A Healthy Instruction on Fitness App Development

Fitness apps seem to have the most loyal audience: 96% of users have only one app of this kind. At least, this is what Flurry Analytics states. The same study shows that over 25% of users access their apps more than 10 times per week. The market of fitness apps is promising, although it may be hard to compete with existing applications. However, we are here to tell you everything about how to develop a fitness app. Just follow these steps, and that’s it.

Choose a Type of Your App

Fitness apps can be divided into several categories:

  • Workout apps
  • Nutrition and diet apps
  • Activity tracking apps
  • Yoga and meditation apps

Flurry Analytics didn’t include the same categories in their research, but, according to their statistics, workout apps are the largest category — they take over 70% of all fitness and health apps. They can be divided into three more categories: personal trainer apps, workout tracking apps which pair with wearables, and logbook apps.

Now, let’s take a closer look at every category.

Personal Trainer Apps

Personal trainer apps allow users to train whenever and wherever they want. They include diverse exercises which are delivered as pictures, videos, text or even 3D models. A user simply chooses a workout and starts training.

Some personal trainer apps, such as Flive, even have a live streaming feature, so a user can arrange a session with a trainer, get all the essential explanations about the exercises, and understand if they do these exercises right.

Workout Tracking Apps Which Pair With Wearables

Wearables, such as smartwatches and fitness bands, are one of the main reasons for the popularity of fitness apps. According to Forbes, under 50 million wearables were shipped in 2015, and this rate is expected to reach over 125 million in 2019. Such gadgets count every exercise and then transfer the information to the corresponding app.

For example, PEAR has apps compatible with Gear Watch and Apple Watch, so users can get the same workout experience directly from their wearable devices.

Logbook Apps

While personal trainer apps usually don’t allow users to customize the available exercise routines, logbook apps are all about planning and recording users’ personal exercises.

Jefit is a great example here. Users can not only choose from over 1300 exercises, but also set their own ones. Besides, it offers programs for any fitness level and boasts numerous useful features.

Nutrition and Diet Apps

Clearly, nutrition and diet apps are about healthy nutrition — they allow users to see how many calories they consumed and control the water intake.

MyFitnessPal is one of the most successful apps of this kind. From Play Market, it has been downloaded over 50 million times! This app has a barcode scanner which recognizes over 5 million barcodes and is extremely helpful when a user goes shopping.

Actually, most of nutrition and diet apps are equipped with such scanners, so keep this in mind in case you choose this category.

Apart from this, don’t forget about motivation — such an app should encourage its users to eat healthy, lose weight or, sometimes, even gain weight. Providing them with statistics is not enough, you should make up something special.

If you need inspiration, check CARROT Fit. This weight tracker is as special as possible! It is equipped with an extremely sarcastic (and even a bit sadistic) AI, but its rating at App Store is still pretty high — 4.6 out of 5 stars.

Activity Tracking Apps

While the mission of workout tracking apps is to track exercises, fitness tracking apps count steps, hours of sleep, burned calories, etc. Such apps are usually compatible with wearables, as these gadgets allow checking pulse, blood pressure, and other important parameters.

Here is one more example for you — Endomondo, which has been downloaded over 10 million times (from Play Market). It uses GPS and tracks over 40 sports activities, checks the user’s heart rate, and even provides an audio feedback!

Yoga and Meditation Apps

Apps of these kinds usually offer sessions of different difficulty levels, so users can choose the program suiting them best. In most cases, these sessions are daily, and users can set reminders not to miss a training.

A couple of Salute the Desk screenshots

Salute The Desk screenshots

This is exactly what Salute The Desk offers — it helps users to relax even while being at their desks. The reminder feature is here. Besides, users can track and share their progress.

We have mentioned 6 kinds of fitness apps, but this doesn’t mean that you should stick only to one of them. Many apps combine features of several categories, so you can follow the same strategy. For example, MyFitnessPal is not only about counting calories and scanning products. It connects with over 50 apps and gadgets, allows creating exercises and workouts, tracks steps, etc. Its list of features and functions is just huge.

Decide on MVP Features

Obviously, we can’t provide you with a final list of MVP features — we just don’t know what functions your app is going to have. But here are the basic features which you may find useful:

Login feature

A lot of apps don’t require users to register, but fitness applications are not among them. Apps of this kind are personal, so users should be able to create accounts. In this way, they won’t lose access to their data and progress in case something goes wrong with their smartphones. As an option, you can give your users a possibility to log in via social networks.

Here is one more tip for you on how to develop a fitness app — it would be great to allow your users to share their results in these networks. First of all, people like sharing their achievements, and such a feature may encourage them to progress. Secondly, their posts may work as an advertisement, and you will get new users.

Device connectivity

Diverse fitness trackers exist in spades, and users love them. Remember, we provided you with statistics a few paragraphs ago? So, it is important to make your app compatible with wearable gadgets.

Goal setting

Let’s take diet apps as an example. So, you don’t know how many kilos each of your users want to lose or gain, and you can’t plan such things for them. To solve this problem, allow them to set goals on their own. Thanks to this feature, users will not only plan their progress, but also get extra motivation — it is easier to deal with overweight when there is a set of achievable targets ahead.

Geolocation

This feature allows building routes and tracking the number of kilometres left behind. Showing users their achievements right on a map is also a nice way to increase their motivation.

Push notifications

Sport activities make no sense in case they are done not regularly. That’s why it is important to equip your app with notifications feature — it will remind users to complete their fitness challenges and keep them motivated.

Ace in the Hole: Bring Gamification to the Table

Setting goals and meeting them — most probably, your application will have this feature. Isn’t this a part of any game’s mechanics? Then why not to gamify your fitness app? Users love gamification: a gamified running app Zombies, Run! has already been downloaded over 1 million times. And counting.

A couple of Salute the Desk screenshots

Zombies, Run! Screenshots. Source

Want to learn more about mobile app gamification? Check out our special post “Gamifying a Mobile App: Benefits, Dangers, and a Bit of Psychology”.

So, our instructions on how to develop a fitness app are coming to an end, but, obviously, you will also have to find a team which will build your application, and calculate the expenses. We already have separate guides for these tasks, so just check them in case you haven’t done this yet. And good luck to you with your app development!

22 Jun 2018
Anastasia Lushyna / Business Development Expert
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