Which activity tracker you should be using (I bet you'll never guess which one)
Updated: Apr 13, 2021
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There are many food and activity tracking applications available to those who aspire to become healthier versions of themselves. There is a vast array of different apps, reviews, and testimonials that can be overwhelming, but I am here to simplify and take the guesswork out.
I started using MyFitness Pal™ several years ago when I began a macronutrient-focused diet (The macronutrient principle that I will blog about later)- but in a nutshell; inside of focusing on your total calorie intake, you focus on hitting specific protein, fat, and carbohydrate goals. I am currently back in school, and a class that I took had us use this Cronometer™ app to conduct a 2-day food recall, and analyze the results. Since I am a CrossFit™ coach and also provide nutrition coaching I mentioned Cronometer with several of my clients, and guess what…. NO ONE HEARD OF CRONOMETER . So I thought it would be beneficial to write a comparison. This review will be unbiased and provide facts, and the functionality of the apps. At the end, I will give my opinion, of which app I feel is the most beneficial.
You can download each one of these through google play and iTunes. You can also sign in from a computer. Like everything else, it requires you to make a login ID and password.
Free membership includes:
Daily Calorie Goal
Quick add Calories
Access to MFP blog and community
Sync with devices like Apple Watch, FitBit, and more
Mobile and web versions
Premium Membership: There are two options $9.99/month or $49.99/annual
Set custom macro goals
Deeper nutritional insights
Calorie goals by meal
Different goals by day
Exercise calorie settings
Meal level carbs, protein, and fat
Quick add carbs, protein, fat by gram
Priority customer support
Quick log recipes
Cnonometer: There are 2 tiers; Plan for Individuals and Plan for Professionals. For this post, I will only be discussing the plan for individuals, which has 2 options.
Basic Free membership includes:
Ability to log food, exercise & biometrics
Track all your macros & up to 82 micronutrients
Customizable macro & micronutrient targets
Customizable weight goal settings
Sync with devices like Apple Watch, FitBit, and more
Limited health trends & reports
Create custom foods & recipes
Export your data
Mobile and web versions
Gold plan: There are two options $6.99/month; $39.99/annual
All basic features
Diary groups & timestamps
More insight (charts)
Share custom food & recipes
Adding food or beverage items is the main reason to download this type of tracker. In both of these trackers, you can add foods by either scanning the bar code of the product that you are going to consume or by typing in the food item. If the food item is not present, you can create a “custom food”. You also have the option of creating “custom recipes”.
MyFitness Pal: There is also an option to create a meal, in addition to creating custom foods and recipes. If you create a custom food item (My Foods) or create a recipe that information becomes part of the database and anyone that utilizes the MyFitness Pal platform can search it and add it to their daily food diary. There are “green checkmarks” next to the foods that have been verified for accuracy. The user also has the option to “quick add” calories or "quick add" macronutrients (if using the premium version) for convenience.
Cronometer: If you decide to not use the scan bar code option and type in the food that you are going to eat, the only foods that populate are from reputable sources such as NCCDB, USDA SR28, CNF 2010, IFCDB, NEVO, CoFID, and NUTTAB. If you cannot find the desired food you can create a food or recipe and those are private unless you decide to share with a friend. If you create a "food" the information entered gets submitted to the CRDB database and reviewed by Cronometer for accuracy and to be published to the database.
Cronomenter also has an additional feature; Ask the Oracle. You can search foods that meet certain criteria or you can use “suggest foods” for a list of foods that matches the users' macronutrient daily target. For example, if a person wanted more fiber or omega-3, they could search specifically for food items that are high in those micronutrients (all lesser nutrients; i.e sodium, vitamin D, and others).
Through both apps, you can add a fitness device, such as a Polar™, Fit Bit™, or Garmin™ and that information automatically sync with the platform. You can also manually add exercise by using the search toolbar.
MyFitness Pal: There is a “quick tool” option that the user is able to pull information from a previous date and use for the current day. If there is not an exercise that is listed the user can create one and it will be added to the main database. Once the desired exercise is chosen and the time length is added, the platform will automatically calculate calories burned. However, information on how calories burn is calculated is not sited. Additionally, total calories burned will automatically be added to calories that the user still has left for the day, unless you turn this function off.
Cronometer: Once you search the desired exercise and you indicate the time that you spent, calories burned are calculated by the users body weight (which is set up by the user once you join, and can be adjusted from the users “profile”). There is an option to “add” an exercise if the desired one is not listed. If this happens the exercise is not added to the main database.
Each platform allows the user to view, download, and print charts from various data to include weight, body measurement, or specific macro/micronutrients in 7-day intervals.
MyFitness Pal: If the user wants to print or export the report, the user must have it emailed to them. The user can also view frequently logged foods, information about logged exercises, and other relevant information pertaining to the week specified.
Cronometer: The user will need to use the desktop version to print/export complete nutritional reports. The user can also manage their charts and choose other health indicators to be part of the overall report. The user can also view bone health, oral health, immune health, and other health indicators.
The user is able to go into settings in both apps to set specific targets, for both micro and macronutrients (part of the basic features for Cronometer, and premium feature for MFP). The user is also able to set and name different meal times (i.e meal 1, meal 2; or pre-workout, post work out ect).
MyFitness Pal: There are only 13 micronutrients that you can set targets for. The user can set goals for fitness as well.
Cronometer: There are 82 micronutrients that you can set targets for. The user can also set goals for fasting needs. Other goals that the user can set up are nutrition scores, highlighted nutrients; and nutrient balances (which are displayed on the users' dashboard).
Both MyFitness Pal and Cronometer the user can add friends to share their diary and recipes with.
MyFitness Pal: The user can add friends from both their phone and their desktop computer. Messages/E-mails can also be sent through this platform.
Cronometer: Users' can add other users as friends, though I have only found this possible through the desktop version and not the mobile version. Users will have the ability to share their recipes with each other. Users cannot message/E-mail each other through this app. There are also 2 additional features, Professional and Research. Professional allows another professional (usually a nutrition professional) to monitor the users' information. The Research function gives the user the option to opt-in and enrolls in the collection of specific reached data.
MyFitness Pal: There is a strong community feel. The user is able to blog through the platform. They can also see all friends in a “news feed”, which allows the user to like and comment on their friends logged exercise and completed daily. The user can also request to join a “group” and participate in “challenges” with other friends. Users of MyFitness Pal can earn badges of accomplishing milestones. Since MyFitness Pal is powered by Under Armour, the user can also shop their line of clothing and gear. MyFitness Pal has a user guide under “help” that explains how to maneuver around the application/ platform.
Cronometer: The user can add additional biometrics (health markers) to their dashboard. There is also a specific Keto calculator that allows the user to set targets and track macronutrients that are part of a Keto program. Cronometer has an extensive user manual that explains each part of Cronometer ™and how to use it, screenshots included.
The Bottom Line
In terms of appearance, Cronometer is the winner. The layout in Cronometer is not only eye appealing but easy to navigate. There is a calendar that is accompanied on the dashboard for easy navigation to previous dates. There are only 6 menu items of Cronometer compared to the 8 (plus sub-menus) on MyFitness Pal . This can cause an unfamiliar user to become overwhelmed with the initial amount of options.
Cronometer again wins for data accurately. This one is no brainier. Due to the fact that Cronometer’s nutritional information is from verified and reputable sources, the user is guaranteed to get the most accurate information. Unlike the inconsistency and unverifiable information of MyFitness Pal, and the user can search any food or recipe that was created by any user.
Cronometer analyzes all aspects of a person's health. This is done through the reported weight, nutrition, fitness, and other biometrics. You are also able to create and track different variations of a person's health. This could be very beneficial for a person with diabetes, or other medical conditions, to be able to accurately track these conditions.
The bottom line is that I think that the Cronometer’s platform is a better choice whether it is for an Olympic athlete, athletic enthusiast, a person under medical care, a new mom looking to get back into shape, or your everyday Joe.
⭐⭐Want to learn more about flexible dieting. I would love to connect!⭐⭐