All three provide good and useful services, but is any one of them clearly better than the other two?  The reviews are based on the features most of us would expect from a fitness tool/advice site.  For each category/feature I will rate Traineo, Gyminee, and Sparkpeople.  The format is simple, five categories (user-friendliness, groups, nutritional logging, exercise logging, and graphing capabilities) judged by placing each site into first, second, or third place.  First place is awarded 3 points, second place 2 points; third place 1 point.  At the end of this review the points are added up and the winner announced.  Pretty simple, right?  Good, well let’s start the reviews.

Presentation and User Friendliness

Traineo sports a simple layout with calming blue text over a white background.  The navigation bars are easy to use and most folks won’t have a problem finding their way around the Traineo site.

Gyminee has a layout that is very similar to Traineo’s- right down to the black header with a blue and white background.  Like Traineo the site isn’t all that hard to navigate and is fairly user-friendly.

Comparison of Traineo and Gyminee layouts

SparkPeople has an engaging and colorful screen with bright oranges and blues over a white background.  While the main page is host to a lot more links and information than either Traineo or Gyminee, it is very user friendly.

Winner in the category of layout and user-friendliness: SparkPeople

Runner-up: Traineo and Gyminee tied

Groups

Traineo has several highly active groups, but many of the groups have died out while others are lucky to see a post every other week.  Needless to say I wasn’t very impressed.

Gyminee has a fairly active “community forum” but I find its layout (not difficult) but unpleasant to navigate.  While it isn’t all that impressive now, I think given time it will improve significantly.

SparkPeople‘s community boards are replete with recent posts AND convenient to navigate.  The SparkPeople Cafe alone has over 694,000 posts; the staying motivated board has over 280,000 posts; and the Support Groups for people over 50 has over 105,000 posts.  And those are just a few of the boards available on SparkPeople.

Winner in the category of groups: SparkPeople

Runner-up: Gyminee

Last place: Traineo

Food/Nutritional Section

Traineo offers you a “my diet” tab which allows you to graph your diet based on two factors, (1) how you felt about how you ate that day, and (2) how many calories you ate that day.  Unfortunately, Traineo does not offer a nutritional intake log.  As we all know, when you don’t record what you eat you are often prone to underestimate your caloric intake.

Gyminee improves on the Traineo model by including a nutritional intake journal, charts, and a water tracker.  In addition Gyminee offers meal plans and a grocery list function.  However, when it comes to execution, the nutrition log isn’t all that easy to use.  My biggest complaint is that the list of indexed food items is respectable, but somewhat limited.  Many of the foods I attempted to enter were not in their index. My second complaint is that resources like the grocery list generator and the meal planner are under the “pro” setting which requires you to buy a membership to the site.  I have nothing against them making a buck, but when I can get these services on another site for free, why would I pay for them on Gyminee?

SparkPeople offers the same benefits as Gyminee but with a much more user-friendly interface and added options.  In addition to recording your daily intake of fat, carbs, and protein, SparkPeople’s nutrition log also shows your recommended daily intake range for fat, carbs, and protein.  A “report” option allows you, at any point during the day, to check and see if your food intake matches up with your recommended f/p/c percentages (15% fats:30% protein: and 55% carbs in my case).

Winner in the category of Food Nutrition: Spark People.

Runner-up: Gyminee

Last place: Traineo

Exercise Section

Traineo offers a rudimentary workout recording system that allows you to input the type of exercise from a respectable list of activities, the time spent engaged in the activity, and the level of intensity.  Based on your input Traineo assigns a number of calories burned to the activity.  Sadly, that is it.  Traineo offers no workout logging of individual exercises, time of exercise, etc.

Gyminee provides more than Traineo when it comes to recording your fitness activities.  In addition to allowing you to log individual exercises, Gyminee allows you to record the numbers of reps per set and the level of intensity for each exercise.  Gyminee also features a good number of exercises in their exercise library section.  The only pay for use feature is the schedule a workout feature, which I imagine most of us could get by without ever using.

SparkPeople allows you to schedule your workouts for free.  Aside from that it offers most of the same options as Gyminee.  However, the resistance training log is a bit bulky and difficult to use as you can’t manually adjust reps without inputting the entire exercise again.  In addition, you can’t record the relative intensity of each exercise or even the workout in general.  Yet SparkPeople’s exercise library is perhaps a bit more extensive than that offered by Gyminee.

Winner in the category of Exercise Section: Gyminee

Runner-up: SparkPeople

Last place: Traineo

Graphing Capabilities

This is one category where Traineo has a strong showing.  Not only does Traineo do a good job of graphing your calories burned from workouts, but they also offer a “My Log” tab which allows you to track everything from your sleep to your waist line.  The interface is pretty simple to use and fairly idiot proof.

Gyminee offers some good graph (especially in the nutrition section), but fails to capitalize on the significantly more detailed information it obtains from the user in comparison to Traineo.  Moreover, many of the charts and graphs are only available to those who pay a subscription fee.  While the fee is cheap, why should you pay for it at Gyminee when you can get it free elsewhere?

SparkPeople possesses very good graphing features in its nutrition, exercises, and goal(s) sections.  The graphs are easy to access (just click on the buttons that say “see report”)  and simple to read.  Virtually idiot-proof.

Winner in the category of Graphing Capabilities: SparkPeople

Runner-up: Traineo

Last place: Gyminee

Total Points

Presentation: SparkPeople=3; Traineo=2; Gyminee=2

Groups: SparkPeople=3; Gyminee=2; Traineo=1

Food: SparkPeople=3; Gyminee=2; Traineo=1

Exercise: Gyminee=3; SparkPeople=2; Traineo=1

Graphing: SparkPeople=3; Traineo=2; Gyminee=1

RESULTS

First Place, SparkPeople with 14 points

Runner-up, Gyminee with 10 points

Last Place, Traineo with 7 points

Conclusion:

SparkPeople offers the largest number of services combined with the largest online community for those seeking to lose weight and track their progress.  Gyminee has great potential, but it is fairly young, so its community is small and many of its best capabilities require you to fork over some cash.  Traineo is fine if all you want is some basic tracking of your calories burned, weight, etc.  Otherwise it lacks the tools a serious fitness enthusiast might expect.  However, it does offer great widgets to post on your blog.  So perhaps you might want to keep a Traineo account in order to access their widgets while keeping track of most of your fitness activities and nutritional log over on SparkPeople.

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Comments
  1. […] Nutrition Researchers wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptAll three provide good and useful services, but is any one of them clearly better than the other two?  The reviews are based on the features most of us would expect from a fitness tool/advice site.  For each category/feature I will rate Traineo, Gyminee, and Sparkpeople.  The format is simple, five categories (user-friendliness, groups, nutritional logging, exercise logging, and graphing capabilities) judged by placing each site into first, second, or third place.  First place is awarded 3 points, second place 2 points; third place 1 point.  At the end of this review the points are added up and the winner announced.  Pretty simple, right?  Good, well let’s start the reviews. Presentation and User Friendliness Traineo sports a simple layout with calming blue text over a white background.  The navigation bars are easy to use and most folks won’t have a problem finding their way around the Traineo site. Gyminee has a layout that […] […]

  2. Thanks for taking the time to do this comparison. I still don’t know which one I like best, but this helps.

  3. Thanks Bernard. All three offer good services. It is just that SparkPeople offers more option- and the best part is that those added options are free.

  4. Angel says:

    thanks for the research and tips buddy!:)

  5. JuryDuty says:

    Good report, and the only thing I would add is that which is “best” for a person probably depends on their needs. For me, recording exercises easily was most important because I’m into bodybuilding. Nutrition and community came after that. For that reason, I find Gyminee superior to the others–but again, that’s just based on my needs. If I were highlighting on nutrition or community, I’d probably go for SparkPeople. (That said, Gyminee is making great headway in these areas and I believe they will compete greatly with SparkPeople in a while.)

  6. Ashley says:

    Yay Sparkpepople LOL 🙂

  7. Vilma Perez says:

    Awesome comparison report! Thanks for all the info.

    ~ Vilma

  8. Good point Jury Duty. If your primary focus is weight lifting I think Gyminee is about as good (maybe a bit better) than SparkPeople. Once again, the only thing that throws me off is the significant number of options that you have to pay for. I have a feeling that once their membership grows they will be able to drop the pay to use requirement and exist on ad revenue alone.

  9. Andy Smith says:

    Thanks for this report. It is very helpful, and I find your analysis quite interesting.

    I am one of the co-founders of Gyminee. Reviews like this help us understand our audience better, and make improvements. I would like to make a few comments on some of your analysis.

    Presentation – I think this is somewhat subjective. We have put a lot of time into making our interface as easy to navigate as possible, and reduce any clutter.

    Groups – Thanks for recognizing that our community is very young. We are growing, and we have some really great users that contribute. JuryDuty is one of them, and we always appreciate his feedback and contributions. SparkPeople has been around for a long time, so they are certain to have more forum posts. We have been pleased so far, but we are always looking for more feedback. Can you provide more feedback on why it is unpleasant to navigate?

    Food/Nutrition – I like your comments, and it seems like your main complaint is that you have to pay for most of the advanced food features. We are also actively working to improve our database, and we are aware of the current limitations. Have you tried out the PRO services to see if they are worth the small monthly fee?

    Exercise – Thanks for giving us the top rating here. Exercises was the first thing we designed on the site and we put a lot of effort into letting our users track, in detail, what they do in their workouts while trying to make it a user-friendly experience.

    Graphing – I was a little surprised to get the bottom ranking here. Again, your main complaint seemed to be that some of these were part of Gyminee PRO. Did you see that you can access many graphs on locker room, and all of the graphs on exercise progress for free? Did you find that our PRO graphs were good, but you just didn’t like paying? I would appreciate your feedback, as we are still trying to balance PRO vs. free services.

    Again, thanks for writing this review. It is very helpful to us, and the fitness community as a whole. I look forward to your comments.

  10. Hi Andy, thanks for stopping by. I especially appreciate it since you are involved in Gyminee.

    “Can you provide more feedback on why it is unpleasant to navigate?”

    Sure, I would be glad to. Let me wander through again and I will get back to you.

    “Have you tried out the PRO services to see if they are worth the small monthly fee? ”

    I haven’t tried them out yet. If you guys want to give me a free month to try them out I would be glad to oblige. 😉

    “Thanks for giving us the top rating here. Exercises was the first thing we designed on the site and we put a lot of effort into letting our users track, in detail, what they do in their workouts while trying to make it a user-friendly experience.”

    No problem, you deserved it. My favorite feature of your exercises section was that it allowed the user to evaluate the intensity of each individual exercise. As someone who train one set per exercise to total failure, that is very important to me.

    “I was a little surprised to get the bottom ranking here. Again, your main complaint seemed to be that some of these were part of Gyminee PRO.”

    It was very close. Traineo’s graphing tools are easy to find and conveniently placed together under one navigation bar. That is the main reason I put them in second place.

    “Did you see that you can access many graphs on locker room, and all of the graphs on exercise progress for free? Did you find that our PRO graphs were good, but you just didn’t like paying?”

    I don’t know how the pro graphs look, but I went ahead and assume that they were at least as good as anything else offered elsewhere.

    “I would appreciate your feedback, as we are still trying to balance PRO vs. free services.”

    One question for you Andy, does you business plan include turning some or all of the currently pay for use “pro” features into free features as the number of users and traffic increases? Like I said in my review, and I know this is something you have little control over, one of my main concerns is that many of the pro features are offered for free on SparkPeople (workout planning, some graphs, etc.). How can your site overcome that? Well if the charts and graphs you offer are that much better than yes, that would be great. But first you have to get folks to pay a membership fee.

    Let me take a week or two more with Gyminee to think about it. I will put together a list of things that might be helpful. Once again, I really appreciate you stopping by Andy. I hope I can be of some help to you guys since the more fitness tracking websites that exist out there, all the better for the fitness community.

  11. Andy Smith says:

    Thanks for your extended feedback. Again, very useful to us.

    Send me an email with your Gyminee username and I will let you try out PRO, no problem!

    Regarding your question of converting PRO features to free… I don’t think I can openly discuss our business strategies on the web. Maybe we could have more of that conversation offline. I will say that we are still investigating several options and we are constantly evaluating our business plan.

    Shoot me an email! And, I look forward to more of your feedback as you play with Gyminee.

    One more note – We also offer blog widgets, similar to Traineo, but we also have graphing widgets that you can pull into your site. Look for a link off of the Locker Room page.

  12. “Regarding your question of converting PRO features to free… I don’t think I can openly discuss our business strategies on the web.”

    That is understandable. No problem.

    “One more note – We also offer blog widgets, similar to Traineo, but we also have graphing widgets that you can pull into your site. Look for a link off of the Locker Room page.”

    I’ll check it out. Thanks.

    I’ll send you an email sometime this week Andy.

  13. Laura says:

    Hey – thanks for stopping by my blog! I use The Daily Plate. Have you ever tried that one? I think it’s definitely the best for nutrition, though the exercise component isn’t quite seamless. I just hate to have to use two trackers, so I make do with just the one system.

  14. Melanie P says:

    From the 3 that you compared there is no contest whatsoever…Sparkpeople is about 50-100x times better and busier than traineo or gymine. I used to use Sparkpeople all the time and after a while found it a bit too cluttered and hard to follow and I wasn’t at all into the Sparkpoints which flow through the whole site. I have since February been using fatsecret to log my weight which is easy and they have a such friendly people too.

    Good luck MP

  15. Bill says:

    Check out EnduranceJunkies.com as another option for tracking workouts of all types, user forums and tools for meeting friends that share similar interests.

  16. Brandon says:

    Thanks for doing such a thorough review. I was a Traineo member for awhile, but it seemed like they went from being motivated and having a staff working on it to a more static website. I’ll give them a look again. Also, I thought Sparkpeople was expensive — seems like they have some free features? Anyhow, very helpful.

    • Rebecca says:

      “Also, I thought Sparkpeople was expensive — seems like they have some free features? Anyhow, very helpful.”
      I was confused by this because all of Sparkpeople is free. The entire website is free.
      The other 2 sites reviewed have a free section and then a plus or pro where you have to pay more.

  17. bob says:

    Traineo has a better UI than Sparkpeople. Sparkpeople has way too much crap going on the screen. That being said, Traineo hasnt added any new features in years. I’m definatley going to try out Sparkepeople though.

  18. Let me know how that goes for you bob. I will warn you though, the interface for recording your strength training workouts totally SUCKS! As far as I know it hasn’t been improved in a LONG time. It is a waste of time so I simply don’t use it, and I stick primarily with the nutrition tracker.

  19. horacio says:

    You might also want to check out http://www.livestrong.com/ and http://caloriecount.about.com. I like the graphics and speed of finding foods on Livestrong and prefer the nutritional analysis on Calorie Count.

  20. DoesP90XWork says:

    Great post. It’s good to find a decent comparison site, especially on these three fitness / weight loss sites, as I haven’t come across this before. Good information on nutrition is always important to me.

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