How to Create a Fitness App and Do It Right: Features & Cost

Creating your own workout fitness app makes sense when you know that your app's target audience has no spare time to train with a fitness coach or has no facilities nearby. Why? Because the primary purpose of the workout app is to save users time and money and provide training on demand.

Table of contents

  1. How to find the demand for a workout fitness app
  2. Where to find ideas for features for a fitness app
  3. Where to find/How to create workout content
  4. User persona and its role
  5. Workout app features
  6. How much does it cost to develop a workout fitness app?
  7. Monetization
  8. Final thoughts

How to find the demand for a workout fitness app

So, the first step is to examine the facilities in your city, town, or area. How many fitness centers are there? Are there parks, lanes, and outdoor equipment for workouts?

How to do it? Google “sports facilities” and look at the map to get your first insight.

city map for workout app development

You can also go to the yellow pages and take a look at the density of fitness centers using a map. For instance, you see that the majority of the fitness centers are concentrated in one place, so there can be a possibility that people from remote districts may have an unmet need. Let’s leave this insight for promotion.

gym map for developing workout app

Where to find ideas for features for a fitness app

Let’s investigate what fitness apps are trending in different countries by different characteristics like downloads, revenue, etc. You can use any app ranking website. It will give you food for thought and help to identify what apps and features are popular.

app rank

Let’s see what we’ve got here. Find Couch to 5K description in Google Play and write down the features. Think them through thoroughly.

google review for fitness application

Proceed to investigate why people love some apps - read the reviews. Let’s take a famous Nike Training Club app and read the reviews to understand what people like and dislike about it.

Gather new ideas and features that users suggest, for instance, listening to the playlist while doing workouts.

review for app work out

In the end, you’ll have a matrix of well-doing competitors and quite a number of ideas for features.

Pay attention to 2 categories - core features and killer features. Core features are those that deliver value to the end user. Without them, the development of your own workout app loses any sense. Killer features are some sort of specialty, and users like the app because of them. They help them spotlight your app and remember among other options to use. For instance, for Nike Training Club the core feature is the ability to choose a workout on demand and go through it, while music listening can become a killer feature for someone.

Where to find/How to create workout content

In case you are a professional fitness coach with a great experience in the fitness industry, just skip the point. All you need is to find a video-making agency to shoot videos with your participation in them. You’ve got workout plans for different ages, states of health, purposes, men and women, various muscle groups, etc. You can professionally explain and show the exercises and warn users about traumatic possibilities. But in case you have no professional experience in this field, it’s time to think about where to find workout content or create it:

  • Plans go first. Find high-quality workout plans, there are plenty of them on the web.
  • Good old competitor analysis. Classy.
  • Search in your network, it’s possible that one of your friends turns out to be a fitness coach and won’t mind starring in videos.
  • 3d model. Animation is also an option, besides, you can highlight muscles and illustrate mechanics.
3d model in workout app development
  • An avatar. An animated avatar can help you with a workout. In addition, users can choose a character they like.

User persona and its role in fitness mobile app development

Niching is one of the strategies you can use to make your workout app successful with time. It’s a great idea to learn about your user’s lifestyle, wishes and values as much as possible. Start small with a Facebook group dedicated to the subject, or use any other social media to build a user persona (sometimes it’s called buyer persona). So, what’s a user persona in short? It’s a collective image of your target audience, as precise as it can be.

Read an article dedicated to the theme: User persona for startups

Here we can add that by communicating with real people, by studying their personal profiles on social media, you can build it.

archers app design

Identify these details to get insights for the workout app:

Age, gender, income, location, education, job title. It gives a quick insight into a persona's lifestyle, background, and habits.

Personality characteristics
Single, tech-savvy, careful. Pick adjectives that define how personas’ personality is different from other potential customers.

Motivations and goals, frustrations
What is preventing your persona from achieving their goals? Are there any frustrations with current solutions? This is a key section when it comes to defining the services of your product.

Hobbies and interests
These help you to get to know the user persona better and embrace their needs.

Preferred channels of communication
Help to understand what kind of channels should be used to sell the product.

Persona’s preferred brands and influencers
Economic and social status, interests.

Let’s assume that you decided to make a workout app for moms that want to get back in their physical form before childbirth. They have little time for it, so workouts must be 15-20 min and not too physically intense. Maybe they need a reminder to do them, as there are always more urgent and important things to do. They may need a special nutrition plan as well, as they feed a baby and also want to achieve the goal of gaining great shape. Imagine their day, timetable - what time of the day it’s possible that they will workout? Ask them what features they need. Maybe they even want to be able to exercise during their daily routine with babies. Is it even possible? Could you possibly adjust your program for this purpose?

mom workout fitness app

As you see, without interviews and research about moms it’s very unlikely that you’ll manage to suggest to them a valuable workout app. This is why user persona is so important.

Workout app features

These are common features of a workout app:

  • Authentication
  • Profile
  • Workouts and timer
  • Workout plans
  • Goal setting
  • Tracking metrics
  • Progress tracking
  • Push notifications

Additional features:

  • Synchronization with wearables
  • Nutrition plan and calorie counting
  • Social sharing
  • Video recording of your workout
  • Call a coach to discuss progress and mistakes
  • Map with sports facilities
  • Navigator and rout building
  • Educating lessons
  • Streams
  • Weather forecast
  • Playing background music

The number of such “specialties” might be quite impressive - there is always something to add but it’s important to start with the main features and good content.

How much does it cost to develop a workout fitness app?

From our experience, an MVP of a workout fitness app will cost about 15K. For this money, it’s possible to build an appealing app and enter the market with it. However, the competition is quite intense and users always want something extra.

With time, you’ll find out that adding new features will cost you additional money. Still, it’s not a great problem if the app starts to bring revenue, as you can reinvest money to further enhancement. So the first thing to think about is how to make a workout app bring profit. And the answer is very closely connected with such terms as promotion and monetization model.

Monetization models for a custom branded fitness app

For niche apps, it’s a great idea to make a narrow targeting wherever you can while promoting - target moms with toddlers if your app is for them. Reach out to them everywhere - in social networks, through google ads, use banners on third-party websites. There’s a dependency between the number of users and price. The smaller your audience is, the higher the price for a subscription to return on investment. And vice versa. The bigger your audience is the smaller price you can put. But reaching a wide audience is costly, more expensive than targeting a niche. Think of it as if it is a mass market outfit shop and a boutique. The width of your audience really matters.

Also, mind that the prices of paid apps vary across countries. It’s because of the purchasing power of people in different countries. Also, while deciding on a price, think about the value. About 70% of users stop utilizing apps because they find out that the value and the price are not commensurate. Many sources suggest using a combination of different monetization models to differentiate the channel and give users the opportunity to pay for what they really need, which is a winning strategy in the long-term.

One more point in support of this thought is that according to Statista, as of December 2021, 97% of apps on the Google Play store were free and 94% of iOS apps on the App Store were free. So maybe you’d better think of other options of monetization than paying for a license (download) or subscription.

In sum, monetization models for apps are:

  • Premium content. Users pay for extra possibilities or unlock full functionality.
  • In-app advertising. Users don’t pay, advertisers do to draw attention.
  • Sponsorship. A variation of advertisement. Usually, the brand name of a sponsor company is shown.
  • Data. Non-personal and anonymous data can be sold to interested parties.
  • Pay to download. You pay for the end product - an app.
  • Subscription. You pay for your time to use the app.

Use one or a combination of several to make your workout app profitable.

Final thoughts

It’s a good idea to make the most of studying your target audience and competitors and thinking out of the box. Use different techniques, such as 5 Whys to get to the bottom of the user’s needs. Brainstorm. Communicate. Try different options, don’t focus on what doesn't work. As they say, fail fast. You can find great tips for the start in this section, in the interviews of founders that succeeded. And don’t hesitate to ask a question or turn to us for help. Good luck!

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