February 5, 2021

People can hardly overestimate the benefits of regular physical activity. It’s known for a fact that exercise helps to stay healthy, maintain a better lifestyle, boost energy, build resilience. But it can still be so hard to get people involved in a fitness routine. It is often caused by a lack of interest, motivation, or time. Luckily, technologies have presented new solutions to this issue. An efficient fitness app can become a perfect tool to encourage users to do exercise anytime and anywhere. This article will discover how to create a fitness app while meeting both user and business needs. Let’s learn how to deliver a valuable market product and approach the development process itself.

List of the Content

WHY CREATE A FITNESS APP

What is the driving force behind developing fitness applications? The first thought to come is the wide adoption of technology. And it is entirely true. Can we imagine life without digital means? 

How easier and faster it’s to handle the daily routine via mobile devices. Maintaining fitness won’t be an exception here. Users have a great variety of fitness applications featured with the latest technology trends. 

According to the statistics, the global fitness market volume is going to increase to over $15.96 billion by 2026. A vast number of fitness applications ensures a constant increase in fitness app user numbers. As a matter of fact, it has just increased by more than 20 million users in 2020. And it is expected to grow to 86.3 million by 2022. 

The fitness industry has experienced a lot of changes over recent years. Technology development in fitness is considerably increasing, and consumers are driving that growth. Technology-driven fitness can provide practical solutions to the posed challenges. Let’s identify some of the typical challenges to users that fitness apps can deal with. Defining these aspects is a necessity for learning how to create a fitness app. It can make specific app functionality recommendations and identify new reasons for businesses to develop a fitness app.

devlopment challenges and solutions

Challenge: No time for workouts

It isn’t surprising that making time for exercising can be really tough due to busy schedules and everyday responsibilities. Moreover, many people find it as the main excuse not to exercise at all.

Solution: Activity tracking

People forget that time commitment can be minimal and not necessarily hourly workouts in the gym. They can always start with such activities as walking around the block, riding a bike with kids, or swimming. It is a great idea to build a fitness app that allows users to track different activities. Moreover, it can suggest regular physical activity plans based on the gathered data, including users’ preferences and availability. 

Challenge: Lack of interest and motivation

It’s normal to avoid something that you don’t recognize or feel a need to do. Identifying users’ interests helps to accept major challenges in finding a way of how to create a fitness app.

Solution: Targets and achievements functionality

Besides great workout plans for the fitness application, you can add some extra features. Setting target plans can become the best motivation for achieving expected results. You can reward users with in-app trophies and awards. For example, users will access new workout video collections after completing a certain number of workouts. 

Challenge: Sticking to a fitness program

Figuring out how to get into the fitness routine might be challenging. Sometimes users are looking for a magic formula. Surprisingly, there is no suitable one for everyone.

Solution: Different level plans

Fitness routine covers a lot of aspects, including workouts, good nutrition, and sleep. If you develop a fitness app, you should target different user group needs. Someone enjoys intense sessions of exercise several times a week. Others will go with the flexible plans of moderate intensity. The more personal and engaging programs you can offer, the more used your application can be. 

Challenge: Not everyone can afford the gym membership

The cost of membership varies widely due to the gym of preference and location. According to the statistics, the US average falls at $517 per year

Solution: Free fitness app with paid premium features

Exercising doesn’t always need to cost a lot of money. But how do companies earn by developing free products? An excellent option to enter the market is to build a fitness app with a good monetization strategy. Even the free fitness application can make money for your business. Just leave the choice after your users. The problem with traditional training, coaching and gyms is that you pay money and hope to see some results in months in the best scenario. Fitness app companies can engage users with a free version first. Customers that are satisfied with the basic functionality are more than likely to purchase your premium services.

Challenge: Workouts at home

The fitness routine has to be adaptable to different conditions. We’ve definitely understood this necessity during the lockdown in 2020. Being involved in regular physical activities only meant organizing the workouts at home.

Solution: Personalised plans with active support

Come up with the idea of how to create a fitness app that allows users to follow the exercise program at any convenient time and place. Versatile and flexible approaches help users to be more active and motivated. To stay connected, offer your customers to join the in-app community. They will find like-minded people for sharing achievements, setting new goals, and building up in-app support.

Challenge: Coaching and performance improvement 

People choose to work with personal trainers for obvious reasons. Experience, supervision, and company are at the top of the list. 

Solution: Coach-on-demand

It isn’t hard to find out how to create a fitness app with real-time interaction. Professional health and fitness app developers adopt various technologies to support communication between trainees and coaches. It starts with instant messaging via chat or arranging real-time video training with a personal trainer. Coach-on-demand is often presented as a premium app feature. At the same time, it has just become the must-have functionality for the latest telefitness applications.

Identifying challenges with possible solutions is the major step in defining the project objective. It turns into the main goal of further app development. Let’s learn how to create a fitness app and streamline the process from scratch.

Looking for more examples?

Here is our latest project to develop a gamified fitness app for a US-based customer.

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HOW TO CREATE A FITNESS APP

It is hard to disagree that the development process is quite complicated and lengthy. The final results usually depend on how well the company manages to organize the process. It might be surprising, but it isn’t just enough to hire health and fitness app developers. You need to set up a cross-functional team to arrange app development. As the product owner, make sure to know the overall process and participate when required. Tight collaboration between the service provider and the product owner is a must-have. Only the active engagement of all team members can produce the desired results.

Development team composition

When you start thinking about how to create a fitness app there are two major sides of the product package: technology that is behind everything and the fitness value or the content of the service. This article will focus on the technology and user engagement aspects. However, everyone who is planning to develop a fitness app should also keep in mind the need to have sports consultants on board, nutritionists, the compliance team, etc.

While discovering how to create a fitness app, it is helpful to divide the process into separate stages. It develops a better understanding and outlines what to expect at the end of each stage and what specialists are involved.

As you make a fitness app, you are going to proceed through the following stages:

  • Requirement analysis

  • UI/UX design

  • Development and testing

  • Launch, support, and updates

These are the cornerstones of delivering the software product to the market. It is worth mentioning that all stages are interrelated and can’t be skipped for any reason. The assistance of the professional team will help to organize the process and complete the necessary tasks.

How to Build a Fitness App: Requirement Analysis

When the clients address the service providers, they usually have the initial project ideas. Cooperation between them should result in transforming the goal into clearly defined and documented project requirements. This stage to develop a fitness application requires lots of research and planning. It covers the in-depth analysis involving tons of details related to the app functionality and look. 

In other words, it is a discovery stage to define all the requirements and form the project perception. Someone might call it a preparatory step. But you shouldn’t underestimate the importance of this stage. It is as vital as app development itself. This phase discovers the project in the smallest details along with its documentation and app visualization. In parallel, the development team will estimate the project timeline and costs.

At this point, two sides should be fully involved. The service provider usually starts with assigning the project manager and business analysts. As for the client’s side, you need to choose either one or several members to collaborate with the service provider’s team and serve as product owners or managers.

The client’s team members share their ideas, whereas the provider finds how to implement them into the functional software. Learning how to create a fitness app starts with collecting requirements.

The client presents the project objective. In our case, it is the development of a fitness application with a certain set of features. 

The first task of the business analysts is to collect general information about the future application. It covers the client’s app vision and expectations like a targeted audience, stakeholders, and planned functionality. In general, all fitness applications can be divided into the workout, activity tracking, and nutrition apps. Some companies manage to combine the functionality and deliver mixed solutions. For example, you create a fitness app that offers home workouts for both beginners and pros. A great way to motivate users is adding the trackers for exercise duration and burnt calories. Since the fitness routine is a combination of healthy habits, you can offer the extra feature to track water consumption.

After gathering the client’s requirements, the team is ready to approach the discovery stage itself. Both sides continue communicating about presented challenges while agreeing on the best solutions. If it’s a fitness application for home workouts, you need to implement the database with various exercise levels. It is always good to create a fitness app that suggests plans based on previous activities and personal user goals. Workout identifying algorithms can be a great addition there. Though, take into account other activities users do like walking or running. Thus, consider integrating with Apple HealthKit and Google Fit to synchronize the data to deliver precise activity tracking.

In parallel with those meetings, the business analysts conduct the documentation development. The Software Requirements Specification (SRS) document covers the next things.

User story and acceptance criteria. In simple words, user stories define app features by answering three questions: who? what? and why? Whereas acceptance criteria describe the app workflow to deliver this action. It is a great way to impose requirements and specify any app functionality. Let’s take an example with a water consumption tracker.

How to create a fitness app

User Story

As a fitness app user – I want to track water consumption – So that I meet my drinking water goals

Acceptance Criteria Scenario

“Given that I’m in a role of the registered user – When I open the “Health Tips” page – Then the app shows me the list of goals – When I open the “Drink More Water” section  – Then the app displays a number of glasses to drink – And I click the “Done” button”

Business rules. Like any other software, the fitness application can come with certain restrictions. For example, users can’t search the workout collection if they are not registered. Instead, you might send them the guidelines on how to complete registration. The business rules are normally completed after business analysts have created all user stories and acceptance criteria.

User roles. Without setting permissions for different user groups, you won’t be able to limit access to app functionality. Therefore, the admins can access all app features, whereas the regular user can obtain only the basic set of features.

Wireframes. Mentioned requirements also need visualization. Thus the provider assigns UI/UX designers to work on the app look. At this stage, it is just creating wireframes to present the app logic and structure. It doesn’t include any graphic details as they handle them on the next stage.

What is wireframing?

To get a better understanding of it and why it’s essential, we recommend reading the following article.

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As for requirements specification and documentation, there are two more aspects left. The team has to give the architectural overview of the fitness application. The System Architecture Design Document is high-level technical requirements used by developers to implement the chosen solutions. Also, the team presents the Database Design Document that defines how to organize and store the data. For example, if you find out how to create a fitness app for better nutrition, your application should have a large food database. As similar goods can contain a different number of calories, the database experts know how to organize it by food categories and brands. If the item is missing, users can add it to the database just by scanning the barcode.

Going through all the mentioned steps allows both the client and the provider to organize and control the further development. At the end of this stage, they know exactly what to start with and how to build a fitness app. The provider draws up the final development plan, including milestones and deliverables. Moreover, the client will receive the project cost and timeline estimation.

How to Develop a Fitness App: UI/UX Design

The focus on design is another crucial step to learn how to create a fitness app. Unless your mobile application attracts customers from the first 5 seconds, there are small chances they come back at all. It is hard to withstand the market competition even with the best functionality if your app is poorly designed.

Today’s users look for clarity and simplicity. Customers are not interested in figuring out things but want them to work right away. It’s worth mentioning that great design relies on presenting the app content via its look. The great interaction between these aspects guarantees a seamless user experience. The responsive design and compatible custom components help to influence the user impression positively.

At this stage, designers continue to work with the fitness app visualization. The UX designers finalize the screen overviews, including bars, fields, buttons, etc. They need to take into account the design principles of iOS and Android apps. Moreover, they are responsible for navigation as they define how everything functions. The UX design specifies the action chain, thus streamlines the interaction between the app parts. It suggests the user the right set of options to complete the action. Only with the internal logic you can offer users simple and intuitive navigation. Content-centered design helps them to achieve desired actions while creating better communication with your product.

One more challenge is about making your fitness application attractive. UI designers deal with visual stylistics, including colors and effects. They need to make transitions gradual as well as add animations to interact with users. That will be the app look the customers see on the screen. The choice of textures, font sizes, colors, visual elements are subject to UI design. Like with navigation, it has to carry the internal logic. For example, color selection is an essential factor in attracting your audience. The proper color contrast keeps customers’ attention and builds out the engagement strategy. The app color should speak for itself. 

How to create a fitness app

Have you thought about why green is often chosen as the active color for fitness solutions? The answer is simple – green symbolizes balance, growth, hope, freshness. That seems like a perfect fit for this app category to motivate customers to stay active and healthy. Excellent UI design supports the unified look of the software product.

Moreover, UI designers need to focus on branding. In case the client owns a gym and develops a fitness app for extending services, the application design should fit the general brand conception. The UI design will include elements such as a gym name, logos, slogans, etc.

At the end of this stage, the UX/UI designer team presents the finalized app visualization with completed screen mockups. Besides, professional mobile app development services provide the prototypes. It is good to show the client and developers how it should look, even including transitions and animations.

How to Make a Fitness app: Development and Testing

We’ve come to the point of how to create a fitness app and get it ready for the launch. Like with any other software, the current stage deals with back-end and front-end development. Thus the provider should assign the back-end, iOS, and Android specialists to work on your product. In parallel, developers need the assistance of QA specialists to test the mobile application.  

Before we discuss the major development milestones, let’s take a look at one more thing. How to choose the technology stack? The right tech choice increases the product value as it can ensure robust performance, great functionality, and scalability. Besides, it covers moments with simplifying the delivery process. For example, as a Flutter app development company, we believe that cross-platform solutions built with this framework are faster to deliver, increasing team productivity and reducing development costs.

Moreover, technologies for hybrid development compete with native approaches easily due to great performance and security. Developers prefer broad customization opportunities, impressive designs, and simplified testing. We’ve combined the list of technologies most used for the mobile development of fitness applications.

DatabasesMySQL, PostgreSQL, Oracle
Back-end developmentNode.js, .NET, Java
iOS developmentSwift, Objective-C
Android developmentKotlin, Java
Hybrid mobile developmentFlutter, React Native
Other development toolsJira, Slack, TestFlight

It is necessary to make the final choice based on technical characteristics and business needs. 

For example, it is a good combination of Node.js and MySQL for backend development due to fast processing and high performance. And hybrid frameworks are becoming more and popular for front-end development due to numerous advantages.

What to find out more about the best hybrid frameworks in 2021?

Read our latest article to answer all your questions on hybrid mobile development.

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The professional service provider always knows how to help the client to find the right solution. It is great when they can draw a tech comparison with defining pros and cons, particularly for your project. 

After you agree on the tech stack, it’s time to start actual development. The following roadmap could be a useful guide on how to create a fitness app from scratch. Keep in mind that the team needs to apply the written project documentation and built UX/UI design.

This is a sample roadmap. It can vary depending on the scope of work, the complexity of the features, and their number.

development roadmap

Developers start a backend setup that includes creating databases and working with the app server. The fitness application often deals with personal data, including health records; thus, it needs a reliable server to guarantee users’ security and privacy.  

The work of back-end and front-end developers is tightly connected. To streamline the process, they can deal with their tasks simultaneously. The team handles the basic functionality at first and later keeps on adding features. It is crucial that the client receives a demo after each milestone to approve results or request changes if required. That allows both sides to know where they are and when they will be ready to submit the fitness application at the App Store and Play Market. 

Speaking about fitness application features, here are some that can be implemented:

Fitness application features

Basic fitness app features

  • User profile
  • Workout plans
  • Nutrition plans
  • Activity tracking
  • Targets and achievements
  • Customer support

Advanced fitness app features

  • Coach-on-demand
  • Live streaming for online training
  • Integration with wearables
  • Social media integration
  • Apple Health and Google Fit integration

Basic functionality carries out solutions to the everyday challenges of the fitness routine. Users look for efficient tools to organize the workouts and balance a healthy diet. They prefer apps that can track their activities and set achievable targets for them. Some want to gain weight, others lose it or simply stay fit. Thus features responsible for nutrition and exercises should suggest suitable plans for each particular user. Even if it is hard to reach the goal, customers need to be encouraged and motivated. The professional health and fitness app developers have come with many solutions to meet the needs here. For example, instead of calculating calories after each meal, the user can pick the dish from a database list, so the app automatically calculates and inputs calorie data. The same way is with the workouts. It will be better when the user can see the number of burnt calories after each workout. 

Advanced functionality extends opportunities for businesses as it is a chance to bring extra for customers. Often, it is a feature that can distinguish your product in the market. If most workout applications offer video collections, you can add streaming with some sports celebrities or coach-on-demand for personal training sessions. Besides, the development teams add the integration to the list of advanced features. From our experience, we can say that integration with Apple Health and Google Fit becomes a must-have. Developers will put effort into data synchronization, though allow users to maintain consistency across other users’ apps, systems, and devices.

How to Create a Fitness App: Launch, Support, and Updates

It is worth mentioning that uploading the application at Google Play and the App Store isn’t that simple. Firstly, your product has to meet all the regulations. Developers should follow the guidelines and be aware of their specifications from the very beginning. Secondly, that is due to the number of requests at Google Play and the App Store. The moderation team just needs time to process all of them. Thus it can take several days to a few weeks to launch the first version of your application. 

After the launch, the team keeps app performance under observation for about two weeks. They need to be ready for any urgent changes and fixes. At the same time, they carry out essential maintenance work. So it makes it possible to provide support and start updates. Further updates will have a similar line-up as the described above process. Consequently, the development process goes in a circle and can be repeated again and again.

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HOW TO MONETIZE A FITNESS APP

The well-planned development strategy includes technical and marketing insights. While addressing how to create a fitness app, there is one more aspect to consider. According to the statistics, revenue generated from fitness applications is reaching $4,025 million in 2021. And the average revenue per user is estimated at $4.54.

It is necessary to draw our attention to monetization opportunities. The professional team builds a coherent strategy to monetize a fitness app along with its development. It might be surprising, but well-planned monetization options can become unique app features. It should never impact user experience negatively but instead improve users’ engagement with your products or services. 

We recommend devising the strategy around the app concept and experience you want to deliver for customers. The main thing is to find approaches suitable for the functionality and services you offer within the application.  

Following the best market practices, you can choose among the next options. Either selecting one or combining a few of them helps turn the company’s profit.

how to monetize a fitness app

Paid apps

As the users download apps in the Apple Store or Google Play, they are used to paying the fee starting from $0.99. That has become a good practice for many companies to charge symbolic membership from customers. However, there are different opinions about this monetization way. You need to remember that some customers still prefer competitors who provide a free version. In the opposite, others perceive it as a good sign of trusted services. So for both cases, it shouldn’t be considered as a main source of profit. It is more about great marketing to position the quality fitness services you are going to provide. 

Subscriptions

Speaking about how to create a fitness app, subscription plans are often included as the proven monetization step. It is quite easy to differentiate fitness plans by duration. Besides monthly and yearly subscriptions, you can offer the subscription for the fitness or nutrition program’s duration. Also, think about plan differentiation by features. Many companies charge for the advanced features, whereas the basic set remains free for everyone. You can also target a specific user group like professional athletes or beginners and make a unique feature set for each subscription plan.

Freemium

This monetization approach is built around the unique experience you want to bring for the customers. Think about something that users are interested in and ready to spend on. What about training with a personal coach or an individual weight loss nutrition plan? As you are going to offer paid premium features, make sure that users are satisfied with the basic version. No users are interested in purchasing anything if they don’t find the app functionality useful in the first place. You should balance the product value to attract users from the first click and add optional extras gradually. 

In-app ads

Fitness applications are among the top app categories to reach engaged audiences. Consequently, they become a good platform for advertising campaigns. In-app ads can include banners, interstitial and native ads. That is a perfect fit for awareness but not usually good for interactivity. It could be a good idea to maximize user engagement with interactive video ads. Ad formats will vary for each app but shouldn’t be overwhelming or distractive. It is important to integrate them into in-app content to provide a seamless user experience.

Partnerships

Cooperation with third-parties can turn into additional sources of generating revenue. Many companies consider a partnership with related businesses. For example, sportswear or sporting equipment brands promote goods and the possibility to sell them just within the fitness app. Apple Fitness+ suggests the full list of equipment for the specific workout type. Also, you can partner with local gyms and trainers to combine virtual training sessions and gym visits. Another option is celebrity partnerships, including known sportspeople. It definitely increases brand recognition and even opens a place for new app features. It could be much more enjoyable for users to track their activity progress, comparing it with the progress log of sports idols or favorite actors and influencers.

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO DEVELOP A FITNESS APP

To find out how to create a fitness app, we’re going to address questions on the development cost. The fact remains that it varies for every project. Companies are unlikely to spend the same on different complexity applications or implemented with different tech stack. Thus giving the comprehensive answer on “how much does it cost to build a fitness app” requires emphasizing some additional factors.

fitness app development cost As we’ve described above, companies start with defining the project requirements. Providing a focus on functionality helps with making the cost estimation later. What’s more, the team has better chances to meet the budget, especially when limited. That is one of the reasons why all the features are divided into must-have and nice-to-have ones. It is reasonable to complete the basic functionality at first and then proceed with advanced functionality. That approach allows the team to streamline the process, speed up the market presentation and manage the budget wisely. As long as you have a powerful backend, the team can gradually advance your fitness application with desired functionality.

The technology choice is another determining factor to estimate the cost to build a fitness app. If the team goes with native app development, it works on two separate iOS and Android apps. The hybrid development allows developers to deliver the fitness app from one code base for two platforms. Therefore, the development expenses could differ depending on native vs. hybrid choice. But the good thing is that you cannot make the wrong one due to each approach’s tech advantages. 

Another thing to consider is choosing the team members. Teams of almost the same composition complete the mobile app project. However, you need to take into account developers’ experience, engagement models, locations.

Global Software Development Rates

Make a comparison between developers’ rates in the top 5 global locations.

Check the report

 

Also, the hourly rates vary due to developers’ expertise and the market demand. Good development services always have reasonable cost to provide the quality. Make sure to hire a professional team with enough experience to deal with complex tasks and advanced integrations for your fitness solution.

To estimate the average cost of the fitness app, we’ve used the sampled development roadmap that shows each stage’s duration.

  • Requirement analysis – 6 weeks
  • UI/UX design – 4 weeks
  • Development and testing – 22 weeks
  • Launch, support, and updates – 2 weeks and continuing

Take into account that calculations are made applying the average Eastern European rates. Thus the development cost can be 2-3 times higher in such locations as the USA or Western European countries.

DEVELOPMENT STAGEFITNESS APP DEVELOPMENT COST
Requirement analysis$15 000
UI/UX design$10 000
Development and testing$90 000
Launch, support, and updates$10 000
Total:$125 000

Accordingly, the fitness application cost could start from $125 000 covering the expenses for both iOS and Android development. However, you need to add the cost of the web app if you haven’t developed one yet. That is a must-have admin panel through which your staff will manage the application, including updating app content, adding staff, processing users’ requests, etc.

IN CONCLUSION

Mobile app development has never been so popular as it is at present. Bringing together technologies and business strategies allows companies to present better and better fitness solutions at the market. The latest technologies help to settle your users into the fitness routine easily and quickly. Developers have all the necessary tools to build a seamless user experience to reach a wide app audience.

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