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Nutrition Gear

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By Page Love, MS, RDN, CSSD, USPTA

Most popular nutrition apps and food and hydration logging apps that may help your fueling and hydration for ALTA tennis play.

As a nutrition consultant for the men’s and women’s international tennis tours, I often see even at the top level of the game, tennis players not fully meeting their energy needs nor hydrating as well as think they could be. So even for our ALTA tennis, maybe you should consider tracking your food intake, movement, and hydration. Most adult players will need 2,500-3,500 calories per day on active training days. If you are trying to lose weight, I don’t recommend going below 1,500 calories per day, depending your training level. Tennis calorie burns range from 200-800 calories/hour, so comparing your intake to output is important. Keeping up with hydration is obviously equally important. Most ALTA players need a minimum base of two liters of water per day, but often between three and four liters per day to meet full on-court hydration needs. Check out the latest in apps and gear that provide these options to monitor your progress:

Calorie Tracking Apps
MyFitnessPal: MyFitnessPal is one of the most popular nutrition apps. It has a large food database for people who want to easily log and track items that they eat. It is popular because it is totally free and is supported by many platforms, including iOS, Android, and Windows. It allows you to sync your food intake with pedometers, as well as manually plug in your exercise to determine if you are meeting your energy (calorie needs).

Lose It!: Very much like My Fitness Pal, the Lose It! app is primarily designed to help people who are looking to shed some pounds. Its focus is on calorie tracking; users set a daily budget for calories and then make entries against the budget as they eat meals throughout the day. It also allows you to sync your food intake with pedometers, as well as manually plug in your exercise to determine if you are meeting your energy (calorie needs).

MyNetDiary: MyNetDiary blends a beautiful user interface with a simple app that allows users to easily enter information. With the app’s built-in barcode scanner, you can even scan information about a food item into the app so that you can log a food item when you are not sure about its nutritional value. MyNetDiary does come with a cost, but many don’t mind paying extra for some sophisticated features and a slick interface.

Fitocracy Macros: Though counting calories is important for nutrition apps, Fitocracy’s Macros app takes the food diary concept even further by allowing users to log macronutrients such as protein, fats, and carbohydrates. This makes it an excellent selection for pro athletes looking for a nutrition app that allows them to adhere to a very specific diet.

MyPlate by Livestrong: MyPlate is a free calorie tracking app created by popular fitness company Livestrong. The MyPlate app does much more than count calories, however. It allows users to receive personalized meal plans from nutritionists, workout programs from celebrity trainers, and tips on how to stick to an eating plan. It also includes a community feature for when you need some support to achieve your goals.

Exercise Tracking Apps
Fitbit Coach: An app designed to help you stay in shape with workouts that adjust according to your goals and capabilities. It provides personalized video workouts and updates workouts on a regular basis. It also allows you to personalize your fitness soundtrack to FitBit radio. Feedback can be provided during a workout and there are upgraded versions with FitBit Coach.

Strava: When you wear your Apple Watch, its Strava app can log workouts from start to finish, displaying your stats — time, pace, distance, speed, and heart rate — on screen as you go. After you finish, the wearable will show a summary of your session and sync this information back to your phone as soon as you return to its range. In total, Strava will track eight different types of activities, from those morning jogs or afternoon bike rides to hiking and skiing. FStrava is compatible with Fitbit (as are Runkeeper and Endomondo) for tracking both runs and rides. Similar to Runkeeper, Strava helps you track your running and cycling with a GPS. Track your favorite spots around town to run to stay active.

Swing Tennis Tracker: An apple watch app that allows you to track your every point and shot during a tennis match so you can see your performance and track your progress! For tennis buffs who want to see how they’re performing, Swing Tennis Tracker makes use of metrics measured by the Apple Watch itself, rather than an attached iPhone. It tracks everything from the speed of your shots to your percentage of first serves to the number of calories you burn out on the court. If you’re looking for someone to play against or partner up with, the app also helps you find and communicate with other tennis players who use the same program. Because the app is social, it can connect with other Apple Watches on the court to keep your scores together. Once you get near your smartphone again, all the gathered information can sync back to the main app.

MapMyFitness: Track your workout pace, elevation, and distance with this app. MapMyFitness uses built-in GPS technology to provide runners, cyclists, and walkers the ability to map, record, and track their workouts. In addition, users have access to a searchable database of local routes, online training tools, event listings, and more. Users also can import workouts from over 400 compatible devices, including Garmin, Polar, and Fitbit. Get credit for all the calories you burn by linking your MyFitnessPal account with MapMyFitness. Once connected, you’ll be able to view your workout stats, calorie burn, and nutrition data within the same dashboard.

Runmeter: This advanced fitness app includes maps, graphs, intervals, and training plans to enhance your fitness experience. Runmeter GPS is an advanced iPhone running app that tracks your pace and distance. It has a host of extra features, including social media integration, customizable voice prompts, and an automatic email program that sends alerts to your friends or family when you’re done running. The Runmeter GPS app topped the list of Best Running Apps for the iPhone.

Hydration Tracking Apps
Hidrate Water Bottle with App (Hidrate Spark 2.0): The Hidrate Spark 2.0 is a smart water bottle that helps you drink more water through tracking water consumption, setting goals, and sending reminding. The smart bottle connects to the Hidrate app via Bluetooth and uses a sensor inside of the bottle to determine how much water has been consumed throughout the day/weeks/months/years. It also glows to remind you to drink water — which is less “in your face” than setting an alarm.

HydroCoach: Sync Hydro Coach with your Fitbit, Android Wear, or Google Fit, and build hydration into your workouts. You can choose from more than 80 glasses, set custom volumes, name your own drinks, and track everything with an easy-to-use diary. You also can set special goals for hot days or big workouts. This high-tech water tracker app connects to your Fitbit, Android Wear, or Google Fit as you incorporate your water consumption into your fitness routine. You can personalize your water intake schedule by adjusting your H2O amounts and setting custom volumes. The diary portion also helps to log your reactions and results with increased water drinking.

Water Drink Reminder: This app sets a recommended intake based on your weight. The app is illustrative and shows you how you are doing so you don’t have to memorize every ounce you drink. You can set your own schedule, and the app encourages you to drink even later in the day when you are behind.
Gulp: Chug down that water and tangibly track your progress when you use the Gulp app. You can clearly see how much water you consume, and how much you have left for the day. The amount is continually updated and lets you know how much water you should have at certain points of the day. This app also connects with Google Fit so you can sync this with your activity routine.

Aqualert: This colorful interface makes logging, calculating, and pacing your hydration easy. Adding or removing beverages, choosing from set serving sizes, or customizing your own, you can visualize your progress toward your daily goal. User-friendly charts let you quickly track your intake over time. You will be notified when to drink water. The app also lets you know when you’ve exceeded your goal.

The Future of Nutrition Gear: Wearable Technology
With wearable technology, learning more about yourself has not only become high-tech, but also real-time. From apps to devices, soon you will be able track heart rate and food consumption details to gadgets that monitor your mood and even body temperature and surrounding heat and humidity. Be on the lookout for new wrist bands that can aid in heat illness prevention, as well as gadgets built into clothes that help with body cooling. I will cover more of this technology in future issues.

Page is an avid ALTA competitor and has a private practice as sport dietitian in Atlanta and consults with the WTA and ATP tennis tours and is on the USTA Sport Science Committee. She can be reached at nutrifitga.com for more information.