How To Develop A Workout App In 2021

7 Mins read

Healthy lifestyle movements have always been in the focus area for virtually every person. However, you required much more effort to keep in trim back in the days, since no one had a full range of services neatly arranged in their smartphones. Today you don’t even have to leave the comfort of your own home to flex your muscles or catch some zen. Literally, your phone is your teacher, doctor, and coach – all in one.

The proliferation of workout and exercise apps has had a favorable effect on general health and the popularity of the wellness trend. So it’s no surprise that fitness applications are among the most high-demanded categories on Google Play Market and App Store.

If you are a business owner that wants to pivot with the changing app marketplace and cater to your growing user-bases, there has never been a better time to create your own fitness app.

This article will share some tips and tricks on developing a workout application and take you on a whirlwind tour of business models and development costs.

Ready? Steady? Go!

Fitness app development: Types and ideas

There are a myriad of smartphone apps available to track every aspect of our fitness. Therefore, before shelling out for app development, you need to pick the type of your future application. Based on the niche, workout apps offer keep-fit buffs various features from result tracking to sports education. 

Thus, health and fitness applications fall into three categories according to the type of information they handle: workout apps, nutrition, and diet apps, and fitness activity tracking apps.

Let’s have a closer look at each of them.

Workout apps

Unless you happen to be a certified personal trainer, creating routines is no easy feat. A workout application includes exercise routines that can come in different formats and customized training programs. You can carry a personal fitness guru in your pocket and exercise wherever you want.

Let’s take Sworkit as an example.

  • Workout plans. Whether you’re looking to lose weight, gain muscle, improve your flexibility, or increase endurance, you can choose a workout well-suited to your needs. Users can also choose which muscle group they want to focus on.
  • Timer. When doing your workout, you can see a timer that shows you how much is left for a particular exercise, while also showing you how far along you are in the workout. Also, users can pause, rewind, fast-forward the workout as well as sound on and off.
  • Social sharing. Although the social aspect isn’t very strong in this app, users can still share their completed workout on social media and challenge their friends.

Fitness activity tracking apps

Activity tracking apps come in various shapes and sizes. But the main point of such solutions is exactly what the name implies – tracking your physical activity. Some are simple gym logs like FitNotes, others offer full options like MyFitnessPal, some are created with compatible hardware like accelerometers, gyroscopes, and others. In any case, this type of app gathers user information about the number of steps walked, heart rate, quality of sleep, calories burned, and so on.

Users can then see their progress in form of charts and look through the map roots.

HealthKit is a great example of an app in this category. It hosts a central repository for health and fitness data, including:

  • Weight tracking
  • Body measurements
  • Step-counting
  • The number of burnt calories
  • Preferred activity type
  • Workout duration

Nutrition and diet applications

Diet and nutrition apps offer comprehensive nutrition information, count calories, and provide a complete breakdown of your daily nutrition. Diet applications also allow users to enter their nutritional goals or weight loss goals, build grocery lists, and browse recipes.

Diet apps seem interchangeable with the activity tracking category since they help you monitor your eating habits. However, functionality-wise, they offer more nutrition-based features.

Let’s have a quick overview of MyFitnessPal features.

  • Diet Tracker. With a huge database, users have access to over 6 mln foods with all the information about macros and micronutrients.
  • Community. FitnessPal has a dedicated community of users who share tips and advice, or network by telling personal experiences using free forums.
  • Calorie Tracker. Users can track calories, break down the nutritional value into ingredients, and record their activities in an online food diary.

Overall, users download diet-tracking apps to monitor the consumption of certain foods and drinks, track calories, and control water balance. Therefore, your nutrition application should offer users excessive daily statistics and motivate users to work towards their goals.

How to develop a workout application: Step-by-step

If you want to turn your business idea into a viable solution, keep the following steps in mind:

  1. Pick the right business model

The strategies for converting app users are varied, as there are paid apps, in-app purchases, paid add-ons, ads, and other options. Let’s have a closer look at each of them:

  • Paid apps. The most popular bankable model is the premium app (aka paid app). Within this strategy, the user has to purchase your app directly from an app store for a one-time fee. The fee varies according to the app type, platform, and category.
  • In-app purchases. It is a service for buying virtual goods within the application (e.g. game currency, new levels, game items, etc.). In-App Purchases is a simple and convenient mechanism for organizing sales of your applications or additional features directly from your application.
  • Freemium. It’s a business model that allows users to download the app for free. However, you have to pay a fee for premium product features like additional functionality or services and other products associated with the app.
  • Ads. Other fitness- or health-related businesses pay you a fee for showing their ads in your fitness app. You can either implement cost-per-mile or cost-per-click advertising.
  • Sponsored content. This monetization model refers to the type of promotional media that’s paid for by an advertiser (like a gym), but created and shared by your app. This business model is most effective when you feature a business that caters to your target audience.
  1. Mull over the core app features

Although every app presented on the market ups the ante by offering unique features, there is some similar functionality that all apps share. The basic features of a workout application are:

  • User profiles. 

User profiles are a must-have for fitness solutions because they allow users to store information and retain their data if they switch devices.  Also, a user profile allows users to set personal information according to their age, weight, and other physical parameters. Calculating workouts based on personal data makes the workouts more personalized.

  • Notifications and reminders. 

Push notifications are crucial when it comes to motivation. Any health enthusiast who is exercising religiously will never want to miss a session. However, staying on top of things, a workout does slip our minds now and then. And this is when a pop-up message from an application comes in. But make sure you don’t go over the top with buzzing a user. By overusing push notifications, you may turn off the users.

  • Track physical activity. 

You can easily connect your app to hardware by implementing Apple’s HealthKit and Google Fit. These are both APIs that serve as a central repository for all health-related data, allowing users to create a biological profile and store workout data.

  • Social sharing. 

The community-based feature adds game spirit and offers users an opportunity to compete with their friends and family members. Also, social sharing adds to users’ motivation and helps them hit above their weight.

  • Geolocation. 

This is another staple that allows users to follow their walking tracks and record workouts. 

Let’s move on to the next step.

  1. Hire a development team

Unless you are a coding genius, you’ll have to reach out to a team of specialists who will take over your business idea. Mind that average developer salaries vary greatly depending on the location, technology, and seniority level.

For example:

  • US and Canada based developers price their hourly services at $100/hour.
  • Western Europe coders make as much as $80 per hour.
  • Developers located in Eastern Europe charge around $50 per hour.

 However, technicalities do not end there.

  1. Discovery stage

This phase is a great opportunity for the software team to get to understand your fitness app project better. By doing so, they understand the underlying drivers, define the project scope, make a roadmap, and estimate costs. 

Typically, the Inception phase may take around 5 weeks. A big team of PMs, BAs, UI designers, and Tech Leads validate your business idea, outline high-level requirements, and create a visual prototype of your app to form the vision of a future product.

  1. Technical documentation

Tech documentation is the product of technical writing that features product-related data and information. After defining product requirements, a technical writer creates the product’s technical specifications. The document includes the nuts and bolts of a product serving as an extensive guide for stakeholders, developers, and users.

  1. Design

During the design phase, the actual conceptualizing of the fitness app is created. Specific project requirements provide the basis for detailed software architecture. Typically, a design team requires around 150 hours to implement both the UX and UI parts. However, time and financial resources depend on the complexity of functionality. If you want to go with the standard design, it’ll logically require less time and money than custom-made features.

  1. Fitness app development

This part is the main focus of developers. After receiving system design documents, the dev team starts the actual coding. This is the longest phase of the software development life cycle. If you want to launch your app on both platforms, you’ll need at least three developers to craft your solution.

  1. Quality Assurance

QA testing is another phase that guzzles up quite a bit of the development time. Specialists assess the software for defects and document bugs if any. Also, testers check the overall UX of the application and whether the features function as intended.  

Fitness app: the cost estimate 

Giving an accurate number is quite tricky without knowing all the nuances of your future health application. It all comes down to the number of features and app category. 

However, let’s try to provide a rough estimate of hours for workout app development.

PhaseEstimationHourly remuneration
Technical documentation80+ hours$25 per hour
Design150+ hours$25 per hour
Development960+ hours$35 per hour (Western Europe)
Project Management240+ hours$25 per hour
QA288+ hours$25 per hour

To sum it up, the overall development cost, in this case, is based on the number of hours and specialists engaged in the development process. If we convert the average number of hours into months, then the development process will start from around four months.

The Final Word

Just like any other app development, fitness applications can be quite challenging and time-consuming to create. However, by making sure the fitness app of your choice includes the essential features that will be valuable for your users, it’ll come to fruition.

Also, gamification features will make working out too fun to skip. By adding some gamified features to the usual run-tracking recipe, you’ll surely win the users over and motivate them to form healthy habits.

Finally, we recommend starting the app development process by creating a Minimum Viable Product. This stage will help you reduce the costs and validate your idea without wasting time and money.