How to Create a Fitness App: Comprehensive Guide

Article by:
Anna Polovnikova
13 min
Remote lifestyle has created a steady demand for many facilities that people typically use offline, including sports services. Today, people use fitness apps to stay in shape, fight depression caused by the pandemic, and join long-distance communities. The article reviews how demand for online fitness has boosted the industry and why the sky is the limit in creating and launching new fitness apps to the market.

Fitness apps have radically improved the accessibility of quality training. All-inclusive wellness apps offer nutrition, lifestyle, and activity-tracking features. Powered by AI, many apps reach unprecedented personalization levels. 

How does it affect the market figures?

The fitness app market is constantly growing. According to Statista, the user bases of paid and free fitness apps have risen similarly since 2017 and are expected to follow the trend by 2027, reaching 970 million active users. Users don’t hesitate to pay for features because they do work. The fitness app is a goal-oriented, resultative, long-term supportive partner of modern people, especially those of the first digital generation Z (30% of the audience).

Fitness App Active Users
Image source

So, why go for a fitness app development this year?

Why Should You Create a Fitness App?

Overall, creating a fitness app provides a lucrative and rewarding opportunity for businesses and developers looking to tap into the growing demand for health and wellness products and services. Building a fitness app is a smart business decision for several reasons. In addition, fitness marketing software can help gyms and fitness centers reach a wider audience, promote their services, and engage with their members more effectively.

High Expected Revenue

The global fitness app market is expected to reach $19.33 billion by 2029, providing significant revenue potential for app developers. Besides, app owners can target both B2B and B2C markets with relevant pricing plans.

Guaranteed Customer Loyalty

Regular fitness app users will likely stick with it and recommend it to others, leading to a growing user base. Unlike popular beliefs, the fitness app audience is not limited to people who used to go to the gym before the pandemic. Online sports attract those hesitant to visit offline facilities for various personal reasons. Now, online fitness apps make sports available for all at any time and location without social pressure.

Another reason for increased customer loyalty is the change in the motivation of people to do sports. With the growth of depression, anxiety, and obesity rates, people turn to physical activity to cure their mental state. The support and care provided by the favorite app have helped millions of people get back on track since 2020.

Strong Branding Opportunities

A stable customer base builds substantial brand equity organically. The business model is aimed at the regularity and achievements of users, which then form durable perceived quality, associations, preferences, and overall positive brand experience.

Attainable Competitive Advantage 

A well-designed and feature-rich fitness app can differentiate your business from competitors and provide a competitive advantage. The pool of competitor apps is huge, and so is the research potential. The intelligent approach to a competitor and audience analysis will help reveal what users still lack in the existing apps and find a product-market fit.

Data-Driven Business Model

Fitness apps provide valuable data insights on user behavior, which can be used to improve the app's features and better target marketing efforts. The fitness startup analytics approach can borrow much from game dev and link the app features to the users’ desire of reaching new heights/levels. 

Even more, the data-driven approach opens more doors to personalization. The well-trained algorithms may generate individual training paths, dieting options, and lifestyle suggestions based on affinities, previous activity, and success stories.

Growing Demand

As we have mentioned, the fitness industry is rapidly growing, with more people looking for ways to improve their health and wellness. As a result, there is a growing demand for fitness apps and other similar tech business ideas that provide users with convenient access to workout plans, nutrition advice, and activity tracking.

The demand for versatile fitness app types keeps the niche open for new propositions, making the segments less competitive and easier to enter. 

Types of Fitness Apps

Different types of fitness apps target different aspects of physical health and wellness. Some of the most common types of fitness apps encounter:

Fitness App Types
  1. Workout apps provide users with exercise routines and plans for various fitness goals, such as weight loss, muscle building, and endurance training. They may also include video demonstrations, timers, and progress-tracking features. Sweat, a workout app for women, is an excellent example of a tightly-designed workout app.
  2. Nutrition and diet apps help users track their daily calorie intake, monitor their macronutrient ratios, and provide meal plans and recipes for a healthy diet. Such apps as Tdee calculator and YAZIO even invite users to participate in challenges to make the path to health more engaging.
  3. Activity-tracking apps use smartphone sensors and wearable devices to monitor daily activity levels, such as steps taken, distance traveled, and burned calories. Although many fitness apps offer the feature, the iOS Health app is one of the most popular.
  4. Yoga and meditation apps offer guided meditation and yoga practices, mindfulness exercises, and relaxation techniques to help reduce stress and promote mental well-being. A good example is Calm which has individual and business plans.
  5. Running apps track running distance, speed, and time. They provide training plans and offer audio coaching to help users reach their running goals. Check out Strava to get the idea.
  6. Personal trainer apps allow personalized workout plans and one-on-one coaching from certified personal trainers in person or through video chat. The Future app’s intelligent quiz finds the best coach match for individual training goals.
  7. Virtual fitness class apps give access to live and pre-recorded fitness classes in various styles, such as dance, barre, and pilates. Nike Training Club is a rich source of home workouts for everyone.
  8. Dancing apps are sure-independent types of fitness apps. With the emergence of these, millions of people worldwide have gained access to the workshops and learning paths designed by their favorite influencers across the globe. Training from any inspiring YouTube dancer or crew is now possible at a reasonable price. Steezy proves the point.
  9. Wellness and health apps offer holistic approaches to health and wellness, including features like sleep tracking, stress management, and habit tracking. For example, users can improve their mindfulness and build healthy sleep habits with the Feel Better app.
  10. Fitness management software and apps help fitness studios simplify their operations and grow their businesses by providing features such as scheduling, billing, marketing, and analytics. They also improve the customer experience and satisfaction by offering online booking, payment options, feedback forms, and loyalty programs. Some examples of fitness management software and apps are Wellyx , GymMaster, and Virtuagym.

These are just a few examples of the many types of fitness apps available today. Every type includes several segments, such as dancing styles (high-heels or popping), diet options (vegan or meat-based), workouts (crossfit or bodybuilding), and more. Each segment deserves a separate app to provide an all-encompassing user experience within the niche.

Planning to build a fitness app?

If you're not sure which type of fitness application to get, feel free to reach out to Upsilon to discuss your needs.

Book a consultation

Inspiration is key, and technology is the tool to spread it. Get ready to think over the choice of technological solutions and a set of essential features for the app. Read more about the available stack before jumping into how to create a fitness app.

Common Fitness App Features and Tech Stack

Since fitness app development has been in place for a while, there are trends in feature sets and tech stacks that these apps commonly share. Let’s dive into the typical composition of a fitness app.

Common Fitness App Features

From the number of fitness app types, we can assume individually designed features in each of them. However, there is a pool of recommended basic features for any unique service you provide.

Common Fitness App Features
  • User registration and login with popular ways of authorization (socials, email);
  • Personal profile with information such as age, gender, weight, height, and fitness goals;
  • Workout plans and routines with instructional videos;
  • Progress tracking and analytics to gather valuable data and generate insights;
  • Integration with wearables and other fitness tracking devices;
  • Push notifications and reminders to ensure user retention and goal completion;
  • Social-sharing and community features to celebrate results with peers;
  • Nutrition and meal planning as a compulsory part of wellness maintenance;
  • Integration with third-party services such as Apple Health or Google Fit;
  • In-app purchases for premium content or features.

Another good news regarding competition is that many companies have already tested various technologies. Starting with a fitness app development now lets you consider technological failures, prioritize features, and begin with the quality and appropriate stack right away.

Tech Stack

The choice of a tech stack for testing and deploying a fitness app will depend on various factors, including the platform (web, mobile), the programming language used for app development, and the preferred testing and deployment tools. However, here are some general suggestions for a tech stack that could be used:

Component Web App Mobile App
Front-end
  • React
  • Angular
  • Vue
  • HTML5/CSS
  • JavaScript
  • React Native
  • Swift (for iOS)
  • Java (for Android)
  • Kotlin (for Android)
Back-end
  • Node.js
  • Ruby on Rails
  • Django
  • PHP (Laravel is a common choice)
Database
  • MySQL
  • PostgreSQL
  • MongoDB
  • Cassandra
  • MongoDB
  • MySQL
  • PostgreSQL
Cloud services
  • Amazon Web Services (AWS)
  • Google Cloud Platform (GCP)
  • Microsoft Azure
API integration
  • Google Maps
  • Fitness tracking devices like Fitbit
  • Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter
  • Payment gateways like Stripe, PayPal, and Braintree
Testing and deployment
  • Jest
  • Mocha
  • Chai
  • Docker
  • Espresso
  • UI Automator (for Android)
  • XCTest (for iOS)
  • Firebase Test Lab (for Android)
  • TestFlight (for iOS)
  • Appium
  • Docker
Analytics
  • Google Analytics
  • Firebase Analytics

It is essential to ensure that the tech stack you choose is compatible with the app's requirements, including its features and performance requirements. Also, it's crucial to use a comprehensive testing strategy, including functional, performance, and security testing, to ensure the app is thoroughly checked before deployment.

The correct choice of technologies sets a good foundation for the app's stability, but planning comes first. Below you will find seven stages to reach the goal and create a fitness app.

How to Create a Fitness App: Seven Stages

Creating a fitness app can be complex, but breaking it down into stages makes it more manageable. Learn these seven stages of how to make a fitness app.

How to Create a Fitness App

Stage 1: Idea validation

Before you start building your fitness app, MVP validation is essential. It involves researching the market, identifying your target audience, and assessing the competition.

  • Who do you want to use your app? 
  • What are their fitness goals and preferences? 
  • What is the best feature of the leading competitor app?

This information will help you design an app that meets their needs and develop a unique value proposition to differentiate your app from competitors.

You'll also need to define your app's core features and functionalities for the MVP and create a business plan to budget the app development costs. At this stage, keep in mind that MVP development for startups assumes the launch of the most valuable features first to test them before the full-scale development initiation.

Stage 2: Design

Once you have a clear idea of what you want your fitness app to do, you'll need to design the user interface and user experience. It involves creating wireframes, developing a visual design, and mapping out the user journey.

Identify the key features you want to include in your app. It might include workout plans, progress tracking, nutrition advice, social sharing, and integration with wearables and other fitness-tracking devices. Reflect them all in the first mockups. It's an efficient way to detect user flow inaccuracies before coding.

Stage 3: Development

The full product or MVP design phase helps create fitness app vision sent to development. Development involves coding the front-end and back-end of the app and integrating APIs and SDKs. Choose the technology stack you want to use to develop the app. Feel free to refer to the table above.

Stage 4: Testing

Once the app is built, you'll need to test it to ensure it's stable, secure, and user-friendly. It includes testing for bugs, glitches, and performance issues, making a fitness app hard to use. Don’t forget about security when it comes to payments.

Stage 5: Launch

After the testing phase, it's time to launch the app. It involves submitting it to the app stores and ensuring it meets their guidelines and requirements.

Stage 6: Marketing

After launching the app, start marketing it to your target audience. It includes optimizing the app store listings, developing a marketing strategy, and using various marketing channels to promote your app.

Stage 7: Maintenance

Finally, it's crucial to maintain and update the app over time. It involves fixing bugs and issues, adding new features, and keeping the app up-to-date with the latest technology and trends. Monitor user feedback and usage data to identify any problems or areas for improvement to keep users engaged and improve the user experience.

These are the seven critical stages to consider when creating a fitness app. Remember that creating a successful fitness app requires hard work, dedication, and attention to detail. Before development, understanding your target audience, market competition, and features for the MVP launch is the number-one priority.

Planning to Make a Fitness App?

Creating a fitness app can be an excellent opportunity to tap into a growing market. Still, conducting thorough research to identify user needs and differentiate your app from existing solutions is important.

Ultimately, the success of a fitness app will depend on the quality of the app's user experience and the value it provides. Therefore, invest in corresponding mobile app development services that include extensive consultations on how to build a fitness app that meets user needs and the latest technological suggestions.

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