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MyFitnessPal was the first calorie-tracking app I ever used when I first became more serious about fitness and nutrition. After I started CrossFit and then transitioned to primarily strength training, I decided I needed more structure in my diet to support my workouts. That’s where Renaissance Periodization (RP) came in.
Having used both MyFitnessPal and the RP Diet app extensively, I can confidently offer advice on which one is better.
The main difference between the RP Diet app and MyFitnessPal is that RP is primarily a macro tracker that requires you to meet specific macros at each meal, while MyFitnessPal tracks both calories and macros and is less rigid with meal times. The RP diet also focuses more on optimizing exercise performance and recovery.
That said, you can find success with either app as long you understand how to make it work for you and your lifestyle.
To help you decide which app is better for you and your goals, I’ve compared the two based on ten different criteria.
- Out of 10 categories, MyFitnessPal was the winner in five, while RP Diet was the winner in three. The remaining two were ties.
- The RP Diet app is best for athletes who need to eat specific amounts of protein, fat, and carbs to fuel their performance or help with their body composition goals. Read my full RP Diet app review.
- MyFitnessPal is best for those who want to lose weight or gain muscle and track how many calories they eat overall but aren’t concerned with highly specific macro targets. It’s also good for average gym-goers or those who just want to know more about the foods they eat. Read my full MyFitnessPal review.
RP Diet vs. MyFitnessPal: Quick Overview
|RP Diet||MyFitnessPal||Our Interpretation|
|Food Categorization||Food is only categorized by macro, not by whether it is good or bad.||None||Neither app classifies food as good or bad. They simply track macros and/or calories.|
|Tracking Capabilities||RP Diet only tracks data related to workout performance and macros, while MyFitnessPal offers a more overarching view of your well-being.|
|Calorie Recommendations & Accuracy||The RP Diet app doesn’t tell you how many calories you eat each day. However, as long as you’re honest about your workout intensity and overall daily activity, its macros are accurate.||Some people find the recommended calories to be accurate, while others do not.||The RP Diet app tends to be more accurate with its calorie recommendations, but you do have to be honest about your workout performance.|
|Level of Customization||You can choose the number of meals per day and whether you want an intra-workout shake and move macros from one meal to another.||You can adjust your calorie targets and set each macro to specific percentages in 5% increments. Premium users can set their macros to exact grams.||Even though MyFitnessPal doesn’t offer a ton of customization, it offers more options than RP Diet to personalize your diet, especially if you pay for Premium.|
|Education Opportunities||RP has an in-depth blog and regularly publishes research-based educational content on social media that addresses workout nutrition and fueling your body properly for different goals.||MyFitnessPal has an informative blog and publishes educational content on social media, but some of it is rather generic.||Both RP Diet and MyFitnessPal have good educational resources, but RP’s content tends to be more in-depth and backed by science.|
|Coaching||The app doesn’t connect you with an in-person coach or have learning resources within the app, but it acts as a virtual coach that adjusts your macros based on the data you enter. RP offers one-on-one nutrition coaching as a separate service outside of the app.||None||The RP Diet app does all the work for you and automatically adjusts your diet based on your weekly weigh-ins.|
|Recipe Database & Meal Planning||RP Diet doesn’t have an in-app recipe or meal planning database.||There is no meal planning feature, but you can use the Recipe Discovery feature to find recipes for various dietary preferences. You can also bulk import several recipe ingredients at once.||It’s easier to track recipes with lots of ingredients in MyFitnessPal.|
|Exercise Calories||It doesn’t allow you to “eat back” the calories you burn during exercise. However, it adjusts your macros based on your workout intensity and daily activity levels.||Premium users can choose whether or not to include exercise calories.||RP Diet doesn’t have a feature that lets you eat back your calories burned, but it will give you more food on days that you have higher-intensity workouts.|
|Price||The RP Diet app is one of the most expensive nutrition tracking apps available, though it provides a level of automated coaching that you can’t get with most other apps.|
|Reviews||4.3/5 out of 4,800+ reviews||4.1/ 5 out of nearly 2.5 million reviews||MyFitnessPal is a much older app than RP Diet, so it has many more reviews. Recently, the app has been getting a lot of 1- and 2-star reviews due to features being removed from the free version and the paid version being expensive.|
What Is RP Diet?
RP stands for Renaissance Periodization. The company focuses on creating customized nutrition plans for those who want to gain muscle, lose fat, or improve their performance in the gym. Although anyone can follow the RP diet, it’s geared primarily toward bodybuilders, CrossFitters, and other strength athletes.
The RP diet focuses largely on nutrient timing. In other words, the app tells you how much of each macronutrient (protein, fat, and carbs) to eat at specific times. You get different macro allotments for different meals based on when you work out, how intense your workout is, and how many steps you get within a day.
The RP diet app is also a virtual coach of sorts. You have to check in to the app after you eat each meal to confirm whether you were over, under, or at your targeted macros for that meal. You can use a barcode scanner, select food from RP’s database, or search for menu items from popular restaurants. All of the food items are verified by registered dietitians on RP’s staff.
You also have to weigh in several times throughout the week. The app then uses your weight trends to adjust your macros each week.
The RP diet app doesn’t tell you how many calories you eat, which is a drawback for those who like to know exactly how much they’re eating. But since the app automatically adjusts your macros based on the data you enter, you don’t have to manually calculate a new daily calorie goal when your progress stalls.
It’s also important to note the RP diet app doesn’t track micronutrients (vitamins and minerals). If you want to track this information to see if you might be deficient in something, the RP diet app isn’t for you.
- Automatically adjusts your macros based on your weight trends
- Can help give you structure if you tend to skip meals
- Has a barcode scanner and an extensive selection of verified food items in its database
- Doesn’t provide the number of calories you eat each day
- Doesn’t track micronutrients
- Having to check in each meal to indicate whether you were at, under, or over macros can be inconvenient
RP Diet App
Renaissance Periodization (RP) is a diet coaching company that takes an evidence-based approach to fitness and nutrition.
*This link also gives you 33% off your monthly subscription for 6 months if you decide to continue.
What Is MyFitnessPal?
MyFitnessPal is probably one of the most well-known calorie-tracking apps. It started as a desktop app in 2005, with the mobile app coming out four years later. The mobile app has had hundreds of millions of downloads since then.
It tracks calories, macros, some micronutrients, water intake, weight, body measurements, and body fat percentage. If you sync it to a smartwatch like a Fitbit, the app will also automatically pull in your daily step count and calories burned during exercise.
While many features used to be free, MyFitnessPal has started restricting access to some of them (like the barcode scanner) to paid users.
The free version still gives you access to many tracking capabilities and the extensive food database, so it’s sufficient for those who just want to use it as a food logger and calorie tracker.
- The interface is aesthetically pleasing and easy to use
- Large food database with millions of options, including international entries and menu items from restaurants
- Can adjust your macros to within 5% with the free version (paying users can customize them to the exact gram)
- Some features are only accessible if you have a paid subscription
- Ads on the free version can make the app slower
MyFitnessPal was one of the first popular calorie & macro-tracking apps. It’s still a great free option for people who want to easily track their food, especially if they live or travel overseas.
RP Diet vs. MyFitnessPal: Head-to-Head Comparison
1. Food Database
The RP diet app groups its food into four categories: protein, fat, and carbs. It has a wide range of pre-set options in each category.
If you want to track a specific food item instead of using a pre-set option (for example, tracking a specific brand of wheat bread rather than the app’s generic wheat bread entry), you can choose from more than 750,000 options. There are also pre-loaded meal entries from popular restaurants like Starbucks and Chipotle.
All food entries have been verified by registered dietitians. However, there aren’t a lot of international food options.
MyFitnessPal has millions of food items, including restaurant menu items, in its database. However, they are not verified. There can be a high level of inaccuracy, which can lead to you eating more or less than you want.
But a plus to the large database is that you most likely can find any food you want. Since there are also entries of food from all over the world, international users can easily find food from their home country.
The Winner: TieRP Diet’s food entries are verified by registered dietitians, so you can be confident that the nutritional information for each item is accurate.
However, MyFitnessPal has more international entries, which is better if you travel frequently or live abroad.
2. Tracking Capabilities
The RP diet app tracks food, macros, body weight, exercise intensity, and steps (in ranges of less than 7,000, 7,000-14,000, 14,000-21,000, or more than 21,000 per day). However, when it comes to tracking your exercise intensity and steps, it’s up to you to be honest with your ratings. The app doesn’t sync to fitness trackers to gather insights into your daily activities.
It also doesn’t enable you to track water intake, body measurements, body fat percentage (though it does ask for a body fat percentage when you first sign up), micronutrients, or sleep quality.
MyFitnessPal tracks a lot of nutrition data, including calories, macronutrients, some micronutrients, and water intake. It also tracks body measurements, including weight, body fat percentage, and neck, waist, and hip circumference.
Regarding exercise and physical activity, MyFitnessPal tracks daily steps and exercise. You can sync it with the Fitbit or Garmin Connect app if you have a corresponding smartwatch, and it will automatically pull your calories burned and step count. It also syncs with the Apple Watch.
The Winner: MyFitnessPalMyFitnessPal offers a more complete look at your overall well-being, making it the better option for those who want more extensive insights into their health.
3. Calorie Recommendations
Because the RP diet is focused on performance nutrition, its recommendations are based on helping you maintain muscle mass or limit potential fat gain (depending on if you’re cutting or bulking) and fueling your workouts. As I mentioned, you can’t see how many calories you’re eating, but I find its macro recommendations to be accurate.
You do have to be honest about your workout intensity and daily activity, though. If you tell the app you do strength training workouts for two hours when you only take a 20-minute walk around the block, your progress will be much slower because you’ll be eating more food than you need.
However, if you use the app for a fat loss goal, it can drastically cut your macros if your weight loss stalls for just one week. It can drop your carbs from 250 g per day to 25 if you have just one week where you don’t lose weight.
That said, there is an option to decline the changes and repeat your macros from the previous week. But you have to use your own judgment when making that decision to determine if you’re okay with your progress potentially being slower.
You can also reduce the chances of having your macros slashed by choosing a conservative weight loss target when you set a new goal. For example, you can choose to diet longer and lose slightly less weight instead of dieting for a shorter time but trying to lose more weight in that reduced time frame.
MyFitnessPal automatically provides calorie and macro goals based on data you enter when you sign up, such as your current weight, goal weight, and activity level.
Many users have complained that the app’s targets are too low for very active individuals or those with a large amount of muscle mass. However, when I configured the app for weight loss goals, it started me off with around 2,250 calories.
Since I maintain my weight at around 2,600-2,700 calories, this represents a caloric deficit of 350-450 calories. I normally recommend not decreasing calories by more than 500, so MyFitnessPal’s suggestions are within a reasonable range.
That said, whether or not its calorie recommendations will work for you if you want to lose weight will depend on your goals and how drastic of a caloric deficit you can manage without being overly hungry.
The Winner: MyFitnessPalEven though I find both apps provide accurate calorie and macro recommendations, MyFitnessPal wins because it’s calorie reductions for weight loss aren’t as drastic.
4. Level of Customization
The RP Diet app does not enable you to set custom macros or move macros around within the same meal, meaning you can’t lower your fats and increase your carbs for a meal, for example.
Furthermore, the only way you can customize your macros is to adjust your workout intensity or daily step count. Lying about your activity regularly may impact your progress, though.
You can, however, move macros from one meal to another. If you know you will want to have a large dinner, for example, you can move macros from your earlier meals to your last meal of the day.
You also have the ability to tell the app if you want to have 3, 4, 5, or 6 meals per day and have an intra-workout protein shake on your workout days.
MyFitnessPal doesn’t offer a ton of customization, especially if you use the free version. With the free version, you can only adjust your macro goals to hit certain percentages, and you can only be within 5% of a specific macro.
For example, if you want to be super specific and eat 42% of your calories from protein, you’d have to round down to 40% or 45%.
If you want to set macros to exact grams, you have to upgrade to Premium.
You also have to pay for Premium if you want to set macro targets per meal and turn off the option to eat back the calories you burn through exercise.
While MyFitnessPal defaults to three meals per day, you can log into your account on the MyFitnessPal website to change it to up to six meals per day.
The Winner: MyFitnessPalEven though you can’t customize much in MyFitnessPal unless you pay for Premium, it still wins over the RP Diet app because it offers more personalization options.
5. Education Opportunities
RP Diet has an in-app FAQ section that explains the reasoning behind its recommendations. When you set a new goal, there are also informational guides throughout the set-up process. These guides help you determine the right workout intensity, daily step number, number of meals you should eat per day, and more.
Beyond the app, RP has a great blog and regularly discusses the science behind workout nutrition on its social media channels. These are great resources for those who want to learn more about fueling their bodies to have enough energy for their workouts and to recover properly.
MyFitnessPal has a blog that offers advice on various nutrition topics, such as how to reduce your sugar intake and how to know if you’re eating enough protein. It also puts out some educational content on Instagram and YouTube, but I find it less in-depth than the content RP produces.
The Winner: RP DietThe RP Diet app (and the company as a whole) is better for those who want to learn more about the why behind dieting and eating a certain amount of food per day. It’s also better for those who want to learn more about fueling their bodies properly for workouts rather than receiving generic healthy lifestyle tips.
The RP Diet app doesn’t have one-on-one coaching within the app, but the app functions as a virtual coach. It tells you when to adjust your macros and by how much so that you don’t have to figure it out on your own.
RP also offers one-on-one coaching as a separate service for those with health conditions such as hyperthyroidism or individuals who need more guidance with their diet. However, the app isn’t meant to be used by nutrition coaches for clients because its algorithms already do most of the work a nutrition coach would do.
MyFitnessPal doesn’t offer the option to work one-on-one with a coach. However, nutrition coaches can ask their clients to turn on diary sharing so that they can see their clients’ daily caloric intake.
The Winner: TieEven though there are no coaching capabilities within the RP Diet app, its algorithms do the same thing a nutrition coach would do. There is no reason to hire a coach or registered dietitian if you already use the app.
However, for nutrition coaches who want insights into how their clients are eating every day, MyFitnessPal is a better option.
7. Recipe Database
The RP Diet app doesn’t have a recipe database you can use for meal inspiration. It’s also pretty frustrating to enter recipes with multiple ingredients.
To log a recipe in the app, you have to add the calories, carbs, fats, and protein for each ingredient using a tool like this one and determine how many servings you want to divide it into. Then, you can log the recipe as a custom food option in the app.
MyFitnessPal has a feature called “Recipe Discovery” you can use to find inspiration for tasty and nutritious meals. The recipes cover multiple dietary preferences, such as keto or vegetarian, and many of them are approved by a registered dietitian. The app also displays the calories and macros for each recipe.
If you want to cook a recipe that contains a lot of ingredients, you can create custom recipes and look up individual ingredients. You just have to make sure you accurately enter the quantities of each ingredient used.
The Winner: MyFitnessPalMyFitnessPal is the better choice because you can more easily log individual ingredients. You can also search for recipes within the app, and premium users can also import recipes from other websites.
8. Exercise Calories
RP Diet doesn’t have a setting that enables you to ‘eat back’ the calories you burned during workouts. However, it adjusts your daily macro breakdown based on how hard your workout is.
For example, if you have a two-hour weight training session, you’ll get more carbs than if you have a 30-minute cardio session.
RP Diet also requires you to input your average number of steps per day. The app then uses that number to further adjust your daily macros.
For example, you’ll get more carbs and fats on days you get 7,000 – 14,000 steps per day and fewer carbs and fats on days you get less than 7,000 steps, even if you also work out on those days.
The calorie and macro recommendations don’t change based on your daily step counts. However, it factors calories burned from exercise into its calculations using data from smartwatches like Fitbit or the Apple Watch.
So, if you normally get 2,000 calories per day and burn 250 calories from exercise according to your smartwatch, MyFitnessPal will tell you to eat 2,250 calories in total.
I’m not a fan of this approach because the calories burned on smartwatches are wildly inaccurate. If you’re trying to lose weight, eating back the calories burned based on your smartwatch could take you out of your calorie deficit, and it will take longer to reach your goals.
You can turn off the exercise calories feature in MyFitnessPal, but you have to have a paid subscription.
The Winner: RP DietI prefer RP Diet’s approach because it adjusts how much food you eat based on exercise intensity, not on the number of calories burned, which may or may not be accurate if you use a smartwatch to get that information.
The RP Diet app costs $19.99 per month for a monthly subscription or $99.99 per year for a yearly subscription.
There is no free version, but there is a two-week free trial. You can also save 33% on your first six months by signing up with this link.
There are free and premium versions of MyFitnessPal. The Premium version costs $19.99 per month for a monthly subscription or $79.99 per year for a yearly subscription. There is a 30-day free trial for Premium.
The Winner: MyFitnessPalMyFitnessPal wins because there is a free version. And even though a monthly subscription to the premium version costs the same as a monthly subscription to RP Diet, an annual subscription to MyFitnessPal is cheaper than RP Diet.
On Google Play, the RP Diet app has an average of 4.3/5 stars based on over 4,800 reviews. Customers who stick with the app have seen a lot of success by following its macro recommendations, whether they’re trying to lose weight or gain muscle.
Those who left negative reviews don’t like the rigidity of the app and having to hit specific macros at each meal rather than having total calorie and macro goals to hit throughout the day. Some users also find it inconvenient to check in each meal to tell the app whether they were at, over, or under their macros for every meal.
On Google Play, MyFitnessPal has an average of 4.1/5 stars out of nearly 2.5 million reviews. Until November 2022, it had an average of 4.7/5 stars based on 1.5 million reviews.
The recent negative reviews are due to features that used to be free, like the barcode scanner, now only being available in the premium version. Users have also complained about the price of the premium subscription being too high for what it offers and distracting ads in the free version.
The Winner: RP DietWhile not significantly higher in ratings, the RP Diet does have more favorable reviews.
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About The Author
Amanda Dvorak is a freelance writer and powerlifting enthusiast. Amanda played softball for 12 years and discovered her passion for fitness when she was in college. It wasn’t until she started CrossFit in 2015 that she became interested in powerlifting and realized how much she loves lifting heavy weights. In addition to powerlifting, Amanda also enjoys running and cycling.