HOW TO DEVELOP A FITNESS APP — FROM AN MVP TO A FULL-BLOWN PRODUCT
13 min
Feb 11 2021
Artem L How to Develop a Fitness App — From an MVP to a Full-blown Product
Artem LBusiness analyst
Danil L How to Develop a Fitness App — From an MVP to a Full-blown Product
Danil LWeb Developer
Is a fitness app worth creating in 2021? At first glance, it seems like most people have other things on their minds today. However, during the first coronavirus lockdown in 2020, workout application downloads grew by 46% all around the world. Obviously, there always will be a vast audience of those who want to stay fit, and it’s never too late to create your own fitness app. The question is, can you make your product unique and exciting to win a market competition? This article will provide you with both marketing and technological tips. You’ll find out how to make an MVP with a fitness app builder and when it’s time to seek professional app development. We’ll advise on how to hire the best developers. There also will be some cost-time estimates for those who wish to create a fitness app.

IDEAS, EXAMPLES, AND TYPES OF FITNESS APPS

You are determined to build your own fitness app. How will you make it stand out among over 300,000 similar solutions from the stores worldwide? The first step is to narrow the pool – find out what application types are in the fitness and gym industry. We’ll give you some ideas with examples of already existing and thriving apps to learn from.
Tracking voicedriven and other types of fitness apps
You can build different types of fitness apps

Workout Apps

As the name suggests, these applications are focused on organizing an exercise routine for a user. They allow a user to keep track of workouts and count burned calories. Workout apps are also called exercise apps, training apps, or personal coach apps. Combined with wearables, they collect data on each user’s activity and health condition to customize their experience, give useful recommendations and help build a more effective fitness program. This category is the most popular among fitness apps. Are you researching to make your own workout app? Check out these examples: My Workout Plan; Fitbit Coach; MyKanthaka.

Tracking Apps

This kind of fitness app uses GPS to monitor speed, distance, and other information. They are often integrated with wearable devices. If you want to create a fitness app like that, pay attention that people broadly use tracking apps for the gym, yoga, running, and cycling. Check out these examples: FitNotes; Glo; Runcoach; Komoot.

Motivation-building Apps

This category includes game-like workout and fitness apps. They don't just create an exercise plan but wrap it into an exciting storyline to stimulate interest and keep a user engaged in training. Check out these examples: Treadmill Trail‪s‬; Zombies, Run!

Nutrition Apps

This category works similar to tracking fitness apps, except it creates an individual nutrition program to lose weight or build muscle mass. Check out these examples: MyFitnessPal; 8fit.

Exercise-with-friends Apps

This is a subcategory of fitness apps that allows users to share their progress with friends, find and attend sport events, and build a community. You can create your own fitness app that will help fitness enthusiasts connect and compete with each other. Check out these examples: PumpUp; Strava.

Voice-driven (Hands-free) Apps

Such fitness apps use voice commands and integrations with wearable devices to ensure the most comfortable user experience and maximum productivity. If you’re planning to create a fitness app like that, it’s worth knowing that it may be the industry’s future. Check out these examples: Lifesum; PEAR (Personal Fitness Coach).

Integrated Apps

This category of fitness applications combines different kinds of activity (yoga, running, home workout, cycling, gym, jogging, etc.) in one place. In can contain various features and integrations, depending on what fitness activities Check out these examples: Cyberobics; obé Fitness.

FANTASTIC FEATURES FOR FITNESS APPS

The app’s type will, in many ways, define its interface and functionality.
For example, any tracking app will need to monitor time and keep exercise logs. If it’s an app for workouts, the features will also include ready-made sets and a goal-setting system. In the case of a motivational app, there will be many gamification elements and possibly build-in music.
The core features for a fitness app
App developers can implement these features in your product
What features will you pick to make your own workout app?
Feature What for App’s Type
Geolocation Find places, build routes, calculate distance, etc. Tracking apps, Exercise-with-friends apps, Voice-driven apps, etc.
Connection with wearable devices Have the best user experience with your app and additional fitness devices like Fitbits and smartwatches Tracking apps, Voice-driven apps, etc.
Calorie counting Enter meal names or scan QR-codes, search through a food database, and track energy value Nutrition apps mostly, though different apps can have it
Rates & Reviews Leave comments, stars, and other feedback on courses and trainers. All kinds of apps
Search Manage filters to find specific activities by type, focus, level, rate, instructor, duration, or intensity, select the ones with or without equipment, etc. Almost all kinds of apps
Previews & Guidance Includes video demonstrations, preview GIFs, and audio files to help users select a course and guide them through. Practically all kinds of apps
Social media integrations Logging in and sharing via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. Exercise-with-friends apps primarily, but can be applied to all apps
Educational content Useful tips on exercising, nutrition and health, often coming from well-known coaches Nutrition apps, Workout apps
Activity tracking Keep track of routines using various indicators (distance, steps, intensity and duration, calories burned, etc.) Tracking apps, Workout apps
Goals tracking Set, monitor, and achieve personal fitness goals Tracking apps, Workout apps
Health tracking Monitor pulse and other vital signs through wearable devices Tracking apps and others
Food plans Suggestions for healthy diet and individual shopping lists Nutrition apps, though it can be suitable for others
Workouts builder Create workout programs, use the prepared sets, or combine both approaches Tracking apps, Workout apps
Daily challenge Selected sets of exercises generated by a fitness app. Almost all kinds of apps
Personalized training Individual programs for many categories of users, e.g., people working from home, different age groups, etc. Workout apps, Tracking apps
User-generated classes Some of your users may have a talent to create their own fitness programs and can later become coaches Workout apps, etc.
Timers An adjustable stopwatch and in-app countdown to organize a workout process. Practically any kind of fitness app
VR & AR Make the experience more exciting and boost users’ motivation It’s great for Motivation-building apps, but can be used anywhere
In-app media player Listening to special energetic playlists while exercising Workout apps, Motivation-building apps
Connection with IoT Synchronizes an app with devices like a TV and provides offline exercising Workout apps and many others
Gamification Competitions between users, levels and badges for certain activities – everything to boost motivation and encourage regular training Motivation-building apps, Exercise-with-friends apps, and other kinds
Any fitness application, regardless of its purpose and target audience, will have some standard core features, such as:
If you wish to create a fitness app that will meet a broader audience’s expectations, consider this interesting feature – integration between two or several different apps. For example, some workout products today have a connection with Apple Health that allows them to access users’ data and build individualized, more effective training programs. Other apps have integration with Strava, Nike+, Spotify, etc. This trend is becoming prominent in many countries.

HOW TO START A FITNESS APP – MAIN STEPS

Market & Audience

How do you know if your idea may lead to success? Start with analyzing the fitness app industry:
Before you even start to make a business plan, organize several polls and collect feedback about your idea from potential users – you can use social media and other channels. After testing and improving your idea, select the audience of the most interested people. Later you may offer them to become first users and reviewers of your MVP.

From an MVP to a Unique Solution

A long as you find out more about your fitness app’s potential users, you’ll be able to understand their needs and expectations. Collecting the feedback about a fitness app idea, you can shape it better to prepare a Value Proposition with unique characteristics.
Where to start when making a fitness app
Value Proposition for your fitness app
Do you need to look for developers and plan the budget the moment you decided to make your own workout app? It’s not necessary. You can use a fitness app builder to create the first and simplest version of your future product. It’s called a “no-code solution,” perfect for making MVPs. A fitness app builder will help you save money and test your product on the real market, preventing you from spending much on a nonviable project and making your startup survive. If an MVP sparked the customers’ interest and you got some positive feedback, there is a high possibility that your app idea is worth the effort and the expense. It’s time to look for a tech partner to provide you UX/UI design and high-quality coding.
Remember, even the best fitness app developers won’t help your product succeed if it doesn’t give users any valuable, new and unique experience.

TECH PARTNER, DESIGN & DEVELOPMENT

Once you decide to further develop your MVP and create a fitness app with all necessary functions, you will need a reliable technology partner. While it may be tempting to hire separate freelancers to work on your project, it’s worth finding an IT company that will select a cooperative team of specialists to meet your requirements and goals. Here are some key characteristics to help you choose a tech partner:
UX/UI design is crucial if you want to make your own fitness/workout app. Qualified designers operate such principles as convenience and saving time for a user. Would you like to learn some secrets from the best fitness app developers' experience?
Tech partner design  development
Application software developers use a wide range of technologies to create a fitness app. You’ll find some examples of the tech stack and integrations in the chart below.
Web-based admin panel JavaScript, Angular, HTML5
iOS app Swift
Android app Java
Backend Ruby (Ruby on Rails), Python
Cloud environment Amazon Web Services (AWS)
Geolocation Google Maps
SMS notifications Twilio
Social media integration Facebook, Instagram, Twitter
Push notifications Twilio, Amazon SNS
Payment gateways PayPal, Apple Pay, etc.
If you’re interested to learn a bit more about the technical aspects, read our extensive guides on hiring qualified Angular developers and top-notch Ruby on Rails developers for any project. You’ll find out answers for FAQs and some useful tips to help you hire the best fitness app developers.

FAQ ON FITNESS APP DEVELOPMENT

How to Promote a Fitness App?

When you have studied your competitors’ experience and found out more about an audience for your fitness app, it’s easier for you to understand what marketing channels are more effective for your product. A good promotion strategy, however, does not guarantee that everyone who downloads your fitness app automatically becomes a loyal user.
Customer retention is another goal that you can achieve in different ways, starting with user-friendly app design and continuous support from your technology partner.
We’ll give you some examples of what you can do so that people will notice your fitness app and decide to try it.
Promotion channel Suggestion
SMM marketing Prepare a creative launch announcement on the social media popular with your app’s potential audience.
Topical resources Promote your fitness app on blogs, forums, news aggregators, and other web resources about healthy lifestyles or other interests of the potential audience.
Paid advertising Engage other fitness apps to promote your product. You can also use paid ads on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, etc.
Influencers Even if you can’t afford collaborations with big names like Kayla Itsines or Joe Wicks, it’s worth looking for smaller fitness bloggers in your niche.
Word-of-mouth marketing Ask people who are already using your app to write reviews for mobile app stores, their personal blogs, websites like Yelp, app review websites, etc.
Content marketing Create blog articles, intro and teaser videos, and other content with tips on healthy lifestyle, staying fit, in-home yoga and workouts, etc., depending on your app’s type.
Landing page Promoting a landing page to support your fitness app will help attract more potential users and effectively show them your product’s benefits.
Coupons Wise promotion via platforms like Groupon helps attracting many new users.
Encourage your users Enable a referral program, offer discounts, and think about other ways to attract new people with the help of the existing audience.

How to Make Money with a Fitness App?

Let’s discover several monetization models from well-known fitness and healthy lifestyle applications.
How to make money with a mobile app
How do you make money with your fitness app?
In-app shop There are many types of valuable content, services, or goods that you can offer users to purchase. You can also make collaborations with fitness and sports brands, top coaches, etc.
Example: Fitbit app is free to track activities, nutrition, and sleep. It also allows users to purchase the company’s wearable devices quickly and conveniently.
100% paid apps Typically, monthly fees are around $5 to $15. The price is variable, depending on the content, fitness app’s type, mobile platform, and other factors.
Example: Aaptiv offers unique fitness programs with lots of selected music and personal trainers.
Freemium subscription It means that all users receive basic functionality for free, while advanced features or premium fitness services are paid. Another option is giving them a free trial (usually one to four weeks to test the waters and, in many cases, fall in love with all the exciting features) and then offering a premium subscription.
Example: Shred is an app for exercising with top coaches and competing with other users, including friends, trainers, and celebrities.
Paid ads You can create a fitness app and then make money through cooperation with businesses that sell equipment, clothes and footwear, sports nutrition, or some other products for a healthy lifestyle. Commissions for advertising campaigns include Cost-Per-Click (CPC), Cost Per Mille (eCPM), Cost-Per-Action (CPA), etc.
Example: JEFIT shows their users a lot of ads and provides plenty of free sets for in-home workouts – features that help this app make money while remaining popular among fitness enthusiasts.
Sponsored content A great way for already a popular fitness app to make more money is partnerships with industry experts, well-known gyms or yoga schools, and other possible sponsors interested in promoting their valuable expertise on your app.
Example: Nike Training Club provides content from a significant number of famous coaches.

How Much Does it Cost to Develop a Fitness App?

Planning the right budget is essential if you want to create a fitness app. We already mentioned a price-quality ratio as a big factor in choosing the team to work on your product.
Many startups choose talented developers from Eastern Europe and Russia where the average hourly rate is $30-40 per hour. In comparison, it’s $60-100 in Western Europe and up to $150 in the US and Canada.
For reference, here are rough estimates for the cost and time of fitness app development with Exceed Team.
Basic Fitness app Complex Fitness app
Time from 4 months from 6 months
Custom development (per platform) from $35,000 from $80,000
Custom UX/UI design from $5,000 from $15,000
Project Management from $6,000 from $12,000
QA testing from $4,000 from $8,000
Total ~$50,000 ~$115,000
The cost of making a fitness app depends on its complexity and the amount of work. Consider these factors:

IN A NUTSHELL

It’s an excellent time to create your own fitness app. We hope that this blog post has given you the tips you needed to handle your project from an idea to a successful launch. If you can, try to create a simple workout app yourself and select the right audience to test this MVP. If you don’t feel you can do it, Exceed Team will gladly help you find the best fitness app developers. Let’s do something great together! Ready to talk? Write us about your idea.
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