Food Apps for Runners – A Review
Do you use a food App to log and track your food intake for your run training? Or maybe you have been thinking of introducing one to help monitor your macro intake for body composition or muscle development or just to ensure you are eating enough for your run training.
There are so many Food Apps on the market these days that it can be difficult decide which one to use or, indeed, if you need to use one at all!! To help you make the correct decision we:
- Introduce THREE Food Apps: MFP, NOOM, ATE and give an outline of the service they provide
- Focus on how Food Apps could be SUPPORTIVE to health and running
- Discuss some potential DRAWBACKS to Food Apps
An introduction to the Food Apps Karen and Aileen use and what role these Apps play in supporting their nutrition and run training
Introducing and reviewing My Fitness Pal (MFP) and giving an outline of the services it gives its users including:
- It advertises as a weight loss tool
- It is a worldwide App therefore its food database is enormous
- It can track both food intake and daily exercise
- It can sync with other Apps. For example Garmin, Strava
Moving on to focus on NOOM and the services it provides to consumers including:
- It advertises as a tool to support behavioural change and mindful eating to help people manage certain health conditions they may be experiencing including; stress, anxiety, diabetes
- They have a programme-based approach, the programmes being 16 weeks in length
- They have psychologists and coaches on hand to answer any customer questions
- They provide daily short lessons on nutrition, habits and overcoming obstacles
Discussing the ATE App and its approach to logging daily food intake. The services it provides to customers include:
- A photographic approach to logging food intake – making it very simple to use
- Encouraging individuals to reflect on the emotion around the foods they eat – the WHAT and WHY of food choices and how it made them feel
- It encourages mindful; eating
- It collates the photos into a graphic, which can be easily shared with friends or on social media
Delving into the reasons why a runner may utilise a food app to support their health and running. The reasons for a runner using one of these apps will depend on their individual health and running goals but may include:
- To manage portion size for optimal body composition
- To manage the distribution of macronutrients (protein, carbohydrate and fat) for energy and muscle development and repair
- To ensure they are eating enough for their daily training
- To monitor progress towards a health or running performance goal
Considering some of the potential drawbacks to using a Food App to log daily food intake including:
- It is time consuming and can detract from the love and joy of preparing and eating food
- Some of the apps can be confusing to set up and difficult to use
- It could be easy to over or under eat for health, training and performance
- The pop up adverts on FREE apps are very irritating
- Some apps can incur glitches resulting in data not being logged
- It could lead to addictive behaviour
1) There is a plethora of Food Apps on the market all advertising that they can help you reach your weight, health and/or training goals…BUT which one is right for you? Are any of them the correct approach for your health and training goals? A question to ask yourself and reflect upon before introducing one into your routine
2) When choosing one, make sure you KNOW what you want it to do for you For example: are you looking at body composition only? Are you wanting to eat more mindfully to support physical and emotional health? Are you willing to pay for the services?
3) Compare different Apps before making a choice – carry out a review just as we have done today to help you make the correct decision
4) They can be a great tool to monitor progress when working towards a personal goal – be it in your approach to eating or your sports performance. They can help keep you motivated and inspired to reach that goal
5) BUT…they could have drawbacks too including:
- They may be time consuming
- They are not gold standard trackers so data may be inaccurate
- They may have glitches and may be difficult to use
- They may detract from your love of food and eating
- They may not provide you with the results you are looking for
6) Finally, remember, Food APPS may not be useful or appropriate for some people and we don’t recommend them for anyone who may suffer from, or has suffered in the past from, any form of disordered eating or an eating disorder. We recommend you seek medical support and liaise with a professional regarding your health and wellbeing
The suggestions we make during this episode are for guidance and
advice only, and are not a substitute for medical advice or treatment.
If you have any concerns regarding your health, please contact
your healthcare professional for advice as soon as possible.
Aileen Smith and Karen Campbell host RUNNERS HEALTH HUB. A place for like-minded female runners who are looking for simple ways to support running performance, energy, endurance, and general great health.
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Aileen and Karen