Calorie counting apps are a great way to help us to lose weight, but they’re also useful for those who want to gain muscle mass or simply stay healthy, helping you to adapt or adjust training schedules and diet to hit a specific goal, or simply to help you stay in shape.
Apps such as MyFitnessPal have become increasingly popular over the last few years – but have you ever wondered just how these apps actually count calories, and how they can benefit you?
We took a closer look at all you need to know.
What Are Calories?
Calorie is an abbreviation for kilocalorie and refers to the energy contained within food.
A calorie is defined as the amount of energy needed to raise the temperature of one gram of water by one degree Celsius (1 °C).
A calorie is often represented by the letter “k”, although the symbol “Cal” is also sometimes used. For example, one Calorie is equal to 4.184 Joules.
Why Do I Need To Calculate Calories?
The reason why you might want to know how many calories you’re consuming each day is that it gives you an idea of what you’re actually putting into your body.
For example, if you’re trying to lose weight, you may not necessarily want to cut back on all of your meals, but you do want to make sure that you’re only eating enough to maintain your current weight.
Similarly, if you’re trying to increase muscle mass, you’ll need to consume more calories than those required to sustain your current weight.
How Many Calories Should I Eat Each Day?
There isn’t really a single answer to this question, as everyone’s requirements vary depending on their age, gender, height, weight, and lifestyle.
However, the NHS recommends that adults between 18-64 years old should aim to consume 2,000 calories per day, while those over 65 should try to consume 1,800 calories.
These figures are based on a person weighing 70 kg and being sedentary. However, they can easily be adjusted according to your own personal needs.
You can use MyFitnessPal to calculate your ideal calorie consumption, and then see how much you need to eat every day to achieve this.
What Is MyFitnessPal?
MyFitnessPal is an app that allows users to track their food intake and exercise habits, and then use this information to create a personalized calorie-counting plan.
The app has been downloaded more than 50 million times since its launch in 2009, and it’s available on iOS (iPhone), Android, Windows Phone, Blackberry 10, and Kindle Fire devices.
The app was developed by Under Armor, which is owned by Adidas and is designed to work with the company’s fitness tracking products.
It uses your phone’s GPS to record where you’ve walked, run, cycled, swam, lifted weights, etc., so that you can see exactly what you’re doing.
The app will then calculate how many calories you’ve burned based on the distance covered, and compare this against your daily activity levels.
This helps you to understand whether you’re burning enough calories to meet your target goals.
It’s worth noting that while the app does provide some basic guidance on how much you should be eating each day, it doesn’t tell you exactly how many calories you should consume.
Instead, it provides a range of between 1,200 and 2,400 calories per day, depending on your age, gender and height.
How Does MyFitnessPal Calculate Calories?
Calories are calculated using a combination of factors, including:
Your body weight is one of the main factors used to calculate calories, and MyFitnessPal achieves this by asking you to enter your current weight into the app.
This number is then compared to a database of average weights for different genders and ages.
If you weigh less than the average male, you’ll get fewer calories; if you weigh more, you’ll receive more.
You can also choose to input your ideal weight, which will give you a slightly higher calorie allowance.
As mentioned above, the app tracks your physical activity level and compares this to your daily activity levels.
If you walk around a lot, you’ll burn more calories than someone who sits down most of the time, and this will mean that you require a greater number of calories to fuel your body and your movement.
In addition, there are other activities included in the calculation, such as lifting weights, running, swimming, cycling, and playing sports.
As well as recording your activity levels, the app also asks you about your diet.
You can either manually enter foods and drinks consumed, or scan barcodes from items you buy in supermarkets and online stores.
Once you’ve entered your food intake, the app calculates the total amount of calories you eat each day.
If you want to find out how many calories you should be consuming each day, you can simply select ‘calculate’ from the menu, and the app will show you how many calories you need to reach your goal.
If you don’t have any specific targets set, the app will suggest a healthy calorie range for you, but you can always adjust these settings later.
There are other factors taken into account when calculating calories, including your gender, age, height, and weight.
These numbers are all stored within the app, so they won’t affect your calculations unless you change them yourself.
However, if you do decide to make changes, you can use the ‘edit profile’ option to alter your height, weight, gender, and age.
How Much Should I Eat Each Day?
The app recommends that men eat between 1,200 and 1,800 calories per day and women between 1,500 and 2,000 calories.
However, these figures are only guidelines, and you may need to increase or decrease your intake depending on your personal requirements.
To help you with this, the app includes an ‘ideal weight’ setting, which will allow you to specify your ideal weight.
This value is based on your height and gender and will determine what your recommended calorie intake should be.
For example, if you’re 5ft 10in tall and female, you’ll be given a lower calorie target than someone who’s 6ft 3in tall and male.
To find out how many calories your body needs to function properly, you can click on the ‘calculate’ button at the bottom of the screen.
The app will ask you several questions, including your gender, height, and weight.
Once you’ve answered these questions, it will calculate how many calories you should consume each day.
MyFitnessPal is one of the best calorie-counting apps available, and it’s easy to see why.
It has a clean interface and provides clear instructions on how to get started.
You can easily add new foods and drinks, and even track your progress over time.
There are plenty of options to customize the app to suit your lifestyle, and the fact that it’s free makes it even better!