The fitness industry is on the rise across the world as more people are investing in their health, especially following the Coronavirus pandemic. In fact, according to a recent Zippia study, the United States’ fitness industry was valued at $33.25 billion in 2021 with 39 percent of Americans currently holding gym memberships.
The study found that revenue for fitness centers in the US rose steadily from 2011 to 2019, but dropped in 2020 due to gym closures and social distancing measures brought on by the pandemic. However, revenue continued to surge again in 2021 and is expected to reach $434.74 billion by the end of 2028.
These numbers show that the health and fitness industry is just gaining more and more traction, particularly in the United States, which has the highest gym center revenue in the world. Because of this increased focus on health, many companies are thinking outside the box in terms of fitness and launching apps that provide a virtual experience that can be attained anywhere and any time.
In this article, we’ll discuss the growth of fitness apps, its popular features and technical considerations, and the proper steps to take when building your own fitness app. We’ll also explore some of the biggest names in the fitness app industry and the various features they’ve implemented to successfully set themselves apart from the growing competition. Keep reading to learn more.
What Is a Fitness App?
A fitness app is a mobile device application that can be downloaded and used to promote a healthy lifestyle. There are many types that focus on different aspects of health and fitness, including workouts, sports activities, meal planning and lifestyle, but the ultimate goal remains the same: to improve overall health and collect data about user’s activities.
Meal planning fitness apps, for example, allow users to log meals, count calories and plan diets, while workout apps will track footsteps, monitor heart rate and provide custom routine exercises. Many fitness apps also let users set weight goals and give personalized advice and health tips.
Fitness Apps Market Trends
Fitness apps have experienced a massive boom in recent years, primarily due to Coronavirus, which caused many people to turn to virtual solutions for investing in their health.
Coupled with a rise in smartphones and other wearable technology like smartwatches and Fitbits, it’s no surprise that the international fitness app market size was valued at $1.1 billion USD in 2021, according to a report by Grand View Research.
For 2022 alone, the report said fitness app revenue was currently valued at about $1.3 billion USD and is projected to grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate of 17.6 percent over the next several years to reach $4.8 billion USD in 2030.
Top 3 Fitness Apps
Due to an increasing consumer demand for continuous health assessment, more and more companies are dipping their toes in the fitness app market, including Under Armour and Google.
MyFitnessPal is a mobile app and website that focuses on tracking diet and exercise goals through the use of gamification elements.
With 14 million foods in the app’s database, users can scan barcodes on food packages to easily track calories of their meals and snacks. The app also keeps a log of any physical activity, and allows users to link their MyFitnessPal account with other apps to consolidate all their personal data on one platform.
In addition to tracking meals and exercise, MyFitnessPal users have access to healthy recipe ideas and articles related to health, food and fitness. While the app is free to download, a premium subscription that offers a more personalized experience is available for $19.99 per month or $79.99 per year.
Owned by Google, Fitbit is a free mobile app that tracks sleep, stress, heart rate and physical activity with wireless-enabled technology like smartwatches.
The app also offers a variety of Fitbit Challenges that are aimed at keeping users inspired and motivated to reach their health goals. Users can even visit virtual trails and landmarks, collecting “treasures” along the way to ensure their fitness journey is all the more exciting.
For personalized recommendations for video workouts, Fitbit users can upgrade to the premium subscription for $9.99 per month or $79.99 for an annual membership.
An endeavour of the sports equipment company Under Armour, MapMyRun is a free running app that tracks distance, pace and the number of calories burned.
Although it does focus on running, users can log other workouts like cycling and walking, set training plans and discover new fitness routines. Users can also participate in community challenges and map, record and share their exercise routes with the MapMyRun user base.
A MVP subscription is available for $5.99 per month or $29.99 per year that offers custom workouts and fitness plans, as well as a live tracking option in which family members can follow user’s running routes in real time.
Popular Features of a Fitness App
While some features may be dependent on the fitness app’s main focus, there are some core features that should always be included to ensure its success.
Perhaps the most important feature of a fitness app is the ability to track health stats like the number of steps taken in a day and the total number of miles run. This allows users to easily monitor their own personal metrics and also keeps them engaged in the app, as they will likely check up often on their progress.
Food logs are another popular feature included on many fitness apps. With this feature, users can keep track of their total caloric intake based on what they’ve consumed and what they’ve burned through physical activity.
Fitness app users should also be able to set their own personal weight and exercise goals and track their progress along the way. This is most easily accomplished by allowing users to set up a profile to input data like weight and average activity level and implementing a notification system that reminds users to log updated stats on a weekly or monthly basis.
Once goals have been met, many fitness apps provide badges or other virtual incentives to keep users motivated.
Bluetooth Device Integration
Another popular feature of fitness apps is the capacity to integrate with Bluetooth and other smart devices like watches for constant activity tracking. This feature helps to promote accuracy, as data across all devices are being pulled into one streamlined platform.
Bluetooth integration also boosts user experience by providing better insight into their overall health and progress.
When building your own fitness app, you’ll need to implement much more than some basic popular features. You’ll also need to consider technical tools like Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) and health care mobility hardware that are necessary for launching an app successfully. It’s also important to remember that the app should be scalable so that its capacity can increase over time as it gains new users.
Fortunately, developers can draw from a variety of tools when building their fitness app. HealthGraph, for example, can be used to store data on the cloud and as a means of interacting with other app users.
MisFit is another tool that can be beneficial to your app, as it allows a means of tracking sleep and other activities that can be compiled into weekly summaries. For food logs, FoodSpex provides detailed nutritional information like calories and fat content. Developers can also utilize the Exist API to track a variety of metrics, including weight, exercise and mood.
In addition to APIs, fitness app developers should implement specific health care mobility hardware. Bioimpedance sensors can detect various physiological data like respiration and heart rate, while accelerometers can be used to track activity and motion, such as speed, distance and calories burned. Skin response sensors are another popular tool to measure any changes in body temperature, which can be used to estimate users’ stress levels.
Like any new platform, it’s essential that your fitness app has the ability to develop over time in order to better handle increasing user demand. Scalability also offers a way for you to collect consumer data and preferences so that you can make necessary improvements over time as your user base grows.
So by making your app scalable, you will ensure that your app can easily adapt to changing requirements and ultimately remain sustainable in a competitive market.
Building an MVP
Building a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is another good practice when launching a fitness app. The aim is to first test your business concept by offering an initial set of features that can be elaborated on down the road. This will help confirm that your app is poised for success by gauging what your audience wants in terms of features and services.
In addition to verifying market demand, MVPs will help in developing a monetization strategy and assessing usability, as the process relies on testing an app’s functions and collecting user feedback. Because the whole point is to start small and build bigger – and better – over time, an MVP will shed valuable light on whether the app is usable and appealing to its users.
So, in terms of a fitness app, it’s essential to offer basic features like a personalized profile, workout database, health statistics and third-party capabilities when first launching the platform. These features can then be built up to include options like live workout selections and on-demand fitness coaching.
Barcode scanning services, social media integration and community forums are other advanced features that can be added once your app has undergone rigorous user testing.
4 Steps to Develop a Fitness App
Now that you understand the necessary features and technical considerations of building a fitness app, we’ll walk you through the four main steps you’ll want to take when developing a platform of your own.
The first step in building a successful fitness app is to research your customer demographic and determine what features are required as a result. These features will be based on what devices your target audience will be most likely to use, as well as how you intend for the app to be used in general.
You’ll also want to study the current fitness app market, especially the competition, and reflect on ways that your app can be distinct and different from others.
The next step is to design the application based on its required features, paying careful attention to user interface and user experience. This is where you decide how you want the app to look and how you envision users interacting with the platform.
3. Develop and Test
The next stage is to actually code and develop the platform, matching the design of your prototype. The app should then be tested on a variety of devices to ensure quality assurance.
You should also collect feedback from Beta testing and fix any errors prior to officially launching. This will enable you to verify that the app functions as it should.
4. Deliver and Maintain
After completing the previous three steps, it’s time to release the software to customers. Once released to the public, it’s crucial to continue monitoring the app to identify bugs so that you can make any necessary improvements.
It’s also a good idea to routinely check the app’s usage from a built-in mobile analytics tool and adjust and maintain the app’s functions. This step will extend throughout the app’s duration on the market.
Idea Maker’s Experience In Mobile App Development
Interested in launching a fitness app of your own? Idea Maker has extensive experience in mobile app development and can help you navigate the entire process. Our expert designers and developers have successfully created platforms for a variety of companies and are dedicated to providing a transparent and stress-free approach to building an app. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and take the first step in bringing your vision to life.