Technophile

Healthifyme tracks and coaches you to fitness

Mala Bhargava | Updated on January 30, 2019

it You can use the upcoming Snap feature to count calories in food items (Representational image) ISTOCK   -  DragonImages

Nutritionists, fitness coaches, and a voice assistant guide you to better health and lifestyle

Health and fitness app, Healthifyme, has been around for a while now. But over time, and in particular more recently, the app has evolved into a more complete platform by adding features and offerings including a health snacks store. And soon to be released is a version of the app’s voice assistant, Ria, who even tells you what to order in. To work with it though, you need to commit to a fitness or health goal and be ready to get tracked, called and pushed to do what is needed.

When you sign up and gain an entree, you’re likely to notice that Healthifyme is a busy-looking app, even confusing at times. You start with a free trial and can even continue on a free basis but will only get expert consultation with paid plans. Nutritionists and fitness coaches with expertise in rehabilitation, physiotherapy and other relevant medical areas are assigned to you, depending on your current health situation and goals. You may be a diabetic wanting to bring your sugar levels down and get off medication; you may be fighting obesity and want to get back to a healthy weight, or you may just want that extra push to find the right exercise level and stick to it. Coaches look at your profile, ask you for information, and make diet and exercise plans for you. Often enough, you’ll find a lot of the advice is common sense and even available elsewhere online quite easily. The advantage with an app like Healthifyme is that it helps you take charge and stay in charge until a goal is achieved rather than read or see something, try it out for a bit, and drop it out of inertia.

Voice assistant 2.0

Once kicked off on a plan, you log or ‘track’ relevant parameters like calories consumed and burnt, number of glasses of water consumed, and so on. The Ria assistant is around to help you track things as you voice-command her to do so. You can also ask questions on relevant topics and get answers (specific to you and your information) in the familiar voice of the Google Assistant. But unlimited questions come at a cost — ₹999 per month in fact — which admittedly isn’t cheap. However, at times, Ria does as well as a human coach, making personalised suggestions to each user. The coaches, on the other hand, are all qualified — which is how they come to be paid and why users need to pay for the special plans they take. Paying also ensures that you try harder to stick with the programme as you’ll want to get your money’s worth.

Notification overdose

Be prepared for tons of notifications and scheduled calls. You’ll even get calls to guide you if you seem to be stuck with some feature. Depending on the plan, you can be in touch 24/7 with a coach for support. There are also health communities of other users on chat groups. If you can’t take that many intrusions into your day, you can tinker with the notification settings on your phone for this particular app and turn off the more peripheral ones. It can still get incredibly annoying, however, as you get notifications to drink water a second after you’ve just logged a glass. Considering the app’s working is based on the assumption that you’re seriously interested in your own health, the notifications can get a bit much, especially when every member of your coach’s group posts their blow-by-blow achievements. Luckily some muting is possible.

On the other hand, Healthifyme works on the assumption that you do want to be hand-held through a period of health building, so stop complaining.

One of the newer features in the app is Snap, which you can use to photo-track the calories of what you’re about to eat.

Snap your diet

Still a work in progress, the app doesn’t always recognise items correctly (such as mistaking muesli for cooked cauliflower) but it is meant to be completely aware of Indian food items, even lesser known ones. In fact, you can invariably write the word of the item using the Hindi term, in English, with the approximate quantity and you’ll get the appropriate number of calories to log. Snap also lets you take screenshots of food you’re about to order using any of the popular food delivery apps, and will tell you the calories and then Ria, in her version 2.0, will tell you if that’s a good idea for you or not and whether it fits in with your diet plan.The diet plans are created, not to be unreasonable or undoable, but in keeping with what each user is easily able to organise and prefers.

Healthifyme can connect to your fitness band or favourite fitness app, but the options are limited. Luckily, you can enter the steps, time and calories manually. The app is a steady 4.6-rated on the Play Store and is popular enough to be expanding to other countries, including Malaysia and the UAE. It’s strictly for those who are open to being pushed and are able to work with someone to get on a healthy track.

Published on January 30, 2019

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