Experience a military-style boot camp with Boot Camp Challenge

We’re excited to announce our new partnership with Boot Camp Challenge! The Boot Camp Challenge app combines cardio, stretching, and muscular endurance training in a completely interactive workout to help you lose fat and enhance your functional fitness. Created by veteran U.S. Army Trainer and Certified Personal Trainer Lori Patterson, the Boot Camp Challenge app guides you through one of three progressive 18-day programs – you choose the program level that’s right for you – to help you achieve your fitness goals. The app even offers beat-sync technology to match the tempo of your music to your workout!

With the new integration between MyFitnessPal and the Boot Camp Challenge app, you will be able to push your current calorie-burn data directly to your MyFitnessPal account. As a result, you get a more complete view of your daily nutrition and fitness within MyFitnessPal.

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BCCThe app is available on iTunes for $3.99 and is compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch and optimized for iPhone 5.

In addition to the app, the Boot Camp Challenge franchise has over 500 locations in the U.S. where people can attend in-person boot camps. Check out the class finder here.

Interested in subscribing for the Boot Camp Challenge app and syncing it with your MyFitnessPal account? Click here to get started – hoo aah!

MapMyFitness Syncs Up with MyFitnessPal

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You asked and we listened! Today we are very excited to announce our newest partner, MapMyFitness.

MapMyFitness is the maker of a collection of fitness tracking apps, allowing you to track over 600 types of activities, including MapMyRun, MapMyRideMapMyWalk and MapMyFitness–and now they’ve all been integrated to sync with your MyFitnessPal exercise diary!

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All MapMyFitness apps use built-in GPS technology to provide you the ability to map, record, and share your exercise routes and workouts in an online database and with your friends. Their online database also allows you to search over 150 million global routes to find new places to exercise, whether you are in your own neighborhood or on a trip! You can also check the leaderboard for specific routes to see how your time compares to others and try to beat them!

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Through the new partnership with MyFitnessPal, all of the calories burned and workout details tracked with any of the MapMyFitness apps will automatically sync to your exercise diary! The MapMyFitness app’s fitness tracking coupled with the direct syncing to MyFitnessPal makes it way easier to see a complete view of your day.

MapMyFitness’ suite of apps is compatible with web, iOS, Android, and Blackberry, so it is easy to check and use anywhere. Go to the MyFitnessPal app page now to learn how to connect your MapMyRunMapMyRideMapMyWalk or MapMyFitness apps now!

14 Must-Follow Healthy Living Books, Blogs + Channels for 2014

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If you want to stay committed to your resolutions to become happier and healthier in 2014, it helps to stay connected, informed and inspired! Hopefully this list of 14 favorite books, blogs and channels can help you do this. Whether you’re an avid blog reader, self-help book-lover or YouTube workout junky–or all three–there’s something for everyone!

Books

1. Smart Change: Five Tools to Create New and Sustainable Habits in Yourself and OthersArt Markman is an expert in psychology, particularly surrounding human behavior. His most recent book, which just came out this month, explores the psychological mechanisms that form and maintain habits in individuals and groups–and offers actionable advice for changing yours for the better.

2. Food RulesIn this collection of simple, memorable rules, Michael Pollan reminds us that eating doesn’t have to be so complicated. In fact, he says everything he’s learned about food and health can be summed up in seven words: “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.” Consider this your new healthy eating handbook for 2014.

3. Runner’s World Cookbook: 150 Ultimate Recipes for Fueling Up and Slimming Down–While Enjoying Every BiteRunners or not, we all need to eat well in order to perform our best. This collection of 150, nutrient-packed recipes will keep both the avid athlete and average joe fully fueled and well nourished. What do we love most? The simple but insightful nutrition tips and that there’s something for everyone: the 30-minute meal-lover, gluten-free foodie, Meatless Monday flexitarian and more.

4. The Willpower InstinctWritten by Kelly McGonigal, a well-known Stanford University psychologist, The Willpower Instinct gives a fresh perspective on the science of self-control and how it can be harnessed to improve our health, happiness, and productivity. If you want to better understand human behavior, gain insight into personal challenges and learn some of the most practical strategies for greater success, check it out!

5. Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked UsThis #1 NYT best seller, written by a Pulitzer Prize–winning investigative reporter at The New York Times, tells the tale of the rise of the processed food industry and uncovers its link to the obesity epidemic we now face. In his book, Michael Moss reveals how companies use salt, sugar, and fat to addict us–but also gives some thought-provoking ideas for pushing back.

Blogs

6. The Happiness ProjectThis popular blog, written by Gretchen Rubin, explores one woman’s daily adventures in the pursuit of happiness and habits. She’s earned a reputation for being a “happiness bully,” which has likely made her one of the most thought-provoking and influential writers on happiness. Her conclusions are sometimes counter-intuitive—for example, Gretchen admitted that true simplicity is far from simple to attain–but her honest insight seems to resonate with readers of all backgrounds.

7. MarkBittman.comWe know what you’re thinking. Mark Bittman is a respectable food and health journalist–a New York Times icon, not a blogger. But if you’ve ever visited his personal website,you’ll find it reads much like a blog, with excerpts of his most recent articles spanning a wide range of food-related topics. Get lost in his delicious recipes, explore his latest thoughts on food politics, and even learn some useful cooking tips. You may even learn a bit about how going Vegan Before 6PM has enabled him to drastically improve his health– without having to rely on surgery or medication.

8. NY Times Well BlogWith an all-star staff of health and fitness writers, the NY Times Well Blog is one of our favorite sources for thought-provoking articles, keeping us up-to-date on the latest medical science involving nutrition, fitness, family and health.

9. Food52Food52 appeals to every type of cook, from the busy parents of picky eaters to gourmet gluten-free foodie. Some of our favorite Food52 series include: My Broke Kitchen, Dinner vs. Child and Not a Sad Desk Lunch. If you need some fresh culinary inspiration, be sure to check them out.

10. Well + GoodWell + Good first began as wellness blog written by New Yorkers for New Yorkers. But while spotlighting the huge urban yoga communities in NYC and exploring green markets all around the city, Well + Good grew into much more of a wellness wireless service–and is now loved by health-obsessed readers from Soho all the way to San Francisco.

Channels

11. FitfluentialFitFluential is a growing community of fitness fanatics with the best-of-the-best healthy lifestyle ambassadors. The Fitfluential YouTube channel is one of our favorite sources for health and wellness videos from their health-inspiring leaders. A couple recent ones we love: perfecting the plank and tips for getting over that weight loss plateau.

12. upwaveupwave is a multi-platform entertainment brand focused on everything involving health and wellness: fitness, nutrition, stress management, sleep, relationships and more. They’re producing awesome digital content, mobile apps even cable television programs.  Their newest show, Cook Your Ass Off, puts a healthy twist on the beloved tv cooking competition and features recipes already saved in the MyFitnessPal food database!

13. BeFiTFor you at-home workout junkies, the BeFiT channel offers new workouts every single weekday from top fitness trainers like Jillian Michaels, Denise Austin, Scott Herman and more. With free workouts at your fingertips, there’s a lot less to get in your way from a workout!

14. Everyday HealthEveryday health is a well-rounded channel with all types of interesting, and informative health-related videos. Subscribe for tips on everything from healthier eating, to preventing colds and understanding what your blood pressure numbers mean.

What are some of your favorite books, blogs and healthy living channels to follow this year? Share them with us on Facebook or in the comments below!

December 2013 Member of the Month Winner: Jayne O!

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In December we asked you to show and tell us how you’d use MyFitnessPal to stay focused on keeping active while you were enjoying the holiday spirit. 

Let’s give it up for this month’s winner, Jayne O! Jayne used MyFitnessPal to stay fit and healthy, and scored herself a Lumo Back Posture Sensor. This cool wearable tech tracks activity and posture, gives users a gentle vibration if they’re slouching. Best of all, Lumo Back syncs to MyFitnessPal.

Here’s a shot of Jayne in action:

Jayne says:

“MFP has helped me more than any other diet or exercise plan I have ever tried! I’ve lost 40 pounds and kept it off because MFP makes it so easy to keep myself accountable and keep track of what I’m eating.

I’ve been dieting on and off for nearly my entire life. Once I got to college, I pretty much gave up. I gained about 40 pounds, stopped being active, and ate whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted it. I was eating fast food 2-3 times a day, I was sluggish, and I felt awful. Since joining MFP nearly 2 years ago, I’ve managed to lose all the weight I gained in college, and now I’m on track to lose even more and get myself to a healthy weight.

With the food tracker, I found out exactly how many calories I was eating every day (some days were nearly 3,000!!), and that was the wakeup call I needed to start making meaningful changes. I have learned with MFP that there is no quick and easy way to lose weight. It’s hard work, and requires a lot of little changes over time that add up to something huge. My friends and family constantly tell me not only how great I look, but that I’m much more confident, open, and enthusiastic than I was before.

MFP’s website and app make logging food and exercise so easy. I can scan a barcode or look a food item up in seconds- there’s no guesswork involved, and I know the information is accurate. My food diary makes it easy to plan my day’s meals, and the database makes going to restaurants a much less stressful experience. I feel in control of what’s going into my body- no surprise 700 calorie desserts anymore!

But the best part about MFP is that it fits so easily into my life. Logging on is part of my daily routine, and if I don’t log my food I feel like something’s missing. And I don’t  feel like I’m on a diet; this is just my life now, and it’s full of choices. I don’t feel like I’m in a short-term program, or that I constantly have to deprive myself. I’m learning to balance everything- a treat here, an extra workout there. I don’t ever feel like I have to have a “cheat” day. Instead I just have a day where I don’t think about calorie counts, and those days fit into my life just as well as days when I have a killer workout. I am so grateful to MFP for providing a tool that’s easy to use, that’s not overwhelming, and that helps me transition into a better, healthier life.

I don’t know where I’d be today without it.”

So keep up the great work – we love hearing and seeing your inspiring stories. Tell us more over on Facebook.

Healthfully,

The MyFitnessPal Team

14 Tips for Self-Acceptance in 2014

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Many times, we are motivated to set a health or weight loss goal by the fact that there’s something about our current life or body that we’re unhappy with. Who hasn’t had a moment of disturbing truth in the dressing room mirror or feeling overly winded after a flight of stairs? But here’s the truth: feelings of self-criticism and shame might motivate a few workouts or “good” eating days, but they motivate many more falls off the health wagon than on.

Want to create lifelong change in your health? Come at it from a different angle: one of extreme self-acceptance, rather than self-critique. You only get one body, so you might as well love it and take wonderful care of it, in part by incorporating healthy food and fitness practices into your daily life. And here’s the bonus, self-acceptance triggers a relaxation response that can help reduce the stress and anxiety so many of us feel about trying to create new healthy habits – and we think that makes those habits even more likely to stick.

Here are a baker’s dozen (plus one!) action items for shifting into a self-acceptance mindset in 2014.

  1. Set a self-acceptance intention. Before you do anything else, you have to be willing to release what might be lifelong patterns of blame, doubt and contempt. Once you decide that you’re ready to live a life of self-acceptance rather than self-loathing, you can truly begin your journey to a lasting, healthy relationship with yourself, your body and your life.

  1. Stop comparing. There’s a wise saying to the effect that it’s dangerous to compare the inside of your life to the outside of someone else’s. Think about it. On the surface, we rarely present the whole truth. If you’re feeling down in the dumps and someone asks you how you are, you’re more likely to say, “Great!” than tell them how it really is. Remember that what you’re admiring from afar is never as good, or as perfect as it seems.

  1. Discover what makes you unique. List out things you can do that sometimes surprise or impress other people and learn to embrace what makes you YOU.

  1. Appreciate more. So often we dwell on things we don’t have, don’t think we’re capable of or don’t like about ourselves. But with a little bit of work, we can train our minds to appreciate all we are capable of. For every negative thought, write down two counter thoughts–like 2 things you do have for every thing you don’t, or 2 things you love about yourself every time you get hung up on an imperfection.

  1. Surround yourself with support. Distance yourself from negativity–people who put you down and don’t support your journey to self-acceptance. Replace them with people who have generally positive personalities and tend to look on the bright side, including the bright side of you!

  1. Rethink failure. In life, what seems like failure in the short-term can often turn out over time to be a gift of the lessons and course-corrections that make us who we are. And in the endeavor to live a healthy life, the only true failures are: (a) not to start and (b) to quit trying. Everything else isn’t failure – it’s part of the journey.

  1. List your achievements. What have you done that you’re proud of? Check in with your accomplishments every so often. Sit down with a piece of paper and list out everything you’ve succeeded at recently–everything from bigger and better career moves to exercising 3 days last week like you resolved to do this year. You’ll probably surprise yourself.

  1. Fast forward to the “happy.” When we’re down on ourselves, it’s easy to get into happiness-deferment mode. “I’d be so much happier if I were thinner/more beautiful/had more money/had a better job, etc.” Do this exercise: think of the people in your life or even celebrities who have the things you think you need to be happy. You won’t have to think long before you realize that none of these things, on their own, are a magic ticket to happiness. Now do this exercise: decide to feel as happy right now as you think you would be if you had all those items you thought were prerequisites to happiness.

Try it! If you can do it for even a moment, you can practice doing it every day, and you will gradually learn that your little imperfections and life challenges have no power to keep you unhappy or stuck.

  1. Intentionally counter negative self-talk with positive words to yourself. In front of the mirror, we often run through a little catalogue of insults to ourselves that we would never, ever say to another human being, cataloguing everything from pimples to love handles to cellulite dimples. And in the gym, forget about it – we should have done more cardio, lifted more weights, stayed longer, or come more often.

Here’s a challenge: get and stay conscious of the times you say negative things to yourself throughout the day. Every time you have such a thought, intentionally counteract it with a positive truth about yourself. Soon, instead of focusing on how little time you spent at the gym, you’ll be giving yourself kudos for showing up in the first place, and the whole thing will be much less painful.

  1. Perform acts of kindness. When you sacrifice something for someone in need, whether it be time, money, personal belongings, expertise, or whatever you have to give, it’s hard not to feel good about the person you are inside.

  1. Purge your life of things that trigger negative self-thoughts. Junk food, your scale, clothes that haven’t fit in months, unflattering mirrors, beauty magazines, old photos–whatever they may be, identify them and say good riddance.  And yes, this might include getting rid of relationship patterns that involve criticism, put-downs or shame.

  1. Treat yourself to things that make you feel good. To counter all of those items you purge, replace them with things that make you feel happy. Replace the junk food cabinet with a drawer full of fresh fruits and veggies, or your favorite green smoothie. Get off the scale and go for a walk with a friend. Trade all of those ill-fitting clothes for a dress or blazer that flatters your figure and makes you feel good. Trade those magazine subscriptions for a library card and read books that makes you laugh or inspire you. These little things add up and can make a big difference in your mood.

  1. Learn how to accept a compliment. When someone says something nice about you, say, “Thank you,” and give a smile. (In fact, if you want to truly boost your looks, smile more – every smiling face is beautiful, if you think about it.) It’s a wonderful thing! Trusting that the great things others think and say about you is true can be a gateway to seeing those things in yourself.

  1. Use your body to have active fun. Spend your spare time doing things that make you feel good physically and emotionally, like taking a long walk with your friends (canine friends count!) or trying new, active hobbies like gardening, hiking or dancing. The more you move your body and use it to enjoy the present moment, even when you’re not specifically “working out,” the easier you’ll find it is to be grateful for that body and how well it serves you – how wonderful it is to have this body that helps you access the various joys life has to offer.