Health and fitness has always been a top priority for most humans, and this has increased even more in recent years. However, a decade ago or so, it wasn’t easy for everyone to find fitness coaches for personal training on their desired timings. With the advent of mobile technology, the healthcare and fitness industry found an opportunity to make physical fitness accessible to everyone. Therefore, many startups stepped into the fitness app market. But still, the prime concern for many is how to develop a fitness app that not only just attracts users, but also delivers high ROI?

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As the number of fitness apps began to increase, the market started seeing a variety of apps helping users with their fitness and even mindfulness. Here are the different types of fitness apps, which will help you decide on the type of fitness app that you would like to bring to the market:

Type of Fitness Apps

# 1. Workout Apps

Workout apps are for people who want assistance in sports training or strength exercises. Workout scheduler apps, personal workout apps, and fitness tracking apps are the types that come under the workout apps umbrella. These apps deliver content in many different forms, such as videos, GIFs, audio tracks, 3D models, text descriptions, and much more. Many workout apps leverage sensor data, such as GPS, heart rate, etc.

how to develop a fitness app

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# 2. Diet and Nutrition tracking Apps

Diet and nutrition apps cost less than workout apps, and are very simple to develop unless you are planning to incorporate video lectures or recipes. The user can leverage these apps to stay in-tune with their diet and nutrition plan. These apps can co-exist with workout apps. They complement workout apps by helping users with their diet plans.

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# 3. Activity Tracking Apps

Activity tracking apps are quite different from traditional workout apps. They track daily physical activity, such as steps, sleep quality, calories burned, and many other activities. These apps come in handy to users that want to keep track of their mental and physical health.

#4. Yoga and Meditation Apps

Many times people relate yoga and meditation apps with spirituality, which isn’t untrue. However spirituality is not solely what these apps are about. In fact, these apps are focused on physical health and mindfulness. Mostly, these apps contain video speeches, images, and GIFs to make it easy for users to learn yoga and meditation.

Current Market Scenario

Marketwatch estimates that the global Fitness app market revenue will grow to $1.68 billion, with a forecasted CAGR of almost 12% during the period 2020-2024.

The analysis considers sales from different segments, including lifestyle monitoring, health monitoring, and other health and fitness-related apps. The study also found that in 2019, the lifestyle monitoring app segment had the highest share in the market. The high market share was due to the popularity of workout apps and diet and nutrition apps.

How to develop a Fitness App – the process

Create an App Monetization Plan

Not all fitness apps are directly focused on earning money via an advertisement or subscription. Apps like Nike run are merely for branding and to sell merchandise. Some other fitness apps are designed to support fitness tracking devices (i.e. Fitbit). Be it whatever the purpose, the ROI parameters should be taken care of while developing a fitness app MVP (minimum viable product). This will help you verify the feasibility of your app idea in the early stages.

Hire Experienced Developers

The quality of the fitness app depends on the people (developers) behind the development process. I recommend that you at least hire UI/UX designers that have created health or fitness apps in the past. However, procuring an in-house development team for your fitness app development will be a costly affair that will consume a lot of your time.

Hence, it is a smart choice to hire a software development agency partner that has experience in developing fitness apps. Outsourcing the development process to a reliable partner will help you put more focus on other essential aspects of the fitness app launch. You can create your app marketing strategy and strengthen your monetization plan whilst your development partner creates your fitness app.

The Development Process

Whether you’re developing your fitness app in-house or outsourcing the development process, you must have your product detailed requirement document in place. Once, you’ve created the document, you can share it with your development team/partner, and they’ll start developing. 

I recommend you to choose the Agile development methodology if you think your requirement document may require some tweaks in the future. The agile methodology makes use of several sprints in which the app is developed. The following are the typical development phases for fitness app development:

The inception/initiation phase is where you collaborate with the development team and define the scope of work, project roadmap, and plan sufficient resources with a set budget.

Technical documentation and UI/UX design phase involves business analysts, user interface experts and experience designers. The business analysts will prepare a technical specification for the fitness app; these specifications are aligned with the project scope and requirement document. The designers will use the technical specification to draw wireframes and create the final design.

Fitness mobile app development starts right after the UI/UX is designed, and the app architecture is finalized. Your developers will develop and integrate the app back-end and front-end to roll-out the final build. You’ll need separate developers If you’re building your app for both iOS and Android platforms. During the development, developers will be integrating several third-party APIs to implement features such as notifications, payment, data analytics, etc.

Quality assurance is an integral part of Agile development sprints, but in waterfall development methodology, quality assurance comes after the app has fully developed. So basically, whatever the developers work upon, the quality assurance (testing) team will crosscheck it with the requirements (both technical and conceptual), and share any identified bugs with developers.

Before the final release, the fitness app is finally shared with you for a final test after the quality assurance team has green flagged the developed product. With your consent, the development team uploads the final build to the respective app stores.

Make sure to frequently stay in tune with the development team to make sure that their development strategy is aligned with your business goals. 

Features You Should Have in Your Fitness App

Easy Onboarding and Personalization

For most mobile applications, user registration and onboarding is a deal-breaker. Surveys have confirmed that more than half of new users abandon mobile apps during the onboarding process. The answer most frequently provided by users when asked why, is the complex onboarding process.

It needs to be noted that providing a seamless onboarding experience for fitness apps is not an easy task. Fitness apps require user’s health information such as height, weight, BMI, sex, age, and goals for personalization. Also, if the app utilizes sensor data, users will have to connect the app to their tracking device.

Monitor Health Indicators

Recently, Apple made a breakthrough with the launch of the ECG measurement feature in its smart-watches. The feature was in the news as it saved significant lives. Your fitness app should help users to keep track of their health indicators such as steps, heart rate, sleep quality, pulse, arterial tension, etc. Health-related data that your app incorporates should be visualized for easy comprehension. 

Social Media Integration

Social media integration is a must-have feature for fitness apps. The feature comes with several benefits. Firstly, it will allow you to make the registration and onboarding process faster, as the users can easily sync their social accounts in order to sign up to the app.

Secondly, the social integration feature will create a sense of accomplishment for the users as they will be able to share their health goals and achievements with their friends and social groups. Lastly, social media integration will provide app owners with free branding, as the users will share their achievements on their social networks. 

Workout and Meal-Plan

For workout or diet and nutrition apps, it is essential to help users plan their exercises and keep up with nutrition intake. Fitness apps can automatically create workout and meal-plans based on the user goals and current physical state. These goals should be mentioned by the user during the onboarding process.

Activity Log

The past activity records are crucial for the users to see their progress throughout time. I recommend you should only save a week’s or month’s data in the smartphone storage. This is because a heavy app size makes your app prone to uninstallation and low performance. Therefore, the rest of the historical data should be saved in the cloud. This will make sure that your app doesn’t consume much storage space on the user’s mobile. 

Payment Option

Developing an ROI-centric fitness app would require you to integrate the payment feature. For example, your app can ask users to pay for exclusive content or health-related products; for which they will prefer to pay online. Having the option of a variety of payment methods to choose from, will make the subscription or buying process easy for the users.

Push Notifications

Push notifications have been successful in attracting users to use apps regularly. Via notifications, you can remind the users about their fitness goals and achievements. Similar to self-learning educational apps, fitness apps are also very dependent on the user’s motivation. You can utilize the notification feature to remind users about their fitness or diet routine.

In-App Video Downloads and Content Bookmarking

Fitness apps such as diet & nutrition and yoga & meditation, have a variety of content. Due to the high volume, it is hard for users to search for the same content whenever they need it again. Hence, it is beneficial to have video downloads and content bookmarking features within your app. Recently, we at Nimble AppGenie implemented a video downloading (offline mode) feature that does not allow users to pirate the video. However, the video downloading part can also be used to tempt users to subscribe for a premium membership.

What is the Cost of Development?

The fitness app development cost majorly depends on the type of app that you’re planning to create. The variables that determine the cost are the app platform, complexity, development team, developer’s location, technology stack, and most importantly, the app features.

The cost of development for two operating systems (with the likely choices being iOS and Android) will be less than simply double the amount of the single platform development. This is because of the reusability of UI/UX elements and front end design and some elements of the back-end work. But, developing the fitness app for both mobile platforms will of course still increase the cost as compared to one platform. We have already written a guide on what your cost of fitness app development is likely to be.

Conclusion

So, how will you ensure that your app is focused on driving faster ROI? The answer to this has already been discussed in the article. An ROI driven app always has the best monetisation strategy, coupled with all the necessary features. Of course, the cost of development plays a role, as it is a significant part of the overall investment. The market already has several strong players that are dominating the fitness app industry. My recommendation is to focus on app quality, unless you launch a fitness app based on a differentiation strategy.

Be it any fitness app type; the development process remains the same. However, the feature list will differ, as workout apps will be more dependent on sensor data and data visualisation. On the other hand, apps like meditation apps will deliver content in the form of videos, audio, text, and GIFs. 

It is advisable to create an MVP of your fitness app first. It will allow you to see how your app performs and see if it serves the intended purpose. Based on the feedback and learning gained from the process, you can roll-out the full-fledged fitness app. If you don’t have a good understanding of how to develop an MVP, read the following guide – The Ultimate Guide To MVP App Development

Now, you have the answer to your question – how to develop a fitness app?. If you’re looking for a development partner that can assist you with your fitness app’s success, feel free to reach us at contact@nimbleappgenie.com . We have been working in the health and fitness app market for more than five years and have developed several apps that are leading their industry niche. You can check out our portfolio here: Nimble AppGenie Portfolio