Published: November 10, 2017
26 min read
Last updated: May 2, 2022
In this article, you'll learn:
🏋️♂️ How to Create a Fitness Application for Gym, Yoga Studio or Health Club
🤳 Gym Scheduling Software Example: 24GO App
💪 Activity, Nutrition & Workouts - The 3 Whales of the Mobile Sports Industry
📱 Top Features For Your Application
💰 Fitbit-like App Development Costs
🖥️ Tech Tips
💸 Available Monetization Models
The fitness industry has been on the rise during the last years — so many companies have been investing in mobile app development. And the situation doesn’t seem to change!
For millions of people going to the gym, jogging, or doing yoga has turned from a part-time hobby into a lifestyle. Mobile technologies went through similar stages: from unusual devices for tech geeks to a thing we can hardly imagine our lives without.
Both Startups and Fitness Businesses (owners of gyms, yoga studios, and health clubs) started to actively build fitness apps during the last few years. According to Reports and Data, it encouraged the rapid growth of the global fitness app market:
Stats by Reports and Data
As we can see, the global Fitness App market is forecasted to grow at an annual rate of 23.5%. It means that the market will grow from $2.92 billion in 2019 ➡️ to $14.64 billion in 2027.
For traditional offline gyms, the coronavirus lockdowns became a real challenge. However, for fitness mobile apps they turned out to be an opportunity. As billions of people were trapped in their homes, mobile workout applications became a convenient tool to keep the body in shape and be full of energy for many people. Google Trends proves that as well!
How СOVID-19 Impacts Fitness Industry Transformation
Pay attention to leaps in Google searches for "fitness apps" worldwide first in December 2019 and then starting from March 2020
So if you want to develop a fitness app there is no better time to act!
Yet, what exactly do we mean by a “fitness app”? We decided to split our step-by-step guide into 2 parts:
As a fitness business owner, you likely know all the benefits of having your own mobile application.
So let’s see what features make up a good fitness scheduling application!
Making up the right set of features for your app is crucial. It not only defines what services will be available to your customers but also directly affects the gym app development costs.
How Mobile Apps Help to Increase Reach, Retention & Engagement in the Fitness Industry
We’ve prepared a list of the key features that you may consider for your application. Take a look!
The feature is needed to identify users as well as link and store their personal data. Moreover, if you already have a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, it’ll be possible to transfer all the users' personal data into the app as it’s linked to their mobile number.
From the fitness perspective, the feature has another important aim — to get you to know your client better. Gym apps usually ask for the following info:
This will help you to make personalized offers that will perfectly match your users' portraits.
Gym Sign In / Sign Up Screen example (image by Robert Torres)
Also, there are 2 ways to implement the feature:
It’s up to you to decide which way to follow. Yet, keep in mind that the first approach will make it possible to sign up for users that aren’t your customers now, making it possible to convert them in the future.
One of the features that directly comes to mind is scheduling. It enables your customers to easily book classes, group and personal training.
Online booking is much more convenient for your customers than phone calls or in-person booking at the front desk in your studio or gym:
Yet, as you develop an application for a fitness studio, it’s essential to ensure a smooth user experience (UX). If you break it down into key parts, these will include a clean design, fast performance and comprehensive structure.
Convenient attendance planning screen (image by Excellent WebWorld)
In particular, the Scheduling feature should provide users with the following info and capabilities regarding classes:
When it comes to personal training, you should put more emphasis on coaches and specify the following info:
If your app enables direct communication with coaches, you may also add contact details like a phone number and a button for an in-app chat.
We also recommend implementing integration with mobile iOS, Android and Google calendars to automatically save all the new bookings.
Finally, an extra feature to make scheduling even more convenient is Search. It will allow users to find classes by instructor, location, date & time, etc.
The coronavirus pandemic pushed all types of businesses to go digital. Before 2020, owners mainly focused on in-gym tracking and management features when developing a mobile app for a fitness studio. Nowadays, functionality for online workouts is often essential as well.
There are a few features that you can implement to provide value for your customers right in the app:
You can think of this as Netflix for the fitness industry — an in-app library of video workouts. If you go with this feature, make sure you implement searching functionality, so users can easily filter workouts by duration, intensity, needed equipment, coach, etc.
Online workouts became especially popular during the lockdown (image by Igor)
This feature became especially popular during the lockdowns. One way to implement this feature is by creating a built-in streaming platform right in the app. That’s how Peloton works. Alternatively, you can choose an easier approach: for example, making a calendar or a list of live classes with description and providing a link to Zoom where the live classes will take place.
How To Build a Workout Streaming App Like Peloton?
This is the easiest way to provide your users with online workout plans. Actually, the feature works quite similar to pre-recorded video workouts but the videos are replaced with text lists of exercises and their descriptions.
Finally, you can focus on audio-experiences for your customers. Such a feature is especially popular in Nike Run Club where users can pick guided runs. Although, it’s also possible to implement similar audio workouts for all types of training.
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You may also combine different features as you develop gym scheduling software to deliver the max value to your customers.
The touch-free Check-In feature also became highly relevant in post-COVID times. It allows reducing unnecessary person-to-person interactions and makes the whole check-in process smoother and more user-friendly in general.
From the technical perspective, the feature looks as follows:
The feature can be useful to navigate customers between your fitness clubs and studios. We recommend implementing this feature as an in-app map together with the list of locations of your clubs.
Let your users easily find nearby gyms and studios! (image by Marina Shestmintseva)
Users should also have the possibility to check Club Details like:
Such info will help your users discover nearby locations of your clubs as well as simplify the way they can interact with them.
You may also make this screen even more helpful by introducing a possibility to buy a membership, book a group class or a personal training with a coach.
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Mobile apps for gyms and health studios сan easily automate such routine tasks as different kinds of fitness assessment: body composition, strength, flexibility, cardio, and others.
Mobile apps can also guide users through a series of tests to indicate their body’s metabolic rate and overall physical capabilities. Later on, this data can be used by coaches during training. Alternatively, you may also use this info to autosuggest ready-made online workouts to users and even adjust it a bit to perfectly match their physical skills.
Pre-workout fitness assessment in a gym application (image by Weiee Ying)
Another side of this feature is tracking. It allows users to fill in information about their classes and training: what exercises they do, what weights they use, how many calories they burn, how they feel after training, etc.
The purpose of this data is the same: to keep track of results, see the user’s progress and adjust new workouts and exercises to the current physical level of the customers.
Gyms, swimming pools, health clubs, and other similar businesses are highly dependent on their regular customers. Actually, the whole idea of fitness is built around the principle of repetition.
Mobile apps help to build up loyalty within customers towards your business in a few ways:
Users should feel that the app is offering them content that perfectly matches their needs and interests. In this case, they’ll be fueled by the right sets of workouts and promotions, pushing them towards better results.
Personalized push notifications & promotions. Workouts that are tailored to match the users' physical portraits.
Users often expect to get something extra in return for their loyalty. It will encourage them to stay loyal as they’ll get even more benefits eventually.
Free extra class for every 2 months of membership. Every 5th visit to the gym can be converted to a visit to the swimming pool.
People like games and challenges. Adding a social element or an element of competitiveness may encourage them to interact with the app or your offline facilities even more actively.
Leaderboards by gyms. Competitions with friends.
Having direct chat with coaches became especially relevant during the Coronavirus-times. For customers, it helped not to lose contact with coaches during home workouts. For gym owners, it created an extra value they could offer to their clients while being in lockdown.
Advanced chatting functionality in the Anytime Fitness app (shots from Anytime Fitness app)
The way you implement this feature depends on your goals. For example, it may be a simple text chat to ask a few questions or get some support. Or you could turn it into an efficient tool for 1-on-1 online training by introducing features like video calling or sharing of recorded video files.
Push notifications are great for increasing retention and engagement rates. They are a simple and proven way to interact with customers even when they aren’t using your app.
Here are a few ideas on how you can use push notifications in your fitness app for the gym:
Finally, you can also create a gym scheduling app and run an in-app blog. For example, with tips on healthy eating, workout techniques, and best home and gym exercises.
This is hardly an essential feature, however, it’s quite a good way to create some extra value and provide an additional reason for people to check your application more often.
You’re probably interested in checking out a good example of a gym scheduling app, aren’t you? We’ve got one!
24 Hour Fitness is one of the biggest fitness center chains in the USA. They’ve also created a fitness scheduling app that covers all the features mentioned above and even a bit more. Here’s their official page.
The app is free to download so you can сheck its design and features on your own. But we still wanted to hightlight a couple of them that we liked the most:
If you’d like to focus solely on the online fitness experience for your users, we prepared the next part of the article for you.
What exactly do we mean by a “fitness app” though? It’s a fair question because we in Stormotion can distinguish at least 3 main kinds of such apps. What are they? Let’s try to find out.
There are thousands of fitness applications in both Google and Apple app stores. Yet, it wouldn’t make much sense if they all were totally similar. Therefore, depending on the kind of problem they’re helping to solve, we can roughly pick out 3 types of such apps:
So, before moving to development itself, let’s briefly review each category.
We believe that the most common types of sports apps are activity tracking ones. They are often used even by those who don’t visit a gym or stick to a diet. The main idea behind such applications is to provide users with information about their activity throughout the day. This may include distance walked, steps made, calories burned and so on.
Some developers go even further and implement tools for sleep analysis. This allows to obtain information about the quality and the amount of sleep, calculate an optimal time for going to bed, as well as detect possible sleep disruptors.
A simple but nice-looking concept of a tracking app (image by Darinka Kostelnik)
However, nowadays developers usually build a fitness app that can connect to wearables and provide even more data - like the heartbeat rate. It may seem obvious to you now, but back in the early 2010s fitness apps mostly relied on devices’ built-in hardware. For example, they used GPS-technologies to measure the distance traveled and the calories burnt.
Speaking from our own experience, some of us also used a sleep analysis app for the first time about 6 years ago. Back then it monitored the sounds (for example, whether you snore or not) and movements (your smartphone lies next to you, so it can track whether you toss it and turn at night or not) during your sleep. However, you can imagine how accurate the results of such an analysis were. Luckily for all of us, modern tracking apps provide us with a completely different level of accuracy on this kind of information.
Luckily for all of us, modern tracking apps provide us with a completely different level of accuracy of this information.
Every gym coach can tell you for sure that nutrition is an essential requirement when it comes to your overall well-being, health and strength. That’s why some people prefer to download apps that allow tracking:
Diet apps like this help to monitor your daily nutrition (image by Jajang Irawan)
Additionally, such apps often have extra features besides tracking. For example, diet & fitness mobile application development may include creating grocery lists, barcode scanners food logging, etc.
How to Build a Diet or Nutrition App?
However, it’s not the only use of nutrition apps. For example, one of our clients is Foodnav (a startup from Hamburg). Their goal is to help people with food intolerances. The app allows users to scan barcodes of different foods in supermarkets and check whether they are suitable for them. This is an excellent example of using an application to improve the quality of everyday life.
This type is usually the first one that comes to mind when we say “fitness apps.” As you may guess from the name, this type of mobile applications is mainly used during gym sessions. It basically serves as a personal coach right in your clients’ pockets!
With its help you’re able to create your own calendar with workout sessions, track the number and difficulty of exercises and learn how to execute them correctly.
Some workout apps look like a masterpiece (image by KREATIVA Studio)
If you want to make a fitness app like Fitbit, you don’t have to choose between these 3 types. Why? The answer is simple: because the Fitbit app unites all of them. Therefore, let’s review the top features that will help you to build not just a sports app but a true digital fitness fellow!
While researching for and preparing the first draft of this article, we decided to divide all the features into 5 big categories or, as we called them, blocks. These include:
From our experience, we can tell you that it’s not necessary to implement each block into your future app - it’s enough to combine the basic one with any other one (except, maybe, the entertainment block).
Moreover, we at Stormotion, recommend you to choose one specific niche and focus on what you can do better than others and develop it. That’s going to be far more effective than building a huge monster app.
However, to make it simpler, we’re going to review each block separately (actually, as standalone applications). So let’s learn what features each category includes!
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The following features are must-haves for all kinds of sports apps. Actually, it’s difficult to imagine an app similar to Fitbit without any of them, so make sure that they’re included in your scope.
Healthcare and sports apps are built around the idea of personalization. It’s pretty obvious since they count users' burned and gained calories, measure the water balance of users bodies, analyze your sleep and help to create the perfect workout just for you. And that’s exactly why you can’t go on without user profiles.
Implementation of user profiles in a fitness app (image by Vivek)
So, what should you know about this element of your future app?
If you’re going to create a fitness application, you should understand that one of its main aims is supposed to be not just providing people with tracking tools or video guides. Because ultimately, it’s not any less important to encourage your users to exercise on a regular basis. And it will be more difficult for them to quit using your app if they can set particular goals and monitor the progress.
You may already be tired of reading about push notifications since we mention them in almost every article. Nevertheless, one shouldn't underestimate their importance.
Their purpose is to remind users about their upcoming training, planned food or water intakes, the best time to go to bed and other activities. As a result, they increase engagement and encourage users to use your app more often.
Wearable devices like smart watches, sports bracelets and clip-ons haven’t become as popular as some experts guessed. Still, they’ve found their own audience. And it’s mainly fitness geeks!
Many people consider wearables as a part of their lifestyle (image by Kövesházi Dániel)
Usually, wearable technologies just track physiological parameters (like the pulse or estimated calories burnt) or other data (like distance walked or hours slept) and some even don’t have screens where you can check it.
With an app, it’s possible not only to get all this information in an interactive and nice-looking way but also make data-driven decisions: for example, find out how much more you need to walk to lose the necessary amount of calories or how to improve the effectiveness of your training.
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Therefore, the integration of wearables is necessary if you want to make a fitness app like Fitbit.
Why are apps similar to Fitbit so popular? Because they have a purpose for every part of the day. They help to track and sort out different parameters of your body. Thus, you’re able to make your gym sessions even more productive, your diet even more effective and your lifestyle even healthier!
The implementation of this whole block significantly depends on the ability to connect to wearable devices.
Tracking apps are often downloaded by people who are not into sports that much. So if you make a fitness app of this kind, your possible target audience is much wider than athletes and frequenters of gyms.
Here are 3 main groups of parameters that you can track:
As you can see, tracking apps allow monitoring different parameters of your everyday life (image by Jakub Wojnar-Płeszka)
To implement these tracking tools, you have to integrate wearable devices into your app.
If you collect some personal data, make sure you comply with all the necessary regulations.
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It’s not a secret that people mostly stick to diets in order to change their weight in one way or another: whether they want to get rid of some extra kilos or, on the contrary, gain some muscle mass. However, it is difficult to monitor progress only by looking in the mirror or by comparing photos.
It’s not a secret that people mostly stick to diets in order to change their weight in one or another way: whether to get rid of extra kilos or, on the contrary, gain some muscle mass. Yet, it would be difficult to monitor the progress only by watching in the mirror or comparing photos.
This means that if you want to make a fitness app with the nutrition block, a separate weight tracker screen is a necessary feature. There users should be able to manually log their numbers, monitor the weekly/monthly/overall progress and see how close they are to their goal.
For a better UX, you can implement the dynamics of weight change as a nice-looking graphic.
Most people know that it’s not enough to just eat healthy - it’s also important to drink enough. Still, people forget to do it regularly, so that’s a problem that your app can solve.
Hydration measurement apps are also great helpers when it comes to shaping your body (image by suchi)
Developing such a feature isn’t challenging in terms of technology so it won’t cost you that much. Actually, all you need is a screen where people can enter their water intakes, get reminders and check if they’re properly hydrated.
UI design idea: an animated glass or a bottle that is filled with water as the user logs more intakes is a nice way to make a fitness app more interactive and catchy.
We have so many different types of food in our supermarkets, so it’s just impossible to know what’s healthy and what isn’t all of the time. Moreover, it’s even more difficult to keep up the right balance of carbohydrates, protein, fat and fiber in the diet.
So your users don’t have to read all the tags and calculate the “usefulness” of food on their own, you can implement a barcode scanner in your app.
For this purpose, it’s enough to allow the camera feature in your application and integrate a database of goods that will provide users with information about calories and nutrients. Finding a somewhat complete barcode database of products and the information about them is often the main difficulty, that we will give you a bit later.
Except for hydration measurement, a cool sports app should also let its users monitor their food intake. Thus, they will be able to count how many calories they consume every day and how their nutrition can be improved overall.
This feature is often the most important one in diet apps (image by Şahin Abut)
Meal shortcuts, a quick calorie estimator, and a barcode scanner can help you achieve the best UX on this screen.
Finally, let’s not forget about people who consider fitness to be a part of their lifestyle. They won’t be satisfied with just distance and sleep tracking tools, so you should offer them some unique value as well. What can it be? Well, features and tools that can make their training even more effective.
Running is one of the most popular sporting activities as it doesn’t require much time, gym membership or too much effort but still can greatly improve your physical condition. Your aim here is to build a fitness app that will enhance the running experience of your audience.
Nice-looking concept of the Nike running app (image by Samuel Scalzo)
Therefore, you should offer your users real-time access and the possibility to record the history of every run through the integration of certain tracking features such as maps/routes, total distance and time, calories burned, pace per minute, changes in heart rate, etc.
A pretty simple feature that allows keeping record of workouts/runs. With its help, users can look back at their previous accomplishments, analyze them and discover even better ways to achieve their goals.
In addition, it’s possible to send push notifications and remind users to workout according to the pre-arranged calendar.
And last but not least, the digital coach feature is necessary to develop a fitness app that will be popular among gym visitors who don’t want to spend a lot of money on personal coaches and training. However, it’s still difficult for such clients to come up with their own training programs and be confident that they execute all the exercises correctly; that’s exactly where this feature comes in handy!
A perfect workout app includes some pre-set training (image by Giga Tamarashvili)
So, a cool digital coach includes the following:
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Finally, when create a fitness app don’t forget to implement several features that can increase user engagement. Let’s quickly review them!
Social media is a trend that is just as powerful as fitness. People are literally spending hours scrolling feeds, sharing photos, retweeting and chatting with friends. So use it to your advantage!
First and foremost, implement the social login feature that we’ve already mentioned when we talked about user profiles. Additionally, consider social networks as a good marketing platform: allow users sharing their achievements and workout plans, inviting friends to join and train together and so on. This will work as word-of-mouth marketing and bring you more customers.
People love to show off their achievements, and it can become a cool marketing channel for your app.
However, you’re not only interested in gaining new users. Keeping the old ones engaged with your app should be a priority for you, too. And that’s where the following tools can help you:
Scoreboards are great for increasing engagement (image by Sourav Maity ℠)
So, it seems that we have described all of the 5 main blocks that make up the perfect sports app similar to Fitbit. Now let’s move on to the costs for developing a fitness app like the one described above.
As you may know, we usually provide our readers with a rough cost estimation that includes all necessary features. So, in this article we decided to calculate the approximate Fitbit app development cost according to the 5 main parts of such an application. So here’s what Stormotion developers came up with:
Features estimated in hours
Using React Native
⚙️ Basic Block
⏱️ Tracking Block
Daily Activity Tracking
Physiological Parameters Tracking
Sleep Tracking Tools
🍎 Nutrition Block
💪 Workout Block
🤳 Social & Entertainment Block
Social Networks Integration
Note: we took an average rate of $45/hour but it depends on many different factors so don't think of it as the final price.
As we previously mentioned, it’s not necessary to implement all the blocks into one app. So the minimum cost to develop a fitness app starts at $18,300 (this includes the basic block + any other one).
However, if you want to create a complex product that will cover interests and solve problems of every potential user, we advise developing an app with all 5 blocks; that will cost you around $35,500+.
Previously we promised to share with you a few tech tips that will help you to reduce costs and create a fitness application of nearly perfect quality. Here they are:
When you build a fitness app, you're actually creating a bussiness. And every business should bring revenue. So the most common monetization models are:
To sum up, the sports industry is on the rise now so you have big chances to get your slice of the pie. Despite the fact that app development can be a challenging task, it becomes significantly easier with the help of a good app development partner.
The price to create a fitness app range from $11,000 for a pretty simple app (will the basic block + another) to $23,000 and more for an app with a wider choice of features.
We recommend picking up a specific niche and build an MVP for your startup. Choosing your MVP development will allow you to save money and test the idea without spending too much effort and resources. Also, feel free to contact us and we’ll try to make even your trickiest fitness idea a reality!
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