My Fitness Pal (MFP) is an uncommon social media site I use. I don’t know whether it is uncommon, or what you might call “niche” or “special interest”. A lot of people use it – 80 million, according to Wikipedia. But I guess when you compare it to Facebook, which has apparently 1.59 billion users, according to The Statistics Portal; 80 million is not that big a deal. I have been using this site, off and on, since 2013. There is an app as well, but I prefer the website. MFP is a tool to help you track your food and exercise to help you achieve health and fitness goals, mainly around losing, gaining or maintaining your weight. So, I use MFP to track my food intake at times, mostly when I’m trying to drop a couple of kgs for an upcoming race. I always log my exercise (well, another fitness app I use, Garmin Connect, logs it for me, because I have it synced to MFP). This is my Garmin Connect dashboard, below:
Now, bear with me; when I get home from my run, my GPS watch sends my run data by bluetooth to the Garmin Connect app on my tablet, which then sends my run data to MFP, where it posts to my exercise diary and my “news feed”. Got that?
Back to MFP. There is also a social side to MFP. I have a community of “friends” there that I have accumulated over the last couple of years; people with whom I share similar interests – runners mostly. I have not met any of these people in real life, but we are all there to improve our health and fitness, and achieve personal goals. It is a very supportive community. It gives me somewhere to talk about, and get advice about, running stuff; e.g. what headlamp should I buy for early morning runs; what hydration belt should I use for long runs; what should my nutrition be like on long runs, etc. As you can see from my profile pic (below) I identify as a runner on MFP.
I will impart a word of warning about the main forums on MFP, though. There are a lot of diverse opinions about anything and everything diet and fitness related, some well-informed, others less so. You will see debates around diet topics such as low carb, keto, paleo, clean eating, intermittent fasting, shakes, detoxes, weight loss drugs, starvation mode, and more; and debate around exercise topics too; e.g. strength training vs cardio, quality vs quantity in running training, can you gain muscle while in a calorie deficit, to name a few. Like anything you read on the internet, you need to do your own research to determine the credibility of the information. I did learn a lot on the forums, and reading posts there gave me the concepts and key words to do my own searches.
I like MFP. I like that it has a purpose, and it is useful. That appeals to me.