How to Create a Fitness App: Tips and Monetization Checklist

Vladlen Shulepov posted on Sep 10, 2019
Fitness app development

People always strive to be happier, more successful, earn more money, be stronger, healthier in other words, better. The way to better selves is not easy, and demands numerous small steps walked in one direction regularly.  When relying on the willpower fails, surrounding conditions become the most powerful stimulus. One of the ways to create such stimulus is to build a fitness app. As the result the environment that is filled in with mobile notifications like “It’s time to do your pushups” or motivational phrases, e.g., “You have run further than 80% of our users” create the conditions to make success inevitable, especially in becoming fiscally fit, where only constant activities can make a difference. 

Fitness apps have the power to help people see their dream reflection in the mirror. How to create a light yet powerful application for fitness? In this article, we emphasis on vital issues to consider before developing a fitness app. 

Workout Boom or Why Fitness Apps are so Popular?

3 Reasons the Market is Growing

According to various data fitness app market is supporting the global trend of the health and fitness industry. The last-named has already reached $30 billion in the U.S. and has been growing by 3 – 4% annually for the last ten years. 

It is estimated that the growth of global health and fitness industry will continue and there are 3 undeniable reasons for it:

  1. Insurance costs tend to decrease for healthy people, as they cost much less to insure. Many employers cover fitness expenses of their employees, as long as the gym/fitness center is visited.
  2. More and more people are switching from eating processed food to becoming more conscious of their eating habits. This trend has led to people choosing healthy food for their diets, counting calories, and choosing more ways to become even healthier. One of the ways to support a healthy diet is to join the fitness studio or download a program to help stay physically fit. 
  3. People are growing their awareness about their health by calculating steps, blood pressure, heart rate, etc. Various wearable devices have made such calculations easy and available at our fingertips. Once a person starts to pay attention to health paraments, they become more interested in making their health parameters better.

All these factors are moving the global fitness industry ahead and forcing it to create ways to balance busy schedules, mindfulness, and healthy lifestyles. Here come various mobile apps that give busy people the freedom to fit in exercising whenever they have time.  

More Market Statistics

As one of the reports goes, the fitness app market is anticipated to reach $14.7 bln by 2026, growing at a CAGR of more than 24.3% during the 10 years.

fitness app market
Source: Polaris Market Research

Not only growing demand for fitness makes this market a piece of pie, but the frequency people are using such programs. According to Flurry research users become dedicated to their fitness apps once they start using them. 

fitness app usage
Source: Flurry Research

Main Market Players and Generated Revenues

The market today is reaching its maturity, and thus, there are already key dominant players, such as MyFitnessPal Inc., Dom, and TomTom, Motorola Mobility LLC, Grandapps, Fitbit, Nike, Azumio, WillowTree, Inc., ASICS, Under Armour, and Appster and others.

As Statista reports, the revenue is anticipated to increase at CAGR (2019-2023) of 5.0%, resulting in a market volume of $20,499m by 2023.

fitness app market revenue
Source: Statista

The market is growing and generating high revenues, making it the perfect time to build a fitness app and join the party. 

Fitness App Types

Once the decision to follow the app development path is taken, here is what you need to know about solutions aimed at improving physical health.


Description Examples
Workout It’s always easy to have the whole training session in your solution. Instead of going to the gym; a person can start a workout on the mobile the moment he decided. This category includes but is not limited to personal trainers, yoga and meditation classes, etc.  More than 70% of all app sessions fall in workout & weight loss category. 

Thinking about this category for your app? We suggest you to group exercises into categories. In this case, users can easily choose the type of activities according to their goals. 


Nike Training Club

Nutrition and diet These applications are helping people to manage their eating habits to either lose or gain weight. Such apps help control calories, water balance, and give recommendations about the best diet for the person.   MyfitnessPal
Activity tracking
Apps in this category collect user data based on their activities, e.g., the number of steps a user walked, distance run, heart rate, calories burn, hours slept at night, etc. To reflect the data relevantly, the apps are advised to be connected to wearables. Runkeeper



Main Features of Fitness Apps

Features of a fitness app will depend on the type of an app you are willing to develop, as some types of apps demand the must-have functionality, e.g., for the activity tracking it is a must to be connected to the wearables to show the best result. Moreover, it would be best if you kept in mind that all fitness apps have gamification elements. For instance, in case it is a running tracking app, it’s always interesting to compete with your friends in how many miles you ran, earn running points and to be in the top of users of the same app.

Here we will discuss the most general example of a fitness app and list the most commonly added features. 

  • User profile 

Make sure users of your app have a personal space, where they can add information about their age, weight, high, lifestyle, set their goals, etc. A filled-in profile can help an app to offer the most relevant workout/ running scheme to achieve set results.

  • Social media Integration 

This function can help users to login with their social media account and share their progress with their friends and family. Sometimes social support is the only thing missing to keep exercising and reach target goals.  

  • Ability to connect with wearables

As mentioned earlier, being connected to wearables, the app can track progress and record data more accurately. Moreover, users will be able to track their activities on the wearable with ease.

  • Record tracking

Whatever activities are tracked by the app, all statistics must be available to the user, as it gives an understanding of personal progress.

  • Push notifications

People forget to exercise and procrastinate. An app can help a person stay on track and exercise regularly. 

  • Video tutorials

If you go to a gym or a fitness studio, there always is a person, who can explain how to do an activity correctly, where to start from, what diet to follow or how to track progress. In case of an app, prerecorded tutorials, help users to get the most of their workouts. 

  • In app-purchases and safe payment system

This feature can be part of your app monetization strategy. Within in app-purchases you can either offer additional products not connected to your core app directly, but that can save time, e.g., purchasing sports clothes, food, etc; or provide access to more functions, e.g., workouts, tutorials, etc.

  • Geolocation 

For instance, when we have run 10 km, it’s always interesting to get the visualization of the route later to share it with friends and to have it like a memory of personal achievements. Geolocation and mapping are here to help.

The list of features can be long. Our tip here: brainstorm all ideas, and then separate them into several columns: 

  • Essential – the must-have features for an app.
  • Desired – features according to the type of your app.
  • Competitive – features that may give you a competitive advantage.

How to Make a Successful Fitness App?

Now let us guide you through a fitness app development. To get a great app, you need a synergy of two parts: business and development. 

how to build a fitness app

In the business part, you need to describe your future app as detailed as possible. We recommend you to create a business model canvas. We have already described this approach in our article here.

In a nutshell, you are creating a document where you are summarizing the most vital information about your app:

  • Key partners
  • Key activities
  • Value proposition
  • Customer relationship
  • Communication channels
  • Customer segments
  • Key resources
  • Cost structure
  • Revenue stream

Here is an example of the filled-in business model canvas for a fitness app.

business model canvas
Source: Visologi

Whatever method you are using, it’s better you clearly formulate the following:

  • Your app target audience 
  • Target platforms of your app: web, native, cross-platform, etc. 
  • Key features you want your app to have 
  • Preferences on the technology you want to have in your fitness app
  • The budget you are ready to spend.

The better you understand these key elements, the less time you will spend formulating the requirements for the development team. 

Once you’ve got that covered, you are ready to hire fitness app developers. 

We would recommend choosing developers with critical thinking turned on. Here are several factors, we believe are vital when selecting developers:

  • Experience in developing similar applications 
  • Positive reviews from the customers who ordered related services
  • Project management tools and practices the team is implementing 
  • Experience of developers 
  • Development rates   

In our opinion, hiring a team always pays off, as people in the team doesn’t need to be tuned to work together, they already know how to collaborate to solve issues and can offer the best solution. Two heads are always better than one. Moreover, teams typically include not only developers and PMs, but designers and QA engineers, who are working together on your project. Thus, you can get all the development from A to Z and not bother answering the question “How to make a fitness app?” yourself. 

We believe the process must be as transparent as possible. Thus, we are sharing an example of a workflow, based on our experience.  

Fitness app development process

Ready to discuss your fitness app?

How to Make Money on Your App: Monetization Checklist

Activity to create a fitness app is less than halfway. Once you have the product, you need to sell it, unless you are a purely social company and money isn’t any of your goals. 

In case you are a business person, the following information is relevant for you.

  1. Make sure you understand your target audience, competitors, and their behavior. Here we would recommend you to make solid analyze of your target user and benchmark your competitors.  As the result market best practices will be at your disposal, as well as good knowledge of what your users expect from your app.
  2. Choose the monetization model. There are several proven models on the market: paid apps, in-app purchases, ads, free apps. The choice will depend on your goals: whether you are willing to make a profit with an app, or you are offering the app as a bonus to increase the value of a bigger product. For instance, you have several fitness studios, and you are creating an app that helps book fitness classes, check the schedule, get useful training advice for free to get competitive advantage among other studios in your city.
    1. For those of you who are considering in-app purchases, click here to get interesting statistics.  Spoiler: only 5% of users are making in-app purchases, nevertheless they account for almost 50% of mobile app earnings as compared to 14% from the ads-based model, and 37,8% from paid downloads. 
    2. In case you are in favor of ads in the free app, make sure you are using ads mediation platforms, e.g., Epom, InMobi, etc. They are using the best advertising formats to maximize profit.
  3. Respect App Store Optimization (ASO). Just like you are performing SEO to get in the top of Google search, you need to make optimization to get in the top of the store search. ASO is a set of measures to optimize metadata to increase the search visibility of the application in the App and Play Store. You can optimize the name and description of the application, add the keywords that are most relevant to your app. Moreover, make sure you have added as many screenshots as possible; users like to understand what they are downloading.
  4. Perform A/B testing. Check whether the chosen model is working the way you expected and get the feedback. Set the KPIs and monitor the results.
  5. Update your app. Put yourself in the shoes of your users. If you have found an app that wasn’t updated for a year, would you download it? Yet, the answers may vary; people tend to trust apps that are supported and updated. Here you can implement PDCA cycle to control and implement continuous improvement.

How Much Does It Cost to Build an App for Fitness?

We at Riseapps have already created several fitness apps with different monetization models and aims. As you know the cost of app development, building a fitness app is not an exception, depends on the experience of the team (more experience software engineers spend less time to develop a feature), the scope of work (features, target platforms) and the development rate per hour.   

Here is a rough estimation of a fitness application with basic features, that is developed for iOS, Android and Web.

how much does it cost to develop a fitness app


Long considerations, collecting relevant data to start fitness app development must lead to fast decisions. Otherwise, chances are you have invested your time in vain. 

As for the fitness market, it will grow with or without you on board. Time is now. 

Not sure where to start, and how to create a fitness app, we are here to help you. Fill out the form below, and we will help you to make the most of your fitness ideas.

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