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How to Build a Fitness App? Here’s What You Need to Know

Fitness has been an important life goal for many people and they stay fit and healthy by exercising regularly and adopting healthier eating habits. With the advancement of the mobile app development industry, many smartphone apps hit the market to help people achieve this goal of their life. And since then, the fitness app industry has grown exponentially.

Fitness apps became even more important in the context of the current Covid19 pandemic that shut down training studios and gyms all over the world. But not being able to go to the gym is not a problem anymore because everything you need you can do through a dedicated mobile application. So ‘How to build a fitness app?’ became an important question when gyms, training studios and personal trainers started seeking custom software solutions to take their businesses digital during the pandemic.

So if you are wondering how to create a fitness app, then you’re in the right place! Read on to know all about developing fitness apps.

The Ever-Growing Market of Fitness Apps

Before we jump into the actual nitty-gritty of developing a fitness app, let’s take a look at what kind of fitness apps are available out there. According to Grand View Research, the global fitness app market size was valued at USD 1.1 billion in 2021 and is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 17.6% from 2022 to 2030. The fitness app market in the US alone was valued at USD 338 million in 2020 and it is expected to triple in size by 2030.

U.S. Fitness App Market
U.S. Fitness App Market

There is a plethora of fitness and health-related apps available on the app stores today, we have categorised them into types based on the purpose, features and audience of each type. If you are unclear about what features and functionalities you want within your fitness app or if your idea is a little all over the place, this breakdown of different categories will definitely bring you some clarity.

In fact, it will also help you better understand the development process and the ways in which it can vary for each category of fitness app.

how to build fitness app categories of fitness app
How to Build Fitness App – Categories of Fitness Apps

Workout and Exercise Apps

These types of fitness apps are used to help people with their exercise and workout regimes. Most workout and exercise apps serve the function of a personal trainer by building an exercise plan according to your fitness goals and keeping track of them for you. Users can set their fitness goals (such as losing weight, gaining muscle or toning their abs) and select the area of the body they want to work on (for instance, Full Body, Lower Back, Upper Body, or Core Strength) and get a customised exercise plan based on it.

Most workout apps provide video resources or guides to assist users with the right techniques and equipment required to perform each exercise in the workout plan.

Examples: Nike Training Club, SWEAT, Fitbit Coach, Jefit

Diet and Nutrition Apps

A controlled diet is a major aspect of fitness and there are numerous apps that help people manage their daily dietary and nutritional intake based on their fitness goals. Users can log in their meals throughout the day and know the total number of calories consumed. They can search the food database to find the nutritional value of different foods or scan the barcode of packaged food items – this comes especially handy while shopping.

Like other fitness apps, users can set their fitness goals and level of physical activity and know the recommended calorie consumption limit based on their fitness goals.

Examples: MyFitnessPal, Waterlogged, Lose It!, MyPlate Calories Tracker

Activity Tracking Apps

Activity tracking apps keep a track of your physical activity throughout the day using motion sensors in your smartphone or wearables. They track different activities such as the number of steps walked, flights climbed, distance travelled and calories burned in a day. Some activity tracking apps are specifically designed for activities like running, cycling, or swimming.

The two most important aspects of building an activity tracking fitness app are (i) integration with GPS and (ii) compatibility with different fitness wearables.

Example: Nike Run Club, Runtastic Running, Fitness Tracker

Bespoke Apps For Personal Trainers or Studios

Bespoke apps have become relevant in the times after Covid-19 when gyms and training studios have been shut down due to the pandemic. This has impacted trainers, gym-goers and studio owners equally. In such a situation, custom-built apps offered a viable solution for trainers and fitness enthusiasts to connect virtually and continue their exercise and training from their homes.

The functionality and feature of such apps can vary greatly depending on the specific requirements of the personal trainer or studio. It can be for the purpose of scheduling training sessions or it can have a video streaming feature so the trainer and users can do live workout sessions from within the app.

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Basic Fitness App Features – All That You Need For A Successful Fitness App MVP

As discussed above, fitness apps can be of various types but if you are wondering ‘how to build a fitness app’ we have summed up some of the basic features that are required to develop any kind of fitness app.

basic features of a fitness app
Basic Features of a Fitness App

The following eight features are essential to building a minimum viable product of a fitness app idea so let’s begin with it!

User Registration and Login

To understand how to build a fitness app, never forget that the development of health and fitness apps requires a great deal of personalisation in terms of design and features. An essential step of personalisation is to have a feature to create and access a personal account. The personal account of every user can store their progress and other data.

For registration and login, users should be provided with more than one way to sign up such as using email, contact number or social network (Facebook, Twitter, Google, and Instagram) and offering an option to reset the password.

User Profile and Personalised Dashboard

To create a user profile, users should be able to manually add personal information such as name, age, gender, location, bodily measurements, fitness goals, and profile picture. And configure the settings such as metrics (pounds or kilograms and feet or centimetre) according to their preference.

It is important that the dashboard or central interface of the app is personalised based on the user profile. Essentially it should provide an overview of user data, other useful information, and links to all in-app features.

Social Integration

If you check out how to build a fitness app you’ll know how important social media is. We consider it a must-have feature for every kind of fitness app. Because what is even the point of burning thousands of calories and not being able to show it off on social media?

Integrating with social media can help with synchronizing users’ data from the social network account and searching for friends. Through in-app features, users can share their daily progress and achievements on their social media feed as well.

Compatibility with Third-Party Apps and Devices

Compatibility with third-party devices and apps is another important consideration if you’re wondering how to build a fitness app. To gather accurate data about physical activity, a fitness app should be integrable with wearable fitness devices such as smartwatches and third-party apps like Samsung health.

User Activity Tracking

Activity tracking is closely related to the previous point about compatibility with devices and apps because they track users’ activity and movements throughout the day and give data about the number of steps walked, flights climbed, calories burned and more. This tracking feature is a must-have functionality that you should consider for your mobile fitness application.

If you want to build a fitness app targeted for outdoor physical activities like running, cycling, or even swimming, then geolocation is crucial for tracking the route and distance travelled by the user while performing these activities. So if you’re wondering how to create a fitness app for runners or cyclists, make sure your app has a geolocation feature.

Target Setting

Target setting is a feature that is common across all categories of fitness apps. Whether it is a target for calorie consumption, workout or daily physical activity, a fitness app should allow users to set their own fitness goals and track their progress against the set targets. Ideally, a fitness app should let users set, update or change their targets, provide a way to track progress in the form of a timer or a counter, and remind and notify them when the targets are successfully met.


Reminders and notifications are immensely important for fitness apps because fitness is a product of regularity. To help users stay focused on their fitness goals, a fitness app should have push notification functionality to notify and remind them.

Additional Features To Take Your Fitness App To The Next Level

We have discussed the basic features of a fitness app and, sure, they are important for the MVP stage but nobody wants a basic fitness app! Especially when the competition is so fierce. So, if you are wondering how to build a fitness app that stands out from the competition then read on!

In this section, we will look at some additional features that can take your fitness app to the next level.

additional features of a fitness app
Additional Features of a Fitness App

Additional Features of a Fitness App

Educational Resources: How to make a fitness app more interesting for users and keep them engaged? Educational content is a great way to do it. Tips, research articles, how-to guides, and tutorials are the kinds of content you can have on your app to educate and inform the users.

Gamification: Working out can get boring for people and they can easily lose interest in an app that is plain and dull. So, how to make a fitness app fun and entertaining for the users? Gamification! Turning your fitness app into a game through rewards, badges and competition can elevate the user experience significantly.

Offline Mode: As a fitness app user myself, I can not stress enough the importance of having an app that works in offline mode. It is inconvenient for users if the app stops working midway through exercise because of a loss of internet connectivity so build a fitness app that can easily work offline. 

Music Apps Integration: Who doesn’t like listening to an upbeat playlist while working out? But shuffling between a fitness app and a music app can be annoying for users. So why not build a fitness app that is integrated with music apps so users don’t have to switch between multiple apps to enjoy good music while working out.

In-app User Interaction: Working out with friends is always fun, and allowing users to interact with each other and share their progress within the app is even more fun. You can build a fitness app with features so users can add each other as fitness buddies or invite their social media friends to the app and share progress with each other. Sounds like so much fun!

From Idea To Finished Product – The Road Map Of A Fitness App

Now that we have discussed the features and functionalities of a fitness app, let’s walk you through the process of developing a fitness app. This is where you learn exactly how to create a fitness app, so here’s a breakdown of the complete process from idea to launch.

There are 15 steps involved in the process of building a fitness app that we have categorised into four main stages. Each stage consists of a number of steps you need to perform before moving on to the next stage. So let’s dive in.

Refine Your Idea

All great things begin with great ideas. Therefore, the first stage of the process of developing a fitness app is focused on refining the idea of the fitness app you want to create. Here’s what you need to do to narrow down your idea:

  • Step 1 – Decide what kind of fitness app you want to create (Activity tracking, exercise and workout application, diet and nutrition, or some other bespoke fitness app.)
  • Step 2 – Analyse the fitness app market to see what is being offered by the competitors.
  • Step 3 – Conduct a competitive analysis of other paid apps.
  • Step 4 – List down the basic features you want in your fitness app’s MVP
  • Step 5 – Think about ways to make your app stand out from the competition.

Hire the Team of Professionals

Once you have a clear idea of what you want from your fitness app, you can proceed to the next stage – hiring professional fitness app developers. If you have a team of in-house developers to build your fitness app then you can skip this stage. But most businesses need to hire the right talent to develop their app because, at the end of the day, the performance and quality of your apps will heavily depend on the skills and experience of the developers.

Here’s what you need to do to find a reliable developer or software development company for your project:

  • Step 6 – Search for the right software development company based on their location, experience, project portfolio, technology stack, and pricing.
  • Step 7 – Discuss your project requirements and get an estimated quote
  • Step 8 – Set a budget for your project based on the estimates given by the software providers.

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Development and Testing

This is the stage where your software provider or in-house development team would work on writing the application and test it out. Although this is a stage where the majority of the development and quality assurance work would be performed on the developers’ end, you should closely collaborate with them throughout the app development process.

Here are the steps you need to take during this stage:

  • Step 9 – Work closely with your development team in the planning stage of the app development process.
  • Step 10 – Help with drawing up the important specification documents and design wireframes.
  • Step 11 – Collaborate with the team through every sprint to test the readiness of the app and provide feedback.

Deployment and Post Deployment Support

With the completion of the development and testing stage, you reach the last stage of the app development process. This is the end game where you finally launch your app to the users, promote it and regularly update it.

How to make a fitness app available to the general public? Here are the steps you need to take during the deployment stage are as follows:

  • Step 12 – Let your development team publish the app to the app store(s).
  • Step 13 – Receive the source code of your application from the software provider
  • Step 14 – Work on the branding and promotion strategy of your fitness app and keep track of metrics.
  • Step 15 – Regularly update your app for optimal performance and user experience and add new features.

That’s it, folks! These are all the steps you need to perform to build a fitness app. We are reaching the end of this ‘how to build a fitness app’ guide but there is still one more question that is left unanswered. So let’s finally address it.

How Much Does It Cost To Build A Fitness App?

If you thought of ‘How to build a fitness app’ you must have wondered about the cost of development as well. So, how much does it cost to build a fitness app?

Well, there is no one answer to this question and that is the long and short of it. Project pricing can vary greatly depending on a number of factors such as the idea of the app itself (the cost of a fitness app would be different from that of a laundry or social media app, for example), the design requirements, the number of features, deployment platform (iOS, Android, or both), the size of the intended user base, and pages (or what the developers refer to as ‘screens’) of the application. The more the number of pages, the more it costs. Similarly, advanced features and integration requirements such as a barcode scanner feature or integration with third-party wearable devices payment gateways for app purchases can significantly impact the final cost of development.

As per GoodCore’s pricing policy, the cost of a bespoke software development project, based on its size and complexity, could fall in the range of:

  • Small project: £10,000 – £35,000
  • Medium-sized project: £40,000 – £65,000
  • Large project: £70,000 and above

These are only based on rough estimates but the actual software development cost would depend on many factors and can only be scoped after a detailed discovery exercise with you.

Estimate The Cost Of Your Fitness App Project

For precise estimates for your fitness app, get in touch with us and our analysts will get back to you with a realistic quote for your project.
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It is time to wrap up our discussion on how to build fitness apps. Remember that the success of your fitness is dependent on a number of important factors such as (i) a well-thought-out idea of a fitness app, (ii) the fitness app’s functionality and how it stands out from the rest, (iii) skills and experience of your software partner, and (iv) a cohesive branding and promotion strategy.

We advise you to conduct thorough market research and your target audience to come up with an innovative fitness app idea and find the right software development team to execute it. Good luck!

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Ava Franklin

The author Ava Franklin

Ava Franklin is a content writer at GoodCore Software with five years of experience in the tech industry. She writes software development guides, app reviews, and articles on the latest technology trends.
Ava holds a degree in Digital Marketing and Communications along with a below-average track record in college theatre. When she is not writing, she enjoys spending time with her dog, reading about current affairs, watching football, and fighting trolls on Twitter. She hopes to learn Korean and write a play someday.
Ava rates her tea-making skills as high as her writing abilities – she makes a mean cup of tea and her friends concur.

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