Health And Fitness Tracker MyFitnessPal Targets Power Users With Its First Paid Product

MyFitnessPal, a popular health and fitness tracking app that was snatched up by athletic apparel maker Under Armour earlier this year for $475 million, is today making its first move to a paid model by introducing a premium tier to its service aimed at power users. In particular, paying users will be able to customize their MyFitnessPal dashboard in order to better track the types of nutrients they’re most interested in, whether that’s carbs, fats, sodium, sugars, protein and more.

Explains MyFitnessPal founder Mike Lee, introducing a premium tier is something the company has been thinking about for a long time — and well before its acquisition by Under Armour. The idea is to help people move beyond just tracking calories, which is what many of the app’s over 85 million users do today, and instead allow them to personalize the experience to fit their own needs and dietary concerns.

For example, bodybuilders using the app, which is available online, on iOS, Android and Windows Phone, may want to track their protein intake, while those with a heart condition may instead be more interested in tracking the sodium in their food.

With this new, customized dashboard, these users will not only be able to keep an eye on their progress on this front, they’re also able to decide how to allocate their macronutrients (fat, protein and carbs) throughout their day, and choose whether or not to add the calories they burn to their daily goal.

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To make it easier to get started, the updated app will allow paid users to choose from one of four different profiles: a macronutrients profile to see carbs, fat, protein and calories; a heart-healthy profile to track fat, sodium, cholesterol and calories; a carb-conscious profile for tracking carbs, sugars, fiber and calories; or a custom profile that allows you to choose any three nutrients you want.

By selecting one of these options, users will receive an updated dashboard that lets them see more than their calorie counts. This also includes the ability to see which foods they ate that day or week that were highest in any selected nutrient, so they can begin to understand which foods they should be eating more often and which they should eat less.

Paid users will also receive priority customer support, access to exclusive content — including recipes, meal plans and nutrition tips — and will no longer see ads in the app.

In addition, both paid and free users will also see an updated interface that offers better graphs that let you visualize your calorie and nutrient intake by day, week or, now, by meal as well.

And everyone has access to “verified foods,” which is a new label that will appear on hundreds of thousands of foods in the MyFitnessPal database, allowing users to know that the calorie and nutrition counts are accurate. This addresses a bigger pain point with the app – because users could enter in their own foods, it was sometimes hard to know which food listing was the best one to use.

The addition of the premium tier is only one way Under Armour plans to take advantage of its recent acquisition. Longer-term, the company intends to develop new ways to make its fitness apparel integrate with the MyFitnessPal platform, by allowing it to collect data from sensors embedded in shirts or shoes, for instance.

That would go a long way to making MyFitnessPal more usable since, currently, taking advantage of the app means a lot of manual logging on the part of users. That can cause some drop-off in engagement, since more casual users may tire of continually entering their data.

The paid version of MyFitnessPal will sell for $9.99 per month, or $49.99 per year.