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How To Create A Fitness App: A Comprehensive Guide

Learn the ins and outs of fitness app development, from building the app to monetizing it. See the lifecycle of a fitness app in our deep-dive guide.

July 11 | Updated on July 11 | 10 min
Sergei Skirev

Sergei Skirev

CTO at JetBase

Staying in shape is more trendy than ever as people get increasingly focused on their health. Besides, social media promotes self-care, sports, and fitness. You can capitalize on that trend with fitness app development, making your own product for active people.

Doing so requires an in-depth understanding of the market and the development process. Thankfully, JetBase is happy to share our knowledge.

We’ll examine the fitness app industry's current state and discuss the types of apps you can create. Using our own experience, we’ll share the essential features of fitness apps and the steps involved in the development process. We also understand that the financial aspect is crucial, so we’ll discuss the cost of developing a fitness app and ways to monetize it.

Lastly, we’ll discuss the challenges during development and how to avoid them with best practices. Ultimately, you will see a clear path to turning your fitness app idea into a popular product. So, if you’re ready to learn all there is to know about health and fitness app development, let’s dive right in.

Fitness App Market Overview

As we said, fitness is a major trend now, which the market reflects quite well. In just 2023, this niche had a value of $4.9 billion, with an 18% growth rate projected until 2033. Simply put, the market is booming, and companies are poised to make a lot of money. However, the hard numbers aren’t everything you need to know here.

Fitness App Market Overview.webp

Another important aspect of a niche’s growth is how it embraces technology. Fitness app development shines here, as the sector successfully uses machine learning and AI. These technologies help tailor the experience to each user, accounting for their health data and preferences. As a result, such apps tend to attract a loyal user base and succeed in the long run.

It won’t surprise you that smartphones are king for fitness apps, with a market share of around 75%. This makes sense, as mobile devices are the perfect option for a person on the go and often come with built-in wearable integration. The latter is crucial, as smartwatches and sensors collect much data that perfects an app’s personalization capabilities.

Fitness app development.webp

All of these factors converge to make fitness application development lucrative financially and beneficial to users. You’re not just creating a product that will make you money. You’re making a difference in people’s lives, giving them the tools to get in shape.

This isn’t just us talking up the niche. Scientists confirm that the use of fitness apps is associated with higher physical activity. This is a direct example of how a simple app can change someone’s life if it’s well-made.

Now, you obviously want your app to be high-quality. While you can rely on JetBase to handle fitness software development for you, it’s important to know how the process works. So, let’s talk about what types of apps there are and what they need to succeed.

Types of Fitness and Workout Apps

We can roughly split this market into three core types of apps:

Types of Fitness and Workout Apps.webp

  • Activity trackers;
  • Diet and nutrition;
  • Workout.

As you can see, these three are quite different and have their specifics. We’ll examine them to highlight their peculiarities and value.

Activity Trackers

You probably noticed that each fitness app type represents an essential element of getting healthy. Activity trackers are the core foundation of that, as they remind people to get up and move, track their calorie burning, and analyze their lifestyle. As a result, users can set step goals, see when they’re being too idle, and feel motivated to do more in their spare time.

These trackers typically require some integration, as a mobile device’s built-in tools aren’t the most precise solution. Instead, wearables reign supreme, delivering instant data sync on all the relevant vitals. Thanks to them, activity trackers are popular and effective, making them a good choice when building a fitness app.

Diet and Nutrition

Sticking to a proper, healthy diet is the core foundation of not just losing weight but making those changes stick. This is why nutrition-centric apps are relevant in today’s market. From straight-up calorie counting to online consultations with dietologists, they offer users a way to set their diet right.

Such apps can also use AI to create personalized diet plans for users catering to their dietary restrictions and personal taste preferences. This helps people stick to their diets, which can be one of the most difficult aspects of getting fit. 

Workout

Last but not least, apps that track workouts, suggest a different training regime, and educate people on the right way to approach fitness. Such apps can work as an intro for novice gym goers, as well as a handy analytics center for more experienced ones.

If you want to build a fitness app that is truly useful, it might make sense to create custom content, such as video workouts with professional instructors. Bigger brands even use celebrities, which inspires people to follow their example and draws attention to the product.

Key Features of a Fitness App

Even though the app types vary, there are a few things every fitness product needs to have. Consider them the foundation of your app you can adorn with some extras to fit your brand and vision.

Key Features of a Fitness App.webp

Account and Personal Profile

When developing a fitness app, giving users a space they can personalize is important. Registering an account is the first element, so users can store their data and move it between devices as needed. However, a profile is the real core, as it can serve as a social place. Here, users can display information about themselves, showcase achievements, and share their own content.

For example, look no further than Strava. Its users share their latest runs and rides, which others can like and comment on. This incentivizes people to exercise more to display their progress and compete in a friendly manner.

Diaries and Blogs

Diaries are a user-created feed of content. Here, users can share inspirational quotes or simply talk about what motivates them. This works similarly to profile posts and creates a knock-on effect: users who see these diary entries are compelled to make their own and keep the community thriving.

On the flip side, blogs are content that you create, sharing training ideas, talking about proper nutrition, or even posting quotes. The aim here is to get the conversation going and give users something to engage with. This keeps them coming back and shows the ongoing work you put into the app.

Wearables Integration and Data Analysis

Specific data is the only way to accurately assess a user’s progress and give advice on a better path to fitness. Getting such data is easiest when the user has a smart device you can sync with. Creating protocols that handle that sync, import, and store data is absolutely crucial if you want to create a fitness app that actually helps users.

As for analyzing the data you collect, there’s no excuse not to use AI nowadays. It processes immense amounts of info fast and with little need for human input. Plus, it can analyze what you already see and forecast future trends with precision. As a result, users can adjust their workouts and diet based on this data.

How To Create A Fitness App: Seven Steps

Now that we’ve talked about the essential features of fitness app development, let’s move on to the actual process. It’s rather straightforward, and we’ll share our methodology in just seven simple steps.

How To Create A Fitness App Seven Steps.webp

Step 1: Conceptualize and Pick a Team

Lay out your vision for the app, including its selling points and the business plan for its performance. Planning your monetization is just as important as the app itself. Then, match those ambitious ideas to a team that can bring them to life. Outsourcing the work is the easiest choice, as you’ll be relying on a company that knows how to make a workout app and help it succeed.

Step 2: Design a Unique Identity

Visuals are extremely important for fitness apps, as an eye-catching interface helps your product stand out. But, more than that, a coherent visual identity matters when representing users’ progress. It’s much nicer not just to accomplish one’s first 10 km run but to see it as a shiny trophy or a sleek achievement. Put a lot of thought into your app’s UI and create a fitness app that leaves a lasting impression.

Step 3: Create a Prototype and Test with Users

Before you fully commit to your app’s final form, create a prototype and let real people test it, ones from your target audience. Take careful note not just of criticisms but also of praise. Is it very enthusiastic? Does it target the features you deemed “killer”? It’s possible you might see more interest in a feature you didn’t plan to spotlight, pushing you to pivot and build the app around that.

This is all totally normal, as the prototype is meant to help you understand if your vision matches the market’s needs. It also gives you a chance to pinpoint the areas that require a bit of extra focus and polish.

Step 4: Pick the Right Tech Stack

Once you’ve settled your vision for fitness app development, you must choose the right technologies to perfect the product. Some companies opt to create a native app for multiple platforms. Doing so lets you maximize performance and take advantage of your target devices’ features.  Others choose the Progressive Web App (PWA) approach. This may be good if you want to support a wider pool of devices, including older tech.

Step 5: Conduct Extensive QA

Even though your team knows how to create a fitness app, checking their work is vital. This lets you expose any stray bugs or tweak how a feature responds to user input. It may seem like certain changes are just cosmetic, but it’s on you to deliver a polished experience. QA is the best way to achieve that.

Step 6: Launch Your App

Launch isn’t just about pushing your product to the app stores. It’s important to focus on marketing, with special launch offers or cross-app promotions. This can give a much-needed boost in popularity that helps your app take off.

Step 7: Push Updates

Fitness app development doesn’t stop at launch, though. Continuously adding new features and bug fixes helps cultivate a loyal community that will keep your product successful. Analyzing usage data will help you understand what your app is missing and how to fix that.

The Cost of Building a Fitness App

All of the above tells you how to make a fitness app. Yet, knowing the process isn’t the end. It’s also crucial to understand how you can finance development and the final cost. You already know that the cost of any app fluctuates depending on a variety of factors:

The Cost of Building a Fitness App.webp

  • Number of features;
  • Size of team;
  • Platforms supported;
  • Technologies used.

Let’s start with the basics. A fitness app with the essential features, made natively for iOS and Android, would cost about $30000. This includes the whole fitness application development process, from concept work to launch.

However, if you want to get people’s attention, you need powerful features. If you want to use AI for personalization, expect the cost to go up to $50000 or so. That’s both because you’ll need to expand the standard team with an engineer who works with AI and due to the extra hours required. However, note that AI is slowly becoming the norm, which pushes more companies to use it.

image-6.webp

Remember, also, that you need to include the cost of integrations in the final sum. From GPS to wearables and third-party APIs, these things add on around $55000.

In the end, we’d say a high-quality fitness solution with a variety of extra features would cost from $30000 to $75000. If you want to know how to make a fitness app profitable to recoup that cost, read on to the next section.

How to Monetize a Fitness App?

How to Monetize a Fitness App.webp

There are three core ways to monetize a fitness solution:

  • Subscription model;
  • In-app ads;
  • In-app purchases.

The first is fairly straightforward. Users pay monthly to access the app or its premium features. These can include guided workouts, personal consultations, or in-depth analysis of their health data. It’s up to you to decide how to develop a fitness app’s subscription: a combo approach of a free version with a premium paid one or just the premium.

For examples, Peloton offers a subscription service with more expensive tier featuring exclusive classes and real-time metrics from third party devices. Note how it successfully turned fitness coaches into its own niche celebrities. Simultaneously, it created a reason for people to come back to its product—working out with their preferred trainers.

Ads are a way to monetize the app without gating off any features. For fitness apps, they can be placed on the edges of the screen as small banners. Alternatively, you could go for full-screen ads that appear when switching between different menus in the app. You can also go for promotional deals, advising users on gyms or specific health coaches close to their location. MyFitnessPal employs ads among other monetization strategies.

Lastly, in-app purchases are something you can implement early on during fitness application development. MyFitnessPal provides users with paid access to premium features, such as custom meal plans and detailed nutrition information. You could make an unlockable feature that lets users map out their weight loss or muscle gain based on an analysis of existing data. Alternatively, you can offer video content that helps with workouts, including celebrity-voiced training videos.

Key Challenges in Fitness App Development

A smooth development process is the best way to keep the cost of your app manageable. Thankfully, there aren’t that many risks inherent to developing a fitness app. We’ll highlight the core ones and suggest ways to mitigate them.

Key Challenges in Fitness App Development.webp

Data Processing Compliance

Although most people don’t tend to think of fitness apps as being in the realm of healthcare, they’re still handling certain health data. This means you will have to comply with regulations such as HIPAA and HITECH. It shouldn’t be too big of a problem, especially since your outsourcing team likely knows how to handle sensitive data. JetBase definitely does, thanks to our healthcare projects.

Tracking Accuracy

Apps can rely on devices’ own data-tracking APIs to analyze users’ workouts. However, it’s important to remember that not all devices are equally good at this, which can frustrate users. It’s best to implement some checks that confirm the accuracy of your data during your fitness app development.

Performance Optimization

Speaking of weaker devices, you need to ensure that your app runs equally well on the latest iPhone and an older Android device. Users shouldn’t experience slowdowns or unresponsive buttons, especially during workouts. You want to keep them in the flow, but poor performance can disrupt that. Extensive QA with testing done on a variety of devices is a must.

Fitness App Development Best Practices

Now, we will round off our guide on how to develop a fitness app by talking about structuring your development right. 
First and foremost, consider what kind of user base you want to build. If you want to rely on users to establish a social and thriving community, give them the features to do so. We talked about user-generated content earlier, but emphasizing its effectiveness doesn’t hurt.

Also, as unusual as it may sound, but try to make the app addictive. Create features and make design decisions that gamify a user’s fitness journey and thus encourage them to work out repeatedly. This obviously helps your app stay popular and builds healthy habits in people.

Lastly, for the technical side of things, if you’re offering any form of media content or even live streams, make sure to optimize their delivery. JetBase has worked on apps that required custom content delivery protocols and encoding optimization. We aren’t exaggerating when we say there’s no such thing as polishing your algorithms too much. Crisp, clear video helps immerse people in their training.

Build Your Fitness App with JetBase

We’ve shown you what fitness mobile app development is, at least in theory. However, no amount of theoretical knowledge can replace practical experience. If you want the process to go smoothly, all according to best practices, you need a skillful team. As you might guess, JetBase is happy to throw its hat in the ring here.

Our portfolio is stacked with more than 60 successful projects and our 10 years of experience put us ahead of most other companies. We know the market’s past and present but, more importantly, we shape its future. The JetBase devs have experience with health apps, including wearables integration and data collection.

We can build a workout app with a multi-platform launch, striking UI, and the latest technologies that make your product more engaging. As a result, you will get a high-quality app from a team of experts and take the market by storm.

Our developers make apps that have a lasting legacy and make an impact. It’s about monetizing well and building long-term value for the brand. We know that this is what every business wants, so let’s not stall any longer. Send us a message, and let’s discuss the details of your project.

Tags:
  • Healthcare Development
  • App Development

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