Losing weight seems to be a goal for a good chunk of people out there. However, like the Crazybulk plague poisoning a half of steroids-related blogs, another misleading thing roams in the wild in the plains of weight loss: the apps. 

There are HUNDREDS of apps that offer you a 6-pack at a price of 10-minute-a-day workout and $1.99/month subscription. It’s a whole industry, with revenue in millions. 

However… Are all those developers in Silicon Valley fit and shredded? Can you work on an easy-fat-loss app while eating donuts? 

Of course they can. Because those apps are all based not on the result, but on formulas

Why Do We Talk About It

It’s not donuts that stand between overweight people and their desired 6-pack. It’s frustration and perfectionism. Of course, aside from laziness, though we're talking about those who at least try.

Close your carbohydrates circle in Apple Health. Get 100% carbohydrates intake in FatSecret. Score perfect in LoseIt. get all the achievements in MyFitnessPal. 

Sure, those apps are useful for organizing things, structuring your diet, pointing you in the right direction, and developing good eating habits. 

However, the frustration some people get from INABILITY (for a whole ton of reasons, legit or not) to continue the streak, score 10 out of 10, stay on track for XX days in a row, is just frustrating. And it pushes them back to the fat & sad state.

Emotionally investing in those apps and relying on them heavily is a high risk — high reward thing. Here’s a simple reason why you should rely on yourself and not some calorie count piece of code:

None of those apps are accurate. Not a single one. Not even with a «PRO» plan.

The Shady Norms

First of all, those apps are built with ethics, lawsuits, and an ever-changing field of social norms at mind. 

Remember that initial stage at any weight loss app where you answer a couple of questions and they give you your «daily calorie intake» count? Well, it’s not quite your fitness they have in mind. It’s their profits lawsuits that might be coming their way when they accidentally lead some Nancy or Joe to an eating disorder. 

None of those apps would consider Zyzz, Arnold, Ronnie, Lee Haney, Lou Ferrigno healthy. Just as frank Zane or Dexter Jackson, at this low level of body fat, you would see those apps SCREAMING about insufficiencies and starvation. 

Why though?

Because the current NORM for body fat is around 15% for men. Sure, some figures go below (for example, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition says that anything between 8% and 19% is normal for young men). Some go higher: here, for example, with unnamed sources, 18% body fat is called «fair». 

It would be awesome if everyone had a body fat percentage at around 8-10%. With age, though, it gets more interesting: 

Same American Journal of Clinical Nutrition says that men over 40 years old are healthy with 21% body fat.  

Since fat tissue is essentially an energy storage, how come 40 year old guys need more of it than 20 year old ones? Could it be because we’re talking about AVERAGE figures? let alone that you’ll barely see your ABS at this point.

All the Lost Details

Ok, so what makes that wheel of calorie intake spin? What’s inside? 

If you’re not new to weight loss and bodybuilding, you should have no illusions about your cardio’s effectiveness: it’s just the icing on the cake.

About 75% of your daily energy use is defined by RESTING energy expenditure (REE). 

ERR is based on : 

  1. Age;
  2. Sex; 
  3. Lifestyle (sedentary or not). 

And this is where most apps stop asking questions not to bore and scare off potential paying subscribers at the registration with «stupid questions». 

However, this is not where it actually stops. There’s a whole ton of other aspects: 

  1. Body composition;
  2. Sleep duration;
  3. Circadian rhythms;
  4. Energy balance;
  5. Food composition;
  6. Genetics;
  7. Endocrine system-related factors;
  8. Thyroid-related factors;
  9. And more.

Imagine relying heavily on something that uses less than 30% of all available information. 

Who Does the Counting?

When you answer a few questions, the app usually spits out a convincingly precise number for you: your NORMAL daily calorie intake. 

Given that it’s based, mostly, on REE, the resting energy expenditure, it would be nice to know which formula is used to calculate it, right? 

Well, good luck with that: there is more than TWO DOZENS of different equations for it:

  • Harris Benedict;
  • WHO;
  • FAO;
  • Mifflin;
  • Schofield;
  • Muller;
  • Lorenzo;
  • Korth;
  • Weir;
  • Frankenfield;
  • Huang;
  • Roza and Shizgal;
  • Bernstein;
  • Owen;
  • Livingstone;
  • Lazzer;
  • Ikeda.

You might hope they give similar results, but no. All the formulas above were tested and compared. This is the scatter of “accuracy”: 


When you use any of the fat loss apps that use gamification and achievement systems to «help» you, keep in mind: 

  1. The app knows less than 30% of what it should know to accurately calculate your daily calorie intake;
  2. The app uses one of 20+ available equations, sometimes contradicting each other and widely inaccurate;
  3. And finally, the app has a different understanding of what’s good and what’s not than you probably have. 

We’re not saying you should ditch it completely. It is, again, a good thing to turn the motto «stop eating bad stuff and start eating good stuff» into your daily routine. It’s a great tool for developing habits and learning more about calories in your ordinary products. 

However, you should NOT take any of those apps seriously enough to base your understanding of SUCCESSFUL weight loss journey on the Daily Achievement Awards, circles, bars, scores, and shiny icons on your phone screen. 

Final Word

90% of success in fat loss is still in your kitchen. If you’re good at counting your ins and outs (approximately, not to a 0,01% with some fancy equation) AND not stressing too much about it, you’re on the right track. You don’t need a PRO plan. You need an apple instead of a donut.

Mastering your diet is crucial BEFORE you hop on some cutting cycle. Clenbuterol won’t help you if you munch on hot dogs and pizza daily. And even Clen+Ketotifen+T3 stack won’t help.