How to Make a Fitness app Like Fitbit?
If you follow global trends then you probably know that fitness is among them. Do not miss the moment, build a fitness app and take advantage of this hype!
The sports industry has never been in such a heyday as it is today. Now it’s not just about flexing at the beach or posting half-naked photos to Instagram. The modern fitness market is huge, it unites sportswear manufacturers, gym owners, personal coaches, Instagram stars from all over the world. They pump billions of dollars into it to get even greater benefits. And it works!
As we can see, there was a massive growth of about 330% during 2014-2016. Mobile apps become an integral part of the industry and are actively downloaded by users. 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”? 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.
💪 Activity, Nutrition & Workouts - 3 Whales of Mobile Sports Industry
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, according to the kind of problem they’re helping to solve, we can roughly pick out 3 types of such apps:
- Activity tracking apps.
- Nutrition & diet apps.
- Workout and exercise apps.
So, before moving to fitness app development, let’s briefly review each category.
Activity tracking apps
I guess, the most common type of sports apps is 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. It allows to obtain information about the quality and the amount of sleep, calculate an optimal time for going to bed, possible sleep disruptors.
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 device’s hardware. Thus, for example, they used GPS-technologies to count traveled distance and burned calories.
Or, speaking from my own experience, I also used a sleep analysis app for the first time about 6 years ago. Back then it monitored the sounds (for example, whether I snore or not) and movements (my smartphone was lying next to me so it could track whether I toss and turn at night) during my sleep. At least, I was told so. Yet, 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 of this information.
Nutrition & diet apps
Every gym coach can tell you for sure that the right and healthy nutrition is a necessary requirement if you want to stay fit and strong. That’s why some people prefer to download apps that allow tracking:
- their daily food habits;
- a number of calories burned and taken throughout the day;
- the water balance of the body;
- weight changes.
Additionally, such apps often have extra features except tracking. For example, diet & fitness app development may include creating grocery lists, a barcode scanner, food logging and others.
However, it’s not the only use for nutrition apps. For example, one of our clients is Foodnav (a startup from Hamburg) whose goal is to help people with food intolerances, for example, the lactose intolerance. Therefore, it allows users to scan barcodes of goods in supermarkets and check whether they are suitable for them. This is an excellent example of using the application to improve the quality of everyday life.
Workout and exercise apps
This type is the first that comes to mind when I say “fitness apps”. As you may guess from the name, these mobile applications are mainly used during sessions in a gym. It’s, actually, a personal coach right in your pocket!
With its’ help you’re able to create your own calendar of workout sessions, track the number and difficulty of exercises and learn how to perform them in a correct way.
Yet, 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 top features that will help you to build not just a sports app but a true digital fitness fellow!
📱 Fitness App Development: Top Features For Your Application
While making the research 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 are:
- Basic Block: unites all the features that are common for any type of sports app.
- Tracking Block: for monitoring your daily physiological parameters and activeness.
- Nutrition Block: helps your users to take care of their diet (in a broad sense).
- Workout Block: a digital pocket coach to assist during gym sessions.
- Social/Entertainment Block: includes tools for increasing engagement and staying in touch with family and friends.
From our experience we can tell you that it’s not necessary to implement each block in your future app - it’s enough to combine basic one with any other (except, maybe, the entertainment block).
Moreover, we in Stormotion team would recommend you to choose one specific niche and feature that you can do better than others and develop it. That’s going to be far more effective than building a huge monster app.
But for simplicity we’re going to review each block separately (actually, as a standalone application). So let’s learn what features each category includes!
⚙️ Basic Block: The Footing of Your Application
The following features are must-haves for all kinds of sports apps. Actually, it’s difficult to image 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 your burned and gained calories, measure the water balance of your body, analyze your sleep and help to create a perfect workout exactly… right, for you. And that’s why you can’t go on without user profiles.
So, what should you know about this element of your future app?
- It’s used to bind different kinds of data to the exact user. Further, it can be accessed from any other device after logging in.
- You should implement the social login feature. It allows creating a profile by extracting needed information (name, photo, date of birth) from social networks like Facebook or Twitter.
- Take care of the design. Profiles should be nice-looking but not spattered with different buttons and other elements.
If you’re going to create a fitness application, you should understand that one of its main aims is not just providing people with tracking tools or video guides. It’s not less important to encourage your users to exercise on a regular basis. And it will be more difficult for them to abandon your app if they can set particular goals and monitor the progress.
You may be already tired to read about push notifications since we mention them in almost every article. Yet, as always, don’t underestimate their importance :)
They’ll remind users about their upcoming training, planned food or water intakes, the best time to go to bed and other activities. As a result, it will increase engagement and encourage to use your app more often.
Integration with wearables
Wearable devices like smart watches, sports bracelets and clip-ons haven’t become as popular as some experts guessed. Yet, they’ve found their own audience. And it’s mainly fitness geeks!
Usually, wearable technologies just track physiological parameters (like the pulse or estimated calories burn) or other data (like distance walked or time of sleep) 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.
Therefore, integration with wearables is necessary if you want to make a fitness app like Fitbit.
👁️ Tracking Block: Big Fitness Brother is Watching You
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 more healthy!
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 very 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:
- Daily activity: traveled distance, number of steps and active minutes.
- Physiological parameters during workouts: heartbeat rate during different stages of workout, total training time.
- Sleep quality: duration, changes between sleep stages, the frequency of awakenings etc.
To implement these tracking tools, you have to integrate your app with wearable devices. Read on, cause closer to the end of the article our Stormotion developers will share a few tech tips with you.
🥝 Nutrition Block: Your “Don’t-Eat-After-6-PM” Overseer
In our fast-paced world people often don’t have enough time or will to stick to diets or develop healthy eating habits. It’s always easier to buy some fast food or eat irregularly. Yet, if you create a fitness application with the following features, it will definitely encourage users to review their nutrition.
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.
A few know that it’s not enough just to eat properly - it’s also important to drink properly. Yet, people forget to do it regularly so that’s a problem that your app can solve.
Developing such a feature isn’t a rocket science so it won’t cost you 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 hundreds of different foodstuffs in our supermarkets so it’s just impossible to remember how useful or not they are. And it’s even more difficult to keep the balance of carbohydrates, protein, sugar, and fat in this way.
So as 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 your application using the camera of a smartphone to scan barcodes and integrate a database of goods to provide users with info about calories and nutrients. Yet, it’s often the main difficulty - to find a complete barcode database of products and their nutrients. However, we’ll provide you with a few a bit later 🙂
Except for hydration measurement, a cool sports app should also let users monitor their food intakes. Thus, they will be able to count how much calories they take during a day and how their nutrition can be improved.
Meal shortcuts, a quick calorie estimator and barcode scanner will help you achieve the best UX on this screen.
🏋️ Workout Block: Digital Arnold Schwarzenegger in Your Pocket
Finally, let’s not forget about people who consider fitness as part of their lifestyle. They won’t be satisfied with just distance and sleep tracking tools, so you should offer them some unique value. What can it be? Well, the features and tools that will make their training even more effective and comfortable.
Running is one of the most popular sports 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.
Therefore, you should offer your users real-time accesses and a possibility to record the history of every run through the integration with the tracking features (this includes a map/route, total distance and time, calories burned, pace per minute, changes in heart rate).
A pretty simple feature that allows keeping the record of workouts/runs. Thus, users can look back at their previous accomplishments, analyze them and discover even better ways to achieve goals.
Moreover, it’s possible to send push notifications and remind users to workout according to the pre-arranged calendar.
Last but not least. This 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 coach and training. Yet, it’s also difficult for them to draw up own training program and be sure that they perform all the exercises in a right way. And that’s when this feature comes in handy!
So, a cool digital coach includes 2 following parts:
- Firstly, users should be able to record their own workouts in a logbook, compose their own training plans and monitor exercise stats so as to improve their performance.
- Secondly, you should also implement the list of exercises with video or VR-guides. Therefore your users will be able to draw up their own training plans by picking up appropriate exercises and perform everything correctly.
🤳 Social & Entertainment Block: Make Your Application More Lively
Finally, when create a fitness app don’t forget to implement several features that can increase user engagement. Let’s quickly review them!
Social networks integration
Social media is the trend that as powerful as fitness. People are literally spending hours scrolling feeds, sharing photos, retweeting and chatting with friends. So use it to your advantage in your fitness app development!
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 prior task for you, too. And that’s where the following tools can help you:
- Badges. These are rewards (icons) that users can get for accomplishing key achievements. Costs almost nothing for you but gives your sports fans the feeling of passing some milestones.
- Levels. You can also encourage users by giving them points for completing exercises, every 10 kilometers of jogging or other accomplishments. After collecting some amount of points, they will be leveled up and face another challenge.
- Scoreboards. Simple but proven way to keep users engaged. Just make them compete with their friends and colleagues!
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 cost to develop a fitness app like the one described above.
💰 Fitness App Development Costs
As you may know, we usually provide our readers with a rough estimation of app’s main 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:
Note: we took an average rate of $40/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 in one app. So the minimum cost to develop a fitness app starts from $13,600 (this includes basic block + any other).
But 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. In this case, fitness app development cost will start from $31,600 and more.
🖥️ Tech Tips
Previously we promised to share with you a few tech tips that will help you reduce costs and create a fitness application of perfect quality. Here they are:
- You don’t have to directly connect your mobile app to hardware sensors of smartphones to get user’s health data. Use SDK’s and API’s of Google Fit (for Android) and Apple’s HealthKit (for iOS) to get all the basic tracking stats (like distance traveled, steps taken, burned calories and so on).
- To implement integration with wearables use API’s and SDK’s of Fitbit, Misfit, Jawbone UP, Garmin, Nike+ or others (based on the manufacturer you choose).
- Tomtom can be your helper when you decide to build the running feature. It’ll provide you with real-time maps and navigation services that will significantly improve the UX.
- HealthGraph API is used to track user’s activities and health measurements over time (sleep, nutrition, weight, completed strength training and other activities).
- For implementing the barcode scanner feature, you may access Open Food Facts database, Nutritionix API or MyNetDiary food catalog.
💸 Available Monetization Models
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:
- Paid app - users pay to download the app (with all content unlocked and no ads).
- In-app purchases - users make one-time payments to get the access to specific fetures, workout plans and so on.
- Freemium - your app provides some basic functionality for free but requers from users a weekly/monthly/yearly paid subscription to unlock all services.
- Ads - but be careful, too many of them can ruin your UX.
- eCommerce - you can also use your app to sell fitness products and branded goods (like fitness gear, sportswear and so on).
- Sponsored content - it's also possible to get money by distributing content of local fitness services providers (gyms, sports supplement stores etc.).
To sum up, the sports industry is on the rise now so you have big chances to get your piece of the pie. Despite fitness app development can be a challenging task, it becomes significantly easier with the help of a good app development partner.
The cost to create a fitness app range from $11,000 for a pretty simple app (a basic block + one 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 MVP development will allow you to save money and test the idea without spending too many efforts and resources. Also, feel free to contact us and we’ll try to make even your trickiest fitness idea a reality!