Which calorie-tracking app should you count on?


Diet Apps - Social
A 10-mile run or a tasty bun — track your calories in and out.
Table: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

Calorie-tracking apps like MyFitnessPal and MyNetDiary are no fun to use. Logging all your meals is a tedious chore, and unlike fitness apps that praise you for your hard work, diet apps tend to just tell you off for eating too much.

But when you are trying to lose or gain weight, these apps provide indispensable insights into where your calories are coming from and how you can optimize your diet to get the best results. So I’ve compared the leading calorie trackers to find out which one you should count on.

Why fitness apps use calories to help you lose weight


There's no barcode on this doughnut so it doesn't count
There's no barcode on this doughnut so it doesn't count
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

Most fitness apps seem obsessed with calories. Go for a run, and your Apple Watch tells you how many calories you burned. Scan a barcode and MyFitnessPal tells you how many calories are in the food you are about to eat.

So what exactly are calories, and does counting them really help you achieve your fitness goals?

How to turn your iPhone’s Health app into an essential fitness dashboard


A dashboard for your body: all your key stats at a glance.
The Health app can become a dashboard for your body, offering all your key stats at a glance.
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

Despite its heart-shaped icon, Health is an unloved app. It tends to gets relegated to a junk folder, along with other un-deletable Apple cruft, like the Stocks app.

But when you get past its garish colors and clunky user interface, Apple’s Health app turns out to be genuinely useful — if you customize the dashboard to match your personal fitness goals.

How to set personal fitness goals with Apple Watch


Positive goals, like training for a marathon, tend to be more effective than negative goals, like losing weight.
Get creative with your goals to achieve greater results.
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

Apple Watch gives you three goals: standing, moving and exercise. But these aren’t really goals. They are actually more like targets.

A real goal is something you want to achieve — an outcome you have in mind that is so important, it motivates you into action. Starting a fitness program without this kind of goal is like going on a road trip without any idea of your destination. Maybe you’ll arrive someplace nice, but don’t count on it.

So when it comes to fitness, the big question is: What are you trying to achieve?

Fitness app data shows which states are more unhealthy than yours

Which states are filling up these rings?

Smug Californians now have proof they’re better than you.

A couple of the most popular fitness apps in the App Store have pooled their data to figure out which U.S. states have the best (and worst) health habits. They examined a combination of workout and nutritional info among their users and concluded that the Golden State has the best habits, and Wyoming has a lot of work to do.