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How To Make a Fitness Application

I just ran away from the Zombies, yay! That’s something you now hear from a passionate jogger, not an avid gamer.

A couple of years ago fitness apps were just good enough for counting your steps or calories or sending out dreadful notifications that you’ve planned to work-out for fifteens minutes and forgot about that.

Yet today, you can get access to a world-class coach straight from your pocket, ask your nutritionist what to grab for lunch or stick to your diet by having only specified foods delivered to your doorstep (bye-bye temptation to grab that choco cake off the aisle).

“Fitspiration” is everywhere and sports apparel sales keep growing year over year. So, are you on the fitness bandwagon as well?

Why Fitness App Development

Let’s put it this way – people feel the most encouraged to pay for products and/or content related either to either their work or their hobbies.

Considering that an average gym membership costs roughly $800/annually, and the US consumers spend $21.17 billion on sportswear and an additional $14.1 billion on sports clothing, paying a few dollars for a great fitness app isn’t a biggie for most.

And yes, we do have more data to back up this claim.

The global digital healthcare market is expected to hit $379 billion by 2024 according to Global Market Insights research group.


Mobile health market is slated to experience the highest CAGR of 36.5% and hit $205 billion by 2024.

Accenture consumer study found out that the number of people using health apps has doubled since 2014 and reached 33% in 2016. Here are some additional insights:

  • 59% of respondents mentioned using one or more apps for fitness specifically.
  • 52% regularly use diet/nutrition apps
  • 36% pair their health apps with a wearable device for symptom navigation
  • 28% use a dedicated health app to access their patient portal.

Up to 90% of consumers mentioned that they feel fine if an app/wearable device will share data directly with a medical provider. And in general, more consumers (29%) now prefer to schedule virtual doctor appointments over having face-to-face ones mainly due to lower costs, convenience and timely access to care.

Mind those points if you plan to develop a medical mobile app, rather than a general wellness product.

Finally, according to AppAnnie annual report on the global mobile economy, Health & Fitness app category made it to the global top-10 based on the revenues generated (both for iOS and Android platform):

Bottom line – there are plenty of opportunities available both for startups and established businesses within the mHealth domain. The question is how to make a fitness app that gets immediate traction within the target audience.

Types of Fitness Apps Worth Building

Conditionally all fitness apps can be categorized the following way:

Your first step is to decide what type of fitness product you’d like to create and our fitness app development company can advise on the right design & functionality for it!

Key Features of a Fitness App


User Account

Having an attractive personal account is a must for any type of fitness apps. In general, it should offer a one-glance overview of all the data your app is tracking/storing e.g. current progress, workout routines, past exercise/running routes, shopping lists and so on.

If you plan to develop a fitness app with on-demand content or subscription options, user profiles should also securely store billing information, and have an integrated payment gateway.

Social fitness apps should offer more profile customization options, ways to establish connections with other users, share content, subscribe for updates, follow other users etc.

Make sure that the profile data seamlessly syncs from various devices (web, wearable). Integrating Facebook as a login option is another point to consider for better UX.

Activity Log & Tracking

Here’s a quick tip to reduce the fitness app development cost: you don’t need to connect your app to the smartphone sensors for obtaining user’s health data.

Instead, you can use HealthKit and Google Fit APIs to access health data collected from iPhones/Apple Watch and Android gadgets. Currently, they manage and store the following information:

  • Number of steps/distance traveled.
  • Calories burnt.
  • Heartbeat rate
  • Duration of activity/exercise.
  • Heartbeat rate
  • Favorite type of exercise.

Geolocation Functionality


Map design for Zoomlee app by Alty.

Taking advantage of location-based services definitely makes sense for companion wearable apps and fitness apps aimed at tracking active sports activities, for instance, hiking.

Social fitness apps can also take advantage of this technology and suggest new connections or events happening nearby.

For instance, display a map of free training facilities in the area or upcoming sports events e.g. marathons. A social running app can also feature a map of popular routes recommended by other users and matchmake a user with a running mate, who typically jogs nearby.

Nutrition apps may feature a map of suggested healthy eating spots with reviews and recommendations from the community; nearby shops specializing in dietary products, farmer’s markets etc.

Implementing geolocation features will increase the overall cost to build a fitness app, yet will also add delightful depth to your product, which can result in higher user engagement rates, opportunities for partnerships with local businesses and ultimately higher revenues.

Integration With Wearable Devices

Part of the fitness apps booming popularity can be attributed to the growing market of wearables and smartwatches.

If you want to capture a larger audience segment, you should consider supporting various cross-platform integrations and/or launch a dedicated Apple Watch/Android wear app.

Hence, you may want to hire fitness app developers, who already have experience in the domain. Most wearable vendors have public APIs and developer’s kits available:

And if you are up for experimenting, Google has recently released The Mirror API, which allows creating web-based services to interact with Google Glass. For instance, you could build a fitness app that would stream the routes in real time to the runner, alert them about nearby hazards e.g. construction sight ahead of them and show their vitals/distance left on the glass.

Push Notifications

Witty remainders and not-so-gentle naggers that would remind users to exercise more regularly, notify them about upcoming events, new social requests within the app or plainly remind them to stay well hydrated.

Additional Reading: Push Marketing Strategy: 5 Examples for Engaging and Retaining Users

Personalized Content

Creating custom in-app content based on user’s preferences and health goals is essential for a personal training app.

And you have different options in this case:

Offer on-demand live streaming sessions with a personal online trainer, along with an ability to message them for an advice for a subscription fee.

Pack your app with pre-made video training tutorials and offer users to create their own training schedule, and further enhance their workout plans based on smart suggestions based on their preferences. To achieve a high level of content personalization, you’ll need to invest in machine learning and data analysis for powering those suggestion mechanisms. Yet, you won’t need to hire a backend army of personal trainers.

Create a VR fitness studio, where users can train in groups or with a personal trainer without actually leaving their apartments. You can get more insights on VR app development from this post.

Social Functionality

Lack of motivation is the biggest obstacle to regular exercising. Having a supportive community sending you virtual high-fives for running another mile, or losing another pound can be highly motivating.

That’s exactly why social fitness apps have been gaining momentum lately. In fact, the best general fitness apps already feature a certain social component. Here are just a few examples:

  • User leaderboards and daily/weekly challenges that encourage users to be more active and compare their performance with peers.
  • Sharing progress updates, selfies and running routes with either in-app connections or on other social media networks. Tip: Having social integrations can help you grow your user-base faster through attracting audiences from popular networks e.g. Facebook.
  • Set public health goals and find accountability partners.
  • Share your fitness progress and get community support.
  • Exchange tips, ask questions and curate content related to fitness.

Meal Plans & Shopping Lists


Exercising regularly and having poor dietary habits will unlikely get you in a better shape. A lot of sport buffs are also interested in receiving custom meal plans or dietary advice that would complement their current workout plan.

Again, there’s plenty of ways to fulfill this request:

  • Offer on-demand access to a certified nutritionist that would conduct an assessment and create a new diet for the user.
  • Offer pre-made meal plans for popular training regimes and health goals e.g. losing weight, bulking up etc.
  • Allow users to create a pre-made shopping list of healthy eats and snacks. Bonus option – partner with local supplies for one-click delivery.
  • Send out push notifications reminding users to take vitamins, have a healthy snack, grab a meal etc.

Fitness App Development Costs

Ok, so the final price of an app will largely depend on the desired functionality and the rates proposed by the fitness app developers for hire in different regions.

We’ve previously published a large guide outlining how to get an accurate app development price quote, so go check it for starters.

If you want a really rough cost estimate, here’s one too:

  • A simple log tracking/activity app or an MVP with 2-3 features can be built for under $15.000
  • A more advanced app with on-demand video content or live streaming functionality will likely cost you between $50,000-$75.000 to build.
  • Social fitness app development costs will heavily depend on the number of in-app interactions and additional functionality going beyond posting updates & exchanging messages. The final price tag can easily go up to $150,000-$200,000.

And if you already have a project brief and a mobile app development specs list, Alty team would be happy to outline the exact development costs and suggest the best tech stack for your project!

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