Gyminee: Tracking and Social Networking for Nutrition and Fitness

I rarely do reviews of individual sites here on this blog, but I wanted to make an exception for Gyminee. I made a commitment to getting back in shape about 3 months ago, and I have been inconsistent at best at tracking my progress until Todd recently found Gyminee. I really liked the idea of being able to track my workouts / nutrition, but I was even more excited to find that I had several friends in Portland already using Gyminee. I committed to using Gyminee diligently for one week to see how I liked it, and a couple of people asked me to do a quick review of it after a week, so here we go!

Gyminee has a freemium business model. You can make great use of the service for free, but they also offer pro accounts for people who want a few extra features (similar to the Flickr model). You get to set your own goals (weight loss, resting heart rate, arm size, etc.) and track your progress toward meeting the goals. You can track every workout and everything you eat in Gyminee, and it calculates calories in vs. calories out along with a bunch of other measurements in a daily dashboard.

Fitness Report

You can also set up custom workouts and favorite foods to make it easy to record your workouts and add foods that you eat regularly. I’ve also heard that the iPhone app for Gyminee is outstanding and makes it easy to track while on the go. One interesting feature is the add a new recipe where you can enter in your recipes, and it will calculate the nutritional properties (calories, protein, etc.) for you. I was talking a couple of people today, and we were talking about how you could use the recipe feature to record common meals to make them even easier to record. For example, you could create a favorite breakfast “recipe” containing a cup of cereal, a half cup of soymilk, and a banana that you could add as one meal.

While the tracking features are great, the real reason I’m covering it here on this blog is because of the social networking features. You can add your friends and track their workouts and progress to encourage each other to meet goals or create friendly competitions among friends. Anyone can create or join a group, Stumptown Stompers, for example, and they have forums for just about any topic. Users add the foods they eat, and other users can access those same foods, so after one person enters your favorite brand of cup of soup into Gyminee, all other users can find it and add it to their nutrition tracking. The community elements of the site make it much more than your typical workout tracking tool.

picture-17

Now that I’ve told you everything I love about Gyminee, here are the negatives:

  • It’s a free service, but the ads and the up sell to a pro account can be obnoxious.
  • Tracking nutrition can be a huge time commitment, especially if you cook for yourself. Most prepackaged foods can be found already entered on the site to use, but your custom recipes have to be entered manually. I’d love to see more flexibility around ways to enter estimated calories for a meal without having to add a new food or recipe.
  • I would love to be able to set my own nutrition goals. It uses a very rudimentary calculation based on weight and exercise to set your nutrition goals for you. In my case the amount of protein it recommends is ridiculously high, and I have yet to meet their “goal” for my protein consumption, nor do I want to meet it. If you aren’t tracking nutrition or the goals don’t make sense for you, you can’t adjust them, so it shows your friends a big red ‘F’ (which is what I suspect is happening with maestrojed above).
    [Update 9:12 on 1/13/09: As Stephen points out in the comments, you can adjust these settings. My feedback now is that this should be more intuitive to the user. I was looking for it on the goals page, not the log page.]

Feel free to add me as a friend on Gyminee if you are using it. I would be curious to hear what other people think of it.

11 Responses to “Gyminee: Tracking and Social Networking for Nutrition and Fitness”


  • Hi Dawn,

    I’m co-founder of Gyminee, and I just wanted to say thanks for taking the time to review our website. One thing I wanted to point out is that you can adjust your nutrition goals. From your Nutrition Log page, if you click on the goal range (e.g., 1700-2100 Cals), then it will show a window that allows you to adjust both the upper and lower bounds of your nutrition goals.

    Thanks!

  • Stephen,

    Thanks! I was trying to find a place to update this under the ‘Update Nutrition Goals’ section – it never occurred to me that it would be on the log page.

    Also, great job monitoring mentions of your company and responding with really helpful information. Too many companies don’t do a good job of monitoring and responding to blogs and other social media sites.

  • I have read up on it and searched through the site and agree with your review. It’s an excellent site and they are doing more to improve. I usually just stick to my own routines and keep things simple, but for a lot of people it can be very helpful.

  • Dawn,

    Thanks for sharing this site!

    I’ve run the gamut of sites that allow you to track your intake and your exercise. It seems like they are either feature-rich (with horrific interfaces) or more slick (with terrible features). Gyminee seems promising. I’m trying to decide whether to supplant my other site(s) with it. Here are my thoughts:

    1) Nice, Web 2.0 interface. Dawn, I hear your pain with entering food items. Gyminee actually has this about 90% right. It is the best interface I’ve seen so far. What’s missing, however, is the ability to enter the individual elements of a recipe and then save the recipe itself. Some sites call this “food grouping”, others call it simply “recipes.” I really love that Gyminee is harnessing its user base to grow the food database (so many sites miss this obvious thing!). It seems that there are more foods in the Gyminee database than any other site I’ve seen so far.

    2) The prompts to upgrade to a Pro account are indeed a bit much. I’m not seeing all that much value added in the Pro account–I want to see a bit more than the screen shots I’m seeing. Maybe a month for free so I can see if it’s really worth it?

    3) One of the other sites I’ve been using is Sparkpeople.com. If you go there, try not to throw up when you see the interface. BUT Spark is very full of features. I don’t need all of them, but one of the things they do that I find very compelling is give you “points” for achieving certain things (e.g. drinking 8 glasses of water, entering in all your food for the day, exercise minutes, performing certain activities). Assuming this is not patented or something, I’d love to see Gyminee look at putting in some motivational factor like this.

    4) Tracking your exercises on Gyminee is mostly done right but I find that the calories it estimates (if it estimates calories, which sometimes it doesn’t, which is confusing) seem a bit off. Not sure what’s going on there.

    5) One of the things I’ve come to realize as I’ve used these sorts of sites over the years is that I–and possibly other users?–want it both ways. I want a site that can give me a lot of in-depth stuff to do when I “feel” like it: articles and forums and challenges and complexity and points. Spark gets this right. But I also want a site that I *don’t* have to spend a lot of time on to get my day-to-day stuff done. MyFoodDiary does this right. Some days I want to spend a while and really get into it. Other days I have, you know, work to do. I think Gyminee is doing well at the “quick” part, maybe less so on the “in-depth” part.

    6) I would never have figured out how to adjust my nutrition goals if it weren’t for Stephen’s comment above. I kept looking on the “adjust my nutrition goals” page, which is really where it seems like it should be.

  • Lyza,

    Wow, I think your review was longer than mine :) Thank you so much. The comparison with other sites is great. I’ve never really been motivated to try any of the others, so I had no real basis for comparison.

  • I rescind part of #1 above. It turns out Gyminee does support “recipes” but it took me a while to find the feature!

  • I was playing more with recipes last night and was a little sad to learn that my tiny vegan ice cream sundaes with melted peanut butter, chocolate, and peanuts is about 600 calories :(

  • I used several food tracking websites for long periods of time previously, but I totally agree, there’s a lot lack in that department still. I usually stop for long periods of time b/c it is too time consuming. Sparkpeople and fitday are decent. The best site I’ve seen for food tracking in terms of foods in the database is thedailyplate. It’s very complete. It even has recipes. For example, I can usually find recipes from the magazine Cooking Light, where my wife cooks from often. Give it a shot. If nothing else, you can get the nutritional info and create a custom food in gyminee. BTW, those other sites also have exercise/diet communities, but haven’t done a thorough comparison to gyminee. Hope this helps.

  • Just a few days ago I searched “weight loss goal tracker” and found nothing that I was interested in… I was surprised to run into this on your site. Looks good. I’m signing up in the other browser tab right now.

  • Having used a number of online trainers/fitness sites, i have to agree i think gyminee is a bit of a breakthrough in the arena. Nice design, integration with twitter and iPhone, gym buddies and suggested workouts works well. I’m more interested in the exercise and goals tracking than full nutrition monitoring, but the system works well and caters for people with different goals. Very impressed.

  • Just found your site- really great!

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