It’s Spring again, which means it’s time for many things. It’s time to plant in your garden if you have one; for many, it’s time to clean their house and sort clothing. If you live somewhere where winter is prevalent, it’s time to start getting excited about milder weather and maybe even plan a small day or even weeklong trip. For some of us, it’s also time to get in, or back into shape. And it’s very possible you might be looking into a fitness app like Noom Coach or My Fitness Pal to help.
But which app is better for helping you achieve your fitness goals? Whether you’re prepping for a special event or simply want to feel stronger and healthier, we’ll investigate if Noom Coach or Fitness Pal is the better bet. So if you want to feel healthier and make a wise decision, read on.
- 1 Why do New Year’s resolutions always seem to fail?
- 2 If I did make a resolution and have gotten off track, what should I do?
- 3 Why would a fitness app like Noom Coach or Fitness Pal be helpful for achieving my goals?
- 4 How do I compare Noom Coach vs Fitness Pal?
Why do New Year’s resolutions always seem to fail?
If you’re like many Americans, you may have made a New Year’s resolution to get into shape. In fact, upwards of sixty percent of Americans make a resolution, but a mere eight percent actually follow through. Of the most popular resolutions, five out of ten involved something to do with improving physical health, with the most popular one being trimming down.
But why do these resolutions have a reportedly high failure rate? The problem is multifaceted. For one, many of us make resolutions as ambitious goals or statements without thinking about the actual steps it takes to get there. Some of us may make goals that are unrealistic, or even downright unhealthy, and that is especially true when it comes to weight loss.
There’s also the nebulous nature of weight loss itself. While the actual goal may be a concrete one, even down to a certain number, how to get there can be tricky. There is a good deal of misconception at times as to the best approach to healthy weight loss, and it can be a bit different for everyone. Not only can it prove overwhelming, but it can also be quite discouraging–especially if you’re following a plan that isn’t right for you.
As to why resolutions in general fail? Lifehack suggests that there are critical mistakes most people make when it comes to setting goals for improving their lives:
- People expect change quickly, when it should be incremental
- Worrying about small details
- Lacking confidence in your ability to achieve the goal
- Overthinking it, without action
- Rushing the process
- Overtaxing yourself
- Failing to track, or give yourself credit for your progress
- Lacking any support
- Having a goal with a clear and inspiring reason to achieve it
Simply having a goal isn’t enough; you need a clear plan, focus, and support to help you, no matter what that goal is.
If I did make a resolution and have gotten off track, what should I do?
Making a fitness based resolution is simple; keeping it is not. Luckily, you can get back on track, even a few months down the road. Spring, with longer days and milder weather, is the perfect time to start up your plan again. Even if you simply just want to get into exercising more for your cardiovascular health, you can still get motivated again.
But even before you try to look into a fitness app like Noom Coach or Fitness Pal or lace up those sneakers, you need to make sure the goal itself is reasonable and see if you need to make any adjustments. While fitness apps can help with this, it’s still good to have an idea in mind before you jump into it. Ask yourself these questions when it comes to weight, diet and exercise goals:
Is my weight goal realistic and healthy for me?
There’s no doubt about it–losing weight, if you are currently overweight, doesn’t just change how you look. It can also offer an array of health benefits, such as improved blood cholesterol levels, blood pressure, cardiovascular health, and potentially even improved sleep and mood. But a big mistake is to get over ambitious about your goals. In order to determine a proper goal weight:
Pick a range, not a specific number
It’s easy to get fixated on a single number, but weight fluctuations up to a few pounds are normal within a single day, depending on fluid and food intake, time of day, and other factors. Instead, shoot for a range of about five pounds. It is a much more realistic and healthier goal. Better yet, aim for a BMI range that is healthy for you.
Understand your body type
All of us have different body types and that impacts ideal weight. If you have a larger frame, the weight that’s healthy for you won’t be the same weight as someone with a smaller frame. If you are muscular, you will naturally weigh more. To get an idea what’s healthy for you, you can speak with a professional; there are many ideal body weight calculators, but just be cautious. If you do use one of those, try using a few and averaging out the results.
Don’t push yourself too much
While it’s true that the majority of people embarking on a weight loss plan will have more trouble actually following through, there is a slice of people who will have the opposite problem. Make sure your goal is realistic and for mostly health reasons. There’s nothing wrong for wanting to look your best, but if you are already within a healthy weight range and your plan pushes you out of it, or on the edge of being underweight, skip it. Not only is it not necessary, but it could lead to health consequences, both physical and psychological.
Adjust if you need to
If this is for a resolution you made back at the beginning of January, at least consider the possibility that you may have to make some adjustments to your plan. While you can still have the same overall goal, be patient if it takes longer to get there than you originally planned. If you reassess and your goal is unrealistic, it’s important to make that adjustment. Doing so will actually improve your chances of following through. And make sure you’re an option for exercise and diet food respectful of your age.
Be kind to yourself
Finally, be kind to yourself. Enlist support from friends, give yourself credit for how far you’ve come, and be willing to give yourself a pat on the back for even starting. Even if you’re simply getting a fitness tracker to get a better idea of how much you’re exercising, be prepared to work hard but also give yourself rest.
Why would a fitness app like Noom Coach or Fitness Pal be helpful for achieving my goals?
Fitness apps like Noom Coach and Fitness Pal can help you reach your goals in a number of ways. Fitness apps provide insight as to what you’re doing right–and ways for it to go better. It’s very easy to have an improper estimate about how much activity you’re getting in, especially if you lead a busy life and have many things on your mind at any given time. The best fitness apps also provide ideas for workouts, helps you set realistic goals, and keeps track so you know whether or not you’re on your way to finally make that resolution a reality.
By taking care of the numbers for you, you’ll have a better understanding of your energy expenditure vs your caloric intake and be able to make a more informed decision. Plus, for some, it can be an incentive to get more activity in to see that activity monitor go up.
One reason many individuals fall flat on their weight loss or activity goals is that they simply do not have a firm understanding of what it takes. A fitness tracker can help identify those problems and give you a nudge in the right direction.
How do I compare Noom Coach vs Fitness Pal?
Both Noom Coach and Fitness Pal are considered more or less leading competitors in the fitness app industry. But knowing which one is right for you to take looking into what each has to offer on several facets. We’ll be taking a look at a number of factors, and finally offering you a recommendation as to which app is the best bet for your fitness goals.
Noom Fitness is free for the actual app, but you can buy a premium membership for about sixty dollars a month (we’ll go into detail about other plans in a moment). My Fitness Pal offers a similar option–you can either go with the generic version for free or with the premium version for fifty dollars a month. Most fitness apps offer a free version, and ultimately some form of ‘premium’ version, so there isn’t much of note here. Keep in mind that most apps make money through advertising and data.
2. Basic Membership:
The basic membership, or the free version, of course, would be a great place to start. Even if you want the added features of the Premium Membership, it might be wise to give the free version a trial run first. To compare the two apps on their basic features, we’ll break down our analysis based upon different categories.
- Noom Coach: Noom Coach offers food, exercise, and blood glucose and blood pressure tracking. You select food from a large database but can add foods if they are not listed and also make suggestions. As you log food, you’ll have a tab that shows your target calorie budget. Color-coded food provides information as to how calorically dense something is(red being the most, with fats and oils; green being the least, with options like fresh produce. Exercise logging is simple and works much the same way as food logging, but they do not directly adjust your caloric budget based upon exercise levels, calling the app more ‘diet based’ than activity based. You have the option to sync blood sugar levels from iHealth IOS but enter blood pressure manually. As for your weight and calorie targets? Those are calculated through an automated process based on National Diabetes Prevention Plan recommendations, and typically seven percent off your current weight.
- My Fitness Pal: My Fitness Pal offers you the option to connect with over fifty other apps to aid your weight loss or health goals, track calories, break down ingredients, and log food and activity levels. Not only can you search their database of food, but you can also even scan barcodes and save favorite meals and recipes. You also get access to a free online fitness community, where you can interact with other members, share advice, and stay motivated. Even without signing up for the app, you get access to their free blog site, along with advice and ideas. Fitbit, Map my Run, and Samsung Health is just a few apps that work with My Fitness Pal. When you create a profile, you’ll be asked to state your current weight, activity level, and goal (to lose, gain or maintain). You decide how quickly you want to get to your goal.
Winner: My Fitness Pal.
Make no mistake–Noom Coach, even with its basic plan, has a lot to offer. The option to track blood sugar and blood pressure levels are excellent and would actually make it a better bet for anyone who special health concerns. But when it comes to overall features for the basic plan, My Fitness Pal wins out. The ability to scan barcodes of different food products, link to exercise apps, customize your plan, as well as access to free blog resources and an online community sets it apart. Tracking food is easier, there’s more room for personalization, and you’ll join a more dynamic community. Plus My Fitness Pal is focused on combining exercise with a meal plan; with Noom Coach’s basic plan, it’s almost an afterthought. But when we get to customer reviews, there’s an even better reason to rate Noom Coach below My Fitness Pal.
3. Premium Membership:
Just what exactly comes with membership the next level up, and is it worth it? Well, there certainly are perks to the paid vs free versions for both Noom Coach and My Fitness Pal.
- Noom Coach Premium comes with a Coaching Team, including psychologists, dieticians, and health experts, with the ability to receive personal advice and even change your team if they don’t seem like a good fit. You’ll be signed up with a support group, plus recipes to initiate healthy eating and keep you inspired and on track.
- My Fitness Pal Premium includes an ad-free experience, exclusive articles, and tips, macronutrients by the gram, a food analysis of ‘best’ and ‘worst’ foods you consume, the ability to set weekly and daily goals, data export priority customer service, and different exercise and calorie settings.
Winner: Noom Coach. If you do want a premium plan, on the other hand, Noom Coach, though a tad more expensive, is more worth your money. Much of what My Fitness Pal lists in their premium plan is actually overlapped with a basic membership. Noom Coach, on the other hand, has a coaching team, which is a step up from simply an online community, with expert support. Healthy recipes are also a plus.
4. Customer Reviews:
Features aside, it’s always essential to check in with customers and what they think about their overall experience. For this, we look at customer aggregate sites like TrustPilot, looking into not only the average ratings but some of the common reasons behind those reasons.
- Noom Coach has just over seven out of ten-star rating on TrustPilot, with a total of over three thousand reviews. Nearly half of customers rated it at the highest rating possible, twenty percent as great, and about sixteen percent as ‘bad’. Customers who raved about the app praised the awesome support staff, recipes, and motivation. Some claimed that it was the only app they were able to stick with to get to their health goals. On the other hand, customers are very upset with customer service and lack of communication. And what is not stated on their website very clearly was revealed here: the trial version lasts only a few weeks, which means many customers get roped into a paid version.
- My Fitness Pal has only forty eight ratings on TrustPilot, and a below average two out of five star rating. Forty percent of customers rated it as excellent, but thirty five percent of customers, almost as many, gave it the worst rating possible. Users praised how easy the app was to use and loved the free features. As for the negative reviews, almost all complaints were technical. Issues syncing to other apps seemed to be the main theme. The most complaints aside from this came from the premium membership, which it see,s customers did not find a good value.
Go with My Fitness Pal and skip premium memberships. While both apps offer some nice features, it’s also clear that both have some issues. It seems that mostly premium memberships aren’t much worth your money–unless you really do like the sound of what Noom has to offer. My Fitness Pal’s basic membership offers enough tools as it is, and we don’t see a benefit to going to a costly app. Even though ratings were less than stellar, since most of the low ratings surrounded either syncing with apps or the premium membership, the basic plan is still a good option.
Erin Jamieson holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Miami University of Ohio. Her writing has been published or is forthcoming in After the Pause, Into the Void, Flash Frontier, and Foliate Oak Literary, among others, and her fiction has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Erin, once a varsity athlete and now a recreational runner, knows how important it is to get whole and quality nutrition. She hopes to help guide consumers to the very best products and plans to optimize their health.