How To Create a Fitness App: Steps and Costs

15 min
Samantha Khoptii
Technical Writer
Anatolii Pazhyn
CEO

Health has always been a pinnacle of personal priorities. It seems like there are few people left in the world who do not pop up in fresh workout attire and start mimicking the moves of a trainer. In a world where digital convenience is king, having a fitness app not only helps maintain regular exercise habits but also offers measurable success. Consider this: in January 2024 alone, MyFitnessPal topped the fitness app charts, pulling in over a million in in-app revenues. This impressive statistic underscores the lucrative potential of entering the app market.

For entrepreneurs passionate about fitness and health but inexperienced in digital product development, fear not. Today, creating a fitness app doesn't require a deep understanding of technology, coding, or programming languages. We’ll help you get a closer look at how to make a fitness app that will be opened by several million smartphones. Let’s warm up by exploring the different types of fitness applications.

Types of Fitness Apps

To have an idea of the overall fitness app market structure, it is crucial to learn about all the types of fitness apps before deciding to develop one. From activity tracking to meal planning apps, all of them serve different purposes and are designed with a different focus on diverse features.

types of fitness apps

Activity Tracking Apps

Activity tracking apps can be considered the basic types of mobile fitness apps that emerged first in the fitness app market. Their task lies in monitoring your physical activity or lack thereof. Mostly, such apps use the sensors of your mobile or smartwatch to measure walking, running, or cycling. They track distance, speed, steps, and calories you have burnt. Furthermore, the social features of popular running apps like Strava and Nike Run Club allow you to not only monitor and record your performance but also share your progress with your existing network of peers.

Diet and Nutrition Apps

A diet and nutrition app is a kind of wellness tool that focuses on monitoring the user's dietary preferences. This wellness solution helps you monitor calories, provides an overview of the causes of weight fluctuations, and advises you on what to eat or avoid. It also includes a variety of workout logs and various other fitness apps that you can pair with. By and large, such mobile applications contain most of the goods and drinks in a common database with the ability to scan the purchase through the device’s camera. MyFitnessPal can be regarded as a fine example of such a type of application, which tracks food consumption and helps reach the goals of the diet.

Workout Apps

A very common type of fitness applications are workout apps. They offer structured workout routines that can be done anywhere and anytime and can be seen as a virtual coach. These apps usually include a number of workouts for different body parts and can often be tailored to user demands. Although often it is a paid version, they can offer great features such as video tutorials, progress tracking, and sharing of progress on social media. Two great examples of workout apps are Freeletics and Sworkit because they offer highly variable types of workouts, such as HIIT or strength training and flex, and can be tailored to the individual if the user inputs their body measurements and fitness level.

Niche Fitness Apps

This sort of application is aimed specifically at a certain type of activity, such as yoga or meditation. The role of such software is to guide the user through different exercises or meditation practices, usually with user experience-enhancing features, such as logs for the progress in flexibility or training sessions, recommended exercises or meditation based on the user’s activity, and so on. Furthermore, the service should be all-encompassing: for instance, yoga apps should incorporate plenty of yoga styles and be suitable for beginners and advanced users alike.

Comprehensive Wellness Apps

As an alternative to single-feature software, one could develop comprehensive wellness applications that cover all areas of fitness, diet, mental health, and beyond. To clarify, the given type of software is supposed to provide a holistic wellness experience, including all health-related areas on the platform. This includes fitness and diet tracking, but the program can be broadened significantly: in particular, such applications usually feature meditation and mindfulness practices, habit-train tools, and sleep tracking. In the industry, the two most widely known types of this software are Fitbit and Apple Health, promoting an omnipresent wellness approach.

Core Features in a Fitness App

When developing a fitness app, it’s crucial to focus on the features which will not only attract the users but also keep them hooked. Here are the core features that every fitness app should consider including to ensure a comprehensive and user-friendly experience:

User Sign-Up and Profile Management

Users should be allowed to create their personalized profiles. They can register to the app either through their social media accounts or simply through the email they are using. Users should be able to use the profiles to follow their progress, establish fitness goals, and tailor the app to their liking. This will keep them engaged and tied up to your app for no reason.

Workout Plans and Scheduling

A core component of any fitness app is the ability to browse, select, and follow various workout plans. Whether it’s weight loss, strength training, or flexibility workouts, users should have access to a variety of options. Additionally, integrating a scheduling feature helps users plan their workouts, adding structure to their fitness routine.

Activity Tracking

This feature must be necessarily integrated into a fitness app. Tracking and recording all your physical activities, from walking to running and cycling, is made easy with activity tracker. It tracks metrics like distance, pace, and calories burned, using the phone’s sensors or through integration with wearable devices.

Meal Planning and Calorie Tracking

It seems logical to include meal planning and calorie tracking as an option for users who are focused on their diet and food consumption. They can log their lunch, breakfast and dinner of the day, the app can check it to the previously set diet plans and provide more accurate recommendations of the nutritious foods they should have on a daily basis.

Social Media Integration

This fitness app feature allows users to share their accomplishments and achievements with their friends on social networks. As a result, the sense of community may motivate them towards their fitness goals. There is also a very positive marketing aspect of it – you are increasing the visibility of your app when users share their activity tracked by it with friends.

Gamification

Adding gamification elements such as points, badges, leaderboards, and challenges makes the app more engaging. These features inspire users to set and reach their goals, by adding a playful, competitive twist to their fitness journey.

Live Streaming and On-Demand Videos

This feature will also greatly improve the user experience. By eliminating the difficulty or inconvenience of attending classes, the chances of exercising regularly will increase.

Notifications and Reminders

This is another crucial feature that must not be ignored if the goal is to retain the users. Workout reminders, notifications about new content being added, or just a quote or fun fact of the day can motivate users.

In-App Purchases

Including in-app purchases will be beneficial for some users as they get to buy some premium features like personal training plans, advanced nutritional advice, or some unique series of workouts. Thus, your app gets monetized and users get a more customizable experience.

Multi-Language Support

To reach a broader audience, offering multiple language options can be beneficial. This feature helps accommodate users from different linguistic backgrounds, enhancing accessibility and user satisfaction.

Detailed Analytics

Detailed analytics can also be beneficial both for the application’s users and developers. The users can continually track their progress with accurate numbers and visual stats for their workouts, diet, and overall fitness discipline. While developers can utilize this data for improving application functionality and user convenience.

How Fitness Apps Make Money: Monetization Strategies

A fine workout app should not only help its users achieve their fitness goals, be it losing weight or gaining muscle but also gain capital for their owners. Therefore, when building a fitness app you need to consider an efficient monetization model to create cash flow. Here are the strategies that work:

Paid Apps

This type of monetization probably only works if you already have enough followers willing to pay a couple of bucks to download your mobile fitness app. It’s not without reason that the number of paid applications in the Apple Store is less than 5%. Few people will pay even a small amount of money for unknown software. Therefore, paid apps only work for well-known brands, while others opt for the next model.

Freemium Apps

Probably the most common monetization model is apps with free basic features and advertisements. Those wishing to access premium ad-free content can subscribe. Typically, multiple subscription models are offered with varying features and prices to cater to different customer needs. Some paid subscriptions may come with a free trial. For budding startups, free applications with the option of paying extra for advanced features are the best monetization option.

Ads and Sponsored Content

It's no secret that advertising can make banks, especially if you have a large number of users. But you need to be careful, as annoying and out-of-place advertising can harm your reputation. Do not abuse the amount of advertised content, and also promote only those goods related to sports and health. The same goes for sponsorships - partner with sports and nutrition brands, gyms, or fitness influencers that can truly offer quality services and products to your users.

In-App Purchases

A common practice is to implement an e-commerce store into your application, where users can purchase various products. Depending on the type of application, it could be sports equipment, clothing, or sports nutrition. Additionally, you can develop and offer customized training or nutrition plans for a specified one-time fee.

fitness app monetization strategies

Steps To Create Your Fitness App

Now that your muscles are warmed up, you're ready for the bigger challenge of building your workout app. In this section, we will work out all parts of the development process, so you figure out how to develop a fitness app and can easily move on to practice.

Step #1 - Market Research

Any fitness application development begins with thorough research, which is a part of the project discovery phase. This is homework that you cannot feed to a dog, since the success of your application depends on how well you do it. There are three perspectives to explore the market from:

  • You, namely your USP: Think about what is special about your product, what value it can bring, and how best to convey it.
  • Your competitors: Research your direct competitors, make a case for each of them, outlining their strengths and weaknesses. This way, you can avoid the mistakes of others and steal (as an artist, of course) the best of them.
  • Your target audience: Create a profile of your client. Think about:

    - who they are (age, location, lifestyle, average income, and so on);

    - what they want (their fitness and health goals);

    - what they don’t want (difficulties preventing them from achieving their goals, or boring and repetitive exercises).

Your social page, YouTube channel, as well as interviews and surveys, will help you research your audience. The better you get to know your customer, the easier it will be to give them what they need and win them over with your app.

Step #2 - Outlining Your Application

The second stage of the development process involves defining your app type, goals, basic features, monetization strategies, and the platforms it will operate on.

So, first, determine what type of fitness app you are creating. Will it be a health app focused on overall wellness, a workout plan app for specific training routines, a meal planning app for diet-related guidance, or a niche app like yoga or strength training? The goal of your app should address a specific problem or need within the fitness market, such as helping users lose weight, improve their diet, track their workouts, or manage their health more effectively. Based on the app’s type and goals, list the basic features that are essential for functionality and user engagement.

Also, do not forget that your app must bring money. You could opt for memberships that provide exclusive content and features for a recurring fee, in-app purchases offering one-time payments for specialized plans or features, merchandise sales, or even sponsorships and advertisements. Choose a model that aligns with your business objectives and adds value to your users, ensuring a sustainable revenue stream.

Finally, choose your platform. Decide whether your app will be developed for iOS, Android, or both. This choice may depend on your target audience's preferences and device usage. It’s essential to consider where your potential users are most active and which platform aligns best with your marketing strategies.

Step #3 - UI/UX Design, Prototype Development & Documentation

After outlining your app's features, the third stage of fitness app development involves designing and prototyping. This stage is crucial because it turns your ideas and feature list into concrete, interactive designs that shape your app's user interface (UI) and user experience (UX). Also, at this point is the perfect time to think about mobile app accessibility to take into account all segments of society, including people with disabilities.

Design the User Interface (UI)

  • Visual Design:

    - Style Guide: Develop a consistent style guide that includes colors, fonts, and logo placements that align with your brand identity.

    - Layouts and Elements: Design the layouts for each screen of your app, including buttons, icons, and other visual elements that users will interact with

  • User Experience (UX) Design:

    - User Flows: Map out user flows to visualize the paths users will take to complete various tasks within your app, such as signing up, logging workouts, or accessing meal plans.

    - Wireframes: Create wireframes for each screen, which serve as the blueprint for your app. Wireframes should outline where each UI element will be placed but do not include style or color.

Develop a Prototype

  • Clickable Prototype: Develop a clickable prototype that simulates the user interface and interactions. With this tool, you can test your app's performance and usability before diving into development. Use prototyping tools such as Adobe XD, Sketch, or InVision to create high-fidelity prototypes that include the final design elements.
  • User Testing: Conduct user testing sessions to gather feedback on the app’s design and usability. This can involve target audience members navigating the prototype and providing insights into their experience. Then utilize the feedback to identify pain points and opportunities to enhance the user experience.

Refine Based on Feedback

  • Iterate Designs: Based on the feedback received during user testing, make necessary adjustments to the designs and prototype. This may involve tweaking the layout, improving navigation, or simplifying user flows.
  • Finalize UI/UX: Once the prototype meets the usability standards and user expectations, finalize the designs. Ensure every element is well-polished and the interface delivers a seamless, engaging experience.

Documentation

  • Design Specifications: Create detailed design specifications for the development team. Include the final designs, user flows, and descriptions of all interactions and animations in this document.
  • Asset Preparation: Prepare all graphical assets, including icons, images, and animations, in the formats required by the development team.

Step #4 - Tech Stack Selection

Now it’s time to pump some iron because we are at the critical phase where technical aspects of development will be discussed. When planning your fitness app, the selection of the right gear, in our case, a tech stack, is significant. While everything has to be taken step by step, this choice will affect not only your budget but the future functionality and scalability of your app. At the beginning of this article, we assured you that you don’t need any technical knowledge to make your fitness app and we’ll keep our word. There are several paths you can take to bring your fitness app idea to life without needing to become a programmer yourself:

  • Use App Builders: The first method you can apply to build an app without using coding is a so-called app builder, which is the platform that lets you create mobile applications using drag-and-drop interfaces. There might be special templates and facilities for fitness apps. The app builders could be quite useful since you can design your app rather simply. These tools also enable you to incorporate basic functions into your app, like workout plans, nutrition tracking, push notifications, and content updates.
  • Lease or License Existing Solutions: Some companies offer white-label solutions, where you can lease the rights to use their existing fitness app infrastructure under your brand. This can be a quick way to get to the market without dealing with the complexities of MVP software development.
  • Hire Fitness App Developers: If you need a more custom solution than what app builders offer, a great way to create an app is to hire developers. These can be freelance developers on platforms like Upwork, Freelancer, and Fiverr. However, you may want to consider a more refined solution where you partner with a professional development agency. This option is more expensive, but you get an experienced team of developers who will help you from designing your product to the actual development, testing, and project management. Additionally, such companies often provide support and maintenance even after the app’s launch and enable you to scale it as it becomes more popular.

Step #5 - Building, Testing and Repeating

In this crucial stage, the fitness app takes shape through both front-end and back-end development. The front end is what users interact with, while the back end handles data processing and security.

Major attention is paid to quality assurance: as each part is programmed, it is subject to testing, which proves that the component functions correctly and has no bugs. Then, the developers fix any issues found and test the component once again. The cycle of “build-test-refine” is iterative.

At the same time, communication stays an integral part of the process: stakeholders receive updates on their product on a regular basis, whether by email, Slack, or video calls.

At this stage, several things happen:

  • The app integrates with whatever services are required in the customer’s health metrics – e.g. Apple Health or Google Fit.
  • Testing takes numerous forms, such as automated, manual, and other;
  • The app’s form and performance are being directed at the optimal version by analyzing the stakeholders’ feedback. This allows you to manage costs and get the most out of your app with the smallest effort.

The cycle of build, test, and refine is repeated multiple times until an app is bug-free and performs as the users expected.

Step #6 - Deployment & Launch

Once your fitness app is polished and ready, launch it on platforms like the Google Play Store and Apple App Store. The listings for your particular fitness app should be attention-grabbing with optimal app store optimization. Therefore, the descriptions for the respective fitness applications should contain strong and concise copy and eye-catching visuals containing the app screenshots and an engaging video.

Once the application is officially out, the promotion phase cannot be overlooked. Actively promote your app through social media, partnerships with influencers, and targeted content marketing. Regularly review user feedback and performance metrics to refine and update your app, ensuring it meets user needs and grows in popularity.

steps to create a fitness app

How Much Does It Cost To Build a Fitness App?

Now that you already know how to build a fitness app, you might be curious about the cost involved in bringing your fitness app idea to life. Unfortunately, pinning down a specific price is challenging due to numerous influencing factors. The type of app and the breadth of features play significant roles in determining the final cost. Custom fitness apps, which require specialized development services, tend to be more expensive than those created with app builders.

Costs also vary based on the development approach. Freelancers might charge differently based on their geographical location—for example, developers in the US and Australia may charge around $110 per hour, whereas those from Central and Eastern Europe might offer rates as low as $50 per hour. Remember, creating an app goes beyond coding. It takes a team effort involving business analysts, designers, and QA specialists. Working with an established development team like AnyforSoft can provide a more cohesive and efficient creation process. Reach out to us to discuss your project for a detailed quote and timeline.

AnyforSoft's Experience in Fitness App Development

You've reached the cooldown phase of this article, where we'll lightly stretch our discussion toward AnyforSoft's expertise in fitness app development. Over 12 years in the business and more than 150 launched projects make our team multiskilled and customer-oriented.

With a team of more than 60 talented experts, we are perfectly equipped with Python, React, and many other technologies required to launch impeccable enterprise wellness app solutions and excellent services for startups.

When you partner with us, you're not just getting sports app development services; you're investing in a friendly partnership built on mutual understanding and trust, with a team that cares deeply about bringing your vision to life. From initial concept to ongoing maintenance, we stand by our clients every step of the way, ensuring your fitness app is not only functional but also a step ahead of the competition.

FAQs

The development time for a fitness app can vary widely, typically ranging from 3 to 9 months, depending on the complexity of the app's features and the development approach used.

The best programming language for creating a fitness app depends on the platform; Swift is ideal for iOS, Kotlin or Java for Android, and JavaScript with frameworks like React Native for cross-platform development.

Advanced features for a fitness application should include personalized workout and diet plans, real-time activity tracking, integration with wearable devices, AI-driven analytics for performance improvement, and interactive social engagement tools.

Want to work with us?