Fitness App Development Guide
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Fitness Application Development Guide: Best Practices and Case Studies

22 min read


The first fitness application built by MobiDev dates back to 2015. Since then, we have been involved in developing dozens of fitness-focused apps, maintaining long-term partnerships with our clients averaging five years in length. Based on this experience, we’ve put together a guide for business leaders interested in building fitness software products.

If you are a stakeholder of offline fitness businesses needing to digitize your services, or founder of a startup with an innovative idea for the industry, this guide will provide you with valuable insights to help you succeed. Our warm-up wasn’t long, so let’s get going!

The Top 6 Types of Fitness Applications

First of all, we offer you a brief review of the main types of software products for fitness enthusiasts. This will help you clarify the specifics of the market you are operating in and refine the vision and functionality of your fitness app.


Such apps deliver exercise routines and workouts and their main functionality includes workout libraries, progress tracking and analytics, performance metrics, etc. Nike Training Club is a good example for this segment.

There are apps both specialized in one fitness discipline and possessing a wide range of training types. For example, at MobiDev, we cooperated with a client to build an Android training app called NewMoove. With a library of over 400 fitness video courses by professional coaches, this app covers a variety of user interests, from yoga to pilates.

You can find more details in the case study or watch what the app’s Manager of Product says about his experience in building the app.

In MobiDev we have found a partner who can support us very well on the topic of Android and who has proven to be a very good technology partner for our project.

The development process was very detailed and very transparent, we always have a good overview of the status of the project.

Ulrich Bartholmös

Manager of product portfolio and business operations


These software products aim at tracking routes and performance metrics, including speed, distance, and others. Strava is one of the most typical examples in this market segment. The key elements of the functionality are run logging, GPS tracking, performance analysis, audio coaching, etc. Moreover, such apps are usually integrated with wearables for improved user experience (UX). 

Using computer vision and motion tracking, running apps can analyze your running form and provide real-time feedback and tips to improve your technique and efficiency.


Such apps help users to track nutrition and count calories. Yazio can be cited as an example of software in this area. Such apps typically provide meal planning, food and water tracking and logging, nutrient and calorie analysis, recommendations for diet plans, etc. 

The most innovative examples of meal tracking apps leverage the power of AI. For example, some of them use image recognition to identify food in the photos you take and have the app automatically log the calories and nutrients.


These apps allow users to interact remotely with personal trainers or fitness coaches of various specialties. TrueCoach is one of the most visible players in this category. Core features of personal coaching apps include personalized workout plans, performance monitoring, progress tracking and analytics, and communication (messaging, video calls, or chatbots).

Since 2020, we have been working on development of a software platform that helps independent trainers and clubs plan and manage fitness workouts by remotely interacting with users. This product is an example of achieving a client’s business goal through cross-platform mobile app development. As a result, the solution based on a single code base helped the client reach the target audiences of both iOS and Android users at lower costs. You can learn more about this project by following the link below. 


AI-powered fitness apps use AI algorithms and machine learning methods to analyze user data, preferences, and goals. This data-driven approach allows users to get customized workout programs and real-time support from a virtual coach during training sessions.

MobiDev has been helping the client, a sports-tech startup, implement their ideas for a human pose estimation application for athletes. With this app, users create video records of workouts and receive coaching corrective feedback, and personalized recommendations based on the analysis of these videos. 


Fitness enthusiasts strive to comprehensively take care of their well-being, and therefore need a variety of information and assistance. That’s why apps that focus on mental wellness and stress reduction are also popular among fitness lovers. The integration of wellness apps with fitness apps, functionality for meditation techniques, stress management, psychological relaxation, breathing exercises, and the like, is of great interest. 

A mobile app for mental health called Mood Cow, is an example of a comprehensive well-being software product. This app, which is the outcome of more than five years of MobiDev cooperation with the client, helps users track psychological health and organize nutrition, water intake, and exercise. Learn more about it here. 

Thank you for all the hard work you put in for Mood Cow. You committed to work to deliver a product that satisfies me. I sincerely thank you for everything you did for me, from prompt and thoughtful communication, detailed plans and work, thoughtful budgeting to accommodate my personal financial constraints, to overall respect and considerations for me. I am pleased and honored to work with you, and I am looking forward to continuing working with you.

Satoru Isaka

Product Owner

As you can see, fitness enthusiasts are offered both traditional, specialized, and more comprehensive products that use a combination of various kinds of knowledge and technologies. A common trend in most industries to combine various functionalities in one solution leads to the appearance of general-purpose software products in fitness app development as well. Examples include a combination of running and training (PUMATRAC) or working out and nutrition planning (8fit), and the list can go on. 

Fitness App Features: A Must & Nice to Have

Each fitness app offers its own set of features, targeting certain categories of users or various goals related to physical activities. So, let’s run through the possible features of fitness apps and give brief tips on how best to implement them.

First, the generally accepted core functionality of fitness apps is:

  1. Onboarding:  Use engaging quizzes to simplify the onboarding for users instead of boring and long questions to get basic information for forming training plans, recommendations, etc.
  2. User profile:  Allow users to deeply customize their profiles, detailing fitness goals and workout and diet preferences.
  3. Exercise libraries: Include video tutorials and step-by-step guides within your exercise libraries to give users clear and detailed instructions on how to do exercises correctly.
  4. Goal setting and progress tracking: Implement intuitive tracking features to make it easy for users to set goals, log workouts, and track progress.
  5. Social and community features: Foster the user community by providing features for sharing achievements, joining groups, and participating in challenges.
  6. Push notifications: Personalize push notifications based on user activity and goals to keep them motivated and engaged.
  7. Gamification and rewards: Provide gamification elements to inspire users by turning fitness goals into exciting challenges in a game-like setting.
  8. The Admin panel: In addition to managing app content and functionality, use such a feature for user interaction, including tracking activity and resolving issues.


Here are the AI-based features that can help your fitness app gain favor with the target audience:

  1. Personalized recommendations: AI analytics of athlete training data, such as fitness goals, performance metrics, etc., is a superior basis for generating personalized workout recommendations. Users can receive from the app, for example, training plans and lists of exercises that best consider their interests and capabilities. Real-time support for workouts with their adaptive adjustment, depending on the user’s performance and feedback, can be a beneficial feature for your fitness app. Timely instructions regarding the intensity, number of approaches and reps, and duration of pauses help to optimize the load and, at the same time, maintain the user’s motivation.
  2. Movement analysis and correction: The application of human pose estimation technology allows for analyzing the user’s movements during exercises and providing feedback on the correctness of their execution in real-time. The app can detect deviations from proper body position and help fitness enthusiasts correct posture and prevent injury with visual or audio prompts. Human pose estimation for fitness purposes is complicated and requires relevant quality data. That is why it is necessary to involve experienced AI engineers to work with data and model training. However, the added value that such a feature of your fitness app can bring to users is worth such effort.
  3. Voice recognition and control: The ability to communicate with the app during workouts without being distracted and without picking up a mobile device is at a premium for athletes. In this way, users can control the functions of the app with the help of voice, for example, submitting requests for the necessary exercises and receiving answers to their questions.


In addition to AI, the following innovative features of a fitness software product can enhance the user experience and provide you with a competitive edge:

  • AR functionality: Augmented reality app development makes training interactive, which means exciting and engaging, changing users’ usual environments. With AR, the display of exercises is more expressive, and the athlete’s progress is visible (e.g., Gymnotize Fitness Workout App).
  • Mixed reality allows users to create virtual environments for interactive physical activities, whether running, cycling, or sparring in combat sports. The capabilities of mixed reality can be seen in the example of Apple Vision Pro.
  • Move-to-earn motivation is based on the idea that users, having achieved daily goals, such as the number of steps taken or physical exercises performed, receive the app’s virtual currency. However, sometimes the app can connect the virtual and real worlds if it provides the exchange of prize coins for discounts, power-ups, or gift cards at popular brick-and-mortar stores. Playfit chose such an approach. 
  • App widgets make it possible to display the most important, periodically updated information from the fitness app on the home screens of mobile devices. Widgets are perfect for fitness apps, as they allow users to see the most recent key data without opening the app and interrupting other activities.


As a rule, users need fitness apps to be compatible with the software products and devices they usually use. Let’s outline the list of the most common integrations, the implementation of which will allow your app to be up to par in this aspect. We note that the proposed list of integrations cannot be comprehensive and suitable for everyone. It is advisable to make decisions about the expediency of third-party solution integrations based on the specifics of the software product, both technical and business.

Among the priority integrations for fitness apps are the following:

  1. Integration with GPS and mapping services, such as Google Maps or Mapbox, helps users track their outdoor activities more accurately. 
  2. Integration with health data platforms enables synchronization of wellness data from various sources. In this way, users get a complete picture of their physical condition and well-founded recommendations of the app regarding the acceptable level of workout loads. At the same time, remember that HIPAA compliance is essential for integrations with platforms that store and process personal health information (PHI).
  3. Integration with a barcode scanner is especially valuable for fitness apps that help users maintain healthy eating habits. Apps receive information about food through barcodes, counting calories, and detecting harmful food products.
  4. Integration with music streaming services will help users not to be bored during long workouts, especially endurance ones. Let fitness lovers stream their favorite playlists directly within the fitness app. It is not too difficult, for example, to do with Apple Music due to the availability of MusicKit. In the case of other music services, integrations may require additional custom solutions and more developer effort.
  5. Integrating video streaming features in fitness apps helps meet the expectations of discerning users. Live streaming app development is needed to take the athlete and fitness app to the next level, with on-demand videos with exercise courses, coaching support during live workouts, and various fitness-related content, etc.
  6. Integration with payment gateways makes it easier for users to pay for in-app purchases or paid subscriptions that your fitness software product offers. In such cases, you need to integrate with Android and iOS in-app purchases (IAPs). Also, your monetization strategy can involve selling goods through your app. For example, users can buy workout equipment in the app. This requires integrations with third-party payment systems such as Stripe.
  7. From our experience, we can confirm that video-sharing integrations also appreciably expand the capabilities of fitness apps. It is valuable for athletes to watch training videos with correctly performed movements, in addition to the mobile phone screen, on a large TV screen. 

You can provide this opportunity by building two more apps to launch your program with full functionality on tvOS and Android TV. However, this approach requires considerable effort and time.

If your app’s users do not want to control all the features through TVs but only watch videos to repeat the exercises they see, consider Chromecast and AirPlay integrations. This way, you can avoid the need to develop separate applications for TV platforms.


During active movements, users often find it more convenient to use fitness trackers or smart watches than mobile devices. Therefore, your fitness app may be synchronized with wearable devices that provide information about the athlete’s activities and condition.

Such integrations have many specifics that depend on the characteristics of the devices. 

For example, a lot of fitness enthusiasts use Apple Watches with the WatchOS operating system, as well as devices with Wear OS, a version of Android OS. When building a mobile fitness application, it is possible to develop application versions for these platforms additionally. There are two main types of smartwatch applications:

  1. Companion apps are simpler and can only operate in conjunction with applications on mobile devices. For example, a running app tracker allows users to start a workout through a smartphone or smartwatch, and then see the current results on the watch while running. After completing the workout, data is transferred from the smartwatch companion app to the main version of the app on the smartphone.
  2. Standalone applications independently connect to servers and synchronize data to them directly, without direct interaction with the smartphone. 

At the same time, not all fitness tracking apps need to make separate versions of the app for smartwatches. Since smartwatches can track steps, there is also the ability to receive data through HealthKit/Health Services APIs through the appropriate permissions.

Integrating fitness apps with non-WatchOS or Wear OS devices is different. Often, a mobile app interacts with wearables not directly, but through APIs provided by popular vendors (e.g. Garmin, Fitbit, etc.). In such cases, mobile app development is facilitated, but before integration with the wearable devices of each vendor, a detailed study is required. After all, the APIs are not standardized, and the work of apps with devices from different vendors can differ significantly from one another. 

In addition, there are devices on the market that connect to apps via Bluetooth or using Android/iOS SDKs from vendors, which also needs to be carefully researched before starting development.

Sets of features and integration may vary from case to case, so it is appropriate to back up your vision with expert opinions. By discussing your hypotheses and concerns with software consultants before starting a development project, you can mitigate risks and get closer to the optimal software solution. For such cases, we provide tech consulting services that help clients find the best market fit, plan the optimal tech solution, and create a clear development roadmap.

Need consultation with tech experts?

Contact us

Having an idea of the mandatory and optional app features for amateur athletes, let’s take a look at the fitness app development process.

How to Develop a Fitness App in 7 Steps

Here, we will present the main points that product owners need to know about fitness app development projects.


Set goals and objectives for your fitness app. Thus, you will give your previous thoughts and ideas about the software product a clear form. Fitness tracking, personal virtual coach, athlete community communication platform, wellness assistant – choose what you want to focus on. Combined apps are also possible and promising, but require a balanced approach.

Identify your target audience, and learn their needs and expectations. See the market niche for your fitness app and the gaps it will fill.


Define your software product functionality. Also make a list of integrations with third-party solutions, as interaction with these products will increase the value of your app in the eyes of users. It is also essential to prioritize features according to their critical importance and value to users. This approach contributes to the rational distribution of project teams’ resources and investments.

The result of this stage becomes the optimal lists of features and integrations of fitness apps. To make such decisions, MobiDev software consultants willingly help you understand the technical specifics of certain functional elements and assess their feasibility.


Adopt a monetization strategy that will make your project long-running and profitable. A flexible approach to monetization is beneficial when you use several different models in combination. For example, you can generate revenue from advertising for free users, and remove ads for those who take a paid subscription plan. The chosen monetization strategy can further influence the choice of architecture and other technical solutions in the software development process.


At this stage, software engineers who can grasp and implement the intentions and objectives of the owner of the fitness app come to the fore. MobiDev has comprehensive in-house expertise in fitness app development services, which is the key to meeting clients’ business needs. 

If you need help in finalizing the technical vision of your fitness app, we can start cooperation with consulting, including drawing up a detailed technological road map of the project. However, if you already have a development plan in place, we can provide you with experienced engineers to augment your in-house team, or a dedicated development team that can take full responsibility for bringing your product vision to life.


The role of UX/UI design in the building of a software product is far from being limited to giving it a pleasant visual style. Designers carefully study user behavior to create a UX that will allow users to easily navigate the app and return to interacting with it with pleasure. 

The design can be done both on the client’s side and by the fitness app development company. We invite you to watch how MobiDev’s in-house designers help the client create a product vision for a fitness app that uses AI to take into account the specifics of the female body and the impact of physical activity on women’s health. In the image below, you can see how they design the user flow of such an AI-powered fitness app.

User Flow Design Process for an AI-powered Fitness App

The process of designing user flow of an AI-powered fitness app


From the moment of making the pivotal decisions regarding the product in the previous steps, the project team focuses on the development of functionality and user interface, as well as setting up servers, databases, and APIs. Quality assurance (QA) specialists verify the behavior of the fitness app and make sure there are no bugs and malfunctions, according to the testing strategy.

MobiDev project teams can either work with client-side QA engineers or perform QA tasks as part of a dedicated development team, maintaining the highest quality standards.


After making sure that the fitness app runs smoothly, including infrastructure operation and integrations, you can offer it to users. Place the mobile application in the app store(s) of your choice, in accordance with their policies and guidelines, so that it is available for download and launch on mobile devices.

App maintenance after launch and ongoing technical support for users also require setup and constant attention. Carefully collect and analyze user feedback, as it is invaluable for further enhancement of the app.

Challenges and Best Practices for Developing Fitness Apps

Having gone through the fitness app development journey with clients many times, we`ll show here what needs to be paid primary attention to when building fitness apps that meet the expectations of both users and product owners.


If you aspire to have your fitness app work flawlessly on multiple popular platforms, you should take care of consistent UX across these platforms. For users to easily run your app on smartphones, tablets and portable devices, it is essential to optimize the user interface and functionality for various operating systems, screen sizes, resolutions, etc. 


Ensuring the appropriate degree of accuracy in measuring fitness metrics is as critical as it is a difficult issue, which, unfortunately, is not successfully solved in many fitness mobile apps on the market. Modern smartphones have sensors that are not special-purpose for measuring physical activity parameters. 

Additional efforts are needed to improve the accuracy of measurements for fitness purposes on mobile devices. Our experience in fitness mobile app development projects shows that the use of AI technologies contributes to the correct tracking of fitness metrics. That is why we offer fitness product owners the chance to involve our in-house AI consultants in the project teams. Their participation in the development allows for complex calculations of monitored fitness metrics using AI algorithms with the required accuracy.


The collection, storage, and processing of sensitive user data by fitness apps makes robust security a priority for such software development projects. First of all, you should clarify the entire set of regulations and laws that must be followed when developing and operating software products. It depends on the countries and regions where the users targeted by the fitness app are concentrated. Thus, issues of privacy and obtaining user consent to collect, store, and process data about them require coordination of technical, managerial, and legal components in fitness app development projects.

Also, we and our colleagues suggest that clients implement proven security methods. Among them are advanced data encryption techniques and multifactor user authentication, including AI-based biometric authentication, etc.

How Much Does It Cost to Build a Fitness App?

The cost of fitness app development primarily depends on the functionality and set of third-party integrations chosen by the customer and, accordingly, the scope of work that needs to be done for their implementation. The necessary infrastructure, platforms on which the app will run, and knowledge-intensive functionality such as AI, AR/VR, etc., also matter.

MobiDev specialists delve into the specifics of each project and develop the software in a balanced way, comprehensively meeting all the customer’s business goals when the app’s functionality and innovation are combined with a short time-to-market and compliance with budget limits. Our engineers will select the optimal tech stack based on your product requirements and features and generate non-ordinary technical solutions that save resources.

Get a project estimate

You can get an approximate estimate of the cost of development by contacting us and having briefed us with the details of your intended product.

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The MobiDev Expertise Gives You a Head Start in the Fitness App Race

MobiDev has all the resources you need for developing a fitness app of any type and any level of complexity. We’ll help you achieve your business goals by relying on our sports and fitness app development experience. 

The availability of in-house software engineers, business analysts, UI/UX designers, project managers, and QA specialists enables us to cover your needs, whether you seek to augment your existing development team by filling in the skill gaps or want a dedicated team to take full responsibility for your product development. Just contact us and you’re in the game!

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