My Fitness Pal Hacks To Master

By Ange

My Fitness Pal is one of the best diet tracking apps available. It is super easy to use either via the phone based app, or through your desktop. We love teaching our clients how to become my fitness pal ninja’s.

Here are some of the basics on how to get started.

How to get started?

The first thing you need to do is set up your account. Start with a log in, password and then head to your goals section to customise your calories and macronutrient goals. To set realistic targets, you can use a trusted online macro calculator such as the one at IIFYM.

How 23W customise Nutrition plans

With basic biological information, a coach should be able to customised your starting macro and calorie targets. This is done by establishing your Basal Metabolic Rate, multiplying it by your activity level and either applying a caloric deficit, surplus or maintenance depending on your goals.

 
The Basics
The first step in using this app is to preplan your food.  Hit the plus sign, select the meal, add a food and hit search. It is best to add food in raw or uncooked as the measurements are more likely to be consistent. You will be overwhelmed with food choices. You are best to select food that appear with a green tick where possible. The beautiful thing about MFP is that community members are able to add to the database but the green tick will ensure the nutrition information is more accurate.
 
After preplanning your day, click complete diary  in the top right hand corner or at the bottom of the diary screen. Hitting that will figure out how long it’ll take to get to your goal based on the day.
 
But before you click out, the most important part is to have a closer look at your macros. To lose weight the most important aspect is the caloric deficit but hitting your macro target will help with recovery, maintaining muscle mass and metabolic rate. Do this by heading over  to the Nutrition section. Here you can see whether you are hitting your targets and where you are deficient. The week/month view is interesting once you have tracked for a while.
 
We also encourage our clients not to track or log exercise. This is because MFP will re-add food back into you day, taking you out of a caloric deficit.

Barcode Scanner

When you buy packaged foods, you can use the handy barcode scanner within the smartphone app to find the exact product and save scrolling through generic user created items. On the desktop app just search for the exact name of the food and you should find the correct product i.e. “Coles Chicken Breast”.

Creating recipes

I use this function all the time and it is definitely one of the best features. Click ‘Add Foods’, followed by the ‘+’ and then ‘add recipe’. Add the ingredients as you are using them, and at the end you can name the recipe and declare how many servings are in it before saving to your database. This way the next day when you grab a portion for lunch, you can quickly add this in.

Reminders

After you have been using MFP for a while it remember food you have previously selected for quick use. It can take a little while to remember to use this app and make it a routine. Adding a customised reminder could help. Simply click on ‘more’ and add a default reminder to log your food.The Paid VersionThere are two main benefits of the paid version. Firstly the ability to customise your weekly plan using grams and different macro splits. And secondly, being able to use the ‘quick add feature’. This feature will save a bunch of time in manually adding ingredients if you know the macros and calories in a meal.You do not need to use the paid version to start flexible dieting though.Our best tip is to start by starting and see what you learn along the way. It will take time a patients to learn how to track and measure correctly.

 

Tracking and measuring is not a forever approach, but it does go a long way to establish intuitive eating habits that are in line with your goals.

If you would like more help in learning how to get results using this app, be sure to email our team at [email protected]

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Our founder

Ange Drake is an personal trainer, women’s empowerment coach and fitness blogger in the northern suburbs of Melbourne. She is the director of one of the few womens’ only strength training gyms in Melbourne, 23W. Ange helps women to learn how to use strength based training, nutritional strategies and a positive mindset to transform their bodies, relationship with food and mind.

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