Guide: How To Create A Fitness App & How Much Does it Cost

Picture of Dyachenko Anastasia
Dyachenko Anastasia
CEO at Cadabra Studio. UX expert and business consultant

Fitness apps are famous around the world. And their popularity during the quarantine restrictions has dramatically increased. As Statista survey claims, there are 87,4 million fitness app users in the USA, 2020. Compared to 62,7 million users in 2018. 

It is worth noting that fitness apps are also used widely in other world regions like Asia and Europe. And if you think about an awesome startup idea, you need to know how to create a fitness app. We will talk about types of fitness apps, a successful business model, steps to monetize and build an app. Let’s move on!

Existing Types Of Fitness Apps

For a start, your goal is to determine the type of future fitness app. There are five widespread types we want to describe here so that you can make your choice. 

  • Activity tracking app. This app allows users to track their activities, monitor statistics of exercises. These apps can be created specifically for athletes, cyclists, or gym fans. Users can find the number of steps taken or calories burnt, heart rate level, etc. If you want to know how to create a fitness activity tracking app, then you can check Strava or RunKeeper that are good examples.

  • Diet and nutrition app. We guess it is quite clear everything about these apps. It tracks the eating habits and water intake of each user. People can input data about the type of food they eat and see how many calories they will take after eating. You can add a barcode scanner as a useful feature to help users get information about foodstuff quickly. YouAte and Lose It! are some examples.

  • Workout app. This app is an excellent option for those who want to care for their body remotely. The workout app is a personal trainer that helps users do daily exercises with a personal coach. Or they can be a part of a team that is trained by one coach. Fitbit Coach, Runtastic, PEAR are the most popular examples. So if you plan to create your own workout app, analyze the mentioned apps. 

  • Studio app. It doesn’t imply a specific app type. The studio app is the one created by a fitness club or studio, and it is targeted at its clients. It may be used as a workout app and also work as a diet and nutrition app. As a rule, studio apps allow users to select a coach, see their profile, schedule, etc.  

  • Yoga app. Another type is a yoga or meditation app. All fans of yoga may practice using yoga apps, relax, and keep peace of mind. But if you build a yoga app, it has to be appropriate both for newbies and advanced users. Examples are Daily Yoga, Pocket Yoga.

Start With A Business Model Canvas To Succeed

Another stage in the quest of how to make a fitness app lies in following the proper business model. We recommend using the business model canvas for your future fitness app. You will find the template below. It will help you build the app successfully. 

  • Key activities. Your fitness app’s main activities may be fitness tutorials, personal training with a coach, eating habits monitoring, etc. It is essential to determine the critical activities of your app.


  • Key partners. They include everyone who helps you achieve the expected result — trainers, suppliers of gym equipment, gym partners (if necessary), and software development company, of course.

  • Value proposition. What can you provide customers and coaches with? Start with low prices, discounts, loyalty programs, attractive conditions, etc. Make your future users test your app and get a positive experience.

  • Customer segments. What type of people do you create an app for? Experienced athletes or newbies, who want to start taking care of their health? Or both? It would be best if you determined customer segments and the right target audience.

  • Customer relations. It is necessary to build an individual approach to each customer, increase trust in your services, and make a strong reputation for your app.

  • Cost structure. Here you have to split costs and divide them into segments. If you make your own workout app for a fitness club, you must consider expenses like salaries to employees, rental premises, taxes, equipment. In case you plan to create an online-only fitness app — costs will be different.

  • Channels. Social media channels, app stores, influencers, etc. — the channels you plan to use to promote your app. Your goal is to choose the best-fitting ways to let everybody know about your fitness app.

  • Revenue streams. Choose the model to generate revenue. There are five of them, at least. But it would be better to review them in a separate section. 

Our business analysts would help you elaborate on a business model canvas. You just need to contact us via form on a website. 

Optimal Ways To Generate Revenue With Your App

We will list five primary monetization models below. However, you can use any additional revenue methods if you think they are reasonable. 

  • In-app purchases. An excellent option if you want to provide a free app but gain some profit. In fitness apps, users can buy personal training, healthy diet recipes, video tutorials, etc. Everything depends on your app’s particularities. 

  • Paid apps. The paid fitness app will be available only at a fixed cost. Its price may depend on the platform and the types of services you provide. 

  • Freemium. The app is available for free by default, but it has limited functionality. However, if users want to get advanced helpful features, they can buy a premium app version. 

  • Partnership. This is a type of advertisement, but you promote only one gym or other fitness partner and its services. Using your app, customers can get some discounts or loyalty programs from your partners. 

  • Advertising. Your app will contain fitness-related advertisements, and you will get a fixed fee for ad placement in your app. This model is widespread, but make sure that the app is not full of ads. Otherwise, users will abandon the app.

How Do You Create A Fitness App? Steps To Follow

It doesn’t matter what type of fitness app you intend to create. The stages of the development process will remain the same. If you don’t want to waste your time and money and avoid failures, we recommend following these tips below. 

Start With Market Research 

Before the development team starts creating your fitness app, it is required for you to analyze the market, existing competitors, choose the fitness niche, define the target audience. Thus, you can use primary app stores (Google Play and App Store), sort out apps by category, and study everything about these apps — features, functionality, design, prices, etc.

You have to find out why each app is popular, the main reasons why people use them. You can create a focus group of potential users and apply the RAT method. 

RAT stands for the riskiest assumption test, and it helps you test the app idea before the MVP is created. You can find more about RAT in the detailed guide.

Based on the information mentioned above, detailed research is an essential part that precedes the design and development stages. 

Elaborate On Your UVP

When you analyze competitors’ apps, your goal is to single out each app’s pros and cons. Once you do it, you will be able to build your unique value proposition (UVP). But you will need to figure out the demands and needs of potential customers. And the first stage (research) comes to the rescue.

If your app stands out among competitors, its value proposition becomes unique. Think about features and additional services that other apps lack and use the business model canvas we have described above. Also, a UVP will depend on the app platform. 

Choose The App Platform

You can choose Android or iOS, or both. But we recommend starting with one platform and launch it to test an MVP. The importance of an MVP is reflected in this article. Therefore, your goal is to choose the platform that fits better. 

For example, the Android market is more expansive than iOS. For example, predominantly men use Android devices according to Forbes. Mind it if you create a fitness app where men are the target audience. Besides, Android OS is flexible since it is open-source, and it opens more opportunities for developers.

As for the iOS platform, you can choose it to promote your app for more solvent users. iOS users spend more money on in-app purchases so that you can use this particularity. And iOS users are mostly women up to 24 years old, as the mentioned Forbes statistics claims. Each option has its pros and cons, but it is up to you.

Create A Fitness App Design 

Once it is time to proceed to the UI/UX design stage, you need to remember that fitness apps are like gaming apps to some extent. In other words, it must have a straightforward yet crowd-pleasing design. 

The fitness app design must have a navigation bar with basic features, so users can easily see statistics or start training. Animations and gaming elements are always welcome in the fitness app. Simply put, if you keep up with the design principles, a fitness app will turn into state of the art. 

Hire Fitness App Developers 

The next stage is rather challenging since the process of health and fitness app developers hiring may take a lot of time. You need to choose a region where you will hire developers and then hire a reliable company that will not let you down. 

Read our detailed guide on hiring the best app developers with all the aspects you need to know.

Of course, the choice is yours. But the Cadabra Studio development team is ready to provide you with a full stack of services — UI/UX design, development, quality assurance, deployment, and release. Moreover, our design team conducts research and analysis of the market, so you don’t need to spend your time. Finally, the area of the Cadabra Studio expertise includes fitness apps as well. 

Establish Your Marketing Strategy 

Think about your app promotion and ways how you will do it after release. Use social media channels to announce your app, describe its features and capabilities. You may hire a content writer and PR manager to take the promotion to the next level. You can also order the development of a landing page that will be an additional promotion method and partner with fitness influencers. 

Additionally, care about an SEO specialist to consider ASO. ASO stands for app store optimization, and it is highly recommended to follow if you want your app to be at the top of Google search. An SEO specialist will take appropriate measures to increase search visibility in app stores and Google. 

Ensure A Smooth Onboarding Experience

And the last step for you to take — make sure that app users have no problem with the onboarding process. It is crucial to streamline the onboarding experience and let users get the most out of your app as quickly as possible. A design team will help you add some short tutorials for users on how to start using the app, indicate useful shortcuts, etc. 

Are you puzzled with many words? Get in touch with us to estimate your project and build it successfully.

Features To Build A Fitness App

Even if you hire the best fitness app developers, it doesn’t mean that you should forget about the feature-list in the app. It is also a crucial stage since the success of the app largely depends on attractive features.

  • Sign-up. Registration of users — that is what the fitness app starts with. You can make it possible for users to sync an app with a Google account and log in using the email. Or sign-up may be available via Facebook (other social media options are welcome).

  • User profile. Users can create their profiles and customize them according to their preferences. Personal information like weight, height, age, experience level will be stored in a personal profile. This info can be beneficial when the coach creates an individual training plan. 

  • Device connectivity. If you decided to learn how to create a fitness activity app, you must consider adding this feature. It will enable your app function seamlessly with a third-party device like a smartwatch or smart wristband. 

  • Social sharing. Apart from the social login feature, users should be able to share their activity with friends on social media. Let everybody boast about new sports achievements.

  • Activity tracking. The process of exercise tracking must be available. All information from wearables will be sent to the app and processed there. 

  • Geolocation. An integrated native feature like GPS will help your users calculate the distance, create routes, set distance goals, etc. The app must have a visible map that shows everything in real-time mode. 

  • Calories counter. In workout apps, calorie counting will be necessary to show athletes how many calories they burn during their training. 

  • Push notifications. This feature is available in almost every app. Vital information about all updates will be beneficial for each user. 

  • Payment gateway. Trustworthy payment gateways will enable payment processing and transfer so that users can pay for training easily and securely. 

  • Settings. It is necessary to allow users to customize their app, change theme color, configure notifications, and adjust other parameters. 

Additional Features For An Outstanding App

MVP features are essential, but they will not enhance your app since each app has these features. Let’s talk about additional capabilities that may become helpful for users. 

  • Gamification. This feature adds entertainment for users and motivates them to keep on using your app. Some rewards and badges, new levels, and achievements will capture users’ eyes, and the retention rate will be increased. 

  • Educational content. Video tutorials and text instructions are useful if you want to retain users and provide them with comprehensive information. You can even create a vlog on YouTube, shoot short videos about the workout, healthy diets, healthy lifestyle, etc. Then, upload them to the app or share. 

  • Goal setting. Some people can be motivated only when they set specific goals. So let them achieve new heights. And when they do it, they can immediately share results on social media. Perhaps, your app even contributes to a new healthy generation.

  • Live streaming. You may create a fitness app that will be a platform for creating online training. Thus, coaches and athletes will be able to connect and do real-time exercises via live streaming.

  • Integration with music apps. Doing exercises while listening to music — it is truly a great thing. Users can turn on the music player and open a fitness app, but it is not convenient. It will be much better to enable integration with third-party apps and provide seamless music streaming. 

Tech Stack For Fitness App Development

The range of the tools for your app may be different. However, our specialists know what tech stack may be used for fitness apps, considering our developers’ experience.  

  • Programming languages: Java/Kotlin (Android), Swift (iOS); Python/Ruby/Java (backend)

  • Frameworks: Flutter, React Native (for a cross-platform app), Dagger 2, CoreData, ButterKnife

  • Auxiliary tools: CoreLocation (iOS), Google Location API (Android) — for geolocation; Google Maps API (Android), MapKit (iOS) — for building routes; Twilio —for push-notifications.

  • Payment gateways: Braintree/Stripe/PayPal

  • Databases: MySQL, MongoDB, Redis

  • Web servers: Nginx, Apache

How Expensive Is It To Create A Fitness App?

Wrapping up, let’s assume how much money you will need to invest in fitness app development. This question is complicated and must be clarified. The matter is that the cost to build a fitness app depends on the app complexity (design particularities, number of features and platforms, and the location of the development team).

And the location will play a crucial role in the app development estimation. We think you already know that each region provides different hourly rates; this is due to the market conditions. Thus, North America (the USA and Canada) offers a rate range between $150-200 per hour. In contrast, a neighboring region (South America) provides rates within the $45-55 range. 

European continent offers the same range difference. Western Europe and the UK — their rate varies between $75-120. North European countries — some companies may charge even up to $300 per hour. But Eastern European countries like Ukraine, Belarus, Poland, Bulgaria, etc., charge about $25-50 per hour. 

Cadabra Studio is located in Ukraine. Do low hourly rates mean low-quality development? Fortunately, not. Ukrainian companies are well-known for their high and robust development skills, as well as large projects. If you choose Ukraine as the outsourcing arena for your project, you won’t waste your money. 

That is, the cost development cannot be predicted until you send us all your requirements. We may anticipate that the fitness app’s total cost for one platform will fall within the $15-40K range. But this price can be increased or decreased, depending on all project capabilities. 

Thank you for reading this article. Do you want to get a detailed estimation? Contact our managers — they will provide an estimate and further information concerning the development process. 

Frequently Asked Questions

The cost of medical app development depends on several factors like your needs, set of features, technology stack, and so on. Though our business analytics make sure to not spend an unnecessary penny.

To make a mobile app screen, you need to create a user flow diagram for each screen, draw wireframes, select design templates, and colors, create layouts, and create an animated prototype.

We usually take our clients through the following steps:

  1. Planning and Research; 
  2. Prototyping;
  3. Design;
  4. Development;
  5. Testing;
  6. Release;
  7. Maintenance.

You will participate in every stage of the development process and get regular updates.

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