How to Choose Must-Have Features for a Successful Fitness App

fitnessIn a world, where most people have sedentary jobs, healthy lifestyle has become a real trend. We try to listen to what doctors say, and scientists do lots of research that push the progress further. Health and fitness app developers put this information into practice by creating mobile apps, that help people to stay healthy and fit.

Fitness & Mobile

Healthcare and fitness industry has been skyrocketing in recent years, and this phenomenon resulted in lots of mobile apps that help people fight against obesity and health problems anywhere and anytime.

Smartphones and mobile applications, that are meant to make people’s lives easier, help with maintaining healthy lifestyle as well. They not only track heartbeat and show instructions for exercises, but also motivate their users and give valuable advice.

There are some obvious functions that arise in mind when you think of developing fitness apps. Mobile apps can use device’s functionality, and this is one of its main advantages. The most popular function many fitness apps use is of course geolocation. It allows to track activities, and is especially useful for those who like jogging and cycling.

Another feature specific for mobile apps is ability to send notifications – this reminds users of an app and helps them to continue exercising regularly.

However, there are many other interesting functions you can add to your mobile solution for health and fitness, and we’ll discuss them right after we define, what kinds of fitness apps exist.

Types of Fitness Apps

All fitness apps are divided into three main groups:

  • Workout or exercise apps
  • Nutrition apps
  • Activity tracking apps

However, many modern apps try to be universal and include functions from two or even all three types of fitness apps. Whether to do the same, or make a really specific app, depends on your business model.

Let’s talk about these types in more detail.

Workout or exercise apps

Workout apps are the most numerous, and their variations are infinite: there are fitness apps that feature different techniques that work specifically for different muscles. Also, there are crossfit apps.

Exercise apps have their own classification that includes:

  • Personal trainer apps
  • Logbook apps
  • Workout fitness apps that pair with wearables

Personal Trainer Apps

Personal trainer apps provide detailed instructions to each exercise, which allows them to substitute a real trainer almost fully. Usually such application feature pictures or videos with instructions.

Such applications are also able to create a workout program for each user individually, based on their preferences and difficulty level.

For example, the Johnson & Johnson Official 7 minute workout application features both video and voice instructions, so a user isn’t distracted from an exercise. It also provides individual workout programs that change over time, which allows to keep the user motivated.

Logbook Apps

These apps are the simplest – they are basically to-do lists for users with information about workouts. They are especially useful for powerlifters, as they need to constantly increase weight and have to keep track of their progress.

Strong and HeavySet are two popular examples of such apps.

Workout Fitness Apps that Pair with Wearables

A wearable market is booming right now as more and more people find fitness bands and smart watches extremely useful for tracking their activities and sleep.

In this statistics you can see wearables sales worldwide by region. They are especially popular in Asia, North America and Western Europe, so if your target audience is located there, think about pairing your fitness app with wearables.

Nutrition Apps

While physical activity is crucial for being healthy and fit, it is only the half of the process, if not less. And this is where nutrition applications step in.

They’ve become really popular due to the obesity problem and a great variety of junk food that surrounds an average person nowadays. Moderate healthy eating has become a real challenge, and nutrition apps use both results of scientific research and technological capabilities of a mobile device.

They help to lose weight (or gain it, if needed) by counting calories and logging information about the intake of fats, carbohydrates and proteins.

Such apps sometimes contain features like grocery and recipe lists.

Activity Tracking Apps

Activity trackers, unlike personal trainers, log every activity a person does even outside the gym. Usually they use sensors and GPS to count steps and log the walked distance.

Also, such apps sometimes count calories burned during an evening walk or a bicycle ride to work. Wearables are often paired with activity tracking applications.

Another interesting feature they usually have is sleep tracking and smart alarm clock, that chooses specific time to wake the user up based on their movements in the sleep.

Features

What are the core features people seek in fitness apps in the first place? This research shows the reasons people use them.

Goal tracking, awareness of health issues and motivation are three main reasons for people to use fitness apps, and they expect at least some of the features that will help them with this issues.

Let’s talk about how to make a fitness app and what you should include in it to help your users achieve their goals.

1. Creating Accounts

Your users should be able to create their own accounts, if your app can be customized and personalized according to individual needs. We advice to go for personalization in any case, as nowadays it is highly valued on the mobile app market.

A photo of a user is a nice touch to add to account settings too.

2. Adding Personal Info

Accounts should contain all necessary information your app will need to provide individual workout programs or nutrition plans.

Such info can include:

  • Age
  • Weight
  • Gender
  • Height
  • Body measurements

Remember that adding different metric systems to these parameters will widen your target audience.

3. Integrating with Other Services

If you want to provide users with motivation, don’t forget about the competition. Allow users to share their results on social media. Another pleasant side-effect of integrating your app with Facebook, for example, is attracting new users to your application.

Besides, it is faster and easier to create an account through a social network.

4. Notifications

When it comes to motivation and user engagement, notifications are the most powerful tool. They remind the user about their results, challenges and plans for the day.

There are countless obstacles to keeping a diet or sticking to a workout plan, and your users need those pushes to achieve their goals, when they can’t find enough motivation on their own.

However, avoid making the notification annoying – let your users adjust them according to their needs.

5. Setting Targets

Setting targets is an extremely important feature for any kind of fitness app: whether it’s a number of push-ups, lost pounds or steps walked, a user needs to know their goal and desired results.

6. Settings

You need to add settings so your users can control an app and make it convenient to use. However, don’t overdo it – nobody needs dozens of unnecessary settings that will distract the user from the main idea.

7. Gamification

Gamification is another tool for keeping your users motivated. In addition, they entertain users and provide higher user engagement. Rewards and competitions will make your users feel like they’re on an exiting quest or in a video game.

Features for workout apps:

8. Pre-set Exercise Routines

Workout routines are the whole point of workout applications, and our advice is to make them customizable and include detailed instructions for each exercise to avoid trauma and slow results.

9. Live Streaming

Streaming nowadays is becoming more and more popular, and though this feature is not a must, it can definitely become your killer feature. It allows to consult a trainer and stream workouts online.

Features for fitness activity tracking apps:

10. Live Streaming

If you want your app to support wearables, you can use Apple’s HealthKit or Google Fit as a storage and then connect your app to wearables from different manufacturers like Garmin, Jawbone and others with the help of APIs.

11. Activity tracking

Cycling, running and even swimming – your users need to be able to track all these activities even if they don’t have a wearable device. Connect your app with HealthKit or Google Fit to device’s sensors like accelerometer and gyroscopes to make it possible.

12. Geolocation

Geolocation is a must-have feature for any activity tracking application. It gives users an ability to find and share new routes, make screenshots of their activities on a map and see their location wherever they are.

Features for nutrition or diet apps:

13. Food Logging

Food logging is necessary for any app that counts calories. A database with products and dishes is also requires, so that your users won’t have to count calories of an every single dish they have.

14. Barcode Scanner

Barcode scanner is a great way to help your users add products to a database with the precise information about calories in each dish or product they buy. It is fast and convenient, so it’s another candidate to become your killer feature.

Cost of Fitness App Development

Estimation of a fitness app product development cost is never an easy thing to do unless a development company knows exactly what you want your app to do and look like. But there are some typical things that are present in any development process, and this chart will show you how much time it takes for each process:

Development is of course the main activity, so let’s look a bit closer at that and find out, how many hours of development time each feature requires.

Note, that this is a very rough estimate, and without any information about your app it will be hard to predict the fitness app development cost. The development time will also depend on design and animations in your application.

And, of course, the rates of the development team you’ll hire will also influence the cost to build a fitness app a lot.

Preparatory work will also be included in the final estimate, and usually it takes 18 – 34 hours. After the application is ready, you’ll need another 4-12 hours for its production.

As you can see, native mobile development is quite an investment, but it can pay off really well, if you take the right steps. And this is what we’ll talk about now.

How to make money from your app

After you develop a fitness app, you surely will expect it to pay off.

App monetization is something that can bring you profit or kill your application at the very beginning, so you should think about your strategy beforehand.

A freemium model is the most popular for fitness applications. Until nobody knows about your app, i’s risky to make it fully paid, so it’s better to offer it for free, and make some advanced functionality paid.

Ads are also an option, but you should make sure they aren’t too annoying and distracting. This monetization strategy is a bit riskier.

Conclusion

If you want to develop a fitness app, make sure you choose a right developers team. For example, Mobindustry already has experience in building fitness apps. Think carefully about the features you want to see in your app and choose one or two of them, that will be unique for your application and make it stand out.