I just want to start by saying that finding a critical or substantive review of MyFitnessPal Premium online was basically impossible, I found several positive reviews and a lot of posts tagged “review,” but that didn’t have any opinion attached- only descriptions of the new services available in the “Premium” content. I figured that this was somewhere I could add something meaningful to the great sea of information on the Internet.
I have been using MyFitnessPal for about 2 and a half, maybe 3 years, and I use it to manage my weight and keep track of how much I’m eating of what. I’m not as good about logging my exercise, but on days when I’m using the app, I’m pretty good about tracking my food.
Anyways, I have always been curious about the “premium” option, and finally decided to give it a try. However, $10 a month (or $50 a year), for something I’m already getting the majority of the features of for free seemed a tad steep. So, I did what any self-respecting bargain hunter would do and checked for a free trial code online. However, much to the detriment of the company, with many people like myself clamoring for a free trial, there was none proposed or available. I would have been very happy with even just a weeks’ worth to get a general feel for whether or not I was willing to pay! Given that the reviews online that I could find, for the premium options were neither substantive nor critical, I decided to write one of my own. Also: By critical, I don’t necessarily mean “bad,” I just mean offering a critique of pluses and minuses of the service.
Just before signing up, I checked to make sure it would be simple to ‘unsubscribe,’ because you don’t want to sign up for something just to find out that it’s super annoying to unsubscribe or that you can only unsubscribe at a certain time or before xyz date or by calling a 1-800-number… I’ve seen it all. Here are instructions from Apple on how to unsubscribe from a subscription on your iPhone. Super easy. Thanks, Apple!
Signing up was easy, of course, and there it was, the premium content. I immediately went ahead and unchecked the “automatic renewal” button so I wouldn’t forget and accidentally get re-billed for something I am not interested in keeping.
There were several new features available to me within the premium content platform. Each purporting to add their own unique value to the service.
Let’s start with the most simple concept: premium users receive an ad-free experience. Personally, I rarely- if ever- click on ads. And they really don’t interrupt my enjoyment or function of the app. This feature does not particularly affect me, but it does result in a slightly cleaner looking home page.
Priority Customer Support
“Premium support requests are given top priority, 7 days a week.” Fair enough. I’ve never needed customer support. I doubt I ever will, but if I did, I suppose I can see the value in being served before freemium users.
Macronutrients by Gram
If you upgrade to MFP Premium, you can set your macro-nutrient goal to the exact gram. This feature could be useful if you’re on an If It Fits Your Macros (IIFYM) diet, but I don’t really use it.
If you ARE on an IIFYM diet, I can see how being able to set exact gram values would be helpful, since you are able to set it by percentage in the freemium version- but only by increments of 5%, and as I understand it, IIFYM diets are more specific and usually to the exact percentage. Although, I must admit that my understanding of IIFYM diets is limited.
It’s interesting to see what percentages of what I’m eating, but beyond that- it doesn’t really do anything for me. If you’re primarily a calorie counter (like myself), then this feature won’t woo you into paying for Premium.
Home Screen Dashboard
Logically, if you can change those Macros goals, and you’re following an IIFYM diet, you might want to choose to display your macros on your homepage, rather than your calories. Premium users can choose to do this. Again, not particularly applicable to myself.
This is actually really interesting if you’re a data nerd like me. Sometimes the information you receive is very obvious, like “Oh! That oatmeal has lots of carbohydrates in it! Well, I’ll be!” Other times though, the amount of fat in some of my favorite foods astonishes me! That’s when I realize that my lunch time meal of Spicy Chicken Quesadilla soup & a Fresh Stack of crackers has a combined 23 grams of fat. It’s my understanding that freemium users can see the macro nutrients in foods, but that they’re not placed in order of highest to lowest in list form. Premium users can see lists like “Highest in Carbohydrates,” “Highest in Fat,” “Highest in Protein,” and “Highest in Calories.” Following the titles of these lists are a list of your logged foods in order from “highest” to “lowest” of the selected metric.
This is what you see if you’re a “freemium” user
This is what you see if you’re a “Premium” user.
Also: This was a “test page” with a fabricated diet, and not what I actually ate. I was hoping that I could create a very generic example of what someone average might eat in a day if they were on a diet.
Different Goals By Day
If you are interested in changing your calorie goals based on some type of metric (like planned activity) or are experimenting with intermittent fasting, perhaps MyFitnessPal premium is for you. This feature allows you to change your macro and calorie goals by day. I don’t use or plan to use this feature either.
If, for example, you have an app synced into MFP, such as FitBit, MFP automatically adjusts your calorie goal to match the number of calories burned through exercise. With MFP premium, not only can you turn this off- if you’d like to keep it engaged, you can select the macros to which to apply your gains. I don’t plan to use this feature. I synced up my FitBit device so that the calories would be logged and if I didn’t want that to happen, I would just un-sync it. Again, if you do IIFYM diets- this feature might be useful to you.
This section boasts premium content for premium members. The content changes periodically, and currently there are two posts, dated December 1st. You can’t scroll backwards to see older content.
This section, to me was the most disappointing and poorly executed. The reason that it is poorly executed is because I thought it would be more “pro-tips,” and less “Here’s something you could have Google’d online.” I would LOVE the exclusive content if it were actually exclusive. And I mean this in two distinct ways. First, Instead of doing something unique, like teaming up with a trainer and offering a workout plan, or an eating plan, MyFitnessPal’s Premium content is either a recipe or just instructions on how to achieve the most benefits from the Premium platform. For example, currently, there is a post in “Premium Content” entitled “The Beginner’s Guide to MyFitnessPal Premium.” And it just explains all the features to you.
The second post this month was regarding intermittent fasting, which may or may not be safe, and explained how you can use MyFitnessPal’s Premium feature of daily calorie goal setting to help you fast.
The second way in which the content is not exclusive is that I can find it online.
Just an aside, and feel free to skip this if you like, but I thought maybe I was signed into MFP while on my computer, or something, so I used Chrome’s “Incognito” to search for “MyFitnessPal Premium Intermittent Fasting” and the blog post I linked above popped up in the search results. I even changed computers and checked that way, and I was still able to see the “exclusive” post.
I suppose that the biggest reason the “Exclusive Content” section is so disappointing is because even though MyFitnessPal’s description under the “Exclusive Content” section proclaims “Articles and tips available only to our Premium subscribers,” the articles are available without a subscription- which makes this statement false, and therefore not worth paying for.
Honestly, if I were on an If It Fits Your Macros diet, I might actually find this premium service useful. The adjustable macro settings for both food and exercise sound useful.
The only feature I find moderately entertaining and useful is the one photographed that shows me lists of the foods that are highest in calories, fat, carbohydrates and protein. However, if I desperately wanted to know which foods I consumed had the most calories, fat, protein or carbohydrates, I could probably compile the data myself. But I don’t. So, this feature, as redeeming as it is, is just not relevant enough for me to spend $10 a month on an app.
The features that, to me, do not add much value if any are the ad-free, since it did not disturb me before, the different goals by day and home screen dashboard since I have no intention of changing my daily goals or dashboard settings and the priority customer support since I have never (over the course of 3 years) used it and do not anticipate ever needing it.
The only feature that I sincerely dislike is the “exclusive content.” If you say something is premium and “only” for premium users, and you’re making people pay you for it and it turns out to not be so “exclusive” and available with a Google search… Well, what does that mean? It means it’s not exclusive.
At the end of the day, it will be the consumer who decides whether MFP Premium options are right for them. This is only one voice on the Internet, of many.
Finally, if you liked this article, please share it. I had an extremely difficult time finding any critical or substantive reviews of the MFP Premium app when I was looking before trying it. I hope this helps you- And I hope it can help others as well before they spend money on something they may not end up enjoying.
Thank you so much for reading.
The Reddit community has been so helpful to me with this post, I really can’t thank them enough. So, in light of all the new information I’ve received over the past few days, I’d like to update this post.
First: I am not affiliated with MFP, My Fitness Pal Premium or Under Armour (who recently acquired MFP). I’m just a college student who loves to write and help people (hopefully) with her posts.
Second: I paid for the MFP Premium membership myself. And I was not asked to do this review. I wrote it because I was shocked that there wasn’t a good one online when I googled.
Third: The Reddit community helped me learn how to get some of the “Macro-Tracking” features for free with Android plug-ins available for free online. I must admit to not having tried this, but the Redditor who posted the link said that it worked for him (or her):
Thanks to Redditor abeworldforever for posting this link in the Reddit feed.
Redditor Atlastoned suggests ‘Setting your calories to zero and tracking your macros this way. MFP will show you the totals (although in red) of your consumption. If you want to see green numbers and how much you have left in your day the premium might help.’ (edited for clarity)
Redditor LoChif suggests using the following “macro-focused tool:”
Thank you again to the Reddit Community for helping me out!
January 22, 2016 Update
First, I want to say thanks again to the Reddit community and for the people who have commented here. I am always looking for feedback on my blog to know how I can make a more thorough, accurate and helpful post. Thanks.
Second: It has been about two and a half months since I subscribed to MyFitnessPal Premium. I actually paid for the year upfront because I knew I wanted to make this post a thorough one and I figured I would need at least a few months to become familiar with the MFP Premium features- also: $50 a year is less than $5 a month, while the monthly subscription is $10 a month, so I also considered the economics of the “deal.” In retrospect, I suppose I could have tried it for a month at the $10 rate and subscribed at $50, if I liked it- but hindsight is 20/20.
Third: The reason for this update. So, above I’m sure I mentioned that one of the main reasons I subscribed was for the “premium content,” which I later discovered was not exclusive as advertised. I also want to mention that is has not been updated since December 1st, 2015. So? The exclusive content that I was looking forward to- in addition to not being exclusive- has also not been updated. I will update this post if/ when it is.
February 16, 2016 Update
Hello again, everyone! I just wanted to give a quick/ short update to say that I wrote to MyFitnessPal Premium customer service to receive an update about when/ where I could find the Premium content that I’m paying for, and they said:
“Thank you for contacting our Premium Support…
…We are definitely working on more content for our Premium users and hope to have this released soon! We will share your feedback with our team and we appreciate your help and patience as we work to improve our program!”
Just wanted to share this! Thanks for reading!
December 26th, 2017 Update:
Just wanted to update to reiterate what is in the comments section of this post: After cancelling, and being without the premium version for a while, I decided to re-sign up to get rid of ads, which were becoming invasive and also to experiment with varying daily calorie goals.