MyFitnessPal Coaching : The Ultimate Review

Screenshot_2015-01-12-19-51-29

Recently, I was able to test out MyFitnessPal Coaching because I was a part of what appears to have been a random trial for a service that has not gone live yet. One day, I went to log my breakfast in MyFitnessPal and saw that the header “Coach” appeared in my menu sidebar. Intrigued, I clicked it and discovered that it was a new service being offered by one of my favorite apps.

After a quick Google search, I discovered that the internet was quite barren of information about the new service. My husband pointed out that I was in the perfect position to give my readers the answers to the questions I had initially about the service. Plus, you know, I was kind of excited about the service itself.

So here we are! You may have read my previous posts about MyFitnessPal Coaching, but this will be my ultimate, no-holds-barred review.

I want to get a few things out of the way before this review begins, because I think they are important.

  • I have not been compensated for this review in any way. MyFitnessPal has offered me no perks or monetary rewards for my review. They were unaware that I had a blog and have assured me that my selection was random. My review represents an average, ordinary person’s experience. I feel I am in a position to be unbiased.
  • My experience may vary from yours for a few reasons. First, if you are familiar with the concept of a beta test, you know that things change from the time things are tested to the time they are released to a wider audience. MyFitnessPal may choose to change aspects of the program between now and going live. Second, I am a different person who has different goals and an overall different worldview, therefore even if you have the same experience I have, you may perceive it differently than I do. Third and finally, you are paired with a specific coach upon entry into the program, and so much of my experience centers around the interactions I had with my coach. A different coach may lead to a different experience altogether, although I assume they all receive similar training.

Service Overview

If you haven’t heard of MyFitnessPal yet… Oh boy. You are missing out. At the time of writing this, MyFitnessPal has helped me personally lose 140 lbs… for FREE. My friends on the app have lost a collective amount of 8,000 lbs at last calculation. It is an app that allows you to track calories based on a goal that is calculated for you. It sports the most comprehensive food database of any other calorie counting application in existence. Long story short, it takes the guesswork out of weight loss and turns it into a formula.

MyFitnessPal acquired the personalized digital coaching company Sessions after their first ever bout of fundraising. This acquisition is what is leading to the coaching service. With this strategic acquisition, the company hopes to be the ultimate resource for helping users reach their weight goals.

Here was the service as advertised to me:

For $49 a month, MyFitnessPal Coach boasts that it will give you the following benefits:

  • MyFitnessPal Coaching pairs you with an MFP-certified dietitian who guides you to your ideal weight.
  • Your coach will take the guesswork out of what you’re eating and provide you with a daily diary audit.
  • Get fresh perspectives on the food you’re eating. Uncover great ideas for recipes, snacks, and all-important food swaps.
  • Learn about weight loss and nutrition from an expert. You can ask your coach anything!

Your personalized coaching will include:

  • Daily audits of your diary.
  • Weekly progress check-ins with your coach
  • Support hitting your daily fitness and nutrition goals.
  • Strategies for overcoming challenges and techniques for developing new habits.
  • In-depth nutritional analysis and eye-opening behavioral insights.
  • Access to hundreds of dietitian-approved, macronutrient balanced recipes.
  • The flexibility to eat foods you love.

Basically, you are assigned a coach and interact with this coach in several ways. The coach looks through your food diary and chooses something to comment on daily. Sometimes it is to applaud a decision you have made. Sometimes it is to redirect you and give you ideas for how to make a healthier decision in the future.

You also have access to a messenger-like screen where you have a running conversation with your coach. You can ask questions at any time and they can get to know you better so they have a better understanding of the challenges you may face and the goals they can help you achieve.

Together, you work with your coach to set goals, identify areas to improve, and work to retrain you to make better decisions on your own.

MyFitnessPal Coach

Effectiveness

Verdict: I believe MyFitnessPal coaching is effective in accomplishing the promised goals and the goals I set for myself.

To give some perspective on this verdict, I will share that prior to coaching I was experiencing kind of a rut. I was still losing weight, though never felt like it was coming off quickly enough. I also felt like I was eating the same foods every day and was in need of some ideas.

As soon as I started the coaching program, my weight loss renewed itself. I became very aware that I should show my best self to my coach and should show her that I know how to eat right. As a result of “showing off” to my coach, I dropped 5 lbs in the first week of coaching. Holy wow.

After the newness wore off, I began to just live my life, which allowed my coach to find patterns and give better suggestions. Something the coach and I worked on was getting more healthy fats in my diet.

Throughout the process, I lost weight steadily and continuously. I very much credit the program itself in addition to making decisions I knew would make my coach proud. Throughout the time, I ate normal foods and had many productive conversations with my coach. She shared recipes, ideas, and encouragement with me, all of which helped me move forward with a renewed sense of purpose with my program.

Personalization and Flexibility

Verdict: MyFitnessPal Coach has succeeded in creating a personalized service that is flexible enough to work in your lifestyle.

MyFitnessPal is in a unique position to provide very personalized feedback, and combining that potential with a coaching platform just makes sense. Consider the amount of data this app gets from a regular user. Looking at my diary, one is able to see not only the food I eat, but can also see which days I am most active, my weight loss trend, and any posts I make to my friends.

When I began working with my coach, I was really afraid that she would tell me I should never ever eat any sort of “junk” food again. I was afraid they would tell me I should go on a dairy-free, cage-free, organic, raw-only, vegan, free-range, gluten-free, Non-GMO, locally-sourced, kale-and-chard-only diet. Which of course, just won’t do.

So I tested my coach. I went to Taco Bell.

MyFitnessPal Coach Comments

Now, I should explain that Taco Bell serves a very distinct purpose in my life. It is one of the easiest places for me to eat out low-calorie when I’m not feeling the soup / salad / sandwich trifecta. Between the Cantina Power Burrito and the Shredded Chicken Tacos Fresco Style and ALL the salsa verde, I can eat yummy on the go without blowing the calorie budget.

…And my coach didn’t yell at me! She praised my ability to find low-calorie options, but cautioned me to watch the sodium for the following day.

Reasonable as hell. That’s what my coach was throughout this whole process. At no point did she say “Don’t eat that. That’s bad.” She said things like “Try a smaller portion of pasta paired with a huge salad.” and “Hey, pre-packaged oatmeal cups tend to contain quite a bit of sugar. Try making your own! Here’s how…” Or even “Sounds like a fun treat! You deserve it!”

During the course of the program and going forward afterward, I felt like I could live a reasonable, balanced, tasty lifestyle by following the suggestions of my coach.

I would say that this particular attitude and style of coaching, if followed by every coach MyFitnessPal employs, will make this program tremendously successful.

Cost

Verdict: I thought the cost was slightly high for my own personal budget, however I consider the service received is well worth the money if you have it.

I’m going to let you in on a secret. I am a little bit cheap. I really am. I think of purchases in terms of “I worked X number of hours to afford this.” So, for instance, working for 5 hours to afford a month of electricity seems completely reasonable. Working 5 hours to afford a top I will only wear a few times seems less than reasonable.

At the time of my test, the service was $49 per month, which is just over 4 hours of work for me. When giving feedback to the head of coaching at MyFitnessPal, Glennis Coursey, I made the comment that this seems like a lot in my cheap brain for something that is not a tangible something I can hold.

When compared to existing services like personal dietary coaching or a personal fitness coach, $49 is certainly comparably inexpensive. But the pricetag still makes the service prohibitive for some people at a lower income.

Communication / Responsiveness

Verdict: The response time was much better than I expected, and the quality of responses was great!

I was concerned about the response time to my questions initially. Most certainly, I expected my coach to have others on her roster of clients. But I was pleasantly surprised by how quickly my coach responded to my inquiries.

On average, I could expect a response from my coach within a few hours of posting a question. I find this completely acceptable. My coach is a person with her own life to live, and I don’t even respond to all my emails in the same day.

So, it might not be realistic to ask your coach “Hey! I’m at a wedding and have no idea what to eat! HELP!” but the coach could certainly respond to “Hey! I’m going to a wedding tonight. Any tips to get through it?”

Overall, my coach answered all of my questions and much, much more.

Overall recommendations

Verdict: DO IT!

I think this service is a really great investment in yourself! I think it is ideal for people who have been logging for 30-90 days on their own. I feel like this gives a person enough time to get into the habit of logging everything every day. If you are not logging accurately every day before beginning this program, it will not be of much benefit.

Once someone is in the habit of logging, taking advantage of MyFitnessPal Coaching can be exactly the perfect thing to ensure you don’t run out of steam. It gives you a sense of accountability, the confidence to make weight loss fit into your lifestyle, and plenty of ideas to carry forward after you graduate from the program.

If ever I start making real money from my website, I would love to offer scholarships to cover the costs of two months of coaching for those who may need it. I feel like the individual guidance is so valuable, particularly for someone in the early stages of weight loss, and I plan on recommending the hell out of MyFitnessPal Coaching when it goes live.

0
Shares

Leave Comment