Every person always wants to be healthier and look better. However not every person has enough time for it: long working hours, commute between home and office, additional responsibilities, and other things eating all our time. However, a simple thing such as a smartphone can help a lot of people to achieve these goals: look fit, and be healthier.
According to the latest IHRSA report, fitness industry revenue was about $81bn in 2015 and grew to $83.1bln in 2016.
If you have new exciting fitness app ideas that would help its users to be fit and achieve their goals, it won't be a problem to make a new application that will attract users. But what it takes to create a fitness app? How to find good developers, and how to make sure the app has all the essential features? Let's figure out!
Before thinking about how to make a fitness app, let's talk about different fitness app types. Main categories are:
Workout apps that help track progress;
Apps that help a user find a trainer.
Let's check each of them closer.
These have a massive database with different workouts, for different body types, different skills and levels, and more. Trainer application allows a user to set his goal, set his parameters, and the app will make a fitness program for him to achieve his personal goal. For example, trainer applications for running can ask the user about his experience: whether he never ran before, or already ran a marathon. Then it will ask him what he would like to achieve: the first 5k for a newbie, or a marathon for an advanced user. After those simple questions, the application will generate a program for him, will make a plan, and the user will only need to follow everything, to achieve his desired results.
Great example of the triner application is Zygo. When we worked on this application, its primary goal was to help users find exciting workouts for water sports and guide them through audio tracks. If you like swimming - try this app, we hope it will help you to achieve new records!
Progress Tracking Apps
This is a traditional fitness application. The best example is an app for gym workouts: it allows the user to create his routine, and track the progress each time he is in the gym. The app will enable him to track his current results (sets, reps, weights, and more). Will show him useful information that can help him progress further. Some apps also help with user's diet - they allow users to track calories, macronutrients, and other vital parameters.
Apps that help find a trainer
These work similar to Uber application. They allow the user to sign up, choose his favorite activity type, his location, and the app will show him best trainers around. Of course, the app will also have a Trainer-side application, which will allow Trainers to register, fill all their info, post their achievements, certifications, reviews, and more.
These fitness apps are more difficult to develop (because there are two apps inside one - for the user and a trainer), but they can be easier to monetize. By the way, we already made something similar. Please check the LyvFit application: Portfolio: LyvFit
In this article, we talk about a traditional progress tracking application. However, we are going to cover others soon as well.
So, how to create a fitness app? What does it take to develop a workout app for iOS or Android? Let's see.
First of all, we will need an idea and precise specifications. How the app will work, how it will engage users, and how it will help them achieve their goals. It is also important to think about the business model, how the application will be able to generate revenue for its owners? Premium features, advertisements, paid programs or subscriptions?
The most important thing is to make the easy to use. If we are making an app for sports and fitness - most of the time user won't be able to look for a feature. It has to be easily accessible - athlete in the gym, or runner won't be happy to pause the workout just to find a button in the app.
App also has to help people achieve their goals. If the app will look great and fast, but won't do what user needs - there is no way the user will stick to it. If we make an app that helps people work out in the gym - it has to have all the main features that will help the user, such as:
- write down all the weights, reps, and sets;
- track the progress of a current workout;
- track overall progress: view stats and graphs;
- view history of all previous workouts;
- have a library of exercises or the ability to add custom exercise;
And of course, the app has to be beautiful. There are lots of apps that do what they have to. But if the app does not feel right, and looks boring - the user is likely to switch to a competitor. Also, there are lots of examples where the app is fine, but some features are lacking. In those cases, users are only staying because of the design or excellent user experience.
But to really keep the user with us, we need some killer feature, something that is not available in other apps. Workouts made using Artificial Intelligence for particular user's needs? Using Augmented Reality to show the correct form of each exercise with 3D athletes? These are just examples from the top of the head. There are lots of other great ideas waiting to be implemented!
When basics are ready, we can start to think about wireframes and design. It is essential to build a fitness app that is fast, intuitive, and simple to use. When in a gym, or when running - user won't be able to browse all those menus to find how to start a workout. Everything has to be dead simple, and accessible with one tap (or even without taps, if possible).
When designs are ready, we can start about the tech stack. Usually, fitness application has the next parts:
iOS application, usually done with Swift;
Android application. Developers can use Java or Kotlin to make a native app
Back-End server (API) to save and synchronize all the data. There are lots of technologies that can be used for this. Technically, sports application are not that difficult so it can be done with Ruby on Rails, Node.js, hosted on Firebase, Amazon AWS, or any other solution.
If you have questions about tech stack or would like to know what works best for your project, contact us, and we will help!
Which sections and features each sports application should have? Let's see!
Login and Registration
If you plan to allow users to track and save their progress, we will need to create accounts for them. It will help us saving data, and making sure everything is synchronized between the application and the server. There are multiple ways to create accounts. Classic email and password registration. Phone number with SMS verification. Social logins, and others.
Depending on your goals, you can choose any of them, or even combine. Want users to signup faster, and provide all the main info with a couple of taps? Go with Social logins. Would like to allow a user to provide some additional data? In this case, email registration can work well.
Development of authentication and authorization flow depends a lot on the elected way. However, on average, 40 hours are completely fine to make the basic registration. The price for this will be around $1,400.
Workouts Library: List of Workouts, and Workout Info.
This part is crucial. The more workout programs your app will have, the better. If workouts can be personalized - it is even better. And of course - Workout details should look stunning, so the user will want to try them right away.
Technically, basic workouts library is easy to develop. We only need to create all the records in the database and show them in the list. However, in most cases, it won't be enough. Ideally, we should have an admin panel that will allow project owners to create, edit and delete workouts. Updated workouts library will be then synced to the application, and it will ensure that application always has the latest workouts data. Even more - we will not even need to post new applications to the App Store or Play Market to make these changes to workouts.
Except creating new workouts, admin panel will also help to keep track of most popular workouts, so you will know what users are interested in, and how to proceed.
Another step forward would be personalized workouts. If you take running - we could ask the user about his experience, and provide a personalized program for him. If he is a newbie - he might need 3 months to run his first 5k. If he ran before, we could ask him his records, and adjust the program accordingly.
Using Artificial Intelligence (AI) we could also try to personalize workouts even more. For example, a user could set his goal (for example, losing some weight), describing his current parameters (activity levels, weight, and so on), we could tailor a personalized workout for him.
Personalized programs will be helpful for both sides: to you, as a project owner, and to your users. For users, the average program might not always be okay. Some might need more time to achieve their goals. Others might not be able to do all the exercises, and they will need to figure out replacements. For a project owner, this is an excellent opportunity for monetization. The better your workout programmes, the more people will be happy to use your app, and even pay for unique workout programmes.
Development of a workout library takes at least 2 weeks ($2,800). Additional features like workout editor, personalization and others will increase the development time and prices accordingly.
To make Workouts Library more exciting and helpful to the user, it is a good idea to add photos and videos of each exercise. It will also dramatically increase the chances that user will stay, and will continue using the app. We all know that feeling when something has been described in the text, but it was not that clear. The user will be confused and will try to find an alternative. And if your app will include detailed photos and videos, it will help a lot.
Videos can also help monetize the app. If text description with photos is not enough - we could add a premium subscription, which would allow users to view videos, to make sure exercises are done with perfect form.
Another, even better idea, is to use Augmented Reality. Imagine if the user would be able to see how to do an exercise through a camera: he would be able to view a 3D figure of an athlete, doing an exercise. How awesome would it be?
Of course, you can add even more interesting touches to the application. If you will need a more precise estimation for custom features - just contact us.
Workouts History and Progress
Another critical section that we need when we make a fitness app is a workouts history. It will help the user to see his previous workouts, compare results, and see the progress.
Workouts History is just a list with all the previous workouts. By tapping on it, the app will show more info about the workout: time, date, results, photos, and more. Of course, workouts history will be saved on the server under user's account so that he can see all the same data on all the devices, all the platforms, and on each his new device in the future. To do it, after each workout its data will be sent to our API server, saved in the database, and will be accessible in the history in the future.
A progress screen will show user stats on his progress. Weights that he lifts for bodybuilding, distances, and speed for running, learned asanas for yoga and more. Usually, progress screens have charts, graphs or lists with the most interesting data. All the stats are calculated on the server, and the application will only translate the raw data into its visual representation.
Basic Workout History and Progress screens can take around a week of work, and prices start from $1,400.
This is a core of the application. You can't make a workout app without a Current Workout screen. It will help a user to track his current workout while training. If you are targeting runners - this screen will show a map, user's route, speed, and other stats. If you are targeting weightlifters - this screen can contain a list of all the exercises they plan to do, previous results, and today values. Other applications can also show current and next exercise, additional info on correct exercise technique, videos, and more. For some activities, current workout screen can also play soma audio instructions or notifications.
Development of this screen will depend a lot on the number of selected features. Prices and timeframes start from 1 week and $1,400 for a usual list of next exercises and fields to track current results. If you plan to include map, route, audio instructions, speed calculations and more - this screen can take 2 or 3 weeks ($2,800 - $4,200).
We just covered all the essential features that need to be developed when you create a workout app. However, these days "basic" is never enough. To engage users, you might need to think about additional features.
What about social features? User's friends could comment or "like" each other activities. Besides, it could help users to achieve their goals: just simple comments could help users share their experiences, tips, and feedback. If one person sees his friend stuck with the same results - he might help him with advice, for example.
Or maybe leaderboard? We are making a sports app, and it would be interesting for users to see where their results are. How do they compare to people in their city? Or country? Or whole world? It's fun to know that your deadlifts are one of the best in the city, or that you run faster than anyone in a neighborhood.
Few apps can exist without an admin panel. It helps track new users, answer support questions, keep workouts library up-to-date, manage transactions, deactivate users, and more.
Admin panels can have hundreds of features. It is crucial to outline those that have to be included in the release version - it will help to make precise estimation and to make a development plan.
On average, a most important feature of an admin panel are:
- List of users and their info
- List of workouts and their details
- List of transactions
- Stats about user engagement, user number growth, and more.
On average, prices for admin panel start from $3,000 and depend a lot on a number of features that need to be included.
Now when we know all the features that app will have, we need to make sure that its business model will be sustainable. We need to think about:
How much it costs to support the application after the release (maintenance costs, server costs, etc.). This question will have different answers for each project. It depends on the number of services used, number of users, database size, and more. If you need help - just write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will help you to calculate maintenance costs.
How to monetize the application, and make sure it covers maintenance costs and generates profit. To start thinking about it, we will need to know the price of maintenance. Also, we need to think about different monetization types. Should we add monthly subscriptions for premium features? Make a paid app? Add In-App purchases for premium features or premium workouts?
How to make users want to pay for the app? Of course, we can choose any monetization type, but will users be happy to purchase it? Are those premium features are indeed worth it? Or maybe the user is fine using the free version of your application?
The best way is to think about the most exciting features in your app. Those that everyone would want to use. Maybe it is some enhanced workout programmes. Or interesting stats that will help a user to find his weakest spots. Our goal here is to see those features, give the user a taste of it, and when they are used to it - we can ask for a small fee in return.
In this article, we tried to cover everything that one needs to know when they build a workout app for iOS or Android. Tech stack, number of developers needed, most important features, and more.
Let's see the final table with estimations for a basic workout application for one platfrom (iOS or Android or web) below:
|Registration and login||40||$1,400|
|Workouts History and Progress||40||$1,400|
|Total||286 hours or 10 weeks||$10,000|
If you are interested to make a fitness application - just let us know. Our experienced iOS and Android developers worked on multiple sports applications and would be happy to help you with development too.