Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Thing 34 again

Hmm. There were parts of Nutridiary that I really liked, and parts of FitDay that I really liked. I wish I could do some kind of mash-up of the two.

I hated entering new food items into Nutridiary, but once the items were entered and added to my food for the day, I liked the way the page was laid out. I also liked that Nutridiary would track my daily serving of water and veggies, and recorded the time I ate each of my meals. However, I hated that I couldn't access all of the features without a paid account.

I found it much easier to add a new food item in FitDay, although it was still rather tedious. I was able to access all the web-based FitDay features. Although the PC version was advertised on nearly every page, the ads were unobtrusive. I thought some of the nutritional info was better arranged in Nutridiary, though, and FitDay did not have an easy way to keep track of your water intake.

I was disappointed in the goal-setting functions of both sites, although FitDay did have a slight edge. Fitness experts will tell you never to set a goal like "lose 20 pounds by Christmas." A better goal, they say, is "Run a 5k in February" or something activity based; focusing on weight is counterproductive, because as you exercise more you will build muscle mass, which weighs more than fat tissue. In the early days of your fitness program, your weight may actually increase while the amount of fat in your body decreases! If weight loss - which is really fat loss, to be more precise - is indeed your primary goal, experts suggest that you measure it in terms of clothing size or even arm/leg/neck measurements.

However, Nutridiary only allows the user to set goals for weight loss, in pounds. FitDay has a slight advantage here, because it allows you to set goals for improving your nutritional intake. Neither website lets the user set goals for activities or strength. Although they both allow you to enter fitness activities, neither gives them as much emphasis as I would like.

My final verdict on these sites? I might use FitDay at least a few more times, although I'm not sure about that. I'd like to at least have an entire day's nutrition and fitness data to put in so I can get an accurate view of how the site analyzes the information. As for the community aspects of these sites, I'm not sure how productive it is to sit at your computer and talk about your weight loss/fitness goals - wouldn't it be more productive to get up and exercise for that half hour instead? Maybe you could pick up a few really good healthy recipes, though, or ask a question about something that's been bugging you, like how to do a proper abdominal crunch.

Overall, if increased fitness is your goal, I think you'd be better off committing to working with a personal trainer even if it's just once a week. Once the trainer is in place, you might find Nutridiary or FitDay a terrific supplement to your exercise program.

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