A couple years back, Dwayne Johnson revealed his diet: 10 pounds and 5,000 calories of high-protein meals per day. Perfect for building muscle, not so great for the world’s supply of cod. I know that I’m never going to be as huge as The Rock, but there is a hopeful part of me that thought if I hit the gym enough and follow his diet, I could get jacked (bro).
It is this type of aspirational meal planning that got me intrigued by HowUdish. The iOS mobile app is one among many nutritional apps out there, but its hook is that it has enlisted real-life pro athletes to share how they eat. There is the pro football player Brandon Marshall, Bobby Portis of the Washington Wizards, wrestler Jordan Burroughs, MMA’s Cat Zingano, and track and field’s Queen Harrison.
I spoke over the phone with HowUdish Founder, Michael Gayed, who explained these pros are supposed to share the meals they eat both at home and at restaurants as well as nutritional/fitness advice via paid channels on the app. HowUdish users can access this “pro dish” guidance for just $4.99 a month. According to a HowUdish press release announcing the pro feature’s launch in February of this year, these athletes are supposed to post “regularly about their pro-dish-style on their social media accounts and within HowUdish itself.”
Evidently “regularly” is a relative term. I downloaded the app and subscribed to CrossFitter (yeah, i do CrossFit, don’t @ me), Dani Speegle’s channel. But she actually hasn’t posted an update to HowUdish in at least a month. And even then, she’s only posted three times ever: one restaurant recommendation, one actual tip for making a breakfast burrito, and one reminder to log and track your food. Bo-ring, and not really that useful, especially for $5 a month. Thankfully, I was still in the free trial phase for the app, otherwise I would have felt ripped off.
I can’t confirm how prevalent those type of anemic athlete posts are because you can only subscribe to one pro at a time, and you can’t look at what the other pro athletes are posting. Also, I didn’t see a place to unsubscribe from the one pro I’d chosen so I could have a do over. I’d have to cancel and start again.
I’ve only used HowUdish for a couple of hours, but these types of severe limitations don’t bode well for it having a permanent place on my phone’s homescreen.
I followed up with Gayed who said that unfortunately, the sponsorships were done through a third party, so he doesn’t have too much control over when an athlete posts to his app, but he reassured me that other athletes like Jordan Burrows post more regularly. Gayed also confirmed that there currently isn’t a way to unfollow or change pros in the app, though he said that a fix for this was coming in about three weeks. UPDATE: After the publication of this article, Gayed reached out to say that Pro athlete posts were just a part of their offering, and that the service will match a restaurant meal in your area to what that pro athlete would eat, so you can find food that matches your diet.
Gayed said that HowUdish currently has about 30,000 registered users, but it was “still too early to tell” how much of a boon these pro athletes would be for the service. This pro post inactivity, in part is why Gayed is trying to pivot and make HowUdish more of a service that connects people one-on-one based on their nutrition. Kinda like a Tinder for eating. These features still haven’t launched, but the idea is if you are a high-protein eating person, you could connect with another high-protein eating person and the app would pick a high-protein restaurant you could meet at.
I’m old and married, so I could not have less of an interest in this type of service. But people are potentially finding love from inside their fridge, so what do I know? Maybe healthy-eating millennials would like it.
I’m disappointed that the app didn’t work as well as I had hoped when it came to following pro feeding advice. I could actually see people with high hopes subscribing to a service where a pro athlete walked them through meal prep and planning for a week. But HowUdish isn’t that. So for me, it’s back to smellin’ what The Rock is cookin’.