Absolute Fitness allows users to chronicle their diets and exercise. While it offers an informative and eye-opening approach to tracking nutritional information against personal daily values and goals, it can be a little unwieldy and may not be appropriate for those with extensive diet monitoring experience.
The basic idea of Absolute Fitness is pretty simple—enter your daily food intake and exercise to track your habits and goal progress—but the system has some impressive capabilities and is not as basic as other fitness programs in the App Store.
After entering personal information, including current weight, activity level and goals, users proceed to a “Diary” page that allows them to add food and exercise items from an extensive list that incorporates comprehensive nutritional and caloric information.
Each chosen food item displays a detailed set of nutritional figures, which varies depending on the quantity of food selected from the app’s flexible measurement system. Details about your vitamin and potassium intake that you may have never thought about are suddenly easy to look at and have been calculated with daily value percentages that are tailored to match your specific personal information.
Adding an exercise item to the diary will estimate the calories burned based on the type of activity and the time spent working out.
What’s even more impressive is the “Stats” tab, which exposes you to an in-your-face glance at how you’ve been eating today, yesterday, last week and beyond. With a high percentage in the protein category, for example, I was able to click on that statistic to see exactly where all of my protein was coming from.
When inputting food or exercise items users can browse category tabs, search, or input custom information (which is pretty complicated for foods, but a little easier for exercises) so if you want the stats on your mom’s spinach-infused super macaroni (maybe that’s just my mom…) or on the Ultimate Tiger workout routine that you found on YouTube, it’s time for you to do some number crunching.
With diet being quite possibly the most influential contributor to personal health, an app like this that helps users understand good and bad habits can be surprisingly useful and informative.
I’m a pretty careful eater and have been paying attention to my Twinkies and Ho Hos for a long time, but I don’t think I had ever calculated a good estimate of my daily caloric intake, not to mention that I was completely unaware of how much potassium and cholesterol I was consuming.
While Absolute Fitness isn’t the most precise approach to tracking diet and exercise, it definitely does a good job of cluing me in to the potential problems and strengths of my routine.
Then again, it isn’t that easy to select appropriate food items and if you want to improve the app’s estimates, it’s sometimes better to break items down by ingredient and plug those in one by one. If you’re doing that, you’ll also notice that there is a limit to the kinds of foods available for selection. This drove me to improvise a bit, which probably created further statistical inaccuracies, but was ultimately more practical for the purposes of getting an idea of my daily trends.
The goal for most users of this app should probably be to get a general idea for habits and improvement, not to have it act as an extremely accurate dietary assistant.
Experienced dieters who are aware of their habits and trends might find that this application is too tedious and doesn’t offer enough depth for them. It might take too long to input information, or it might be too limiting in its built-in lists to be valuable to individuals with complicated meals.
But others who are looking for a broader snapshot of their diets might like it. With this in mind, Absolute Fitness can be effective, but it does have some issues.
After saving an item into your diary, there is no option to edit it. If you entered the wrong quantity and wanted to adjust it, you would have to delete the item from your diary and then find the listed food again to re-add it with the appropriate amount.
While the app’s basic system for revealing nutritional information is impressive, it is missing an important feature: the ability to create your own dish. All this requires is some sort of “custom dish” mode that would allow users to add already existing Absolute Fitness ingredients to one “custom dish” that could be saved and frequently loaded as one single item. Instead, as stated above, I’ve got to reenter my mom’s spinach-infused super macaroni ingredients one item at a time.
The application also crashes frequently, although that doesn’t end up being too much of a problem because each time an item is added to the diary, it is saved.
But probably the app’s biggest downfall is its lack of desktop software. For $14.99, it should include a desktop companion program to help with managing and editing items more quickly. While the mobile application is decent for on-the-go usage, it is not an easy system for adding and adjusting new items, a process that could go much faster on a personal computer.
A desktop client would also likely add the ability to backup information to a computer, but even without that, Absolute Fitness should allow users to back up their information to the web and track their progress on some kind of web-based system. This seems like an appropriate replacement for a desktop client and for the price, should be offered.
Absolute Fitness is effective in offering a detailed at-a-glance perspective of daily nutritional statistics. It could be much easier to use, has room for improvement and should offer a little more for the price.