With a lot of press on fitness & healthy lifestyles in current society, the Google Play store is rife with personal options to track and trend your personal health goals. A newer option that come to this market recently is Mevolife from the developer Mevolife Inc. Mevolife (or “Mevo”, as I’ll call it going forward) is an attempt to be your all-in-one fitness diary, planner, and virtual coach. As you’ll see, Mevo does an admirable job at this task, but it is not without it’s flaws throughout.
The app is free to download from the Google Play Store. The app is free to start, though there is a bit a push from the app to purchase ‘points’ that allow you a deeper experience (more on that later). You do need to sign on with an email and adding a password to go forward, though.
Exploring the app, you will find all sorts of paths to take and available information:
- Dashboard: Your personal report on how you’re doing.
- Food: Your portal to your food diary, recipes, meal plans, and restaurant options.
- Workouts: A comprehensive listing of workout plans, individual workouts, and exercises (including how-to’s and animations of each move).
- Social: The app’s attempt to connect you to other app users to find comeraderie and motivation to keep improving.
The interface is a clean, modern look, with large text and selection windows. The colors are crisp and bright, with an organic orange permeating throughout to keep it consistent.
I did state that the app is free, but to get a deeper experience out of it, there are paid ‘credits’ available that allow you to have more detailed access to meal & workout plans, recipes, and ad-free experience, and so forth.
Using the app was both easy and difficult for me. I say this because the app can be both light- and heavy-handed, so to speak.
Let’s start where I found the app to be too light. One area is in the meal diary, where you can enter what you eat throughout the day, and the app will calculate all the nutrient values based on it’s food library. The problem is in the library; from the start I found searching for foods that I eat to be commonly missing from the library, and the app would instead try to implant it’s substitute. I frequently got frustrated with attempting to accurately fill out my food diary, and often just gave up.
Also on the food side of things, sticking with the free version of the app seems very limited overall in the comprehensiveness of its use; paying for credits would likely improve the experience, but I simply wasn’t willing to go there.
On the heavy-handed side, the app can put a lot of notifications onto your device, including a running pedometer as well as reminders throughout the day. I often checked my phone, only to find three, four, and more Mevo reminders clogging up my screen.
The biggest problem with this is that there is no discernable way in the app to edit/modify/disable notifications. This goes for the the pedometer; if you have the app installed this is omnipresent in your notification panel. Add to it that its icon looks a lot like a Facebook notification, it causes a lot of false phone checks, and quickly grows aggravating.
The pedometer itself is only as accurate as your phone and how you carry it. I often walked ‘hundreds of steps’ and burned ‘hundreds of calories’, just by sitting on my patio typing on my computer. In other words, I came to not trust it very early in my testing.
Also, inputting exercises can be labor intensive. This may be more from the fact that I don’t normally track my exercises, but having to add reps and sets for every single exercise got old very fast. Not only is it required to input all reps, but this must be done using a repeating interface (photo left) that you must fill out, close then repeat for every set of every workout. My patience ran thin after completing my first workout recording.
Most exercises are available, but like the food diary portion of the app, there are certain moves I do that just aren’t available in the app, leaving me with a definitive hole in my workout story.
I really wanted to like Mevolife. The clean interface and photo-centric design invites you to come explore and give the app a whirl.
But as I dove deeper, the app’s flaws became apparent. From forcing me to look for foods that apparently aren’t there, to manually inputting every workout’s rep & set through multiple, repeating screens, to a wonky pedometer & notification system that can’t be tweaked, there’s simply too many holes to make it a trustworthy training partner.
This type of app can admittedly be a very difficult thing to get right for the masses, as you have to be 100% complete in order to satisfy different types of users. Pick 50 people, and you’ll get 50 different food and exercise routines; this makes for a very small target to hit where everybody is happy. I do hope the app continues to improve and fill out; time will tell.