How to Make a Fitness App That Inspires Users: All MVP Features Explained

30 NOV 2020
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Fitness is a path to an athletic body, good health, and a sane mind. Many people start working out with enthusiasm and high hopes. However, most of them quickly give up on this idea because they can’t see instant results. Unfortunately, the main problem is that newly minted athletes don’t know how to track the progress. Technologies offer a solution to this problem.

With the help of fitness apps, users can monitor their progress and see all the changes in real-time. According to recent research, the global fitness app market size will reach $13 billion by the end of 2025. Unsurprisingly, sports giants like Nike, Adidas, and Under Armour acquire and develop fitness apps.

In this post, we’ll discuss the main fitness app types, how to create a fitness app, and how it can generate revenue.

Table of contents

Fitness App Market Overview

It may seem that fitness apps just show how to workout. In reality, these applications offer much more. The demand for fitness apps is so high that there’s a separate app type for almost every kind of activity. That’s why there are several fitness app types on the market to fulfill all users’ needs. Let’s discover each of them.

Smart Fitness Coach

What are the key steps to constant progress in fitness? Draw up an appropriate workout plan, control exercise technique, gradually increase physical activity and create a balanced meal plan. Usually, personal coaches handle all of those for sportspeople. They know what exercises are good for each and how to make them sportier faster.

However, personal coaches charge a considerable fee for their services and people don’t always have time for attending gyms. In addition, a person that decided to try working out would hesitate to pay four times the cost of the gym pass cost for coach services.

That’s why companies create workout apps with a smart fitness coach inside. These apps create a personalized workout plan for each user based on their physical characteristics and objectives. Physical activities increase as the user progresses. Even though these apps can’t correct your physical mistakes while exercising, they become a great digital companion during your workout.

How to build a fitness app with smart coach features? Here are the main features:

  • Workout identifying algorithms. The purpose of your fitness app is to assess users’ physical condition and identify the workout plan. If the workout is too hard, users can’t keep up with the tempo. On the contrary, with soft workout plans, it’s hard to achieve the desired results in time.
  • Workout levels. When users reach certain results, the app adjusts the load accordingly to their current physical state. Thus, users get in the desired shape faster.
  • Workout screens. Create your own fitness app that explains how to perform each exercise. Doing the exercise wrong, users won’t progress and may even get injuries. So, make sure that each exercise is followed by a detailed explanation.

As for the major players in this niche, we can highlight Nike Training Club and Fitbit Coach. Nike Training Club offers various workout sessions. They’re formed based on the users’ physical state, but users can choose any workout they like. The app explains how to perform the exercise with videos. Professional coaches demonstrate the correct technique of each exercise. Furthermore, the app records all users’ workouts so they can keep track of them in the history tab.

Fitness app example: Nike Training Club

Nike Training Club

Fitbit Coach also provides pre-recorded videos with workouts and creates personalized workouts for users. After each session, the app asks users how hard the workout was. Depending on the answer, the app adjusts workouts to make the user’s experience more enjoyable and efficient.

Workout Logging

This one is the simplest option to create a fitness app. With these apps, users keep track of their workouts. They don’t provide personalized training sessions. Instead, users can find more information about every exercise they perform. The number of calories burned, affected muscle groups, and overall health impact. With third-party smart devices, apps can track even more data. For example, users can monitor muscle to fat ratio with smart scales.

How to make your own fitness app that logs workouts? Here’s the list of basic features:

  • Adding workout notes. Users add notes about performed exercises to see what muscle groups they’ve worked on and how much energy they’ve wasted.
  • Integration with third-parties. To get a full representation of the users’ progress, the app can sync with other fitness apps and devices. For example, sync with nutrition apps to share data about consumed calories. Data from wearable devices can help to keep track of the users’ heart rate.
  • Workout database. This type of app is a vast source of workout information. Databases store information about energy consumption, body muscle groups, and recommendation on exercises. The more data you add during workout app development, the more useful it’ll be for users.

There’s a ton of workout logging apps. Applications from software giants like Samsung Health or Huawei Health are popular among athletes and ordinary users. They let users keep track of daily physical activity and monitor health indicators with the help of wearables.

Diet and Nutrition

Without a balanced diet, all physical activities are almost pointless. So, it’d be good to keep track of the calorie intake and nutritional value food. Diet apps are designed to simplify this process. They let users log the food consumed during the day and see what micro elements it contains.

Here’s the list of features to create your own fitness app with nutrition tracking:

  • Large food database. Popular diet apps contain all sorts of food that can be found in different parts of the world. It’s important to specify a manufacturer. For example, similar packs of almond milk from different manufacturers can have different composition and caloric content.
  • Adding custom food. If users can’t find some food in the database, they should be able to add it on their own. However, they should know the exact number of calories to add an item.
  • Recommended recipes. Some apps provide healthy recipes as a part of the premium subscription. You can also create a fitness app with entire meal plans based on users’ individual needs.
  • Seamless navigation. It may be hard to navigate all the recipes and products. That’s why apps offer a range of filters and search hints to speed up the tracking process.

The most prominent examples of diet apps are MyFitnessPal and Lifesum. These apps have an outstanding user interface and navigation between products. Besides, they can integrate with third-party apps to precisely estimate daily calorie intake and adjust the diet according to the level of physical activities. Both Lifesum and MyFitnessPal also count the amount of water consumed by the user.

Diet fitness app example: Lifesum

Lifesum diet app

Activity Tracking

As it comes clear from the name, these apps keep track of users’ activity. All of them have a step tracker to analyze users’ mobility during the day. Besides, users can activate the app during the running or cycling training to make it remember the route.

What about the features required to build your own fitness app that tracks activity:

  • Geolocation. The app uses geolocation to monitor the route, analyze trip distance, slopes and lifts.
  • Accelerometer. The accelerometer lets the app count steps. Another important indicator for activity tracking is cadence. Devices calculate cadence during cycling and running to optimize leg loadings and achieve better results.

A well-known example of activity tracking apps is Runtastic. Runners can browse through their routes, take part in different fitness challenges, and compete with each other through leaderboards. Post-workout statistics help to understand the athlete's weak spots and correct mistakes later.

MVP Features to Create a Workout App

To make your own fitness app, you need to think about its features. When building digital products from scratch, it makes sense to build an MVP first. MVP stands for a minimum viable product. Its features will help you understand whether your product is useful for clients and how you can improve it in the future.

In this section, we’ll go through all MVP features for a fitness app.

Registration

Registration is an essential process for the majority of apps. It may be non-obligatory if your app is a simple step tracker. However, if you provide unique training or meal plans, then users should always register. Registration lets you get more user data and make their experience with the app more personalized.

Fitness app registration screen

Nike Running Club sign up screen

User Profile

How to create a fitness app with a personalized approach? First of all, let users manage their personal physical information. Data like height, weight, age, and other parameters help to create personal workouts and achieve results faster. Besides, you can reward users with interactive badges for their achievements. They can find rewards in their profiles.

Lifesum: personal goal screen

Lifesum personalized goals

Workout Menu

The main purpose of fitness apps is to track physical activity, so workout screens are obligatory. Menus can differ depending on the app type, but the idea remains the same. For example, smart fitness coach apps will have a menu with workout options and a video explaining how to perform the exercise. At the same time, the activity tracking app displays the time spent on the training and real-time statistics of the session.

Fitness app development: workout menu

Nike Training Club workout menu

When developing a fitness app, take care of a minimalistic and intuitive menu. Users should be able to easily find the exercises they’ve performed during their workout.

Statistics

Detailed statistics help users understand their progress when they can’t notice visual changes. There are two types of statistics:

  • Global. It displays global progress for a chosen period of time (week, month, year). These stats are useful to track the changes in users’ weight, muscle mass, and training intensity.
  • Local. It’s a short-term statistics that help users track the progress from one training session to another. Local stats show running pace, cadence, travel distance, heart rate, and so on. With these stats, sportspeople can monitor their performance during each workout.
Activity tracking apps statistics

Huawei Health post-workout stats

Build a fitness app representing stats in the form of charts and diagrams, rather than in a pure text form. Visualization makes post-training analytics more engaging.

Fitness app statistics screen

An example of a global statistics in Huawei Health

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Integration With Third-Party Apps

A single app with MVP features can’t be a jack-of-all-trades in terms of fitness. To extend the abilities of your app, you have to sync it with other workout and health applications. For example, your app calculates the number of calories burned after the workout. In turn, the third-party diet app provides data about the consumed meals and your app calculates the lack or surplus of daily calories.

Synchronization with platforms like Apple Health and Google Fit helps to make a fitness app that determines the level of physical activity based on the user’s heart rate. As for the nutrition apps, smart sugar-measuring devices help to draw up a proper diet plan.

Integration With Wearable Devices

Devices like fitness trackers, smartwatches, heart rate monitors, smart scales, and others give even more statistical data for your app. On top of that, you can make a fitness app for wearable platforms in the future. Thus, users can leave their cell phones at home and get the same app features on their smartwatches.

Fitness Database

Without regard to the app type, it should have a large fitness-related database. If you’re building a diet app, give users a choice of products to add to their ration. If they can’t find particular meals in your app, they’ll probably abandon it and start looking for alternatives.

Meal database for a diet fitness app

Meal database in Lifesum

The same thing concerns workout app development. The apps should deliver a wide choice of exercises, explain their influence on a body, and make clear how many calories users will burn during the workout. A large exercise database is obligatory so that users could work on different muscle groups and create diverse training plans. If your app doesn’t have enough content, it’ll be hard to retain users.

Features That’ll Help You Stand Out

To make a workout app unique and more customer-focused, you can upgrade it with more sophisticated features.

Let’s go through the advanced features and study some examples.

Live Streaming or Video-on-Demand

To fully understand the technique of the exercise, users might want to watch a video. There are different ways to solve this issue. The first one is live streaming. Professional coaches may organize a group training where users connect to the session and repeat all exercises after the coach. The pros of this approach are that people can gather into groups of dedicated fitness enthusiasts. They may consult a coach and discuss fitness techniques together. On the contrary, live sessions take place according to the timetable. It may be inconvenient for some users.

We’ve explained all aspects of live streaming app development in this guide.

Another option is to create a fitness app with video-on-demand workouts. Users download videos and follow the pre-recorded instructions. Even though they have no real communication, coaches can create polls after the training to learn the difficulties that users experienced. The main advantage is that the video is always available, so users don’t have to adapt their routine to the training.

Live streaming fitness app

The concept of a live streaming fitness app by Cleveroad

Coach-on-Demand

Apart from group training, users can arrange a personal session with the coach for an additional fee. During the live stream, users learn new exercises and adjust their training plan together with the coach. It’s even possible to book a coach for a long period, but the app should have a schedule. Thus, it’ll be easier for coaches to manage their clients.

Barcode Scanner

Filling the diet app with meals and products has its own drawbacks. If there are too many items in the database, the navigation and search process will take more time. Users don’t want to wait too long, so you have to come up with additional solutions while developing a fitness app.

A barcode scanner can add the product to the daily ration just with the help of the smartphone’s camera. It’s a convenient feature because it doesn’t only detect the product but also identifies a manufacturer. That’s how users can get full information about their meal in several seconds.

You can use machine vision algorithms for those products that don’t have a barcode (fruits, vegetables). The device identifies the food based on its shape, color, and size. However, this approach requires you to hire AI developers, which often charge a lot.

Integration With Social Media

It’s always exciting to share your achievements with friends. To build your own fitness app with social interaction features, you can use social media integration tools. They help users to make an instant post about their progress in sports. Users can pair the text from the app with an attractive picture to get a fine post to their profile. Besides, you can make this feature beneficial for your product. Simply add the name of the app or even a link to it. That’s how users will promote it for free on their social media.

Community and Leaderboards

To engage users in sports and motivate them to use the app, you can add a bit of competition. Create a fitness app with competitive leagues for users. Depending on the progress, they’ll compete with each other to enter into a more advanced league. Users get points when they complete training sessions and exercises — those who have the most points at the end of the season advance to the next league. You can reward users with unique badges or even give them a monthly premium membership.

Such gamification leads to the creation of a strong community of users. So, it makes sense to create a forum where experienced athletes give advice on how not to lose motivation, perform exercises, and choose sports equipment.

Fitness App Monetization Strategies

As your features are ready, it’s time to think about yourself. How to make a fitness app that generates revenue? Let’s discover the most popular monetization models.

With this model, users pay to install the app. This revenue model gets you an instant profit, but you won’t get a lot of revenue in perspective. Considering the fact that you have to maintain a group of developers to develop new updates and fix bugs, the app price should be high enough to cover these expenses. In this case, users might not buy the unknown app, which costs a fortune.

The only reasonable use case for this strategy is when you have a simple fitness app without serious plans for the future. You can set an affordable price to cover the development expenses and attract an audience. Later you can integrate other revenue models into this project.

For example, a healthy recipe app Oh She Glows is available on iOS for $1,99 with in-app purchases and $2,49 on Android.

In-App Purchases

According to this strategy, you create a fitness app and distribute it for free. The free app version provides users with basic features that are more than enough to get a seamless experience. However, the app also has some additional features for an additional fee. Users aren’t obliged to buy them, but in most cases, if users really like the idea of your app, they will buy features that extend its basic functionalities.

Almost every fitness app has in-app purchases. Apps like MyFitnessPal and LifeSum provide an optional subscription that provides users with additional features.

Ads

If you choose this strategy, you will display your partners’ ads inside the app. There are different types of ads. You can integrate ads that promote products in different menus of the app. Another option is to use video ads that appear after particular actions (after a successful workout, for example). It’s crucial not to overuse advertisements because users don’t like them. Think beforehand about the ad layout during workout app development.

In-app ads are popular among the major players on the fitness market. For example, Adidas Runtastic displays ads to users.

Combined

You can combine several models to achieve the highest revenue. For example, if your app displays ads, users can remove them with a paid subscription. Thus, you’ll get profit both from unsubscribed users and premium ones.

It’s hard to find an app that doesn’t use the combined model. The main benefit of the subscription is that users get rid of ads. Almost every company understands it and uses it in its favor.

How to Start Your Own Fitness App?

There’s a range of preparations that you should take before building your own fitness app.

First and foremost, you have to analyze the market. Study your competitors, identify market leaders, and try to understand what killer features they offer to attract users. Without proper market research, you’ll miss your target audience and won’t understand the advantages of your rivals.

How to perform a market research for a fitness app

Three main steps in market research

When you’ve finished the market research, it’s time to draw up a feature list. A detailed feature list will help your software developers understand your requirements and pick a proper tech stack. You can create a preliminary list on your own. Later, you can make it more precise together with your tech partner. Software specialists will help you estimate the expenses required to create a fitness app.

Another important preparational step is the discovery phase. Project managers, designers, developers, and QA engineers gather to create a project specification and wireframes for the future project. Even if you decide to stop working with the company, you’ll still have all the documents to continue working on the product elsewhere.

Check this guide to learn more about the discovery phase and how we perform it at Cleveroad.

Finally, it’s time to estimate the project price. According to our estimations, the workout app development cost varies from $60,000 to $91,850. The final price depends on the number of platforms you’re developing the app, complexity of features, post-release support, and more. It’s hard to estimate your project's exact price without knowing the exact requirements, so consider them before contacting your vendor.

How Can Cleveroad Help You

At Cleveroad, we’ve been delivering various apps for six years. Fitness is a niche where we have in-depth knowledge. Our engineers developed TrainAway, a location-based app that helps users find gyms anywhere in the world. Besides, we’ve worked on LetsSurf, a platform that connects users with professional surf coaches. Finally, the project Ayoo, a social media for dancers that connects people and lets them compete against each other and learn new moves.

TrainAway app developed by Cleveroad

TrainAway

Start your fitness app now

Share your ideas with us and we’ll provide you with free tech consultation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Fitness apps perform various actions to help sportspeople train more effectively. They can track the running distance, pace, heart rate, monitor calorie intake, record all performed exercises, and so on.

To create a fitness app you have to define how it'll help your users. Then, it's time to draw up a feature list which describes all functionalities of your app. It's also important to choose a monetization strategy to make your app generate revenue. When all the points are ready, it's time to find a reliable software development companythat will create the app for you.

A simple fitness app with minimal functionalities may take around 600-700 hours of development time. More complicated projects take 1200 hours, while the most advanced ones take up to 1800 hours.

There are several revenue models for fitness apps:

  • Paid apps. You distribute the app for money.
  • In-app purchases. The app is free, but it has paid features inside (for example, premium subscription).
  • Ads. The app shows paid ads to users.
  • Combined. This strategy combines several revenue models.

Here are the main features for a fitness app:

  • Registration
  • User Profile
  • Workout Menu
  • Statistics
  • Integration With Third-Party Apps
  • Integration With Wearable Devices
  • Fitness Database

Here are the most advanced features for a fitness app:

  • Coach-on-Demand
  • Live Streaming or Video-on-Demand
  • Barcode Scanner
  • Integration With Social Media
  • Community and Leaderboards
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