When you first begin your weight-loss journey, it can be hard to find a way to track your diet and your activities reliably. Food items can be especially hard to follow when you aren’t used to the idea of calorie counting, particularly fruits and vegetables that have no apparent nutritional labels per serving. Fortunately, plenty of health and fitness apps for your smartphone exist to help you with every aspect of your journey. Here are the three best apps to keep tabs on exercise and diet throughout your weight-loss experience.
MyFitnessPal is by far the best free tool for tracking your meals. The service is available on both iOS and Android and works flawlessly on both. This app has the most extensive library of searchable foods, ranging from single ingredients to entire restaurant meals, from which you can select to count your calories.
When you first start using the app, it will ask you a series of questions about your goal weight and how fast you’d like to lose or gain weight. MyFitnessPal will then optimize the goal number of calories you should eat every day, and prompt you to fill in the meal details with what you’ve eaten for each meal. You can either search through the library or scan in UPC barcodes if the item is pre-packaged.
All of the features mentioned above are free, but MyFitnessPal also offers a premium upgrade option. For a price, the app loses advertisements and gives you access to a vast range of detailed options. Some of these alternatives include custom macronutrient goals and food analysis for each meal to understand what nutrients you’re obtaining from each meal.
There are hundreds of different exercise apps to choose from, but Strong is one of the best. Geared toward gym workouts and weightlifting, Strong lets you track your gym gains with ease. The app is pre-loaded with standard beginner, intermediate, and advanced routines for weightlifting that you can follow along with, but you can also create custom routines to suit your specific needs.
Every time you perform an exercise, Strong prompts you to input what the weight lifted was and how many reps you completed. It then stores this information, remembering it for the next workout so you can push yourself further than last time. With its massive library of drills and exercises from which to build custom workouts, Strong is a perfect gym buddy. Some features like weight tracking and extended one-rep maximum measurements require a single in-app purchase, but the main weight loss-helping features are freely available.
If you prefer your workouts to be outdoors, then your best friend should be Strava. Whether you’re cycling or running on the road or trails, Strava tracks your speed, splits, and mileage seamlessly.
Two significant aspects set Strava apart from its competitors. The first is its competitive Segments function. Segments are user-delineated stretches of a path that you compete to get the fastest time on and become the King (or Queen) of the mountain. You don’t have to tell Strava manually that you’re competing; the app will automatically detect that you’re on a particular Segment and pit you against other times. You don’t have to be overly competitive to check out Segments since it’s nice just to see how you fare against others on the same path.
The second aspect is the premium membership. While most of Strava is free, the premium upgrade lets you see some otherwise unavailable data. Particularly useful is the Fitness and Freshness feature, which tells you when you’re working out too intensely and when to take breaks.
In combination, these three apps form the ultimate team to help you lose weight and gain muscle. From MyFitnessPal’s ability to track every nutrient you intake to Strong’s endlessly customizable workout options, each app offers unique features that will assist your journey.