have to offer. Input all the information required on the registration pace, upon which you’ll then be asked to fill out your own profile.

You can make this as detailed as you wish, keeping any information you prefer private.

Next, you’ll need to input your stats.

Go under ‘settings’ at the top of the page and then click on ‘Update Diet/Fitness Profile’.

You’ll then be taking to a page that will ask you to input factors such as your current weight, goal weight, height, gender, date of birth, activity level, exercise frequency, and so on to build your complete profile for tracking purposes.

Make sure you fill this in accurately as it will impact the recommendations the site gives you.

From here, click on Goals and you will be brought to a page that illustrates how many calories you should be aiming for a day along with your carb, fat, and protein breakdown for optimal results.

my-fitness-pal-goals

Now you are ready to begin using the site.

Entering Your Food Intake

The very first step to start taking is to begin entering your food in the website. This is the main function that most people use the site for, so is the most heavily used element of it.

To begin, click on the ‘food’ tab at the top of the page.

From there, you’ll be brought to a section that shows your food diary for the current day of the week, breaking it up into breakfast lunch, as well as dinner.

my-fitness-pal-food-diary

To begin entering your breakfast meal, click on ‘add food’. Note that if you are eating the same breakfast from yesterday or already know the calories, you can click under ‘quick tools’ and simply hit quick add calories, copy yesterday, or copy from another date you may have had the same meal. This makes it easier if you typically eat similar meals throughout the course of the week.

If you are entering a new meal, after clicking add food, you will be taken to a new page where you can enter the food in question:

myfitnesspal-add-new-food

Type in the food, trying to be as specific as possible. Let’s say you had an apple. After entering the query, you’re then brought to a list of matching foods of all varieties. Select the one that best matches your description. As you do this, one right hand side you’ll see another box that pops up that will then list the number of servings and how much each serving is.

adding-food-to-mfp

This part is very important. Enter the accurate amount of servings and then this food will then get added to the daily total.

serving-amount-tracking-in-my-fitness-pal

Continue on doing this until your entire meal is entered and you will now see the total value of what you had to eat.

Note that if you want to list a different set of factors, you simply click under the ‘settings’ tab and you’ll then be brought to a page that shows what nutrients you want to track. Select the ones you wish to monitor and then click ‘save’.

change-settings-in-my-fitness-pal

And that is how you use the food section of the site. If you need to click over to another day, use the navigation arrows just left and right of the date or the calendar if you wish to jump from week to week.

Track your foods daily and then you can use the chart section to see your progress (discussed further shortly).

Adding Your Exercise

Now, some people simply use this site for nutritional tracking and stop there. That’s perfectly fine if you choose to do so. If you also wish to track your exercise as well, you can begin monitoring that also.

Click on the ‘Exercise’ tab at the top of the screen and you will be brought to a place where you can track both cardiovascular as well as strength training activity.

tracking-exercise-in-my-fitness-pal

Click on ‘add exercise’ or quick tools if you wish to transfer data from a previous workout session.

Enter the type of exercise you’ve done, click on search, and then just like the foods section, you’ll be brought to a list of exercise choices. Click the one that best matches what you did and then select how long you did the exercise for. You’ll see the total calorie burn pop up and then click on add exercise.

total-calories-burned-mfp

It will now be added to your daily total.

daily-total-my-fitness-pal

Continue on with this process until all your exercises, both strength training as well as cardio have been identified.

When you are adding your strength training exercises, you’ll also want to list the number of reps, the number of sets, as well as the amount of weight lifted.

This is going to provide a much more comprehensive method of tracking that will also allow you to easily compare your current workout from that of your last and make sure that you are making progress in the right direction. Remember that even just a slight increase – more weight lifted, another rep performed, or more sets completed will mean that you are improving.

By tracking so many different elements like this, you can prevent yourself from feeling unmotivated if you aren’t seeing a weight decrease from week to week.

As long as one element is moving in the right direction, you can feel confident you’re making progress as you should.

Checking Reports

So now that you have both your nutrition and exercise information entered into the system, as you do this over the course of weeks or months, you can then begin going in to review the information in the charts that will be provided.

To do this, you’ll click on ‘charts’ at the top of the page and then choose a report to view.

myfitnesspal-charts-and-reports

And there you have the basics steps to using My Fitness Pal.

As you go about the site, you’ll also want to be sure that you are making good use of the community as mentioned, as well as periodically check out the blog as well. The block will feature various information and tips on exercise, eating right, and all other elements related to good health management.

If you happen to use other applications or devices, you can also interconnect them into your My Fitness Pal as well.

Examples of these will include the Fitbit Tracker, BodyFit Media, MapMyRun, MapMyRide, as well as a host of other applications that are hot in the fitness industry.

By integrating all these tools together, you can get a more comprehensive idea regarding your progress and ensure that you are making your way towards optimal success.

Be sure that as you progress along with your program and start seeing body weight changes, you are also adjusting the original profile you created. Since as your body weight changes, your total calorie needs are also going to need to be adjusted, if this isn’t updated, the recommendations that My Fitness Pal gave you will be incorrect.

Also note that you don’t always have to follow their recommendations in the first place. If you are using a personal trainer or have seen a nutritionist who has given you a calorie and macronutrient recommendation, just disregard what My Fitness Pal has given you and use their site as a tracking feature instead.

Think of My Fitness Pal as a tool that will offer complete comprehensive assurance promoting your success. Unless you are tracking your daily food intake and exercise, it gets harder to see the precision you need with your fat loss results.

Those who monitor everything and then go on to make adjustments over time to ensure they are structuring their diet protocol in a way that will promote fat loss do see better results.

Those who just go about their diet without tracking anything, hoping that if they ‘eat healthy’ they will see results, will be grossly disappointed.

By tracking, you add an element of science into the process that will guarantee your success.

My Fitness Pal is free to use and is going to make tracking your food intake feel easier. Many people avoid this process simply because it can get to be quite time consuming if you’re attempting to do it all on your own, but with My Fitness Pal, you won’t need to concern yourself with this. Just enter the information and the program will do all the work for you.

Best of all, it’s also available as a phone application, so even if you don’t want to be logging onto the computer on a daily basis, you can still see the results you’re hoping for by using your phone to calculate your daily totals and numbers.

So head over to My Fitness Pal and sign up if you have not done so yet. It is an excellent tool to have on your side as you progress through your fitness journey.

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