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July 9, 2021

How to Create a Fitness App: All of the Facts Uncovered

Because the health and fitness industry continues to rule the world, why not develop an app for this market? Here is our guide for creating a high-quality fitness app.

Mitya Smusin

Chief Executive Officer

The fitness market flourishes day by day, and the demand for this type of app will continue to grow. Soon, they might become great substitutes for gyms as people can achieve their goals simply by using their smartphones. Thus, the question of how to create a fitness app occurs more and more often. This article will teach you the basic steps of this process and let you win in this crowded market. Keep reading!

Fitness apps market and trends

How big is the fitness app market? According to Statista, the number of downloads of fitness apps reached 656 million during the second quarter of 2020. Moreover, the latest IHRSA report estimates this market at $96.7 billion in 2019 and is predicted to hit $102 billion this year.

chart fitness apps downloads worldwide

North America, particularly the U.S., has dominated the fitness app market. However, the surge is expected in the Asia Pacific region and Europe, too, is embracing the trend.

chart fitness apps in the US

Today, billions of smartphone users across the world can do whatever they want with the help of numerous useful mobile apps. The lack of free time to go to a gym is no longer an obstacle to achieving a healthy and fit body. Numerous fitness apps, including those that focus on workouts or dietary needs, accompany users in their fitness pursuits 24 hours per week.

Millennials seem to be the most fitness-oriented: A Nielsen survey states that 81% of them either do exercises already or would like to start. Moreover, around half of them want to receive as much data about their health as possible and buy a health device.


The recent boom of fitness apps can be easily explained as traditional health equipment, such as glucose meters and scales, are being replaced by all sorts of fitness apps installed on mobile devices. Indeed, it is much more convenient to carry out scales within a mobile app instead of using traditional scales for body measurements.

Another groundbreaking solution by fitness apps developers has been their integration with social networking sites. Consequently, people have the opportunity to share their fitness achievements with family and friends, and thereby receive additional motivation and cheering. Obviously, integration with social networking sites has also influenced the expansion of mobile apps.

We can readily see how important technology and functionality are to the fitness-app market segment, but there's always room for improvement. So, why not build a fitness app worth millions of dollars and transform the industry?

Types of fitness apps

Prior to moving on to the basic steps of fitness-app development, let’s look at the most common types of fitness apps, which include activity trackers, nutrition apps, workout apps, meditation apps, and personal trainer apps.

types of fitness apps

  • Activity trackers are equipped with motion sensors in order to track various kinds of physical activity, such as cycling or jogging. Such apps show accurate numbers of burned calories and/or covered distance in kilometers and miles.
  • Nutrition apps calculate consumed calories based on the user's data. Typically, people provide such apps with their current height, weight as well as daily rations. Nutrition apps in turn give recommendations or issue warnings depending on the user's daily food portions and dietary goals.
  • Workout apps mostly substitute gym instructors, as they teach users how to perform different fitness activities. By downloading a typical “workout” app, people learn how to do push-ups and sit-ups in a correct way, determine their own fitness pace, track their performance with timers and monitor progress by calculating weight loss.
  • Meditation apps mostly comprise tutorials where users can learn about different yoga practices and meditations as well as select their own complexity level. Additionally, several apps, such as Daily Yoga, offer their subscribers online sessions with professional instructors.
  • A personal trainer app is able to connect all of the aforementioned types and create a workout and diet program that's most suitable for a given individual. Please note that a health specialist should be consulted prior to the start of any new workout regimen.

Now that you're familiar with the different types of fitness apps, we recommend that you consider the need for a few basic features: personal accounts, personal profiles, synchronizing with other services, social networking integration, geolocation, integration with wearable devices as well as different features setting fitness targets. Your fitness app should facilitate smooth communication via Bluetooth, camera, GPS, microphone and Wi-Fi networking.

energy drink for fitness

Features for your fitness application

We can divide all of the possible features of a mobile fitness app into three main categories: features for an MVP, for a standard app and for level updates.

MVP features

  • Personal profile: Although not as crucially important as a personal account, a profile containing a user’s photo should bring additional personalization and motivation to succeed with fitness goals.
  • Some workout programs: It’s good to start with two or three programs and, for example, divide them into difficulty levels.
  • MVP workout programs

    Source: Perfect Posture

  • Simple nutrition plans: They can be done as articles about useful advice on food and a healthy lifestyle. Don’t forget to prove them by scientific studies and facts, it will build a good rapport with your audience.
  • Feedback forms: The main purpose of an MVP is to collect feedback from users and adjust the subsequent updates. So, don’t forget to ask each user about their experience.

Standard features

  • Personal account: This option is a must for highly personalized fitness apps. By using personal accounts, users might store their personal information such as age, height and weight so that they can monitor their fitness.
  • fitness personal account

    Source: Sweat

  • Advanced workouts and nutrition plans: In addition to workouts with difficulty levels, you can add workouts targeted at specific muscles or workouts for people with some medical conditions. Moreover, you can implement a nutrition advisor based on the data users provide for the app.
  • Push notifications and reminders: Let users set reminders for their training (days of the week, time and repeating). Don’t forget to implement push notifications so they can see when it’s time to work out.
  • Cloud sync: Some users will want to save their data in the event they lose their phone or change the device. The best way to transfer the data to a new account is to enable cloud synchronization.

Advanced features

  • Synchronizing with other servers and social networking sites: It is important to provide users with an opportunity to log in through Facebook, Instagram and other social media to be able to share their progress. In this way, your app should combine a number of social networking functions, such as tracking, RSS, searching for friends and others.
  • Integration with a wearable device: For users who wear different smart devices such as bracelets, rings and watches, it's easier to connect with the app via a wearable device. Additionally, it will be easier to track their performance. Therefore, your app should be compatible with a range of wearable devices.
  • Geo-location feature: It will enable users to build their jogging/walking routes and track their positions in real time. There is a range of navigation services that will help integrate a geolocation feature into your app.
  • Custom workouts. Let users create their own programs: Make a list of all exercises available in your app and enable users with setting up the particular order and duration of them.
  • custom workouts in fitness apps

    Source: Perfect Posture

  • Additional features for setting fitness targets: They may vary depending on your app’s type. Examples can include workout sets, diet information, music playlists, online sessions with well-known coaches and many others.

Apart from adding the key features, think about creating a comprehensive menu and including a payment option. Your upcoming fitness app should be both fun and easy to use.

Main steps on how to develop a fitness app

steps to develop a fitness app

Now, when we know what features your app can have, let’s look at the development strategy.

Step 1. Research

A brilliant business idea may come to you in any area of fitness, However, it's more likely to occur if you do some market research. However, cold research isn't the only way. You might instead be an active fitness fan with practical experience with fitness apps and therefore have the desire to create a better experience with a fitness app that could revolutionize the industry.

It is necessary, in any case, to conduct proper market research or hire a professional company. It's also essential to consider what a typical user will hope to gain from your app. Consider the following questions:

  • What's your target audience?
  • What will future users expect?
  • What types of fitness mobile apps will be the most profitable in the coming years?
  • What or who are your strongest competitors?

Once you know what type of fitness app you want to build and which basic features to add, start thinking about how to create a fitness app with the help of a development company and also about the cost of building a fitness app. The cost of developing a fitness app varies according to its type, features, and number of developers. Generally, a demo version of a fitness app is completed in two or three months, depending on the platform. So, once you've reconciled the cost, you'll want to determine how you'll achieve monetization.

Step 2. Design

The design of your fitness app is particularly important because it has to be simple and convenient. However, also highly functional. No single element of the app should be confusing, and it should be clear what button is responsible for what function. Moreover, if you decide to implement ads in the app, be sure they won't interfere with your design and functionality.

Wireframing is a good way to organize your design elements.

Step 3. Development

When you know what your fitness app will look like, you and your team can begin the development process. It's a complicated stage, and considerable expertise will be required. In addition to the app's front end–the portion that facilitates user interaction–it should have a back end for the management of data and structural elements.

Step 4. Testing

Careful testing is particularly important for fitness-app development. You must be sure that everything works as intended. The app shouldn’t crash during workouts or while a user is setting up a nutrition plan.

Step 5. Release and support

You have finished and approved the above-mentioned stages, and now it’s time to release the app. The work is far from over, though: You still have debugging, updating and feedback review to complete, because the user is the last person you'll want to discover problems.

person playing football

Required technologies for fitness-app development

The accurate tech stack of a fitness app will depend on several essential factors, like the definite specifications, the scope of work, and the deadline. However, we can outline some of the most popular, trusted tools.

For an Android solution, you can use any of the following:

  • Kotlin, programming language
  • MVVM+C, architecture
  • Google Fit: The core Android health-ecosystem tool
  • Google Location API: Geolocation
  • Google Maps Android IP: Route-building
  • Google Cloud Messaging: Push notifications

To build an iOS fitness app, the perfect tools are:

  • Swift 5, programming language
  • MVVM+C, architecture
  • HealthKit: The main iOS health-ecosystem tool
  • Core Location: Geolocation
  • MapKit: Route-building
  • Apple Push: Push notification

Additionally, some platform-agnostic stacks work with iOS as well as Android:

  • Twilio: Chats and SMS notifications
  • ELCIES Connected Services: Acquires data from wearables
  • Stripe: Payments

person sweating

The leading monetization strategies

So, your app looks good. We know its functionality, we know the stack, and we're a long way through the development process. However, you should still think about how your app will cover the cost of creation and ensure profitability.

  • Premium subscription: Many fitness apps offer a premium subscription to all of the app’s activities and features. Therefore, in order to obtain the best app’s features or get access to exclusive activities (for example, sessions with the best yoga coaches), the user has to purchase a premium subscription.
  • Fremium upsell: Freemium upsell presumes that the user is able to download an app for free in order to experience what they might get. However, in order to use some cool app features, the user has to pay for a subscription.
  • In-App purchase: An in-app purchase gives the user the opportunity to purchase different in-app content, which generally consists of a subscription, new features, and services.
  • Other strategies: Fitness apps also make money by featuring ads, CPI networks as well as investments and sponsorship. So, if your app is very useful, you can begin the search for ads and sponsors

useful friuts banana

Useful tips

Everything is done, the app looks perfect and is ready to go. Still, there is some advice to follow to make your fitness app even better.

  • Encourage users to keep training with push notifications and motivation stories.
  • Create informative content with the industry experts: doctors, trainers, nutritionists.
  • Add a gaming element to make the user experience more fun and engaging.
  • Encourage creating a community of people who will support and help each other.
  • Integrate voice control with Siri and/or Google Assistant.
  • Personalization is everything. Be sure your app has an individual approach to each user. It should encourage the first-name familiarity that tells the user you're on the same team.

These features will give you a competitive advantage in the market and let you achieve solid communication with your audience.

Our experience in workout app development

Our team has created Racefully–a geo-location activity tracker that's available from the App Store. Racefully tracks all kinds of fitness activities from gentle jogging to intensive jumping in real-time. Additionally, Racefully provides a “competition” feature. Therefore, two or three users living abroad may compete in real-time at various distances. Racefully will consider the features of each particular terrain and show objective results.

Racefully fitness app

Final thoughts

As top fitness apps continue making tremendous profits, developing a cool and useful fitness app sounds like a good idea. Concurrently, creating a great fitness app is truly challenging: not only does it have to be innovative, However, also contains all of the necessary features and performs smoothly. Moreover, your app’s features shouldn’t distract users from their fitness activities.

The development cost also matters. Adding each particular feature brings additional costs. Therefore, if your budget is tight, the best solution would be to include only the most important features at the development stage. In case your app performs well, you can start adding new features based on the user’s experience and recommendations. The good thing is that fitness apps can be easily monetized by selling premium features and subscriptions.

Remember the high personalization levels of the upcoming fitness app. As users store their sensitive data, it is important to ensure maximum data safety.

Fitness apps are great both in terms of monetization and self-gratification: while people become healthier, they earn money. So, don’t give up if your dream is to create a fitness application. Be patient enough to follow the basic steps of fitness app product development. It's worth the effort, if you want to change the world of fitness.

Read also:

How to Build an App like TikTok

Travel Application Development: Everything You Need to Know

Is it worth building a fitness application?

Yes, the market is growing, so new opportunities and niches constantly appear.

What features to include in a fitness app?

It depends on the stage of your app. For an MVP, a simple profile, workouts, nutrition plans, and feedback form will be enough. A standard app should also have cloud sync, push notifications, and advanced workouts. Geolocation, integration with wearables, and music playlists can bring your app to another level.

How do fitness apps make money?

There are several ways to monetize the app: premium subscription, freemium upsell, in-app purchases, ads, and sponsorships.

How can I improve my fitness app even more?

It’s easy: Encourage users to interact with your app, create useful content, build a community, and personalize the user experience.

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