Friday, July 19, 2013

The Scoop on Healthy Living: MiFitLife Review

 


MiFitLife: iPhone App Review and Tips


MiFitLife is a fitness tracker application available in the app store for $4.99. What sets this app apart from others, is what it tracks. By filling out the starter survey (go to "Start Here" in Settings), it determines how your body consumes oxygen. Then you are given VO2 Max goals to help guide your fitness routine. The reason VO2 is important is because our body creates and uses energy when oxygen is delivered to our cells. According to their website, "for every liter of oxygen consumed, you convert 4.59 calories". It takes very little time to fill out the survey, and afterwards you are given an Age Adjusted VO2 Max (see top left image), and a 13 Week Goal Program (top right image) to increase your fitness. Every time you log an activity, it tells you how many VO2 Points you earned as well as how many calories it converts to (see image below).


Going through the MiFitLife website, especially the definitions, helped me orient myself with the app. It's really easy to log activities, but figuring out intensity was a little abstract to me for the first couple of days. I think my first week using this app, my progress was not accurate since I overestimated some activities, and underestimated others. Now I think I have a better handle on it, so my results will be more reliable.

Determining Intensity

Here is how i think of intensity for the use of this app. I thought of past examples of workouts I've done, and rated them from the hardest exertion I put myself through to the least. So now when I log a workout, I think of one of those in the past and see how it compares. Then I choose the intensity it is closest to. Basically, a 10 would be the hardest I have ever exerted myself in my entire life and a 1 would be something super easy, like walking slowly on a flat surface.

So for example, a couple weeks ago, I biked for 80 minutes at an average 3.5 intensity (it was hilly, so sometimes hard and sometimes very easy), and I earned 104 V02 Points which converted to 520 calories.

Honestly, if I was doing something under a level 3, I don't really think about logging it unless i did it for several hours. For example, I logged a number 2 for five hours when I spent a day walking around a new city I was visiting.

I recommend buying the app before a Sunday so that you can test out the activity calculators and get a feel for them before beginning the 13 week program.

What I Liked: 

I liked that this app made me think about the intensities of my workouts. Before I worked out, I would think about how intense I worked out the day before and usually this led me to push myself harder. It also encouraged me to work out most days of the week because I wanted to hit my VO2 Goal. Of course, I also like knowing how many calories were converted in my workout since that typically helps me eat healthier.

What I Would Like To See from MiFitLife in the Future:

I think it would be great if the app integrated the major muscle groups into the activity log (think of the "symptom checker" on webmd if this idea seems abstract.) I like to quickly look back at my workouts to see which muscle group I worked and on which day it was so I can make sure I'm switching it up. Also, I'd be curious to see how working a large muscle group (i.e. legs) intensely would compare to intensely working a smaller muscle group (i.e. arms) on the VO2 calculation.

Recommendation:

If you are looking for a way to track the progress and effectiveness of your fitness regimen then I recommend you try this app. It will help you figure out whether your working hard enough, consistently. For that reason, I plan to continue to use it.

What fitness apps have you tried? Do you have a favorite? Share your experiences with me on Twitter @danielle0090.

Disclaimer: I was given a code to redeem this app for free for purpose of review. See Privacy Policy & Disclosure for more details.