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Using Jawbone UP with MyFitnessPal to track your calories and workouts

MyFitnessPal is a fitness platform that is part calorie counter, part fitness goal tracker and part exercise journal. It compiles a wealth of information about your fitness program and makes it accessible on the web and your iOS device. With Jawbone's recent update, you can now share some of that fitness data with the Jawbone UP system.

Jawbone UP and MyFitnessPal have a two-way relationship that shares meal data from MyFitnessPal and calorie counts from the UP. MyFitnessPal is meant to be the cornerstone of your daily exercise regime. You log each meal and workout and then track the amount of calories you need to consume to either lose weight, gain weight or remain steady. Meal and workout entry is made easy by the platform's large database of foods and activities.

When using MyFitnessPal with the UP, meal data that you enter in MyFitnessPal will show up in your Jawbone UP software. It syncs a few times a day and pulls over your aggregate meal data. The meal data is not broken down during the transfer, so your lunch of an apple and yogurt will show up as one unnamed item with 325 calories and combined nutritional information.

Meal data also is sent over with the same time code, at least in my experience. According to my UP feed, my breakfast, lunch and dinner were all consumed at 3PM. You can edit this time stamp within the Jawbone UP app, but this is an unnecessary extra step that hopefully will be improved in a future update.

On the other side of the coin, the Jawbone UP shares some of its fitness data with the MyFitnessPal software. When you are logging a workout in your MyFitnessPal app, you will notice a line with calorie information from the Jawbone UP. This value is an adjustment based on the activity level recorded by the UP. It is the difference between what is estimated by the MyFitnessPal app and what is recorded by the UP. In my experience, this number was not a large amount (200 calories or so each day), but every little bit helps.

Overall, I like the combination of the Jawbone UP and MyFitnessPal. There is some overlap as you have to enter your workout data in both the Jawbone software and the MyFitnessPal app as the two don't exchange detailed workout information. This duplication is just a minor inconvenience. I like the exchange of meal information which is useful, even without a detailed breakdown of items.

In the end, I find that I use MyFitnessPal for its calorie counting and the Jawbone UP for its sleep tracking and overall activity counts (number of steps taken). Both work together to provide me with a wealth of fitness information that'll help keep me healthy.

MyFitnessPal is available on the web at myfitnesspal.com or as a free iOS app. The Jawbone UP fitness band is available for $129 and its companion iOS app is free.

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