How to Make a Fitness App That Inspires Users: All MVP Features Explained
Updated 02 Jun 2023
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 fitness mobile app development users will be able to monitor their progress and see all the changes in real-time. 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.
Fitness App Market Perspectives
We wouldn't be talking about how to build a workout app if this niche wasn't successful and promising, right? So we’ve decided to garner some optimistic predictions and statistics to strengthen further your decision to create your own fitness application.
It’s predicted by the research that the global fitness app market size is expected to reach $15.2 billion by 2028. According to a Statista report, the revenue of the eServices Fitness segment Apps worldwide is projected to be 5,273.5 million in 2024 and has continued to grow rapidly.
In addition to post-pandemic reality, this growth is driven by more and more people understanding the convenience and accessibility of in-app fitness over brick-and-mortar gyms. Moreover, the increasing network of fitness studios and gyms through online communities is further sustaining the adoption of these apps. On a whole, workout apps have been downloaded over 400 million times in 2021.
Fitness app market value prediction
Types of Fitness and Workout Applications
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:
- Smart coaches
- Workout logging apps
- Activity tracking
- Diet and nutrition
Let’s discover each of them in detail.
How to Create a Workout App with Smart Coach Features
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.
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.
Nike Training Club
Fitness App Development: Workout Logging Apps
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.
Fitness Mobile App Development: 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.
How to Build a Workout App With Nutrition Tracking
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.
Lifesum diet app
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
How to Make a Fitness App With Sophisticated Features
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.
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.
The concept of a live streaming fitness app by Cleveroad
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.
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.
We’ve explained all aspects of live streaming app development in this guide.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Fitness mobile app monetization strategies
How to Build a Fitness App: Step-By-Step
There’s a range of preparations that you should take before developing a fitness app:
- Step 1. Conduct market research
- Step 2. Prepare a feature list
- Step 3. Define project requirements
- Step 4. Estimate your project
Do Market Research
First and foremost, you have to analyze the market to create own fitness app. 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.
Define Feature Set
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 make a workout app.
Specify Project Requirements
Another important preparational step to create fitness app 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.
Calculate the Project Price
Finally, it’s time to estimate the project price. According to our estimations, the fitness 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.
Check this guide to learn more about the discovery phase and how we perform it at Cleveroad.
Fitness App Development From Cleveroad
Cleveroad is a high-tier custom software development company based in the heart of European IT outsourcing - Estonia. We have over ten years of market experience in providing businesses with IT expertise and new technologies that help them acquire competitive edge and optimize internal pipelines.
Cleveroad in numbers:
- 10+ years on the market
- 120+ in-house engineers
- 170+ successful projects
- 8+ expertise industries
We have an extensive expertise in healthcare solutions and recently our portfolio has been replenished with a project that is a fitness marketplace and is designed to help users find quality gyms in their city or while traveling.
The app is called TrainAway and has a convenient functionality for finding gyms, which includes a flexible filter system, detailed pages with descriptions of gyms, referral programs, and the ability to buy gym membership right in the app.
Start your fitness app now
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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:
- User Profile
- Workout Menu
- Integration With Third-Party Apps
- Integration With Wearable Devices
- Fitness Database
Here are the most advanced features for a fitness app:
- Live Streaming or Video-on-Demand
- Barcode Scanner
- Integration With Social Media
- Community and Leaderboards
Evgeniy Altynpara is a CTO and member of the Forbes Councils’ community of tech professionals. He is an expert in software development and technological entrepreneurship and has 10+years of experience in digital transformation consulting in Healthcare, FinTech, Supply Chain and Logistics
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