My fitness pal and Fitbit: How they can mislead you.

Updated: Jun 30, 2019

A few years ago i got my first Fitbit and i was over the moon! I thought that it was going to help me so much with my training and that i would reach my goals super quick and have all this data at my fingertips, so i couldn't possibly go wrong, right?

So many people get a heart rate monitoring smart watch (fitbit, apple watch, garmin etc...) and off they go, off out for a power walk, a run or maybe dusting off the bicycle they had sworn to start riding again. The motivation is high, as is the enthusiastic vigour of how they perform whichever sport/exercise they deem appropriate.

Fitbit activity tracker

Now i must admit that fitbit, and other smart watches, are fantastic. They're not 100% accurate, i found mine to be conflicting with the local gyms X-trainers bpm display by around 12 bpm either way, so there is a definite issue there. But when it comes to tracking variables i find that, even if the equipment you use is way off, as long as you track consistently then you can still get a coherent stream of data.

But that's not the reason i think they're great. The reason i like them so much is that they give people motivation! In the fitness industry we strive to empower people with self belief, knowledge and motivation. If you could bottle it and sell it, well...

A few years ago i also discovered Myfitness pal and i was over the moon! I thought that it was going to help me so much with my training and that i would reach my goals super quick and have all this data at my fingertips, so i couldn't possibly go wrong, right?...Sound familiar?

Myfitness pal, for those that don't know, is a free app that enables you to track your food intake, very much like a food diary, so that you can track your calories and also look at your macro split ( If you don't know what your macro split is then click HERE for an article explaining what this means) For people who want to lose weight via body fat this is a fantastic app and has helped many of my own clients reach their own fat loss goals.

It also helps bodybuilders, endurance athletes, boxers, is quite simply a great app that delivers a lot of data and information to help anyone with their nutrition.

Tracking your calories and macros is a great way to lose body fat.

Now you may be thinking about the title of this blog post and wondering where i'm going with it? Well, Myfitness pal and Fitbit can be synced together so that Myfitness pal can also track physical activity as well as food. This is mostly down to your step count for the day and gym sessions/exercise. This again is a great motivator in my opinion and, if used properly, can be really beneficial.

The problem starts when people get confused about the calories section of Myfitness pal when Fitbit has been synced.

Let's say that you've had your Fitbit on all day and you've been active, walking a lot and also had a gym session with a friend. Your total calories burned for the day, according to Fitbit, is 2700 cals. You then look at your Myfitness pal app and you have a target of 2300 cals of food for the day in order to lose fat, you're in credit right? WRONG!

When you first set up your Myfitness pal account it asks you a few questions to determine your goals and your BMR (basal metabolic rate). Once it has your BMR it then asks how active you are and, depending on your answer, it will adjust your calories accordingly.

When you get your daily calorie intake, Myfitness pal has already accounted for you being active and is basically giving you calories on credit. It expects you to exercise regularly if that is what you say you do, hence why it gives you extra calories because you need them in order to train and lose weight safely.

Now the head bender...If you burn 2700cals in a day, but your deficit cals for weight loss are 2300 and you think you have 400 cals to spare and eat a gooey treat, then you're going out of deficit and most likely back up close to maintenance, therefore consuming an equal balance of calories and halting your fat loss progress.

Make sure you maintain your activity levels in order to lose fat in a calorie deficit.

It's a mistake i see personal trainers, fitness influencers and joe bloggs make all the time and that is why Myfitness pal and Fitbit can mislead you. On their own they are incredibly great motivators for people who want to start their own fitness journey and succeed.

Unfortunately when there are synced together they can cause headaches for the majority of people because it isn't easily explained by either party and most fitness professionals fall into the same trap.

Social media has a massively powerful influence on people in so many ways, some are good and some aren't. Don't necessarily believe a pretty face and a nice body, knowledge, when it comes to reaching your goals, will always shine through.

Till next time...

I hope this article has helped if you were having issues with your own weight loss plan.

If you have any questions please leave a comment.

Preston, Lancashire

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